Be a Teacher!


Cornell provides many opportunities for students to explore an interest in teaching mathematics. The following sections contain important information to start you on your journey.

Teaching Opportunities for Undergraduates

There are a number of ways for undergraduates at Cornell to gain first-hand experience in helping students learn mathematics.

Undergraduate Grader or Course Assistant

Grading undergraduate homework offers an opportunity to learn which concepts students most often find difficult and to experience the diverse methods students exhibit in their problem-solving approaches. The Mathematics Department hires undergraduate graders for several entry-level courses, including MATH 1105, 1340, and 1710 and course assistants for MATH 1110 and 1120.  Course assistants do some homework grading and facilitate weekly group problem sessions, where they can observe how students learn from each other.

Tutor for Mathematics or Statistics

Undergraduate tutors are hired for the Mathematics Support Center (MSC) to work with students individually and in small group. Information can be found here.

The Learning Strategies Center hires tutors to support introductory statistics courses across the university, including MATH 1710, as well as MATH 1101, 1106, 1110, 1120, and 2210. For information, contact Mark Jauquet.

Facilitator for Academic Excellence Workshops

Undergraduates in the Engineering College may apply to become an AEW facilitator. These workshops support MATH 1910, 1920, 2930, and 2940 through cooperative and collaborative learning.

Getting Certified

In New York State

See New York State Certification for detailed information about obtaining certification. The following is an overview.

To teach in a public school in New York State, prospective teachers first get a provisional certification, then permanent certification. However, you can teach in many private schools with a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics.

In order to get provisional certification in New York State you need: 36 hours of mathematics, 18 hours of education, student teaching practicum, and two workshops (Child Abuse Workshop and Violence Workshop). You can send a transcript and evidence of taking certain required workshops to the state and get provisional approval. You can later use work experience in lieu of practice teaching. You do not need to go through an accredited program to get certified.

Permanent certification requires a masters degree within five years of starting teaching. One good route is to get a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT), a professional degree usually requiring 1.5-2 years after a Bachelor of Arts.

While Cornell does not currently offer an MAT degree in secondary mathematics education, several nearby institutions offer such programs, including:

  • Ithaca College — The Mathematics Department at Ithaca College offers a cohesive, one-year graduate program leading to a master's degree and full eligibility for initial teaching certification in mathematics.  The 33-credit MAT curriculum includes coursework in educational theory and practice, continued study in mathematics, and opportunities for field-based learning in varied school and community settings. Ithaca College and Cornell have a Transfer Articulation agreement that streamlines admission to the IC MAT.

  • Syracuse University — Syracuse University offers an MS degree in mathematics education, with special emphases on these areas:  working with students who have difficulties in learning mathematics, serving diverse student populations, using technology to promote active learning, developing skills in assessing student learning, and developing a knowledge of mathematics for teaching.  The program has five field placements, allowing candidates to learn from urban and suburban school settings, from a variety of teaching professionals, and by working with students of diverse backgrounds and abilities.  A variety of program options are available, including a full-time 16-month program (beginning in summer), a full-time 2-year program (beginning in September), and the opportunity to begin part-time.

  • SUNY Cortland — SUNY Cortland has the largest comprehensive teacher education program in New York and the 10th largest among public institutions in the United States.  Now in its 134th year, Cortland educates more teachers than any other New York college or university.  Their program leads to a Master of Arts in Teaching as well as initial or provisional certification for teaching mathematics.

In Other States

About 38 of 50 states accept NYS certification automatically for teaching. Students can get public school jobs in states other than New York with a BA and student teaching experience, maybe with just a BA and some education courses, then use their experience for the certification process.

Fellowship Programs

KSTF Fellowships (funded by the Knowles Foundation)

The KSTF Teaching Fellowship program was explicitly designed to meet the needs of beginning high school science and mathematics teachers as they earn a teaching credential and through the early years of their career.  During the initial academic year of the fellowship, fellows typically participate in a recognized teacher credentialing program.  After receiving a teaching credential and beginning a career in teaching, fellows continue to receive training and support.  KSTF Fellows are spread throughout the country and are currently located in 25 different states.

New York City Teaching Fellows

Participants in the New York City Teaching Fellows program go through a short, but intensive, pre-service training, part of which includes a hands-on teaching experience in a NYC classroom.  Upon successful completion of training, participants are eligible to be hired almost immediately in one of the more than 1,400 public schools in New York City.  One of the key elements of the program is enrollment in a subsidized Master’s degree program.  While teaching, participants work toward a Master’s degree in education, specializing in the subject s/he teaches, at a university that has partnered with the program.  The Master's program takes two to three years to complete.

Teaching Without Certification

Private Schools