Professors at UMass Amherst Publish Guide for Prospective Teachers

AMHERST, Mass. - Two University of Massachusetts faculty are attempting to reform the educational system from the inside by luring prospective teachers back to a "career that matters."

The bait is a book titled "The Essential Career Guide to Becoming a Middle and High School Teacher." Written by School of Education faculty members Robert W. Maloy and Irving Seidman, the book is a step-by-step guide to preparation, certification, and employment as a teacher. It was published last month by Bergin & Garvey Paperback and has received positive reviews from education faculty across the country.

The book grew out of the pair''s concerns that a serious teacher shortage was developing across the country. To help attract college students and others to the career of teaching, the pair decided to put together a guide that would explain the challenges and rewards of the profession both at the middle-school and high-school level.

"What we tried to do is make a comprehensive guide so it would be a resource to potential teachers to help them decide whether this is a good career choice for them," says Maloy. "We wanted to help attract quality teachers by explaining to them the ins and outs of what they could expect."

The book is a veritable A-to-Z on how to become a teacher, says Maloy. Among the topics it addresses are assessing the differences between middle schools and high schools, identifying a quality teacher education program, understanding alternative pathways to certification, and taking state-mandated teacher tests. In addition to simply guiding prospective teachers on how to choose the profession it also offers ideas for how to be a successful student of teaching. The book also includes a state-by-state listing of graduate teaching programs, complete with the current rankings by U.S. News & World Report magazine of the top 50 in the country.

Ultimately, Seidman''s and Maloy''s guide helps students take their experience into the real world as they look for their first job. They describe the book as a "useful guide across the spectrum from deciding to teach, to finding a great job."

"In the end what we would really like to see is that we have not only helped prospective teachers find jobs, but that we have also helped attract the best and brightest to the teaching profession," Maloy says. "We want to help improve the profession, and to do that we need to help prospective teachers."