Jul 18, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Secondary Teacher Education Pathway

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Teacher Education Overview

Faculty are dedicated to ensuring that USM’s teacher candidates have the knowledge, skills and dispositions to teach in the increasingly diverse and demanding schools of today. We are committed to providing our teacher candidates, whether undergraduate or graduate, simultaneous classroom or community experiences and course work that help them connect the theories and research of education with the everyday work with students in K-12 schools.

Through our academic requirements, we ensure that our teaching candidates have a solid knowledge base in the subjects they plan to teach, and understand the diverse ways students learn. We work closely with practicing administrators and teachers in partner schools to place our teaching candidates in the collaborative, professional environments that allow them to observe and reflect on excellent teaching.  In university classes, USM teaching candidates work together with their peers fellow teaching candidates in teaching cohorts to share and challenge ideas. Through all of these experiences, USM teaching candidates come to understand the complexities and joys of teaching.  We invite you to learn more about Teacher Education at USM.

Equity Framework For Teacher Educators and Intern Teachers

Definition: Equity means that

  • All students are sufficiently supported, as needed, in their paths to success
  • No student is denied educational opportunities based on assumptions about his or her race, cultural and ethnic heritages, gender, class, abilities, or other aspects of diversity
  • Teachers develop a climate of mutual understanding, celebration, and positive response inclusive of all individuals and worldviews

Understandings: In order to realize equity, we must understand that

  • Each person has cultural identities and intelligences that are multi-dimensional and dynamic
  • Each person brings valuable learning strengths and experiences to the classroom and these, rather than perceived deficits, are the best source for further learning
  • Motivation and academic success depend upon feeling safe and cared for, and having a sense of belonging
  • Empathetic relationships with others is a necessary foundation for healthy learning communities
  • There are inequities and power differences in our society that are often mirrored in the norms and practices of our schools and classrooms

Practices: Based on these understandings, we seek to engage our students by

  • Understanding ourselves as cultural beings so that we can understand others in the same way
  • Knowing our students well, identifying and celebrating their identities, cultural backgrounds, intelligence strengths, preferred learning modalities, and aspirations
  • Assessing students’ knowledge, skills, and dispositions in order to be responsive to learners’ needs and give formative feedback
  • Providing challenging work for all students with levels of support as needed
  • Fostering classroom environments where all students feel safe, cared for, and a sense of belonging
  • Contextualizing lessons and units using student interests and strengths and the experiences and skills they bring from home and community
  • Applying the principles of universal design for learning and strategies for differentiated learning in our planning and instruction
  • Modeling the behaviors that we expect of our students
  • Inquiring into our own practices and reflecting upon equity implications for our students
  • Examining and addressing the structures and codes of power in our schools and classrooms
  • Advocating for the fair and equitable treatment of our students
  • Collaborating with partner schools to focus attention on issues of equity

Secondary Teacher Education (6-12) Requirements

The Secondary Teacher Education Pathway is designed to prepare middle and high school teachers, grades 6-12 (PreK-12 for world language teachers) who are knowledgeable of the content they will teach and who have the skills to apply that knowledge to classroom teaching. Secondary education students major in the discipline they plan to teach and take a series of teacher education courses that satisfy their University Core Curriculum requirements as well as fulfill the requirements for Maine teacher certification in their discipline. These courses introduce students to aspects of teaching and learning and provide hands-on field experiences in schools and community agencies where they can make connections between theory and practice. At the time of degree completion, students will have met the degree requirements for a major and for initial teacher certification.

Program Declaration and Withdrawal

All students must formally declare their entry into a teacher education pathway by completing the Declaration and/or Dropping of Undergraduate Teacher Education Pathway Form through the registrar’s office. The form is located in the forms section of the Office of Registration and Scheduling Services. https://usm.maine.edu/registration-services

Academic Requirements

The minimum academic requirements to be a student in good standing in the Secondary Teacher Education Pathway are as follows:

  • A grade of B- or better in all professional education coursework.
  • A grade of C or better in content courses required for the area of teacher certification.
  • An overall GPA of 3.0 or better.

