If you have always dreamed of becoming a teacher, there is no better place for you to prepare for your career than at Salem State. We have designed our teacher preparation program according to the highest state and district standards by giving you increasing time and responsibility in the classroom culminating with a full-year practicum. We have kept the student experience at the center of our planning- we have multiple paths to help you reach your academic and career goals so you are ready to enter the education field as a confident, equity-oriented, impactful teacher.
The Salem State Teacher Preparation Experience
Regardless of what age range you prefer to work with or content area you want to teach, the Salem State McKeown School of Education experience is designed to ensure you succeed.
All incoming first year students begin as generic education majors. The education sector is broader and filled with more career possibilities than you think. We ensure you have information about all of your options before you make a final decision about where you want to concentrate your studies.
To that end, you have three semesters of taking introductory education coursework that encourages you explore your passion for education. This period provides you with 18 months to explore and discover the options in the field of education through both coursework and focused advising conversations. During those conversations, we will help you to find the path that is right for you- both based on who you are as a student and your career plans.
Once you have selected your area of focus, we provide ongoing support to help you succeed. We do this by helping you build mentoring relationships with your host teachers, faculty, and the staff who support you.
Professional License Eligibility
While a graduate degree is required for professional license eligibility, teachers seeking their professional license must also document at least 12 credits of graduate level courses in the subject matter knowledge or subject matter pedagogy taught.
To obtain your professional license, you will need to have taught under your initial license for a minimum of three years, to have completed a relevant graduate degree, and to document a minimum of 12 credits of graduate level courses in the subject matter taught. The 12 credits may be included within the graduate degree or taken separately. You are responsible for tracking these 12 credits separately from your 4+1 program. They are not explicitly embedded as this is an initial license endorsement program and may need to be completed in addition to the 4+1 curriculum.
Working with children 4-9 (preschool through second grade)
If your goal is to work with the youngest public-school students, pick the Early Childhood 4+1 pathway. This program prepares you to teach children from when they first enter preschool (as young as three) through second grade (about 8 years old).
During your exploratory 18 months, pay attention to the differences between a career in Early Education and Care (outside the public-school system) and Early Childhood. Visit preschools and learn about inclusion requirements and how to collaborate with Early Intervention. Look into the academic requirements for kindergarten and first grade and trace how they have shifted over time.
Explore issues of equity and justice in the public schools and in early childhood specifically. Learn strategies for supporting culturally and racially diverse colleagues, families, and children and build a deep understanding as to why doing so is crucial for the success of our students and our schools.
Working with children 6-13 (first through sixth grade)
If you envision yourself as an elementary school teacher working with children throughout their middle-childhood, select the Elementary 4+1 program. This pathway prepares you to teach first (six-year-olds) through sixth graders (12-year-olds). Learn about the important developmental changes children experience during this period and acknowledge how much the elementary years determine each student’s success in secondary school and beyond.
During your exploratory 18 months pay attention to the options for education careers outside the public schools with elementary aged children. There are growing fields in out-of-school care, educational technology, and enrichment programming. Pay attention to curricular requirements in the elementary years, the role of high stakes testing, and the role of schools and teachers in a changing society.
Learn to ask questions about what is included and excluded in our standard elementary curriculum. Look at who our children have available as role models in our schools and what messages that sends them. Find out how you can be an advocate by building the strengths of our BIPOC students and families and ensuring our schools become welcoming and supportive environments.
Working with children 13-18 (middle and high school)
If you are looking forward to working with middle (12-14-year-olds) or high school (14-18-year-olds) you will need to pick a subject you are interested in teaching. We offer programs to prepare you to teach biology, English, history, math, physical education, or Spanish. The teenage years are crucial period for setting students up for a successful adult life.
During your exploratory 18 months, take a deep dive into your chosen content area. As you explore your field more deeply, think about connections you can make to the broader world and adult life so you can respond well to the perennial complaint: I’m never going to need this once I’m not in school!
Talk to middle and high school teachers and reflect on the broad job responsibility of the secondary teacher. What assets will you bring to your school? Do you speak another language? Can you run an arts program or coach a sport?
Secondary students care deeply about civic engagement and social responsibility. Ask questions about how you can work with your students’ passions to help them fight for a more just and equitable world. Remember that changing the school environment to be a more just reflection of the world can launch students who are ready to take on anything.
In the secondary program, you will need to select a content area. Learn more about each option within each department's web page.
If one of your priorities is being the most effective teacher possible and another is ensuring your marketability as you launch your career, adding a license in either special education or ESL to your program will accomplish both goals.
If your goal is to teach special education, the most direct route is to complete the elementary 4+1 with an additional license in special education. This program includes field experiences in inclusion classrooms where you will work with both general education and special education teachers in supporting students with and without IEPs. You will become an expert in Universal Design which will improve your teaching of all students- whether they have a disability or not.
Issues of justice and equity intersect with issues of bias around disability status. This program will give you the tools to explore this intersection and encourage you to become an advocate for the needs of all your students.
ESL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages)
The ESL license can readily be integrated into any of the 4+1 teacher preparation programs and the additional coursework will prepare you to support any students who are in the process of learning English. You don’t need to be fluent in another language to be an ESL teacher, rather, you will learn strategies that will help you to convey concepts to others regardless of their language background.
It is evident that all teachers need to be concerned with justice and equity and the issues of bias that are inherent in our society. ESL teachers take a focused look at biases around language use and xenophobia, as well as issues around cultural and racial equity. Having the training to support English language learners will lead you to work for changes that will improve the school experience for all students.
A Quasi-Residential Field Approach
The Salem State Teacher Preparation Experience is built around extended, consistent experience in the classroom. We want you to build mentoring relationships with your host teachers, step into a teacher role with your students from day one, and learn to navigate the systems and traditions of schools and districts.
We achieve these goals by carefully matching you with vetted schools and teachers who understand your responsibilities as college students and role as trainee teachers. Beginning your junior year, you will be matched with a host teacher who you will work with for two consecutive semesters. You will be in your classroom on a regular basis every week. It is this consistency that will let you build lasting relationships with your colleagues and your students. It is the longevity that will let you build an
understanding of the rhythms of the school year- building a classroom culture, managing transitions into and out of vacations, preparing students for the close of the school year and transitioning into new grades and environments.
During your senior year, you will increase the amount of time you spend in the classroom each week. You will also take on more responsibilities moving from leading small groups and assisting during lessons to writing and delivering your own lessons and taking on responsibilities for classroom management and assessment.
This will lead to your graduate year when you will have the opportunity for a fellowship to cover your graduate costs. During the graduate year, you will student teach according to the public-school calendar from late August through late June. You will take on the full responsibilities of the classroom teacher and enter the job market with a full year of experience to reference.
Principals and superintendents are looking for experienced teachers ready to positively impact the school culture and student learning from day one. With the full year of teaching behind you, you will be the candidate they are looking for.