Providing support during Professional Experience
We are fortunate to be supported by a diverse group of tertiary supervisors. Experience visiting prior-to-school settings and schools brings a broad perspective to the evaluation process for our teacher education students.
As a tertiary supervisor, your role is essential in ensuring the successful completion of Professional Experience. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about the process of acting in this role.
Organising Professional Experience
What are your responsibilities at the beginning of a Professional Experience placement?
Do I need to contact the student before Professional Experience?
No, it is the student's responsibility to contact you – so please keep your details up to date with the Professional Experience Office. We ask that you respond as quickly as possible once they make contact. SMS is not considered a suitable form of contact unless you have requested it.
What might the initial conversation with the student be about?
The initial conversation is for introductions, sharing details and clarifying when and how the student may contact you.
Who contacts the centre/preschool/school?
The student is responsible, however we encourage tertiary supervisors to make contact before their first visit. We request that you introduce yourself to the director/principal/professional experience coordinator there, see if they have any questions, and provide your contact details should they have any concerns.
Supervising the student
What can you do to effectively facilitate the teacher education student's learning?
What is the nature of my role with the student and supervising teacher?
You are like a visiting consultant, supporting the work of the supervising teacher as a third-party evaluator and supporter. Beyond this, your level of involvement depends on how the student is progressing. In some placements you may only need to offer general encouragement and support; in others the student may need specific advice, support and direction.
How often do I need to meet with the student?
You are allocated two hours per student. This could include:
- on the phone, eg. initial and concluding conversations with the student and unit convenor
- on viewing written work
- on a mid-placement visit.
How do I arrange a visit?
Arrange an appropriate time for your visit with the teacher education student, then with the teacher. We also advise contacting the school to confirm that the arranged time is suitable.
How do I assess the student's written work?
Students are expected to have their work available to both you and the supervising teacher at all times for comments and discussion. Written and verbal feedback powerfully support the student. If writing, please use pen. Considerations may include the clarity of the student's recordings, their level of professionalism, and the presence and quality of their reflections.
Who is responsible for the Professional Experience Evaluation Report?
Completing the formal evaluation is the responsibility of the supervising teacher. It is the student's responsibility to submit the report within one week of finishing their placement. Feel free to contact the unit coordinator with any questions about the evaluation process.
Supporting the student
How should you respond when difficulties arise for a teacher education student?
What should I do if I am concerned about a student's work?
Contact the unit convenor to discuss the student's progress. If there are substantial issues, the student may be considered 'at risk'. Read more about the 'at risk' process.
What if I am concerned about a student's wellbeing?
Personal or family situations can impact a student's progression through the unit. Teacher education students can find support from staff in the School of Education, and support and counselling services on campus. If a student discloses, in confidence, a concerning situation to you:
- Respond to the student along the lines of: "Thank you for informing me. As the university has a duty of care, I need to advise the unit convenor to contact you in relation to a current personal/medical issue."
- Immediately notify the unit convenor that there are personal issues needing attention. You do not need to provide details.
The unit convenor will follow up with the student.
What if a student is away?
The student must inform you if they have been absent from a day of Professional Experience, so please ensure they know when and how to contact you if this happens.
Students need to make up any days missed within five working days of the placement's end. A medical certificate is also required for any absence exceeding one day. Unreliable attendance will be seen as evidence of unprofessional conduct and may result in the student failing the unit.