Who can I contact to discuss UF Teach?
Our UFTeach faculty are happy to speak with you about any questions you may have about preparing for a career as a math or science educator. Please submit a request through our contacts page and you will be contacted by a UFTeach faculty member.
How do I know that I will make a good math or science teacher?
Some people know from an early age that they want to be a teacher, while others make this discovery later in life. Aspiring teachers are often inspired by an exceptional teacher from their own school days or by a realization that they have a passion for learning and want to transfer this passion to others. Like other professions, members of the teaching profession master a body of knowledge and skills to become certified, and then continue to learn and gain expertise with experience. Teachers wear many hats. In addition to their role as facilitators of learning, teachers are evaluators, curriculum designers, classroom managers, disciplinarians, counselors, team collaborators, and role models. While there is no one magic formula for a good teacher, the UFTeach education minor allows you to give teaching a try. Start by taking our introductory course: MAE2364 “Explorations in Teaching Secondary Mathematics and Science” to give teaching a try.
Are there jobs for new math and science teachers?
Yes, Florida and other states across the country have a shortage of highly qualified (credentialed) teachers of math and science in the middle school and high school grades. Studies indicate that K-12 science and mathematics teachers nationally have attrition rates of nearly 40 percent after four years of teaching. As a result, newly credentialed math and science teachers are sought after by districts across Florida.
What are the steps to earning a teaching credential and becoming a middle or high school teacher in Florida?
A UFTeach student may or may not be required to sit for a Florida Teacher Certification Examination (FTCE) to be eligible for a temporary certificateIf the major matches the subject you want to teach (e.g. biology major seeking Biology 6-12 certification), or if you have satisfied course-count requirements, you do not have to pass any exams before being eligible for temporary certification. See www.fldoe.org/edcert/subjlist.asp and click on the subject to find out minimum subject area requirements by major and by course-count. If the major does not match the subject you want to teach (e.g. engineering major seeking Math 6-12 certification), and you have not satisfied the course-count requirements, you would have to pass the relevant Subject Area Exam before being eligible for temporary certification. See www.fldoe.org/edcert/sub_exams.asp for a table of those exam requirements by subject area. The temporary teaching certificate is good for three years, and is non-renewable. The testing requirements for professional certification are (1) General Knowledge Test all four sections (you will already be well prepared for this basic skills test), (2) Subject Area Exam, and (3) Professional Education Test (you will already be prepared upon completion of the UFTeach course sequence). Information about all FTCE exams is available at www.fl.nesinc.com.
What major do I choose and what undergraduate courses can I take to prepare for a teaching career?
Aspiring math or science teachers typically earn a bachelor’s degree in the discipline they want to teach or in a closely related field. Our students’ majors span the array of STEM offerings including mathematics, statistics, biological, environmental and physical sciences, as well as engineering. UFTeach offers an education minor with courses that provide a solid foundation for learning about educational issues, teaching, and learning. If you have questions about your major and its compatibility with UFTeach, please send a request through the contacts page to speak with one of our faculty.
Do I need a master’s degree to teach math or science?
You do not need a master’s degree to become a K-12 teacher, but there are benefits to earning an advanced degree. One obvious advantage is that you develop greater expertise in your field, which can make you a stronger teacher and a stronger candidate for department leadership responsibilities or more advanced classes at the school where you teach. Another advantage is that a post-baccalaureate degree may result in a higher initial salary as you will start higher on a school district’s pay scale. To learn more about UF’s College of Education programs and degree options see https://education.ufl.edu/admissions/all-programs/
What exams do I take to become a teacher?
Upon completion of the bachelor’s degree with a math or science major and the UFTeach education minor, you are eligible for a temporary teaching certificate to teach that subject area in Florida. Professional Education certification in Florida requires passing scores on the (1) General Knowledge Test (all four sections) (2) Subject Area Exam, and (3) Professional Education Test, as well as background fingerprint clearance and one year of successful teaching.
What if I am interested in teaching at a community college or university?
A Florida teaching credential is not required for a community college or university faculty position. However, UF undergraduates who are considering a teaching career, but are undecided about teaching at the secondary versus college level, can benefit from teaching field experience and from education courses that offer an introduction to issues of teaching and learning. Faculty in higher education are better prepared to teach when they have an understanding of sound instructional strategies, of educational theories, and of the ways in which math and science knowledge is taught and developed throughout the middle and high school grades.
What if I am interested in teaching elementary school math or science?
MAE2364: Explorations Teaching Secondary Mathematics and Science provides students an opportunity to work every week with elementary students, teaching math and science lessons. While this course forms the foundation of our secondary science preparation, this is also a great course for prospective elementary school teachers.