Ways to support your pre-service teacher
Each year, we welcome pre-service teachers through our school gates and into the classrooms of over 2,200 public schools across NSW.
11 September 2023
For many pre-service teachers, this may be their first time setting foot in one of the various school settings that the NSW Department of Education has to offer.
You may find yourself sharing your expertise and supervising a pre-service teacher for as little as one week or as long as one school term. To ensure that both you and the pre-service teacher have a positive experience, consider the following ways to support your pre-service teacher through a successful practicum placement.
1. Ensure mandatory requirements are met
To support the development of excellence, staff members supervising professional experience placements in all schools must undertake relevant professional learning to underpin their knowledge and skills. The supervising preservice teachers - online training program has been developed and made available by the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) to guide your professional development.
As well as completing the mandatory professional learning, you must also attain your proficient teacher accreditation before being eligible to supervise a pre-service teacher.
2. Formally induct your pre-service teacher
Completing a placement in a school can be both a daunting and exciting experience, so welcoming the pre-service teacher in a friendly and organised manner will provide a strong initial foundation to their professional experience placement.
As the supervising teacher, it is important that you arrange an induction for your pre-service teacher. This can be completed on the first day of their placement or during a pre-placement meeting.
To ensure a successful and compliant induction, read the checklist for supervision of preservice teachers. This checklist is provided as a guide to support supervising teachers who mentor and assess pre-service teachers. In the handy checklist, you will find mandatory requirements listed in red, as well as optional best practice guidelines. In some schools, the mandatory induction actions listed may be completed by someone other than the supervising teacher e.g. Head Teacher Administration, Professional Experience Coordinator or School Administration Officer.
You may like to consider additional activities and relevant information to share with your pre-service teacher such as: bell times, meeting times, sports days, upcoming events such as sports carnivals, meet the teacher evenings or excursions. Finally, introduce your pre-service teacher to as many people as possible, including executive and admin staff.
3. Establish your expectations during their placement
Setting realistic boundaries and expectations for both yourself and your pre-service teacher should be done in line with the expectations of the school and the NSW Department of Education’s Code of Conduct.
Pre-service teachers are often instructed to submit lesson plans and accompanying resources to their supervising teachers in advance. Be sure to actively communicate your expected submission time frame with your pre-service teacher.
- When should they send lesson plans for approval?
- Through which platform should they send them?
- When can they expect feedback on their lesson plans? Will this be verbal or written/digital communication?
- How and when can they contact you if they have a question or concern?
You can also communicate additional expectations of your pre-service teacher in line with school expectations. This may include dress code on regular teaching days and sport days, arrival and departure times and the number of lessons they are expected to teach and observe.
4. Encourage your pre-service teacher to explore what the department offers
Is your pre-service teacher interested in completing a future placement in a rural or remote NSW public school? They can read about the great lifestyle and teaching opportunities on offer in these locations. In addition, there are a number of videos from previous students who discuss their own experiences of what it’s like to complete a rural or remote professional experience placement.
Second and third year undergraduate students can apply for the opportunity to participate in a week-long expenses paid trip with the department to experience teaching at selected regional, rural and remote NSW public schools.
Encourage your pre-service teacher to explore our get paid to study section. Here, they will find a number of scholarship opportunities which offer financial support and a guaranteed permanent teaching position upon completion of their studies.
5. Log this activity as professional development
Did you know that you can gain hours towards the maintenance of your accreditation by supporting and mentoring a pre-service teacher? Your support of a pre-service teacher is classed as a professional commitment activity, and as such, you are able to log the hours spent mentoring, coaching or engaging with teacher education students as Elective PD through your NESA eTAMS account.
For more information visit NESA’s PD Requirements webpage.
Thank you for your continued support of our future teachers.