Teaching FAQs

Browse through frequently asked questions about teaching and the different paths you can take in your career.

If you’re aiming to become a K-12 teacher, there are many specialties and career paths to consider. Browse through these frequently asked questions to explore the right route for your career and find a UMass Global program that helps you achieve your goals. Plus explore our robust resource page with information and strategies you can leverage in your classroom and beyond. 

  • University of Massachusetts Global's Credential and Authorization Education programs are accredited by California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC). In fact, UMass Global is the second largest provider of teaching credentials in California and has been teaching teachers throughout the state for more than 60 years (previously Brandman University).

Early Childhood Education

  • Early childhood education describes formal and informal educational programs that guide the growth and development of children throughout their preschool years, typically spanning between birth to age five. Some programs focus on academic readiness while others embrace a holistic approach that emphasizes mental and emotional preparedness. Explore more about ECE.
  • Simply put, the purpose of ECE is to provide children with strategies that help them develop the emotional, social and cognitive skills needed to become lifelong learners. Curricula is set up to encourage young students to learn about themselves and the world through play and sensory experiences. Read more.
  • During the early childhood education years, the brain makes millions of synapses every second that allow us to move, think, communicate and comprehend our environments. Children in ECE programs are less likely to repeat a grade, more prepared for school and more likely to earn more in the workforce. Explore more benefits.
  • A good early childhood education program is dynamic, challenging, enriching and carefully planned. A typical ECE curriculum might incorporate songs, books, art, games, toys, experiences and nature exploration into the daily lesson plans for a class or group. Explore more important elements.

Special Education

  • Historically, students with disabilities were segregated from general education peers in public schools, which was the typical scenario referred to by the term “special education.” Today, many schools are restructuring to move toward an “inclusive education” model, wherein general education and special needs students learn together in the same classroom. Get strategies for fostering inclusive learning

  • IEP stands for “Individualized Education Program.” Once a child has been evaluated and their eligibility for services is confirmed, the IEP serves as the roadmap for success based on the student’s unique needs. Parents work with a team of educators to craft it and document their child’s progress and development. 
  • There are many characteristics that are essential for teachers who work with special needs students. Some examples include:

    • They are active listeners
    • They have strong social perception skills
    • They understand how to support different learning styles
    • They’re adept at complex problem solving
    • They are service oriented

    Find out more about these qualities and explore if this helping profession is right for you.  

Teaching Credentials

  • The licensure process confirms that instructors are sufficiently qualified to teach their specified subject and/or subjects. A background check and assessment is also required for the age they want to teach to ensure the safety of each student. More info.
  • A Multiple Subject Teaching Credential is the primary requirement for teaching in California's elementary schools, grades K-6, but may authorize the holder to teach in higher level grades as well. It includes course work to allow teachers to support students who are learning the English language (ESL). Get more info.
  • If you have your sights set on teaching a particular subject, you should pursue the Single Subject Teaching Credential. Educators holding this credential are authorized to teach a specific subject to students ranging in age from preschool to 12th grade, and less commonly, adult students. See possible subject areas.
  • The Education Specialist Instruction Credential authorizes educators to teach and provide special education support for students in a particular area of focus such as autism and language development. They can also conduct educational assessments to identify how to best help students progress toward achieving their academic goals. See more specialties
  • Even if a teacher meets a different state’s requirements, they will still need to apply for a new license to teach there. See the specific guidelines and dig deeper into earning your credential with our resource, "The California educator's guide to choosing the right teaching credential."
  • Each state has it's own agency that governs its public school teachers' qualifications to ensure education standards are met. Some even have specific coursework requirements. For example, California requires coursework on the U.S. Constitution, while Alaska requires educators to take courses on it's state history. Learn more.
  • Even if you stay in your home state and have no intentions of moving, most teachers still have to renew their credentials every five years. One of the main criteria for renewal is showing proof of dedication to continuing education, whether through in-service training sessions or formal academic study. 

Teaching Strategies

  • Scaffolding is teaching strategy that simplifies concepts by breaking them up into smaller chunks and providing a tool, or concrete structure, to guide them through each chunk. Modeling is a great method of scaffolding because it shows students exactly what they are expected to do before they try each lesson.
  • “STEM” stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. STEM teaching methods integrate all four areas into well-rounded, practical lessons that are intended to have long-term benefits for both the students and the sustained growth of the economy. Some curricula add Art to the mix, creating “STEAM” initiatives in schools. 
  • ESL stands for “English as a Second Language.” Teachers who specialize in this area help non-native speaking students learn the formal vocabulary, grammar and verbal pronunciation of the English language. Training may vary and can be embedded in a formal degree, teaching credential or add-on certification program. 

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