A Master of Arts in Teaching program
approved this week offers expert training along with incentives to keep
teachers in Hillsborough County, alleviating critical shortages. The
ambitious program will place the first team of apprentice teachers in
county classrooms this fall.
From the start of their classroom
experience, apprentices will earn first-year teacher salaries and
benefits. They also will be eligible to apply for tuition reimbursement
and student loan forgiveness, both Florida Department of Education
incentive programs intended to increase the size and quality of the
state’s public school teaching pool.
Last month, Gov. Bush announced a $239-million statewide initiative to recruit 31,800 new teachers for Florida’s public schools.
program features an aggressive mix of theory and practical training in
an unprecedented collaboration between UT faculty and school district
professionals. The aim of the accelerated 13-month program is to train
recent liberal arts graduates and “outstanding professionals” with
science and mathematics backgrounds to become top-notch educators in
middle and high schools. Math and science are critical teacher
shortage areas locally and in much of the nation.
Harrison, assistant professor of education and director of the MAT
program, said the difference between UT’s MAT and more typical
certification programs is profound.
“We don’t just prepare
teachers for certification,” Harrison said. “We graduate candidates
from a quality program in which they work with a triad of mentorship
and supervision comprised of a combination of UT faculty and school
district peer coaches.”
While the primary goal is to help public
schools in Hillsborough County and Florida, the program is designed to
give its graduates regional flexibility, Harrison said, noting that
program graduates will be eligible for teaching licenses in 43 states.
program’s practical component launches students into middle and high
school classroom experience in their first full semester after an
intensive—some would say grueling—15-credit-hour summer primer on human
development, classroom management, school ethics, safety and law,
instructional methods, and mastering the art of teaching. In the
initial summer term, students will attend classes 9-1/2 hours a day,
four days a week.
“It’s exciting working with the high school
and middle school math and science teachers,” Harrison said. “We’re
building a program and a curriculum based on what they need out there
in the schools, so we’re closing that divide between the academics in
the ivory tower and the practitioners and professionals in the schools.”
For more information, see http://www.ut.edu/academics/mat/index.html or contact Harrison at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 253-3333, x 3373.