SUNY Potsdam Grad Programs give Student Teachers more Time in Classroom, in Region and Abroad


Angela Zambito, a 2010 SUNY Potsdam Master of Science in Teaching graduate with a concentration in English works with students during her field experience.

As the school year draws to a close at K-12 institutions across New York State, there’s another group of young people who benefited from time in elementary, middle and high schools—student teachers.

SUNY Potsdam’s Graduate Studies Program is unique in its emphasis on hands-on learning for master’s candidates in the education programs. All graduate students working toward the Master of Science in Teaching are required to complete 100 hours of observation and participation in school classrooms.

“‘I love welcoming SUNY Potsdam student teachers into my classroom. They are so well prepared to student teach.’ This is the comment I hear from my sponsor teachers when I ask them to accept a student teacher into their classroom for eight weeks. I have supervised Canadian SUNY Potsdam student teachers for seven years and I agree with my sponsor teachers; they are very well prepared for their student teaching placement,” said Elaine Dunham, Canadian supervisor for the MST program.

The program’s practicum and field placements can be completed in public and private districts across Northern New York and Ontario. The Center for School Partnerships and Teacher Placements also sends graduate students to districts across New York State, including in New York City and Long Island.

In addition, the university also offers a study abroad option for master’s candidates, so they can go “down under” to student teach in Australia. For the summer of 2012, there are six Potsdam students participating in this program. To find out more, visit

The field experiences challenge the graduate students to observe in one or more classrooms, discuss curriculum and lesson plans with master teachers, attend professional development sessions and review students’ work. By the end of the experience, candidates have gained extensive knowledge, skills and disposition to take to their own classroom.

“SUNY Potsdam’s program structure gives their students a distinct advantage. Students have more time in the classroom working with students and a sponsor teacher,” Dunham said.

“The MST program at Potsdam gave me the best of both worlds: a strong foundation in a multitude of subjects and teaching methods, as well as a solid dose of real world experience,” said 2011 master’s graduate Owen McGuire of Kingston, Ontario.

SUNY Potsdam’s teacher education program is accredited by NCATE, the most rigorous accrediting body in the United States. Master of Science for Teachers graduates earn New York State certification, which is reciprocated by the Ontario Ministry of Education and the Ontario College of Teachers, so Canadian students can teach in Ontario.  NYS certification is also accepted in many states across the U.S.

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About SUNY Potsdam:

Founded in 1816, and located on the outskirts of the beautiful Adirondack Park, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America’s first 50 colleges. SUNY Potsdam currently enrolls approximately 4,350 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its handcrafted education, challenging liberal arts and sciences core, excellence in teacher training and leadership in the performing and visual arts.