Failure to maintain the above requirements may result in program dismissal. Appeals may be made in writing to the Director of Educator Preparation.


Upon declaring the Secondary Teacher Education Pathway, a student becomes a pre-intern. The pre-internship phase of the program is the first three years of the program prior to the professional internship. Pre-internship coursework is as follows:

Each of the courses with a * includes required service learning or practicum hours in a partner school or community setting to give pre-interns hands-on experience with students and create connections between theory and practice.  These formal placements are arranged by the Field Experience Coordinator in the Office of Educator Preparation. Other education courses may require observation experiences in field settings that students arrange on their own. Students are required to be fingerprinted prior to starting a course that includes a field experience placement. For more information on the fingerprinting process see: https://usm.maine.edu/educator-preparation

Progress Checks

Upon declaring their Secondary Teacher Education Pathway, pre-interns will have progress checks completed to ensure adequate progression through the pathway. These progress checks will be completed at the end of each academic year. Assuming a four-year program, the checks will be as follows:

  • Year 1: GPA check, documentation of CHRC/fingerprinting completion, and field placement feedback
  • Year 2: GPA check and field placement feedback
  • Year 3: GPA check, successful completion of EDU 442, field placement feedback

Please see the Maine Department of Education site for more information about fingerprinting: http://www.maine.gov/doe/cert/fingerprinting.

Professional Seminar

When pre-interns have successfully completed their required coursework and are set to begin their student-teaching internship the following Fall, they will enroll in the Professional Seminar.

Professional Internship

The professional internship is a full-year experience that fulfills Maine’s student teaching requirement and provides secondary education teacher candidates the opportunity to apply what they are learning in their teacher education courses in a more sustained and in-depth setting. The first semester internship is the equivalent of 20 hours per week in a partner school district, and the second semester internship is a full time, five days per week experience in a partner school.  Students take the following internship courses concurrently.


The following majors have Secondary Teacher Education Pathway options:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • English
  • Environmental Science
  • Geography - Anthropology
  • History
  • Linguistics
  • Mathematics
  • Natural and Applied Sciences
  • Physics

Please see each major’s section of this catalog for their requirements.

Content Requirements

Secondary Teacher Education Pathway students (grades 6-12) need a minimum of twenty-four credit hours in the content areas they plan to teach. 

Content Recommendations

It is recommended that those interested in teaching at the middle level complete coursework in a second content area (e.g. English, mathematics, social studies or science) to become highly qualified to teach an additional content area. Students should consider taking additional education courses, which will support them in becoming more well-rounded teachers, in topics such as literacy and technology.


Tk20 by Watermark is the comprehensive web-based, assessment management and reporting system used by all students in Educator Preparation programs at USM. All undergraduate and graduate students who matriculate into an Educator Preparation program at USM and are accepted as a candidate for their internship/student teaching year are required to subscribe to Tk20. Students use Tk20 to provide evidence that they have mastered state and professional standards for their profession. There is a one-time subscription fee related to the administration and assessment of the program that must be paid by each student before their internship begins. For loan purposes, Tk20 is eligible for consideration as part of educational costs. Subscription instructions (including the current fee) are posted on the Office of Educator Preparation page on MyUSM at https://mycampus.maine.edu/group/usm/office-of-educator-preparation.

Please note Professional Education Council Policy: In order for USM’s Education Preparation Unit program completers to be recommended by the institution to the Maine Department of Education for certification or licensure, the candidate must provide evidence of meeting all certification requirements including proficiency on the standards relevant to their state-approved professional program.This evidence must be compiled and assessed within the context of the Unit’s data management system (i.e., Tk20).

Recommendation for Certification

Graduates who successfully complete all the Secondary Teacher Education Pathway requirements are eligible for recommendation for teacher certification in Maine.  In order to be recommended for certification, students must complete the Recommendation for Certification form.  Students who fail to meet the academic or professional requirements for the Secondary Teacher Education Pathway or choose not to pursue teacher certification may withdraw from the pathway and graduate with their major.

NOTE–Course requirements are subject to change based upon changes in teacher certification regulations.

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