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Interested in teaching high-school level Mathematics.

What classes should I focus on and take in college?
What colleges are best to become a math teacher?
Is there any specific information I know before starting this college profession?
How will a master's/bachelor's degree help me once I am out of college and should I focus on getting my master's/bachelor's?
What lifestyle should I focus on to have a successful teaching career?

+25 Karma if successful
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Subject: Career question for you

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Archived’s Answer

I would suggest going to a college that specifically offers an option for those who want a math degree focused on high school teaching. Such colleges will have specific requirements for the math classes that you need to take, and will also usually require that you spend a semester as a student teacher in high school. I found this list of colleges that have programs for the teaching of high school math: https://www.niche.com/colleges/search/best-colleges-with-mathematics-teacher-education/.

Further, many colleges offer "teaching assistantships" for those working on a master degree. Typically, people on such assistantships get a small stipend (non-taxable as I recall) and free tuition. Some assistantship will give you the opportunity to teach or assist with the teaching of college math courses (typically freshman-level courses). This would help a lot if you eventually want to get a high school teaching job.
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Claude’s Answer

What classes should I focus on and take in college? - High School math curriculums usually include basic math, Algebra 1 and 2, Geometry and Analytic Geometry; the Calculus sequence of courses

What colleges are best to become a math teacher? Depends. You need to do some research on which colleges and universities have strong teacher education programs

Is there any specific information I know before starting this college profession? Do as much research as possible and partner with people who are already teachers. Pick their brains.

How will a master's/bachelor's degree help me once I am out of college and should I focus on getting my master's/bachelor's? Master's level teaching degrees can provide opportunities in educational leadership, management and administration.

What lifestyle should I focus on to have a successful teaching career? You have to be humble and have a heart for helping students. You must be flexible and open to learning from your students.
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david’s Answer

First, I'm not qualified to advise you on courses or colleges, but I do have some insight on your other concerns. Regarding master's degree vs bachelor's, this may depend on your need to start working. Many schools will hire you with the 4-yr degree, but the master's is preferred, so if you start working after four years, you should plan on going for master's part-time as soon as possible. My lifestyle suggestion is to stay student-focused.
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Ramesh’s Answer

I would suggest looking at Mathematics Departments of Schools in your home state - Clemson, University of South Carolina. Visit these schools and discuss the Math program for a BS. At undergraduate level majority of the courses will be required courses. There may be 4-6 electives which you can decide on in Junior/Senior year. You should discuss the requirements to become a Math teacher in South Carolina with your High School Math teachers. Most states require a teaching credential in addition to a Bachelors degree. Understand the process to obtain necessary teaching credential in South Carolina.
Whether you do BS+MS before teaching or pursue an MS part time while a teacher depends on finances and to an extent on state requirements.
Good luck with your quest ! Our Country certainly needs motivated STEM Teachers.

According to the table from SC Dept of Education Clemson offers Initial certification - https://ed.sc.gov/educators/teaching-in-south-carolina/epp/south-carolina-approved-educator-preparation-programs/south-carolina-approved-educator-preparation-programs-12162022 .

SC Dept of Education on becoming a Teacher - https://ed.sc.gov/educators/teaching-in-south-carolina/pathways/
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Madison’s Answer

At the time I was in school there was a Praxis certification needed to be a math teacher. But the main thing is to find the school/math program you're interested in and pursue that degree following the "steps" to get the degree. For math edu majors, the university/school advisor will help you get on the path to getting your Praxis certs, all of my classmates had courses specific for education majors they had to do to get their credentials.

Clemson has great programs and resources, but there are other schools in the state as well with many benefits. USC is also a good school, and there are many smaller D2 schools who would be great to attend. Many students also get some of their gen ed courses under their belt from a community college or tech school and then transfer to Clemson, USC, etc.

For your courses question:
What I would do, if I were in your shoes, is to research schools you might be interested in and find their mathematics programs online and course requirements. Most schools list the names and descriptions of the courses you'd have to take and which courses you can choose from for electives. If it's not open on the site, you can email the director or fill out online forms to request more information.

Take all of those courses and course descriptions to decide if this is a program that can keep you engaged and motivated.

For your lifestyle question:
Whether you go to a small school, private school, university, etc, the main thing is to really take your passion for Mathematics seriously. I know that sounds cliche, but I can tell you my least and most favorite teachers in school were math teachers.

I initially had a teacher who had convinced my parents and myself that math just wasn't my strong suit. No big deal, I looked for other things I enjoyed. But then I got a math teacher who had a major impact in my mathematics "confidence." She discovered I was understanding the mathematics concepts, I just was getting too nervous during tests. She worked with me on testing strategies and I very quickly became a top performer in my class. The moral: it truly took someone believing in me for me to believe in myself.

