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Clarkson University’s Master of Arts in Teaching: Unlocking educational excellence on an international level

For international students seeking to elevate the art of teaching, Clarkson University’s Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program offers a transformative experience. Geared towards nurturing both the intellectual and practical aspects of teaching at the secondary level, the program exposes students to contemporary teaching methods, educational theories, and cross-cultural communication. This holistic approach equips graduates to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of education with confidence and creativity.

Central to the MAT experience is the distinguished faculty at Clarkson University. Comprising seasoned educators and researchers, the faculty creates a formidable support system for international students. Their mentorship not only fosters academic growth but also guides students in translating theories into effective classroom practices, irrespective of the cultural context.

“The department – professors, and students – are one big family. Learning is student-centered,” notes current student Agbor Esong Effiom, of Cameroon. “The management of the MAT program is committed to student success.”

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Agbor Esong Effiom, of Cameroon, with classmate Dan Adorno, during their 2023 summer teaching lab. Source: Clarkson University

Another key to the success of international graduates in the MAT program is its connection to local schools. With its internship-based teacher approach, fieldwork and internships provide an immersive experience. Students are often placed in high-needs schools, where they have the opportunity to work with diverse student populations and gain a deep understanding of the challenges facing these communities.

“Students are even able to work as substitute teachers from the beginning of the program,” explains department chair, Dr. Catherine Snyder. “This enables them to complete academic requirements while gaining paid experience in keeping with the expertise they bring.”

As a culminating experience, a year-long internship offers a structured and intentional approach to teacher preparation, aligned with the specific needs of New York schools, an approach that ensures residents are receiving the training and support they need to succeed in their future teaching positions.

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Professor Catherine Snyder, chair of the Education Department at Clarkson University, leads the MAT program. Source: Clarkson University

International students in the MAT program come from a range of countries, currently including Cameroon, China, El Salvador, Jamaica, and Pakistan. Some studied English for their bachelor’s degrees and are now preparing to teach their native languages to American students, while others are getting ready to teach science subjects, mathematics, computer science, or technology.

Like all international graduates, the teachers who complete Clarkson’s MAT program are eligible to stay and work in the US for one year, a status called Optional Practical Training (OPT). Thus, the program offers a pathway for addressing the current teacher shortage crisis. New York State alone needs almost 200,000 new teachers to meet workforce needs over the next decade. By providing aspiring teachers with comprehensive training and support, Clarkson’s MAT program can help to train high-quality teachers.

New York’s high certification standards mean that the credentials of teachers are accepted through reciprocity agreements. This was part of Effiom’s decision to attend Clarkson. “Certification from Clarkson is recognized in many states within the US, and internationally as well. The MAT program at Clarkson has 100% employment and offers scholarships on a merit basis once you are admitted into the program,” he observes.

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MAT alum Aditya Rajmane graduated in 2020 and taught technology in the Capital Region before returning to India in 2023. He is now an assistant professor of computer engineering at Sardar Patel Institute of Technology in Mumbai. Source: Clarkson University

Aditya Rajmane of India who graduated in 2020 recalls that he had multiple offers by halfway through his degree and ended up choosing the one from the school where he interned, adding, “ Teaching is a public service profession, which eases the emigration process if you decide to stay in the US.”

In sum, the Clarkson MAT provides significant time in the classroom, comprehensive training and support, an immersive experience, a structured and intentional approach, and a pathway for addressing the teacher shortage crisis.

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Clarkson University’s Master of Arts in Teaching offers certifications to teach the following subjects at the secondary level (grades 7-12):

  • Biology
  • Business and Marketing
  • Chemistry
  • Chinese
  • Computer Science
  • Earth Science
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Greek
  • Latin
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Russian
  • Social Studies
  • Spanish
  • Technology

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