Understanding the Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT)

In my introductory post, I mentioned that I am a candidate for the Maters of Arts in Teaching for Elementary Education. I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about the School of Education’s MAT programs.   

What it is:

The Graduate School and the School of Education offer MAT programs in: Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, Middle Grades Education*, Performing Arts, and Special Education. Essentially, completion of MAT programs leads to recommendation for teaching certification and a master’s degree. As a candidate for one of the MAT programs, you can expect: classes designed to prepare you with the skills and knowledge to help children learn and grow, field observation hours in actual classrooms, and professors that have experience in the field.

Who it is for:

The MAT programs are designed for individuals who want to teach, but have undergraduate degrees in non-education disciplines. If you do already have a teaching certificate and you are looking to pursue graduate school, I suggest you check out my post on MEDs.

You may also decide to pursue an MAT for a variety of reasons. Current MAT candidate, Katelyn Schrider, explains that she decided to travel after undergrad. Volunteering in South Africa, she taught elementary students. Katelyn says, “It was not long after my placement that I knew teaching was the profession for me. With no formal teaching education in my background, The College of Charleston offered the perfect program for me upon my return to the U.S.” 

The program could also be for you if you realized too late in your undergraduate career that you wanted to teach, but did not want to change majors. That’s what happened to me.

Some individuals who pursue an MAT at the Graduate School are career changers. Maybe you are like MAT candidate Laura Bell and just realized that your current career is not something you want to keep doing. Laura explains, “Throughout my undergraduate studies as a Hotel & Restaurant Management major, I was determined I’d found my passion in event planning.  Very quickly I realized that lifestyle was not for me.  After much thought, I decided to pursue my MAT in Elementary Education and have found my strengths as an event planner work to my advantage in the classroom as well.”

Changing careers does not mean you failed at your previous job. Emilie Zimmerman, another MAT candidate, mentions, I was very successful in the field, but I felt that my life was lacking something and that I did not love my job.” Influenced by her husband’s teaching stories, she left the world of international business behind and advises, “Sometimes, you just need to take that second chance…”

 It is even possible that you do not fall into any of those categories; you just decided that you want to teach and you already have a Bachelor’s degree in a different academic area.

*The Middle Grades Education program is offered as a joint program with The Citadel Graduate School.

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