Math and Science Teachers of Tomorrow: Math and Science Teachers of Tomorrow (MASTT) is a student-led organization whose activities help to promote the success of future math, science and computer science, pre-service teachers in the UTeach program at the University of Texas at Austin. UTeach students are automatically members. However, officers are elected and elections are held at the end of each spring semester and as vacancies occur.
Q: Do I have to change my major to work towards teacher certification?
A: No. Certification courses can be added to any UT major in any college; however, this could add more hours overall. For example, a Fine Arts major who wants to work towards math certification would need to complete requirements for the Fine Arts major, and add to that at least 24 hours of math and around 24 hours (30 for Middle Grade certification) of professional development coursework.
Q: I’m a science major. Is it better to switch to one of the science teaching options or keep working towards my current major?
A: That depends on how much of your major is already complete. In most cases, following one of the science teaching degree options is recommended, since it will have all course work needed for a BS degree as well as all course work needed for certification. This generally means fewer hours overall. See a UTeach advisor to determine which plan is best for you.
Q: If I follow a teaching degree option, could I still compete in my field or go to graduate school if I decide not to teach?
A: Yes. Under the teaching options you take the same courses as students in the nonteaching options, except for slight variations. You could compete with students in the non-teaching option for the same jobs and graduate programs in your field. Graduate program prerequisites vary; speak to the Graduate Advisor for the program to determine prerequisites needed for admission.
Q: I’ve heard that students start teaching their first semester in the program. Is that true?
A: Yes, that is true. In our UTS 101 class, students start to write lesson plans and teach small units to elementary school children the very first semester in the program. Students visit elementary schools to observe twice, and return on three separate occasions to teach short lessons. This way, students get a very early idea of what it's like to teach and can decide if they would like to continue towards certification.
Q: The courses seem to have significant time requirements. How can I fit the time into my already packed schedule?
A: Fitting it in will be easier than you think. For the first two courses (Step 1 and Step II), just make sure that at least one day a week you have a 2 ½ hour block of time to go out to schools. Elementary schools generally close at 2:30; middle schools close at 3:30. The other courses in the professional development sequence (two in particular: Classroom Interactions and Project Based Instruction) will require significantly more UTeach/08/09, 10/15 This booklet has been created as a guideline and is not considered to be an official document. 15 time outside of the classroom. Students are generally able to work required teachings and projects into their schedule just as they would any other course.
Q: What are the UTeach courses like? Are they hard?
A: This depends on your level of interest and engagement. You may find that the courses require thought processes different from your major level courses; many students have expressed that they find the courses engaging and enjoyable.
Q: Composite Science is for certifying in 4 different science areas. Can I work towards certification in just one of those areas?
A: You’re referring to Single Field certification in which you must have at least 24 hours of content coursework and the professional development sequence. However, Single Field certification is not recommended, as it makes you less marketable.
Q: I just want middle grades math certification; why do I need to take calculus, statistics and other more advanced math courses?
A: If you’re working towards the completion of a BS or BA in Mathematics Teaching, the math courses you’re required to take are required for degree completion and will allow you to compete in your field should you decide not to teach.
Q: Will I be able to get a job?
A: The demand for math, science, and engineering teachers is still very high, not only in Texas, but across the U.S. UTeach has a strong placement record and high retention in the profession. It’s also a well-respected program nationwide—dozens of universities are starting UTeach programs across the country because our graduates are exceptional teachers. The UTeach program also supports students through the job search, with coaching on all aspects of the process, such as resume writing, best interview practices, etc. In addition, the UTeach program supports graduates through their first year of teaching with mentoring, professional development, and more.
Q: Where can I get more information about the job market?
A: The UTeach Natural Sciences program has kept data on our alums from the very beginning. Currently, the UTeach Institute, which manages replication of the UTeach model, publishes statistics about all UTeach programs. In addition, all students in the Student Teaching seminar receive the current Job Search Handbook for Educators, compiled by the American Association for Employment in Education. This publication annually reports on the demand for educators in certain areas, with educators in the STEM fields consistently among the most sought after. In addition, the United States Department of Labor publishes their Occupational Outlook Handbook, with a section for high school teachers.