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
The BS in Elementary Education is designed to prepare elementary and middle school teachers, grades K-8 who are knowledgeable of the content they will teach and who have the skills to apply that knowledge to classroom teaching. Elementary education majors take a series of education courses that fulfill their University Core Curriculum requirements as well as the requirements for Maine teacher certification. These courses introduce students to aspects of teaching and learning and provide hands-on field experiences in schools and community organizations where they can make connections between theory and practice. In addition, elementary education majors select a disciplinary concentration area in order to develop more robust content knowledge in a specific subject area.
The minimum academic requirements to be a student in good standing in the Elementary Teacher Education Pathway are as follows:
- A grade of B- or better in all professional education coursework.
- A grade of C or better in disciplinary concentration courses and 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.
The pre-internship phase of the major is the first three years of the program prior to advanced coursework and the student-teaching internship. Required pre-internship coursework is as follows:
Each of the courses with a * includes required service learning or practicum hours in a school or community setting to give pre-interns hands-on experience with K-12 students and create connections between theory and practice. These formal placements are linked to each course and 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/fingerprinting-process
Recommended (Track A only)
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.
Progress Checks by Year
Pre-Internship Elementary Education Majors will have progress checks completed to ensure adequate progression through the major. 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.
Internship takes place in the student’s final year at USM, following successful completion of the pre-internship requirements. During the fall semester of internship, students are placed in a K-8 student-teaching placement with one of our partner districts where they complete 20 hours of student-teaching per week. In the spring semester, students are placed in a different K-8 placement (typically within the same district) where they complete 40 hours of student-teaching per week.
Please see USM’s Professional Licensure and Certification Notice located on the Office of Registration Services website for more information: https://usm.maine.edu/registration-services/academic-policies-undergraduate
Coursework taken during Professional Internship includes:
Elementary Education Major Options
Track A: Disciplinary Concentration Areas
Elementary Education majors completing Track A choose a disciplinary concentration area from among the following options:
- Liberal Studies Humanities
Students who opt to concentrate in Geography-Anthropology must choose from one of the following three content areas. Note: regardless of area, all students who concentrate in Geography-Anthropology must take MAT 120 - Introduction to Statistics as their Quantitative Reasoning Core Requirement.
Cultural & Natural Heritage Management:
Applied GIS and Geospatial Analysis:
Sustainable Cultures & Communities:
Liberal Studies Humanities:
Any two of the following courses:
One of the following upper-level science courses:
Track B: Double Majors
It is possible for Elementary Education majors to double major with one of the following disciplines. Please see each major’s section of this catalogue for their requirements.
- BA in English
- BA in Geography-Anthropology
- BA in History
- BA Liberal Studies Humanities
NOTE: Double majoring accounts for 120 credit hours, so the decision to double major should be made at the outset of the program.
Students interested in completing the Elementary Education Major must complete 6 credits each in English, mathematics, science and social studies. The following mathematics courses are required:
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 they have mastered state and professional standards for their profession. The subscription fee of $103 covers some of the expenses related to the administration and assessment of the program. For loan purposes, Tk20 is eligible for consideration as part of educational costs. The subscription is a one-time payment and must be made by each student after they have passed their candidacy process and before the first semester of their internship year. Subscription instructions are posted on the Office of Educator Preparation website at http://usm.maine.edu/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 her/his state-approved professional program and 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 Elementary Education major 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 of the Elementary Teacher Education major or choose not to pursue teacher certification may withdraw from the major and transition into the major affiliated with their disciplinary concentration area (note: Mathematics or Science concentrations will transition to the Self-Designed STEM major).
NOTE–Course requirements are subject to change based upon changes in teacher certification regulations.
USM Core Requirements
The USM Core Curriculum is a coherent, integrative, and rigorous liberal education that enables our graduates to be world-minded, intentional, life-long learners and captures your general education degree requirements.
Please Note: Core requirements may be part of your major and/or minor, and Core may have been fufilled with transfer credit. Please consult your MaineStreet Degree Progress Report (DPR) and review your degree progress with your Advisor. For additional information, access the USM Core webpage.