If you are passionate about gaining the technical knowledge and you prioritize individualizing your help for students (kids, adults, etc), you will have major impact regardless of where you go to school.

I can tell you, as a math major myself, it will reach a point it gets hard and you'll feel discouraged (especially when you get in your major classes). But the life after college is very rewarding, so stick with it! And good luck!
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Andrew’s Answer

It is great that you would like to become a high-school math teacher, in which there is tremendous need.

To be a good high-school math teacher, you should have math knowledge well above the high-school level. Ideally, a major in mathematics would be nice.

On the other hand, you must have teaching certificates to teach in K-12 level. Therefore, you should enroll in an Education program to prepare yourself in K-12 teaching. In this case, a minor in math would be adequate. As far as math courses are concerned, you should go up to Calculus I, Calculus II, Linear Algebra, Differential Equations. Additional courses such as Calculus III and Real Analysis would be helpful.

If you want to go beyond the bachelor’s degree level, there is a Master Degree of Art in Teaching. You may want to consider this option after your college degree.
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Denise A’s Answer

If you love mathematics and children's social development, you have chosen the right path. I went to a State University known for its mathematics education program in New York State. You will find good schools everywhere, but New York has very high standards for their high school-level students to pass.

My high school path was a Scientific Degree with a heavy emphasis on math and science, four years each. In college, I took the required math classes and, in addition, some heavier topics, like Topology and Matric Algebra. These classes, along with my Astronomy elective, prepared me to teach not only math but to teach to all learning styles; listening, reading, and tactile learning.

Don't be surprised if you have to teach in a middle-level school before your ideal high school position comes up. Most children are tactile learners in your lower level classes, 6,7,8, math, Algebra, and Geometry. You will want a few courses heavy on problem-solving, science, and language arts. You must be creative because most children do not learn from reading and textbooks or respond to lectures. Learn to walk around the classroom and not be afraid to put your children in groups to learn. Have them build bridges, write books, and use manipulatives to show their knowledge. It's not about 20 homework problems a night!

Throw yourself into your studies and get as much as possible out of your classes by asking questions when you don't understand in college. And get a BS in mathematics, BA in education, and an MA in either education or MS in mathematics. "We are all on the same track, just in different places," is an excellent developmental philosophy. Also, remember, "you are the best for what you know but can always be better." Keep abreast of technology and other innovations in your subject area. It's a great time to become a math teacher.

May you go forward without looking back. Learn from mistakes, then move on. You will become a master teacher with these techniques in mind. And remember, it's about respect. You respect the child, and they will respect you. The only rule you'll need for the classroom.

Denise A recommends the following next steps:

Apply to at least 3 colleges: a state school, small private, and a university. Visit each, you may be surprised at the one that feels the best fit.
Look for grants .
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James Constantine’s Answer

Hello Crimson,

To become a high-school-level Mathematics teacher, you should focus on the following steps:

Classes to focus on and take in college:

To teach high-school-level Mathematics, you need to have a strong foundation in the subject. You should take courses in various branches of Mathematics, including:

Calculus
Linear Algebra
Differential Equations
Abstract Algebra
Geometry
Probability and Statistics
Discrete Mathematics

Additionally, you should take Education courses to learn about teaching methodologies, classroom management, and student development. These courses may include:

Educational Psychology
Learning Theories
Curriculum Development
Classroom Management
Assessment and Evaluation
Teaching Strategies
Best colleges to become a math teacher:

There is no definitive list of the “best” colleges for becoming a math teacher, as it depends on your individual needs, preferences, and location. However, some reputable institutions known for their strong Mathematics and Education programs include:

Harvard University
Stanford University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
University of California, Berkeley
University of Chicago
University of Michigan
University of Pennsylvania
University of Wisconsin-Madison
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Specific information to know before starting a college profession:
Understand the requirements for teaching certification in your state, as they may vary.
Gain experience through internships, tutoring, or volunteer work in high-school Mathematics classrooms.
Develop strong communication and interpersonal skills, as they are crucial for teaching.
Stay updated with the latest trends and advancements in Mathematics and teaching methodologies.
How a master’s/bachelor’s degree helps once out of college:
A bachelor’s degree in Mathematics or a related field is typically the minimum requirement for teaching high-school Mathematics.
A master’s degree in Mathematics, Mathematics Education, or a related field can enhance your knowledge, make you more competitive in the job market, and potentially lead to higher salaries.
A master’s degree may also allow you to teach advanced courses or pursue specialized areas of interest.
Lifestyle to focus on for a successful teaching career:
Develop a strong work-life balance to maintain your mental and physical well-being.
Continuously improve your teaching skills through professional development opportunities.
Engage with your students, colleagues, and the school community to create a positive learning environment.
Be adaptable and open to change, as education is a constantly evolving field.
Stay passionate about teaching and share your love for Mathematics with your students.

GOD BLESS,
James Constantine.
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