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Becoming a Teacher: Specialist or Two Majors?

  1. Jul 10, 2011 #1

    I will be beginning my first year of university in the upcoming September, where I am enrolled in Concurrent Teacher Education/Science-Mathematics (in essence, it is a 5-year program, 4 of which is a B.A. or B.Sc. and 1 is the B.Ed. [teacher's college]). So, I am preparing my timetable for the upcoming course selection. However, I am having some difficulty in such decisions.

    To start, my main interest is mathematics and teaching (specifically intermediate). I am allowed to choose from either doing a specialist in Mathematics, Mathematics and its Applications, or Physical and Mathematical Sciences. Similarly, I am allowed to do a total of two majors instead, or a major and two minors. In summary, I have been thinking of the following paths: a specialist in Math. or a major in Math. and a major in either Physical Sciences or Physics and Astrophysics (currently 'physics' is my second teachable, math. my first).

    One problem is I don't really know the consequences of choosing the former (specialist in Math.) over the latter (double major), specifically its effect on me getting a job in secondary school teaching. I personally imagine a double major would make me more versatile and open more opportunities. However, I also see a specialist resulting in myself being, well, more specialized in math., making me more valuable and so forth. Continuing, in the problem description, the specialist in math. would be great for those who may wish to go into research, which is certainly something I would also love to do.

    So, any information and guidance onto the consequences between the two paths related to my hopeful future in secondary school teaching and my ability to go further in my education if I so decide would be great.

    Also, in regard to a major in Physical Sciences and Physics and Astrophysics, can anyone give a concrete difference? The only difference I can really find is that in first year for Physical Sciences you have to take intro chemistry; after that, the courses are about the same.

    Much appreciation!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 10, 2011 #2
    A lot depends on the state that you work in since much of what you do depends on the requirements of state laws, which are different from place to place. Looking at the website of your state department of education will give you the mandatory requirements.

    I do know that in Texas, there is a way of getting a teaching certificate without getting an education major. You get a bachelors degree in some science field, and then you can get a certificate by taking a few extra courses that will get you your teachers license.

    My impression from people that have done high school teaching is that schools care less about technical qualification than about having the personality and classroom skills necessary to work as a high school teacher, so what major you have doesn't matter much.

    This is very school dependent.
  4. Jul 10, 2011 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    Or on the country. I suspect that the OP is not in the USA because of the terminology he uses.
  5. Jul 11, 2011 #4
    I live in Canada, Ontario, and, generally, one has to have a Bachelor in something and then do a year of teacher's college to become a certified teacher. My program basically includes the year of teacher's college, so I don't have to apply to said college after finishing my B.Sc.

    Interesting about the requirements for actual secondary teaching! Luckily, I am actually excited for teaching intermediate classes, XD.

  6. Jul 11, 2011 #5
    Yea, I am indeed not in the USA, but in Canada, Ontario
  7. Aug 17, 2011 #6
    By any chance, are you going to the University of Toronto this September? I will be in my first year at the Scarborough Campus.
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