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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Want to Be a Teacher?

UMass Boston offers teacher education programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The undergraduate program leads to initial licensure in elementary, middle, and high school levels. The graduate program does not lead to teaching, but both programs help you find a placement and a job.

Because of a chronic shortage of teachers nationwide, and the recognition and value of the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure, recruiters from all around the country ask for Massachusetts teachers. The MTEL is known for being the most rigorous of all tests nationwide.

For instance, “people from Florida come here [to Massachusetts] to recruit our teachers, saying, ‘Please come here to teach,'” said Denise S. Patmon, associate professor in the graduate college of education.

In the undergraduate program, students interested in teaching at the elementary level can major in anything because they should know a little bit about everything. They need 36 credits in arts, history and cultural studies, philosophy and humanistic studies, natural science, math, and foreign language.

However, students interested in teaching for middle and high school children have to major in the subject area they wish to teach. At the end of the program, a student will have earned a certification in teaching, the initial licensure, and a master’s degree.

In order to apply for a license, a student must pass the MTEL, which has different, specialized areas. Elementary educators must pass Communications & Literacy, General Curriculum, and Foundations of Reading. Middle school and secondary educators must pass Communications & Literacy and the appropriate subject area test.

There are three stages of educator licensure, which become only two steps for those who integrate the undergraduate program. The first license, “preliminary licensure,” is issued to a person who holds a bachelor’s degree and has passed the MTEL. This license is valid for five years of employment, starting at the date a person finds a job. Then, the “initial licensure” is issued to a person who met the requirements for the previous licensure, completed a “professional education preparation program,” and had a cooperating teacher supervise him or her in a classroom up to six times. Finally, the “professional licensure,” which is issued to a person who has an initial license, has taught for three years and has a master’s degree. This educator license is valid for five years and is renewable for additional five-year terms.

For the graduate program, candidates will complete a 36-credit program. Students seeking a secondary licensure will have to take a different sequence of courses that will provide a developmental perspective. They will also have 75 hours of monitored fieldwork.

Staffers at the graduate program say that teaching is becoming more popular. “[There’s] a lot of engineers in our program” said Harriette Crawford, a staff member. “We say, You want to be a teacher, but do you know that the pay is going way down?” And they say, ‘Yeah, but you know what? It is more exciting than where we’re working.’

“The reason for the engineers to change fields is because they know exactly what they are going to do all the time. If you are teaching kids, it is really different; every day is a new day, it’s all about the moment. With teaching, you have the guarantee of an exciting day-to-day routine.”

For the undergraduate program, students must submit the application to Wheatley, second floor, room 157. With it, submit a personal statement, at least one letter of reference, an undergraduate transcript (plus a list of courses in which currently enrolled), and an optional copy of the results on the Communications and Literacy section of the MTEL.

For the MTEL, there is a study guide for $145, which helps you prepare for the test, or you can download it for free on these websites: www.mtel.nesinc.com or www.doe.mass.edu/mtel. There is also a free Communications and Literacy workshop available, approximately three weeks before the exam date. You can either register by e-mail at [email protected] or call (617) 287-7625.

Any student who is interested should stop by the Program Office, located at W/2/157. There you can get answers to any general questions you may have, as well as booklets. For the MTEL, you can register online at www.mtel.nesinc.com or through the “Educator Services” section of the Massachusetts Department of Education website at doe.mass.edu.