The nature of an Internship

Master of Teaching : Year 2, semester 2. Length: 9 weeks
(Early childhood, primary & secondary)
Combined Degrees Secondary: Year 5, semester 2. Length: 6 weeks
Bachleor of Education Primary: Year 4, semester 2. Length: 6 weeks
BEd Human Movement/Health: Year 4, semester 2: Length: 6 weeks

The internship is conceived as an induction bridge between the ending of preservice professional learning and the first year of teaching. Internships are undertaken in the final year of all preservice programs, early childhood, primary and secondary. They range in length from 6 to 9 weeks and provide an intensive period of in-school/in-centre experience in which the intern can gain knowledge and experience in all facets of the role of the teacher and prepare as thoroughly as possible for their first year of teaching. It is intended that the intern will become involved in as many aspects of school or early childhood centre life as possible and all duties associated with being a teacher, including committee work, planning and programming and resource planning and development. The internship at the University of Sydney is commonly linked to an unit of study that involves the intern focusing on their teaching practice within a practitioner research framework.

Interns (associate teachers)

Within primary and secondary programs in particular, the interns are associate teachers who have satisfied all requirements of the Board of Studies, Teaching & Educational Standards(BOSTES) Professional Standards: Graduate Teacher and are thus deemed conditionally certified to teach. The internship is part of the final phase of the course providing interns with the opportunity to consolidate their Graduate Teacher capacity and to graduate with a masters-level qualification (MTeach).

For primary and secondary preservice programs, through the Internship agreement with the NSW Department of Education and Communities and the NSW Teachers Federation (and as originally approved also by the ASIS, the CEC and the Independent Education Union) , interns are 'conditionally certified to teach' and are able to be left on their own to take responsibility for groups of students. An intern therefore, is like a new teacher who is being mentored by an experienced teacher in their first term of teaching after graduation. While still a student of the University, an intern is able to assume greater independent responsibility than a preservice teacher undertaking supervised professional experience.

Intern requirements

The intern/associate teacher is required to:

  • attend the school/centre on a full-time basis for the period of the internship i.e. during normal school hours, 5 days a week for the period of the internship (is 6-9 weeks, unless varied by prior arrangement by the university)
  • undertake a teaching load that is between 50% and 60% of a normal teaching load (taken as equivalent to 28 x 40-minute periods per week)
  • participate in all normal aspects of the professional role of a teacher whilst at the internship e.g. teaching, planning lessons, staff meetings, school events, playground and sports supervision (in association with the mentor teacher)
  • may undertake a professional learning project which focuses on their own professional practice.

Mentor teachers

Because the interns are conditionally certified to teach, the main role of the teacher to whom they are assigned in the school is that of a professional mentor assisting an inexperienced graduand to enter the profession. The report that the mentor teacher will write at the end of the internship is like that which would be written by a school principal or school head after a new teacher's first term of teaching.

Because an intern will have a teaching load comprising 50 - 60% of a normal load, which is taken from the mentor teacher's load, the mentor will be released from a considerable portion of their workload during the term, and thus have the opportunity to engage in their own professional development.

Internship handbook

Full information on the Internship is contained in the Internship Handbook (pdf, 2.51MB)

International internships

Please download the Outside-of-Sydney-Placement form (pdf, 74kB) if you are planning to undertake internship overseas. Please note that only students enrolled in the Master of Teaching and Bachelor of Education combined-degree programs are eligible for overseas internships.