Welcome to the St. Mary's College of Maryland MAT Program Handbook!
Most introductory passages start with the word, “Welcome.” Instead, we begin with “Hooray!”
Hooray for the world that there are such amazing individuals with a passion for teaching coming into the St. Mary’s College Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program!
Hooray for you for taking this step into a life of leadership grounded in service to others – the only real power there is. It is brave and honorable and generous. Your desire to live this kind of life is already evidence that you are operating on a higher plane of existence!
That said, we do, of course, welcome you to what will be one of the most challenging years of your life. It is when we are pushed and challenged and, yes, even stressed, that we are growing. Teaching is an act of love that leads toward the fulfillment of one’s potential. When you are being taught (by your professors, by your fellow cohort members, by your mentors, and by your students), you are experiencing love that you will turn around and share with those same people. So this year promises to be one of the most personally fulfilling and rewarding ones as well.
Sometimes you will feel as if you are drinking from a fire hose because you will have to take in and synthesize a great deal of information very rapidly – then apply it. Sometimes, you will face tasks that seem tedious and you may become a bit frustrated. You will also have exciting moments of intense clarity that open up new pathways in your thinking. You will meet many new people and be amazed by what you can learn from every single one if you are receptive to that gift. This will be your life as a graduate student. This is the life of a teacher, too. Trust that you are being prepared to lead and influence – no, make that “change the world.”
You are a graduate student now and that requires a different mindset. Most of you are continuing on at St. Mary’s after receiving your undergraduate degree here. Since we are the only graduate program on campus, and since most of you were just seniors with all that entails, it can be difficult to change your perspective. You may feel disconnected from your former life or you may be tempted to cling to it. This is completely understandable, but it is up to you to make that important emotional and intellectual transition from undergraduate to graduate student.
Whether you are a St. Mary’s graduate or not, we want you to have fun, but always keep your life’s mission firmly in mind. Know that there are students right now who will be depending on you to be focused on that mission and able to deliver your best self to them every day. Add to that the thousands of students who will flow through your life, and you will understand that this is a time to prepare yourself to the best of your ability. This is an awesome challenge, and we know you will rise to it.
At the graduate level, and as teaching interns, you are now joining our profession. We may have a bit more experience that we are excited to share, but we learn from you, too. You are now part of our community of lifelong learners. We are so excited to have you join us – Hooray!
The Faculty and Staff of the Educational Studies Department St. Mary’s College of Maryland