Roles and responsibilities
Professional Experience is, by its very nature, a cooperative enterprise whereby staff employed by placement providers work with University students and staff to achieve the goals outlined in this handbook's introduction. The roles and responsibilities of those involved are outlined in this sections, beginning on this page with the administrators of Professional Experiences settings.
Administrators of Professional Experience providers
The University requires the administrator of Professional Experience placement providers (or his/her nominee) inform all preservice teachers commencing Professional Experience placements of relevant work, health and safety policies and practices specific to the placement site. A signed Work, health and safety induction checklist (pdf, 136kB) form needs to be faxed to the Office of Professional Experience (OPE) on Day 1 of each placement for every preservice teacher, and the originals kept by the supervising teacher or the placement provider's administrator.
When preservice teachers are appointed to a school they come under the administrative control of the principal and under the direction of those members of school staff to whom the principal delegates this responsibility. In collaboration with the University, the principal takes executive responsibility with respect to issues of educational quality and equity within the Professional Experience placement.
There are considerable advantages for preservice teachers if the school principal (either personally or by designating an experienced member of staff as school Professional Experience coordinator) can maintain a general oversight of all those preservice teachers placed in a school, ensuring that they are welcomed into the school, informed and advised of school policy, and provided with opportunities for some extension of their experiences beyond the classes to which they are assigned.
Principals are reminded that for legal reasons preservice teachers should not be given sole responsibility for supervising activities that involve risk to students (for example, playground duty) and are consequently asked to ensure that school staff are aware that in such circumstances the legal responsibility always remains with the teacher. For similar reasons, preservice teachers should not be asked to substitute for teachers who are absent, other than in the secondary context where they take the classes of their own supervising teacher under direct supervision of another member of staff.
Early-childhood centre directors
Directors of early-childhood centres are normally the primary person responsible for preservice teachers during their Professional Experience placements. The faculty values their role in supporting our students in their settings and ensuring they are welcome in the service, introduced to staff members, informed and advised of centre policies and provided with opportunities for some extension of their experiences beyond the classes/groups to which they are assigned.
The OPE also appreciates the efforts of centre directors in arranging a supervising teacher who can act as a supportive and positive role model. Directors and early-childhood teachers are reminded that for legal reasons preservice teachers should not be given sole responsibility for supervising children. Centre staff should be made aware that legal responsibility for the safety of children at the centre always remains with the teacher or other responsible early-childhood supervisor. In keeping with this, preservice teachers should not be asked to substitute for early-childhood teachers or other educators who are absent, or included in child-to-staff ratios.
Centre directors also complete the tasks that – for primary- and secondary-education programs – are the responsibility of the school Professional Experience coordinator (see below).