Teacher Education


What is TEAMS?
The Teachers for Elementary and Middle Schools (TEAMS) Program is the undergraduate pathway to K-8 teacher certification at the University of Southern Maine (USM). The TEAMS program includes coursework in an academic major leading to a degree in a liberal arts field, and a professional program of teacher education leading to a State of Maine general elementary education certification (grades K-8).

What are the advantages of TEAMS?
In TEAMS, we foster a learning community based upon intensive advising and supportive group learning. TEAMS provides extensive classroom experience. Students are placed in the classroom beginning the second semester of the freshman year, and at the end of their program they complete a full-year internship that includes two different classroom placements. This is more total classroom experience than graduates of most other undergraduate teacher education programs. Because TEAMS students major in a liberal arts discipline, students also have a solid academic foundation that is superior to most education majors. Rather than an undergraduate major in education, TEAMS students earn a master's degree in education. At the completion of TEAMS, students have earned 33 graduate-level credits and only 12 additional credits are required to complete the Master's in Teaching and Learning (MTL) degree. This leads to greater marketability and higher pay in the first year of teaching.

What is the difference between Unified TEAMS and the regular TEAMS K-8?
The Unified K-8 program is an option that combines general K-8 certification with K-8 Special Education certification. By the end of the 5 year program, a Unified student has completed all that is necessary for a certification in K-8 General Education, a certification in either K-8 Special Education or K-12 ESL and a Master's in Teaching and Learning. Some course work is done online, so it is possible to be in diverse locations in Maine and complete the program.
The regular TEAMS K-8 is a 4 ½ year program. All course work is done in a face-to-face classroom. This program is for those who want to complete teacher certification in K-8 General Education only. By the end of the program, a student has completed not only a bachelor’s degree in a liberal arts area, but also 33 credits towards a Master's in Teaching and Learning.

Why does TEAMS require a major in the liberal arts rather than elementary education?
The College of Education and Human Development at USM does not offer an undergraduate major in education. TEAMS and the other teacher education programs at USM are certification programs. That means that students in the program complete all of the requirements to earn a K-8 teaching certificate in the State of Maine. The TEAMS program prides itself on the fact that our students earn a major in the liberal arts (e.g., liberal studies, math, history, science, English, etc.). It is fundamental to our belief that teachers need to be well-educated citizens and that a well-rounded liberal arts education contributes to that end.

What is the progression through the program?
The TEAMS Program has three distinct phases through which the students progress. The three levels are pre-candidacy, candidacy, and internship.
The first phase of the program is the pre-candidacy phase that begins upon admission to the TEAMS Program. During this phase of the TEAMS program, students complete the USM Core Curriculum requirements, work on completing courses in their selected majors in the College of Arts and Sciences, and complete the undergraduate level education courses and field experiences required by the TEAMS Program.
The second phase of the program begins upon successfully passing Candidacy Review. At this point, TEAMS students have demonstrated that they are making satisfactory progress toward completing their majors in the College of Arts and Sciences and meeting TEAMS program requirements. TEAMS candidates must demonstrate evidence of having made satisfactory progress toward meeting five of the 10 USM Teacher Certification Standards. Upon completion of Candidacy Review, the student becomes a Teacher Candidate in the program and may be given an internship placement.
The final phase of the program is a year-long graduate level internship. As a part of the graduate level internship, TEAMS students complete two semester-long placements in TEAMS partner schools. In addition, TEAMS students earn 33 credit hours toward the Master's in Teaching and Learning (MTL).

Is TEAMS full-time? Or can I attend part-time?
Up until the internship year, students may complete the TEAMS Program on a part-time basis. TEAMS students may work with their TEAMS program advisor to create an educational plan and time line that meets his or her needs for completing the program.

Is it possible to take classes at the Lewiston/Auburn campus and be in the TEAMS program?
It is possible for TEAMS students to take core program courses and some courses in their major at LAC. Of course, how many courses the student can take at LAC depends upon the major. If an LAC major is chosen, then it would be possible to complete several courses on the LAC campus. However, all sections of TEAMS courses are offered on the Portland or Gorham campuses or onsite at partner schools.

Can I transfer into the TEAMS program with an associate's degree?
The TEAMS Program does accept students with associate's degrees. However, depending upon the field in which the associate's degree has been earned, TEAMS may not be the best route to teacher certification for you. TEAMS is most compatible with those associate degree programs where students complete a large number of courses in liberal arts or with a focus on elementary education. If you are uncertain whether your associate's degree meets these criteria, you may contact Undergraduate Admissions, Transfer Affairs office at (207) 780-5340 for a transcript analysis and/or the Teacher Education Department advisor at (207) 780-5413 to discuss the best path to teacher certification for you.

Are TEAMS classes available in the evenings or weekends?
The times of TEAMS courses vary from semester to semester. However, many are offered in the early evening. We do not offer courses on the weekend. The other thing to keep in mind when planning your schedule is that TEAMS courses have field experience requirements that will need to be completed during the school day.

I have already completed my bachelor's degree, but now realize that I want to teach. Is TEAMS right for me?
No, TEAMS is the undergraduate pathway to teacher certification. The Extended Teacher Preparation Program (ETEP), another USM teacher pathway, is designed for those who have already completed a bachelor's degree.

I am a transfer student. Would the courses I have completed transfer in and be comparable to those at USM?
All transfer students should contact the Undergraduate Admissions, Transfer Affairs office at (207) 780-5340 to have their transcript analyzed.

Can I complete the TEAMS program and become certified to teach at the secondary level?
The TEAMS program is a K-8 certification program so it is not designed for those interested in teaching high school. Students who wish to teach at the high school level should pursue the major they wish to teach and take introductory courses in education. This prepares them for USM's Extended Teacher Preparation Program (ETEP), designed for those who have a bachelor's degree. For a student interested in dual certification at the elementary and secondary levels, it is possible to become certified at both levels by completing TEAMS, a major in the discipline you want to teach at the secondary level, and an additional course on teaching at the secondary level. The USM mathematics department also offers an undergraduate pathway to secondary math certification.

I would like to study abroad during my undergraduate education. Would this interfere with the TEAMS program?
Studying abroad is a possibility in the TEAMS Program. You may work with your TEAMS program advisor to create an educational plan that accommodates study abroad.