Teacher Education Program
While requirements and standards for admission to the TAC and MCMS Programs are the same (i.e., concerning subject-matter knowledge, academic achievement, experience with adolescents, social service, letters of recommendation, and the personal statement), the profiles of TAC and MCMS applicants are different in many ways. For example:
Successful TAC applicants are, on average, between 24 and 27 years of age, with a range of 21-50. Roughly one-third of TAC candidates enter the Program directly after finishing their undergraduate education. About one-half of entering candidates have had some kind of teaching experience (as a camp counselor, as a substitute teacher, as a coach, and/or as a tutor). Most were active in undergraduate organizations dedicated to social causes or to urban youth. All have had some experience with adolescents and most with urban youth.
Regardless of their age or work history, TAC applicants, above all, demonstrate passion -- about their subject matter, teaching, and adolescents. TAC applicants demonstrate academic excellence and deep subject-matter knowledge through their undergraduate transcripts. In their applications, successful TAC applicants often talk about having been inspired to teach by their own teachers or by family members who are teachers. They talk about wanting to inspire adolescents to become as engaged and enthusiastic about their subject matter as they are. All demonstrate in their personal statements a capacity for reflection and to becoming on-going students of teaching and their students' learning.
In comparison, MCMS applicants generally range between 30 and 50 years of age. The actual range, over the years, has been between 26 and 69. All applicants must have completed at least five years of work in non-education jobs that require the use of applied mathematics or the sciences -- work that they can draw upon in developing their curriculum and instruction. All demonstrate strong academic ability and deep subject-matter knowledge -- through previous coursework as well as through life experiences. All MCMS candidates have worked with or had exposure to adolescents -- primarily in volunteer capacities (tutoring, coaching, mentoring, or teaching Sunday School); and all articulate dedication to teaching adolescents.
MCMS candidates apply to the Teacher Education Program for varied reasons and at very different stages of their careers. MCMS applicants have included those whose employers offered them financial incentives to pursue teacher preparation. Some, recently retired (voluntarily or not), seek a more personally fulfilling and/or socially beneficial career than that they leave. Others note that they have most enjoyed the instructional or mentoring aspects of their jobs and want to bring those skills to public school classrooms. Many note that they had wanted to teach when they were younger but could not “afford” teaching until they had met their financial or familial responsibilities. Some applicants, having attributed their professional success to their own public educations, articulate a desire to “give something back” to a system that provided them with opportunity. All candidates articulate an interest in learning not only the “what” of teaching but also the “why” and “how;” and all articulate dedication to preparing the younger generation for professional success.