Peggy Reed: Associate professor of education
January 17, 2014
Just one glance at the multitude of children’s characters that decorate Dr. Peggy Reed’s office shows that she knows how to embrace the fun side of learning. Originally from Allen Park, Michigan, Dr. Reed began teaching at Evangel in 1985, and she has been bestowing her contagious love for early childhood education on Evangel Education students ever since.
Dr. Reed graduated from Evangel in 1976 with a B.S. in Elementary Education. She earned her master’s in Elementary and Early Childhood Education from Southwest Missouri State University and her doctorate in Early and Middle Childhood Education from Nova University. Prior to returning as a professor, she taught kindergarten for eight years in Fair Play, Missouri. During Evangel breaks she still substitute teaches for grades K-8 in the local school system.
Dr. Reed met and married her husband, Bill, when she was a student at Evangel. They have three children and four young grandchildren. Along with spending time with her family, Dr. Reed’s hobbies include home improvement projects, crafts and reading.
What first interested you in early childhood education?
When I graduated from Evangel, there was no early childhood major and no early childhood certification from the state. Instead, we had K-6 certification. I student taught 3rd grade in an outlying district, and before graduation, that school hired me for a kindergarten position because that was what they had open. The room was very empty, but since I was hired so early, I had all summer to make things and get the room ready. I had a lot of fun with that. I really enjoyed the first year teaching the little kids, and I stayed there eight years. I decided that I liked early childhood education, so I got my master’s degree in Elementary Education with an emphasis in Early Childhood.
How well do you think Evangel prepared you for your future career?
When I graduated and got my first teaching job, I felt much better prepared as a teacher than some of my coworkers who had gone to other universities. Even back then, Evangel had more practicum experiences than other schools had. We also had more practical classes on how to work equipment. I felt very well prepared when I graduated. At my job, I was the one who others would come to if the old projectors broke because I had had a class on how to run them and other people hadn’t.
What is the best part about teaching at Evangel?
The best thing is being able to work in a Christian atmosphere. When you’ve worked other places, you realize that it’s really a privilege to be here where you can pray in class if a student brings up a need. Since my coworkers are Christians, we can also pray together. I like the ability to be open with your spirituality. That’s getting harder in the public schools.
What is your favorite part about teaching Early Childhood Education?
My favorite part about teaching Early Childhood Education is how much fun it is. We get to play with toys and enjoy the company of little kids. What’s better than that?
What is the most important thing you want students to take away from your classes?
The most important thing that I want students to take away from my classes is that “caring, committed, competent teachers shape the future,” which is our department theme. My goal is that they will develop a compassion for children and families in addition to gaining the skills needed to be an effective teacher. It is very rewarding to watch this process occur in my students.
What advice do you have for prospective students, especially those interested in Evangel’s Education program?
I think there’s a real difference between Evangel’s teacher education program and going to a state university. We have more opportunities for students to learn what they’re going to need when they get out there. I think the small size and Christian atmosphere allow a person to really develop to his or her full potential. Also, a benefit of being at a small school is that you have direct access to faculty mentoring that you may not be able get somewhere else. I see most of my students from the time they come in as a freshman until they graduate. By the time they student teach, they’ve had all of my classes, I’ve been their adviser, I’ve seen them teach in different settings, and the students have the opportunity to grow in ways that maybe they wouldn’t if they went to a school that had 50,000 students. Even though it costs more to attend Evangel, I think the trade-off is a much, much better career preparation. Think of it as an investment in the future.