Teacher Certification Program for College Graduates (TCPCG)
Program Information—Avery Point
What is TCPCG at Avery Point?
TCPCG at Avery Point responds to the State need for more high quality mathematics and science teachers. This 11-month program leads to an initial certification to teach in STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and math. To become a STEM teacher in Connecticut involves:
- a college degree in science, math or a related area,
- specific education coursework (e.g., methods of instruction, accommodating diverse learners, etc.), and
- successful supervised clinical experiences where STEM is taught to students in grades 7 through 12.
Because our program only admits college graduates (the “CG” in TCPCG) the undergraduate degree is already completed by those admitted to the program. This stipulation allows us to address #2 and #3 in less than one year. In other words, course work and field experiences constitute the “TCP” of TCPCG.
Is TCPCG the only way to become a STEM teacher in Connecticut?
There are multiple pathways available to STEM teaching. The differences represent variables in terms of time, cost, and individual needs/goals. For example, someone who knows early in their college career that they want to become a teacher can apply to the Neag School of Education’s UConn Storrs program. This path includes undergraduate and graduate coursework and involves a total of five years. At the other extreme is an alternate route to certification program offered by the State. This program takes a person through an intensive nine-week training which is immediately followed by becoming a full-time teacher in a school. Other options include Teach for America with its 5-week institute and then being assigned to a classroom as a paid teacher.
Because of these options, you have to consider which path is the best fit for you. Those in our program who also considered the alternate routes felt the pace was too quick and were worried they would be “thrown into a classroom.” TCPCG provides a combination of instructional techniques and intellectual resources so each pre-service teacher enters student teaching feeling fully prepared. However, TCPCG is not an alternate route to certification. It blends academic work with practical experiences, which culminates with a Master’s degree in education along with a STEM teaching credential.
What are the requirements for becoming a STEM teacher?
In order to teach, you have to earn a teaching certificate. Other states call their certificates “teaching licenses” which is essentially the same idea. A Connecticut teaching certificate is specific to the age range of your students. TCPCG Avery Point provides all the necessary coursework and field experiences to meet the requirements for these Connecticut certificates:
Each teaching certificate qualifies a person to teach those subjects in grades seven through twelve. A General Science certificate does not cover all the scientific disciplines. Instead, that certificate allows you to teach courses called General Science. In other words, “general” is not the same as “all” but instead refers to basic science courses. Someone holding a biology teaching certificate can only teach Biology.
How does someone become a STEM teacher in 11 months?
To complete the program requires a full-time commitment and the program is divided roughly into thirds. The first third (three months in the summer) is predominantly coursework to fulfill state certificate requirements. The second third is student teaching – all day, every day in a middle grades or high school classroom teaching STEM to actual students. The final third is your internship where you have a blend of a research project and advanced graduate level coursework. The calendar goes roughly like this:
- June 1 – July 11: First Summer Session, July 12 – August 21: Second Summer Session. Courses and on-site Practicum Experiences at Avery Point.
- August 22 – December 6: Student Teaching, in a partner STEM teacher’s classroom.
- January 15 – May 5: Internship, a blend of Avery Point classes plus a research and development project in a STEM partner school district.