Frequently Asked Questions
The mission of the University of Maryland Terrapin Teachers program is to engage science and mathematics students in the teaching and learning process so that they are prepared by the end of their four undergraduate years to be highly skilled middle and secondary science and mathematics school teachers who can go on to teach and inspire their students, and enable them to not only know about science and math, but to use these disciplines in their everyday lives.
Terrapin Teachers Partners
Our local school district partners are so important and are an integral part of the success of the program. Local public school teachers work closely with our undergraduates to develop inquiry-based lessons in science and math. Teachers provide constructive feedback to help undergraduates build upon their knowledge base.
Montgomery County Public Schools
Prince George's County Public Schools
Q. What is the Terrapin Teachers Program?
A. The program is a replication of the nationally known and highly regarded UTeach program (http://uteach-institute.org) that was developed at the University of Texas at Austin. Terrapin Teachers is a collaboration between the College of Education & the College of Computer, Mathematical, & Natural Sciences.
Q. Can I graduate with a degree in science or mathematics and be prepared to go into a science or mathematics profession if I decide not to pursue a teaching career?
A. Yes, this idea is fundamental and integral to Terrapin Teachers. Every student in Terrapin Teachers takes his/her regular STEM degree and is prepared for any appropriate career (e.g., pre-med, math professor, pursuit of a Ph.D. in chemistry). However, by being part of Terrapin Teachers you have the added options that are afforded by having teacher certification. Thus, graduates from Terrapin Teachershave options to pursue a rewarding and exciting career in teaching that has a major impact on society and the future. Moreover, by taking Terrapin Teacher courses, you will be very well trained to be an effective communicator and teacher, something that is extremely useful no matter what your career.
Q. How/Where do I start the Terrapin Teachers program?
A. The first course in Terrapin Teachers is the 1-credit course TLPL101 (Step 1). This course immerses you in teaching by giving you an opportunity to actually teach. Over the course of the semester you will develop and teach two science or math lessons in a local elementary school under the guidance of our Master Teachers. You would then take TLPL102 (Step 2), which adds to your knowledge and skill sets, and gives you the opportunities to develop and actually teach a science or math lesson in a local middle school.
Q. I am an upper level student. It is possible to complete the program by the time I would normally graduate?
A. There are multiple entry points into Terrapin Teachers for different level students. Depending on the number of completed credit hours, you may begin taking Terrapin Teachers courses as an undergraduate and complete certification through the Integrated Master’s Certification Program (IMCP) certification pathway. We are glad to provide guidance. If you have an immediate question, please contact an advisor at email@example.com.
Q. Are there restrictions on registering for the courses under Terrapin Teachers Program?
A. There are currently no administrative or advisor restrictions for registration. As we open upper level courses, however, we are likely to have prerequisites to take various courses.
Q. I am a freshman. How does Terrapin Teachers Program affect my four-year plan?
A. TT is designed to fit into your STEM content major four-year plan. As always consult your advisor for a personalized schedule.
Q. How do I know if I will make a good math or science teacher?
A. First, having the proper knowledge of a subject is very important. Good teachers are those who have passion and can create a positive learning environment for their students. Second, being prepared by an outstanding program that helps you become an expert at teaching and working with students increases your skill level. Terrapin Teachers graduates will be very well prepared in their STEM areas and in teaching.
Q. Are there jobs for new math and science teachers?
A. Absolutely, There is a very substantial need for teachers in Maryland and around the country. This is particularly the case for science and math teachers who are truly grounded in their disciplines and can effectively communicate subject material, as well as inspire discovery. This is a national crisis that our country is facing. For more information, visit http://nms.org.
Q. What are the salary ranges and benefits for math and science teachers?
A. The 2013-2014 Maryland starting average for a public school teachers differs by district; the range for the 2013-2014 year was $43,375-$58,133 for nine months. And, of course, school districts provide additional benefits such as health, retirement, etc.
Q. What are the steps to earning a teaching credential and becoming a middle school or high school teacher in Maryland?
A. Once you have completed Terrapin Teachers you will be “Certification Ready.” You are required to complete the Praxis exams. That means that you will be eligible for certification, and can apply for your teaching certificate through the Maryland State Department of Education.
Q. What major do I choose and what undergraduate courses can I take at UMD to prepare for a teaching career?
A. We recommend choosing a major that is of interest to you, as this will be your content area. The Terrapin Teachers Program has nine inquiry based instruction courses that will provide you with the knowledge and understanding of teaching. Many of these courses will fit your major and/or general education requirements, so for most students these will easily fit into the regular four-year curriculum you would take even if you were not in Terrapin Teachers.
Q. What if I am interested in getting certified to teach elementary school (1-6) or middle school math or science (4-9)?
A. While Step 1 and Step 2 (TLPL101 and TLPL102) are helpful, the College of Education has specific programs geared towards elementary and middle grades certification. Click HERE for more information about possible programs that will fit you.
Q. How is Terrapin Teachers unique?
A. We are unique in the fact that we follow the UTeach model of Inquiry based learning. Our Master Teachers will guide you through the learning process and immediately expose you to classroom teaching.
Q. When, how often, and in what kinds of classrooms will I be teaching?
A. In TLPL101 you will teach in elementary school, and in TLPL 102 you have opportunities to teach in a middle school. In later courses, you will have secondary school placements. You will also have a year-long apprenticeship placement in a high school your final year.
Q. What support will I have when I go into the classroom?
A. You will not be alone! For example, in TLPL 101 & 102 you are paired with one or two of your classmates to co-teach the lessons. In addition you will have guidance from a mentor teacher – the person in whose classroom you will be working. And, of course, our amazing Master Teachers will be working with you as long as you are in Terrapin Teachers.
Q. Will I also be doing “student teaching” at the end of the program?
A. Yes. Part of the model is your two-semester apprenticeship in a high school. Some kind of “student teaching” experience is required by virtually all states in order to become a teacher.
Q. I am really interested in taking the Step 1 course, however, the classes are already full? What should I do?
A. Contact the Terrapin Teachers Staff by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at (301) 405-0645. We will be able to assist you with most scheduling conflicts. Additionally, Step 1 is offered in both spring and fall semesters.
Q. What is the next step after the Step 2 (TLPL102) class?
A. The next course would be Knowing & Learning. Some upper level courses will be focused towards your content major and its application in the classroom.
Q. After I take the Step courses, am I obligated to complete the rest of the program?
A. We encourage you to stay within the program, however there is no obligation or penalty for withdrawing from Terrapin Teachers. If you are having scheduling concerns, contact the Terrapin Teachers Advisors via email (email@example.com) or by phone (301) 405-0645