Be an English Teacher

Instructor teaching in a circle of students

We seek applications from diverse candidates who have content knowledge and are committed to the social, cultural, and academic development of all students. 

As Professor Emerita Sonia Nieto wrote in Why We Teach, "Although for over a century our nation has advanced the ideal that a high-quality and excellent public education is the  birthright of all children, our schools cannot fulfill this ambitious and noble purpose unless all of us—parents, policymakers, and the general public—commit ourselves to sustaining education as  a public trust and a promise to future generations."

Get started

Contact Chalais Carter, Secondary Teacher Education Preparation (STEP) Program English Advisor,


Through the University to Schools for Graduates pathway, I was able to pursue passions and research and juggle a full time job to make ends meet. 

Danielle Desmond, Current English Teacher

Admissions Process

STEP ONE: Attend an informational meeting (Fall and Spring)

At these meetings, participants are introduced to the mission of Secondary Teacher Education Preparation (STEP) Program English and learn about the four pathways we offer toward licensure. 

STEP TWO: Submit an application by the deadline for either the undergraduate and graduate pathways (February 1st)

●     Click here for applications to the Undergraduate University to Schools (UTS) program

●     Click here for applications to the UMass Graduate School

●     In addition to the material requested, include a resume, completed subject matter form, and a writing sample (e.g., a paper from a course related to some aspect of English education). In completing the subject matter form, please be as detailed as possible because a course number and title often does not provide enough information. Therefore, please include information regarding the main topics or goals of the course, key authors discussed, and final projects completed. Please also include the number of credits earned in each subject area. 


STEP THREE: Faculty review application using the following criteria (February)

●     A well developed and carefully written personal statement of approximately 500 words. This statement should make clear why you are interested in entering the teaching profession and what you hope to accomplish in the future as a secondary language arts teacher. Keep in mind that we are interested in hearing why you are interested in coming to UMass and why a particular pathways fits with your professional goals. 

●     Experience working with diverse youth during one’s undergraduate experience (e.g., extra-curricular activities, volunteering in schools, tutoring, summer work experience). 

●     Evidence of leadership and a commitment to issues of equity based on a review of the applicant’s transcript, resume, writing sample, and personal statement.

●     English subject matter knowledge based on a review of the applicants’ transcript and subject matter form. This review is significant in determining if you are eligible for the one-year pathways (e.g., Bridges to the Future, 180 Days in Springfield). 

●     A minimum GPA of a 3.0 

●     Passing the Communication and Literacy Skills (01) and English (07) portions of the Massachusetts Test of Educator Licensure (MTEL). This is recommended for all STEP candidates and is required for all those interested in entering the University to Schools Undergraduate pathway. Note, after you are accepted, all licensure candidates must provide evidence that you have passed the Subject Matter Test of for English Language Arts (07) before you are allowed to begin their teaching practicum. Therefore students admitted to Bridges to the Future and 180 Days in Springfield must pass MTELs prior to the fall semester. University to Schools must pass all state exams prior to beginning their teaching practicum during the spring semester of their second year. 


STEP FOUR: Interviewing with Secondary English Admissions Committee with Dr. Bev Bell, Dr. Meg Gebhard, Dr. Keisha Green, and Ms. Chalais Carter (February and March)

●     Please approach these interviews in a professional manner. Come prepared to discuss your application materials and future plans in the same way you would if you were interviewing with a school district (e.g., subject matter knowledge form, resume, and personal statement).

STEP FIVE: Notification of admission to STEP English (March)

●     We will notify applicants in the beginning of March. 

●     Applicants interested in the 180 Days in Springfield or Bridges to the Future pathways will be contacted to schedule an additional interview with participating schools. 

STEP SIX: Attend an orientation (April)

●     At the end of April we invite all admitted STEP English students admitted to UTS, 180 Days in Springfield, and Bridges to the Future pathways to an orientation. At this meeting, you will meet the faculty and current students. In addition, we will provide you with information regarding master's degree requirements, licensure requirements, registration, and living in the Pioneer Valley. 

●     Please note that faculty are typically not on campus during the summer, so we make every effort to answer your questions in April so you are well prepared for September. Also note that new students are not able to register until the Graduate School sends you information, typically in August. Regardless of this time lag, you should have no concerns regarding registering for required courses. Typically, newly admitted students are able to register for classes by August before the Fall semester begins. 

●     Please make sure that you check your UMass email regularly or have it forwarded to an email address you check often. The University will send you information over the summer and it is important that you know about upcoming events and important announcements (e.g., program deadlines and events, scholarship, job opportunities, speakers and the like). 

