In the University of Southern Maine (USM) Extended Teacher Education Program (ETEP), we offer twice as much classroom experience as other graduate programs.
Our students gain student-teaching experience in two grade levels, providing them with a broad area of practice and a strong sense of which grade they’d like to teach — and leading to success in securing a teaching position.
Developing Your Teaching Skills
The student-teaching internship offers the space and time to develop your teaching and classroom management skills in areas such as:
- Creating a positive and productive classroom environment for all students.
- Addressing the diversity of students’ backgrounds, learning capacities and linguistic needs, and social and emotional needs.
- Strengthening your content knowledge and ways to engage students within the academic disciplines.
- Planning curriculum that aligns with standards and integrates with the assessment of student progress.
- Developing competency in the use of classroom technology.
Strong School Partnerships
Our strong partnerships with regional school districts offer our students the opportunity to gain experience in either urban or suburban school settings. The superintendents, principals, and teachers in our partner districts value their partnerships with the University, and our alumni have a strong job placement rate in the districts where they have completed student-teaching internships.
- Gorham School Department
- Windham-Raymond Schools
Gorham schools emphasize integrated general and special education in order to best prepare all teachers to meet the needs of all students, including those in their classrooms with identified disabilities.
The Windham-Raymond school district’s progressive vision is to actively engage students in authentic, individualized, and personally relevant learning. Interns have the opportunity to collaborate with mentor teachers to design safe, technology-rich learning environments where students have authentic, personalized learning experiences to master standards through multiple pathways.
- Lewiston School Department
- Portland Public Schools
- South Portland School Department
- Westbrook School Department
Student teaching in an urban school district offers culturally and linguistically rich and dynamic contexts for learning. Urban environments promote collaboration among teachers, specialists, schools, community cultural groups, and various agencies. As you work with students in these schools, you’ll find opportunities to address:
- Cultural and linguistic diversity
- Instructional planning time
- Extended learning opportunities
- Communicating and collaborating with parents and the community
We work with our students to place them in school districts that align with their location and career goals. Applicants who are invited to interview with ETEP faculty for admission to the program will have an opportunity to express their interest in particular school settings, although placement in a particular district cannot be guaranteed.
In addition to our Suburban and Urban Partner School Districts, we also place interns in the following schools and towns:
- Baxter Academy of Portland — Students who are interested in a charter school setting or are preparing to be math and science teachers will sometimes complete their high school student-teaching internship here.
- Biddeford — Students who live close to Biddeford will sometimes complete their student-teaching internship in the town’s schools.
- Buxton, Hollis, and Standish — Students who live close to these towns will sometimes complete their student-teaching internship at Bonney Eagle High school.
- Other schools may be considered for education technicians who would like to complete their student-teaching internship in the district where they are employed.
"We love to hire ETEP graduates because they are so well-prepared for the real world of classroom life."
— Sandy Prince, Superintendent, Windham-Raymond Schools
"ETEP is the perfect choice for someone who is interested in pursuing a career in education. This program will stretch you as a person, student, and future teacher. You can feel confident that you will leave with the tools necessary to become an effective educator."
— Kim Fotter ’04, USM ETEP Alumna, Mentor Teacher and Social Studies Methods Instructor, Gorham Middle School
“The partnership with USM has offered tremendous growth opportunity and has developed into a wonderful reciprocal relationship. As the interns apply their coursework and knowledge through their placements, they bring energy, innovation, and thoughtful planning to their classrooms. I help to guide them with instruction and experience while at the same time examining my own practice to sharpen and polish my skills.”
— Amy Engelberger ’09, USM ETEP Alumna, Gifted and Talented Teacher, Windham Middle School
Collaborative Cohort Model
- A faculty advisor, who will also be one of your instructors, serves as your point of contact for support and guidance.
- You and your fellow cohort students will progress through your courses and your student-teaching internship together.
- You’ll be student-teaching in the same district as some of your fellow cohort students. You’ll participate in weekly seminars together, offering opportunities to share about progress, challenges, and breakthroughs.
Support and Guidance
As you progress through your studies and your student-teaching internship, you’ll benefit from a strong support system of education professionals.
- Master Mentor Teacher: The teacher who oversees the classroom where you’re student teaching also serves as your day-to-day contact and mentor. You’ll collaborate on skill development in areas such as creating a positive classroom environment, maximizing instructional time, and identifying and supporting students who are struggling. As you meet school personnel and learn about the district’s structure and policies, your master mentor teacher serves as your host.
- School-based Faculty Supervisor: The supervisor collaborates with you and your master mentor teacher to set goals, observe your classroom teaching, and ensure progress toward teaching standards.
- USM Faculty Advisor and Cohort Coordinator: This University faculty member will serve as your point-of-contact throughout your internship. Providing oversight for your fellow cohort students, the advisor will check in with you regarding your progress and any challenges you’re facing. They’ll observe your classroom teaching and will keep in touch with your master mentor teacher, and your faculty supervisor.
- District-based Coordinator: The coordinator will host seminars with your cohort every two weeks to address the current and emerging practices within the school district. This essential element of your internship leads to a higher job placement rate within the district.
As you progress through your internship and develop teaching skills, there is a gradual increase in responsibility.
- Get to know your students, including their backgrounds, cultures, and learning preferences.
- Collaborate with your mentor teacher to develop lesson plans.
- Plan your own lessons and lead-teaching for five-to-ten-days, depending on the semester.
- Experiment with instruction techniques for diverse learners.
- Implement visual aids, hands-on activities, and technology use.
- Create a standards-based assessment system to evaluate your students’ progress and the efficacy of your lesson plans and instruction techniques.
- Participate in study halls, faculty meetings, department meetings, in-service workshops, and parent-teacher conferences.
- Become familiar with the district curriculum, as well as the school philosophy, policies, and administration, including the Maine Learning Results and the Common Core.