An undergraduate student at USM pursuing teaching at the elementary, middle or high school level will have an academic career that consists of three parts: the USM Core Curriculum, a content major, and professional teacher preparation. Through these three parts, students pursuing teaching will complete all content and pedagogy requirements for teacher certification in Maine.
USM Core Curriculum
The Core curriculum is a set of common general education requirements for undergraduate students. Students interested in teaching have the opportunity to explore the foundations of education, teaching and learning through the Core Curriculum. The Core Curriculum requirements are as follows:
- Entry Year Experience - EYE 108: Culture, Identity and Education provides first year students interested in teaching to explore the field of education.
- College Writing
- Cultural Interpretation
- Quantitative Reasoning
- Creative Expression
- Socio-Cultural Analysis
- Science Exploration
- Ethical Inquiry, Social Responsibility and Citizenship: Currently, the School of Education and Human Development has one course that fulfills this Core requirement, ADS 300: Ethics and Youth with Exceptionalities, and another that is currently in the curricular review process, EDU 3XX: Ethical Inquiry, Social Responsibility and Citizenship.
- A Nine-Credit Thematic Cluster: A thematic cluster in education is currently being developed. For those students interested in teaching it will include three education courses on human growth and development, cultural and linguistic diversity, and working with learners who are exceptional. These courses will provide students with educational theory in conjunction with hands-on experiences in schools, classrooms and community settings. These courses will be prerequisite to the professional level or preparation.
- Major Capstone
A strength of USM teacher preparation is the opportunity for students to focus on a content area with a full degree in a chosen major. Students select majors that align with subjects that are taught in classrooms (such as English, Math, Science, History). This design assures that students who are going to be teachers graduate from USM with strong content preparation. The ideal vision is for students to develop mastery of a content area so that they will bring their passion and fascination of a subject to the children in their classrooms. The undergraduate majors at USM that currently have pathways to teacher certification are:
- Art Education
- Arts and Humanities at LAC
- Hispanic Studies
- Music Education
- Natural and Applied Science at LAC
- Self-Designed STEM K-8 Education
- Social and Behavioral Sciences at LAC
Professional Teacher Preparation
Professional preparation is integrated with the Core Curriculum and the major. As noted, students may take education courses to fulfill Core Curriculum requirements, including the Entry Year Experience; the Ethical Inquiry, Social Responsibility and Citizenship course, and an education Thematic Cluster.
Students studying to become teachers at USM are provided with field experiences beginning in their first year of study at USM. Nearly every education course includes a field experience where students have the opportunity to observe and apply what they are learning in real educational settings.
The culmination of undergraduate teacher education pathways at USM is a yearlong theory into practice internship during which students take pedagogical content methods courses while in schools applying what they are learning. Professional coursework is devoted to learning to teach subject matter to a wide range of learners, to designing curriculum and assessments that aligns with Common Core standards, and to fostering positive classroom environments. The professional internship experience supports the coursework and provides students with the opportunity to fully immerse themselves in learning to teach.
Students who complete USM teacher preparation pathways are recommended for their State of Maine teaching certificate and have a degree in a discipline. USM is committed to having its students graduate well prepared for their first year of teaching with a solid academic and pedagogical foundation, both of which serve them in the classroom and in future life endeavors.