Be a Math Teacher

Pen with Numbers

"Learn Math first.  That’s the language of the Universe." - Neil deGrasse Tyson

As a math teacher, you lay the groundwork for so much of a student’s future. One day you will make clear a basic concept that a student will carry with them and use every day of their lives (even if they won’t admit it). The next day you will inspire someone like yourself into a love of math that will set them on a path to success as an engineer, an architect, a programmer, a scientist, a researcher, even a math teacher.

Math is an important way to make sense of the world. Middle and high school students need someone to help them make sense of math.  

The UMass Amherst College of Education offers many pathways to become a licensed math teacher. Every pathway involves developing professional teaching skills and experience, as well as a clear focus on how teaching techniques apply specifically to the field of mathematics. You work alongside experts in the fields of education and mathematics. 

Get started

Submit your information through the “Find Your Path” form on the Secondary Education program page. An advisor will make initial contact with you and share the relevant advising documents so that you can prepare for the admissions process.

Advisors
John Francisco, JMFranci@EDUC.UMass.edu, (413) 545-0615

Sandra Madden, SMadden@EDUC.UMass.edu, (413) 545-0135

This program also offers a Professional License for teaching Math. If you are interested, contact the advisors listed above. 

The best educators are the ones that inspire their students. That inspiration comes from a passion that teachers have for the subject they're teaching. Most commonly, that person spent their lives studying that subject, and they bring an infectious enthusiasm to the audience.

 

Neil deGrasse Tyson

 

 

Subject Matter Requirements

Guidelines for Students Seeking Licensure in High School Mathematics
Massachusetts Subject Matter Knowledge Requirements for Mathematics (Grade Level: 8-12)

(a) Algebra
(b) Euclidean Geometry
(c) Trigonometry
(d) Discrete/Finite mathematics
(e) Introductory calculus through integration
(f) History of mathematics
(g) Use of technology
(h) Abstract algebra
(i) Number theory
(j) Calculus through differential equations
(k) Probability and statistics
(l) Non-Euclidean and transformational geometries
(m) Applied mathematics or mathematics modeling

Subject matter knowledge in Mathematics at the 8-12 level for Initial Licensure can be demonstrated by successful completion of appropriate course work and by passing the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL) in Mathematics at the 8-12 level. Normally the coursework requirements can be met with a major in Mathematics. Often candidates must take additional courses to fulfill requirements (f), and (g).

Basic process of admissions

STEP ONE: Attend an informational meeting (Fall and Spring) or connect with the Program Coordinator.

At these meetings, participants are introduced to the mission of the Secondary Teacher Education Program (STEP) and learn about the various licenses and pathways UMass Amherst offers toward initial licensure. 

STEP TWO: Submit an application by the deadline for either the undergraduate and graduate pathways (January 15)

Submit an application by the deadline for either the undergraduate and graduate pathways (January 15) 
●     For applications to the Undergraduate UTS program
●     For applications to the UMass Graduate School

In February, Faculty review applications using the following criteria 

  • 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 teacher in your chosen subject. Keep in mind that we are interested in hearing why you are interested in coming to UMass and why a particular pathway 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.
  • 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 Subject Matter Tests  English (07) portions of the Massachusetts Test of Educator Licensure (MTEL). In order to be licensed in Massachusetts all teachers must have passed both the Communication and Literacy Test, as well as their Subject matter test. In order to progress successfully through the program, we encourage all candidates to take these tests as early as possible.  The Communication and Literacy test should be successfully completed by the start of your pre-practicum semester.  The Subject matter test must be completed prior to your student teaching practicum. 

STEP THREE: Interview with Secondary Admissions Committee and School Districts (February and March)

Each Program/Pathway has a rigorous and intentional process for interviewing all candidates. The Program Coordinators will send you information about the interview process. Please note - Bridges to the Future and TEACH 180 Days in Springfield require an admissions committee interview as well as a school district interview.  

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 for a teaching position. with a school district (e.g., subject matter knowledge form, resume, and personal statement)

STEP FOUR: Notification of admission to STEP (March/April)

University to Schools candidates will be notified in March if they have been accepted into their program.  The UTS Program Coordinator will then contact you to start the placement process in one of our partner school districts.  This could include visiting a range of schools and interviewing with potential mentor teachers.  
 
Bridges to the Future and 180 Days in Springfield
 will be interviewed by the University Admissions Committee (as per step 4 above) and if appropriate, will be invited to a School District Interview with participating Schools in early March. Once the school district interviews are complete applicants will be notified to continue with their process. These applicants will meet with teachers in the districts and solidify a potential placement. Candidates will be notified once this process is complete (typically usually mid to late April).

Frequently Asked Questions

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

The UTS pathway allows flexibility to students who need to work full or part-time. UTS also provides the opportunity for para-educators to enroll in the program and continue to work at their school - if your school district agrees. Bridges to the Future and 180 Days in Springfield require full-time study. 

How do I get experience working with youth?

  • Take courses that have a service learning component.
  • Look for summer employment at a camp or youth organization.
  • Look for opportunities to volunteer.

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

Yes, but you will mostly likely only be eligible for the University to Schools Pathway, not the one-year immersion pathways. However, it is important to meet with the program coordinator so that they can guide you through the Subject Matter Knowledge requirements - in case your major is a good fit. You can also 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 have adapted 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 going forward. 

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

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

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 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.