STEP SEVEN: Attend College wide orientation meeting and meet with your advisor every semester (August).


How we prepare you to be an English teacher

Our program is dedicated to five goals:

  • Fostering the development of diverse teachers committed to supporting the education of youth attending rural, urban, and suburban schools regardless of students’ race, class, gender, language, country of origin, and learning needs. We admit candidates who understand that teaching and learning are political activities shaped by history, economics, and contested ideologies regarding public education.

  • Collaborating with youth, their families, and their communities to re-imagine teaching and learning in language arts classrooms from a critical sociocultural perspective.

  • Preparing professional teachers of language arts who are capable of designing, implementing, and reflecting on culturally responsive curriculum, instruction, and assessments to support all students in learning to read, write, and critically analyze multicultural literature.

  • Preparing language arts teachers to engage in action-oriented classroom research to foster critical reflection regarding how students’ in- and out-of-school experiences contribute to their social, cultural, and academic trajectories.

  • Connecting candidates and graduates to collaborative professional networks to support their development and ability to advocate for their students over the course of their careers.


What you need to know to be an English teacher

We follow guidelines from the National Council of Teachers of English Standards for Initial preparation of teachers of Secondary English Language Arts, Grade 7-12

Please visit the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education website for more about the English Language Arts and Literacy curriculum framework: 


Frequently Asked Questions 

I am already teaching, can I be in this program?

Yes. The University to Schools (UTS) pathway is designed for teachers already employed, but seeking a Master’s degree and state license.

How do I get experience working with youth?

  • Take courses that a have service learning component.

  • Look for summer employment at a camp or youth organization.

  • Look for opportunities to volunteer.

Do I need a car?

Having access to a car will give you more flexibility in finding a placement that is a match for you. Otherwise, you will need to rely on public transportation and may have fewer options for placement. 

I am interested in applying, but did not major in English. Therefore, I am missing a number of subject matter requirements. Will my application be competitive?

Yes, but you will most likely only be eligible for the University to Schools Pathway, not the one-year immersion pathways. You can complete these requirements at a community college, another college, or online.


Is this an online program?

This program is not designed as a fully online program. However, we are  taking into account disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In Fall 2020 we will be adapting as needed to support students who cannot be present to engage in studies. There will be the availability of remote courses and we are planning for several different outcomes whether on campus or off campus. 

I grew up in a predominately white middle class community and have not had much experience working across race, class, and language differences. What should I do?

  • Join student organizations with a social justice mission.

  • Take courses that have a service learning component.

  • Look for summer employment at a camp or youth organization.

  • Look for opportunities to volunteer. 

Can I work and enroll in the program at the same time?

The University to Schools (UTS) pathway allows flexibility to students who need to work full- or part-time. Bridges to the Future and 180 Days in Springfield require full-time study. 

When do I have to complete my subject matter requirements?

The answer to this question depends on the pathway you choose to apply to. Please see the table below for an overview of when the English subject matter knowledge must be completed.

Questions regarding subject matter completion:

PATHWAY Do my English Subject Matter Knowledge requirements need to be completed before fall semester of my STEP English practicum? Can I take courses online to fulfill Subject Matter Knowledge requirements? Can I take independent study while enrolled in the STEP English practicum? Can I fulfill Adolescent Literature and Reading Requirements (EDUC 693) during the STEP practicum?
180 Days in Springfield

YES, except EDUC 503


Bridges to the Future

YES, except EDUC 503)


University to Schools (UTS) for Undergraduates

YES, except EDUC 503)



University to Schools (UTS) for Graduates


YES YES, during the first year of your program. YES



Subject Matter Requirements

For a list of requirements you must meet before entering our program, please review our English subject matter knowledge requirements form.


Resources for English Teachers

Organization Contact Website
Western Mass Writing Project

Anna Rita, Site Director,

Generation Teach STEAM Academy, Holyoke

See website for contact, candidate and teaching fellow application information.
Homework House

See website for contact and volunteer application information.

The Literacy Lab

Vlai Ly, Program Associate - The Literacy Lab,

(413) 426-2867



Program Costs

Please plan for the following costs. Be sure to check the UMass websites, as some costs are subject to change. 


Most updated information on tuition


UMass fees explained

MTEL *test fees subject to change

Communication and Literacy Skills (01): $112

English (07): $139


Off-campus housing

On-campus housing

TK20 Portfolio System

Estimate $100+

Books & Supplies

Estimate: $150 per semester (new)

Free with UMass Libraries and Interlibrary loan (used/borrowed)


Access to a car is highly recommended as there is limited public transportation to placement schools.


College of Education assistantships, scholarships, and funding opportunities