FAQs for Tertiary Supervisors
Do I need to contact the Teacher Education Student prior to Professional Experience?
No. It is the Teacher Education Student’s responsibility to contact you. Please ensure that your contact details provided to the Professional Experience Office are up to date for the Teacher Education Student to make contact in reasonable time. We ask that you make every effort to respond to your Teacher Education Student as quickly as possible when contact is made. SMS messaging is not considered a suitable form of contact unless you have requested it.
How often am I expected to meet with the Teacher Education Student?
You are allocated two hours per Teacher Education Student. This can be negotiated in consultation with the relevant unit convenor, but we suggest you use this time in the following ways:
- in phone conversations, such as the initial conversation with the Teacher Education Student or the initial conversation with the Supervising Teacher in the first week
- in viewing written work, either online or have it emailed to you
- in a visit to the setting midway through the Professional Experience placement
- in a phone conversation with the Teacher Education Student at the end of placement and a concluding phone call with the Supervising Teacher in the final week.
Visits to the placement are important and should not be overlooked.
What might the initial conversation with the Teacher Education student be about?
The Teacher Education Student is responsible for contacting the Tertiary Supervisor by phone as a way of introduction and sharing contact details. Let the Teacher Education Student know if there are times when it would not be suitable to contact you. Email may be an appropriate form of communication. If this is the case, please clarify expectations of response time. This is also an opportunity to ensure the Teacher Education Student knows how to contact you in case of sickness or unexpected absence.
Who is responsible for contacting the centre/preschool/school?
The Teacher Education Student has the primary responsibility for contacting the centre or school. However, we encourage Tertiary Supervisors to make contact prior to their first visit. Initial contact provides an opportunity to thank the teacher, to answer questions, confirm the teacher has received the information about the Professional Experience requirements and provide your contact details.
We request that when you go for your visit you introduce yourself to the director or /principal/Professional Experience coordinator and provide them with your contact details should they have any concerns. This provides an opportunity for you to ask if the director or principal have any questions about the Professional Experience.
Who do I contact to arrange a visit?
Arranging an appropriate time for your visit/s is coordinated with the Teacher Education Student and then with the teacher. Contacting the school to confirm that the time arranged is suitable is advisable and provides an opportunity to contact the teacher and answer any questions she/he may have prior to your visit.
What is the nature of my role with the Supervising Teacher and the Teacher Education Student?
In a manner of speaking, you are a visiting consultant supporting the work of the Supervising Teacher as a third-party evaluator and supporter. You help ensure that the Teacher Education Student gets the most from Professional Experience and that the Supervising Teacher is supported and informed of their role. Beyond the basic requirements of your role, the level of your involvement in Professional Experience will depend largely on how the Teacher Education Student is progressing. In some placements your role may be minimal, offering encouragement and support. In other situations quite specific advice, support and direction are required.
How do I assess the Teacher Education Student’s Professional Experience written work?
We ask that you read and review the Teacher Education Student’s written work. Teacher Education Students are expected to have their work available at all times. It must be available every day and made available to you and the Supervising Teacher for comments and discussion.
Can I write in the Teacher Education Student’s written work?
Yes. Providing written, as well as verbal feedback powerfully supports the Teacher Education Student. Considerations when reviewing the work may relate to the clarity of the Teacher Education Student’s recordings, the level of professionalism displayed through orientations and evaluations, and the presence and quality of reflections. If writing, please ensure that your comments are recorded in pen.
What should I do if I am concerned about a Teacher Education Student?
Contact unit convenor as first point of contact.
If you are concerned about a Teacher Education Student we suggest that you approach the Supervising Teacher with some open-ended questions pertaining to the Teacher Education Student. For example:
- “How do you think they are doing?”
- “Are there any issues you would like me as the Tertiary Supervisor to discuss with them?”
- “Is there anything that you would see as noteworthy, at this stage of the placement?”
If the Supervising Teacher shares your concerns this will open up the conversation. A supportive response to the situation concerning the Teacher Education Student can be discussed. In many cases encouragement and strategic advice can transform a placement.
If your concerns are of a more serious nature and the Teacher Education Student may not be able to meet the expectations of the Professional Experience it is of utmost importance that the Teacher Education Student be placed ‘at risk’ of failure as early as possible. You may find that areas of concern are discussed at your visit and that the Supervising Teacher has identified in the evaluation document some elements as not being demonstrated. This is a strong indicator that the Teacher Education Student should be placed ‘at risk’ of failure. Although we do not wish to pre-empt failure we recognise that the earlier supportive intervention is offered, the more likely it is that the experience can be turned from a potential fail into a success.
What should I note about a Teacher Education Student being ‘at risk’?
‘At risk’ can cause stress for a Teacher Education Student. However, not warning Teacher Education Students that they may be placed ‘at risk’ increases anxiety and may mean they don’t receive assistance. If you feel a Teacher Education Student is not performing in relation to the expectations, please use this ‘at risk’ process rather than putting matters off.
When stressed, Teacher Education Students may need assistance and support. Directing them to the unit convenor can be helpful. Please remind Teacher Education Students of their need for professionalism throughout the process
Supervising Teachers are sometimes reluctant to place Teacher Education Students ‘at risk’. Tertiary Supervisors need to manage this by linking back to the expectations and assuring Supervising Teachers of the additional support Teacher Education Students will receive.
What if a Teacher Education Student is unable to attend due to sickness?
Teacher Education Students are required to inform you if they have been absent from a day of Professional Experience. Please let your Teacher Education Student know when would be a suitable time to contact you if they are not able to attend on a particular day.
Teacher Education Students must attend every day of their Professional Experience including orientation days. A medical certificate is required for any absence that exceeds one day. Unreliable attendance will be seen as evidence of unprofessional conduct and may result in failure of the Professional Experience unit.
Teacher Education Students who are absent for any amount of time will need to make up the days. It is expected this requirement will be met within five working days following the end of the Professional Experience.
Completing the formal evaluation is the responsibility of the Supervising Teacher. Please feel free to contact the Professional Experience unit coordinator if you have any questions about the evaluation process. It is the Teacher Education Student’s responsibility to submit the report within one week of finishing the Professional Experience placement.
What if I have concerns over Teacher Education Student wellbeing?
You may find yourself in a situation where a Teacher Education Student discloses, in confidence, personal or family situations to you. This can impact on the Teacher Education Student’s progression through the unit. Staff in the department support the health and wellbeing of all our Teacher Education Students and services on campus can provide support and counselling. In the event of a concerning disclosure, please respond along the following lines:
- To the Teacher Education Student: “Thank you for informing me. The University has a duty of care so I will be advising the unit convenor that they need to contact you in relation to a current personal/ medical issue.”
- Straightaway notify the unit convenor that there are personal issues needing attention. Details do not need to be provided to the unit convenor as the Teacher Education Student can share these.
The unit convenor will follow up with the Teacher Education Student.