The University of Southern Maine (USM) Undergraduate Teacher Education program prepares well-rounded and insightful educators who are deeply knowledgeable in the subject areas that they’ll teach.
The benefits to our Teacher Education Pathways:
- Expertise in the content you’ll teach: By studying the content areas that you’ll teach, you’ll be prepared as an engaging and resourceful educator.
- Experience in the classroom: You’ll gain more classroom experience here than any other teacher preparation program in the state of Maine. Field experience begins with classroom observation during your first year and continues during your second and third years. Your final year includes a year-long student teaching internship.
- Cohort-based learning communities: During your internship year, your courses are arranged by cohort. This means that you and a group of roughly 20 fellow students will work in the same school district and study together.
- Expanded career options: You’ll be qualified for a wide range of employment opportunities upon graduation, including careers within and outside the field of education
- This program will prepare students to be eligible for licensure within the State of Maine. Visit the UMS State Authorization and Licensure page to learn more about the licensure requirements in other states and territories, and for contact information to inquire further about the licensure requirements associated with this program.
Becoming a Teacher
Our Elementary Education Major provides a rigorous, authentic learning experience. When you graduate, you’ll have expertise in a broad curriculum and a superior background in educator preparation. You’ll also know which school setting suits you best, and you’ll be ready to tackle the professional challenges ahead.
The skills and attributes we emphasize and cultivate in future teachers:
- Passion for working with children and for the subject matter you’ll teach.
- Commitment to equity.
- Skills and creativity in classroom technology use.
- Strong written and verbal communication skills.
- Adaptable team player.
Experience in the Classroom: Early and Often
We’re proud of our school partnerships with Southern Maine districts, which allow our students to gain experience in a mixture of urban, suburban, and rural school settings.
Field experience begins with classroom observation during your first year of studies, which is earlier than many other undergraduate teacher preparation programs. Many of our teacher preparation courses integrate field experience into the curriculum, so you’ll continue classroom observation throughout your second and third years.
Your final year includes a year-long student teaching internship, during which you’ll gain experience in two different school settings or grade levels.
Selecting Your Concentration
As a student in the Elementary Education Major (K-6), you’ll select a concentration and/or minor from the following content areas:
- Liberal Studies
Cohort-Based Learning Communities
Your final internship year is an intensive, supported experience. You will have cohort-based classes with other USM students who are also working in the same school districts. Members of these cohorts often become essential supports in the first few years of teaching as well as life-long friends.
You’ll study with our education faculty as well as faculty dedicated to your content area. Their scholarship is grounded in school-based practices and includes topics of equity and inclusion in schools, critical race theory, citizen science, and place-based history. Our faculty is deeply dedicated to our students, and they strive to create a community of lifelong learners.
Our students commute easily between the Portland and Gorham campuses via the WiFi-enabled METRO Husky Line.
Accreditation & the School of Education and Human Development
As a program within the School of Education and Human Development, the undergraduate Teacher Education program is nationally accredited by CAEP (Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation) and state-approved by the Maine Department of Education.
The School of Education and Human Development has a rich history dating back to the Gorham Normal School, established by the state of Maine in 1878. Today, the School has a mission of preparing educators and human development professionals for responsible service that is as relevant to society today as it was more than a century ago.
Upon graduation, our students must meet the Maine Department of Education and InTASC (Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium) Model Core Teaching Standards. Our Learning Outcomes are aligned with these standards.