During placement on site
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You will be expected to conduct yourself in a professional manner while undertaking Professional Experience, and to maintain the highest standards of ethical behaviour in your interactions with others.
You will be required to attend the site for a full 'school/work' day. For example, if placed in a school setting, you are expected to be at the school at least 45 minutes before school starts and may be required to stay at least the same length of time at the end of the school day. If in a kindergarten or childcare setting you will be expected to undertake the same workday as a regular staff member and this will involve some early starts and late finishes.
If you have children, you will need to organise alternative arrangements to drop off/pick up children from school or child care during the Professional Experience.
The Professional Experience components of your course require a full-time commitment. This cannot be varied because of part-time work arrangements. Alternative arrangements for your work commitments will need to be made for the duration of the Professional Experience.
Preservice teachers should not have classes to attend while they are on a scheduled Professional Experience. If you do have scheduled classes you must seek advice from the course coordinator and the PEO early in the semester and plan the semester to ensure you are able to fulfil all requirements of the Professional Studies unit. Preservice teachers cannot miss days of Professional Experience in order to attend classes or lectures or to catch up on assignments.
Preservice teachers must complete all of the days required in each Professional Experience in order to meet the requirements of teacher registration as specified by the Queensland College of Teachers. This includes making up days for public holidays which may occur during the Professional Experience.
If you are absent from your Professional Experience site for any reason on a scheduled day, you must:
- Notify the principal or site coordinator and the supervising teacher, by the customary time (usually between 7.30am and 8am).
- Supply a medical certificate if you are absent for more than one day.
- Negotiate make up days with the supervising teacher and/or the site coordinator.
- Follow up on any missed meetings with the relevant personnel on return to the school/centre.
- Inform the Professional Experience Office staff and your university supervisor of any days missed and make-up arrangements.
Pupil Free Days
It is expected that pre-service teachers will attend their site and be involved in pupil free day programs when the pupil free day falls within the Professional Experience period. In some instances pre-service teachers will not be able to attend pupil free days due to their individual school or Education Queensland/Catholic/Independent school requirements. If this occurs pre-service teachers will need to negotiate with their site an alternative day of attendance that falls within the University's required semester time frame for completing Professional Experience.
Communication with the University
Communication with University staff can be made via email or telephone at any time during the Professional Experience. The university supervisor is the first contact point and you should be proactive in communicating early in the Professional Experience. Your university supervisor details will be made available prior to your Professional Experience placement.
In situations where difficulties arise or you have been identified as being at risk of failing Professional Experience, the university supervisor must be contacted. If you are unable to communicate with your university supervisor, contact your unit coordinator.
Communication with your placement site
Communication with your placement site must remain professional at all times. Remember that you are a visitor to this workplace. Discuss with your supervising teacher the best method to communicate with them outside of school/centre hours.
You should be professional in your grooming and dress. Be aware of the context of your environment. Smart casual dress is usually appropriate. Some sites have strict dress codes and you would be advised to contact the site coordinator to confirm their specific requirements.
Every Professional Experience placement is subject to acceptance by the allocated site. Some sites may require an interview with a pre-service teacher prior to placement confirmation. Every site has the right to accept or reject a placement based on that site's personal presentation and dress standards. These requirements may relate to such things as visible tattoos, body piercings, the wearing of jeans/t-shirts, types of footwear or acceptable hair style or hair colour. Preservice teachers are expected to meet their allocated site's requirements for the duration of their placement.
Workplace Health and Safety
All workplace sites should have a Workplace Health and Safety Policy and a Risk Management Policy. At pre-service teacher induction, you should become familiar with these policies. You may be required to sign off on your understanding of some of the school policies. Some sites require you to attend special health and safety preparation.
You should ensure that you provide your workplace site with your contact details for health and safety purposes.
If you encounter any form of discrimination, discuss this issue with your supervising teacher (if appropriate), then with the site coordinator if the practice does not cease. You must also contact your university supervisor.
You can also contact QUT Equity Officers on (07) 3138 2699. They will advise on procedures available to you.
- A/8.5 Grievance resolution procedures for discrimination related grievances
- A/6.1 Grievance resolution policy
- E/2.1 QUT Student Code of Conduct
- QUT Equity: discrimination, harassment and bullying
- Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland: getting to know the law
Duty of Care
Supervising teachers have a legal responsibility for the physical and intellectual wellbeing of their students at all times. However, should harm come to any student through negligence, or poor judgment on the part of any pre-service teacher it might be expected that both pre-service teacher and the supervising teacher could be held responsible, especially if such harm had been reasonably foreseeable by either party.
You should know the whereabouts of your supervising teacher at all times and should be able to summon him/her immediately if necessary. You should take particular care where students work with potentially hazardous materials (e.g. a sharp pencil in a student's mouth is a potential hazard). The exercise of professional judgment is at all times essential.
Schools/centres deal with confidential information about students and their families. You are expected to maintain this confidentiality at all times. It is a serious breach if confidentiality is broken.
A situation may arise where a student at your host site discloses personal information that relates to sexual assault, neglect or abuse. Staff members have legal obligations depending on the type of information disclosed which may require reporting specific events to police, even if this means breaking the student's confidence. The site will have a policy and procedure to follow. You must ensure you know and understand this information, and report any incident to the site coordinator.
Abuse of confidentiality and/or criticism of site personnel in a defamatory way could result in a civil court action taken against you by a person who believes he/she has been defamed.
Corporal punishment is illegal in Queensland schools.
Relationships with Students
Teachers are recognised as having a significant duty of care for all students, so the relationships established with students must be based on respect and trust, considering the best interests of the student first. It is NEVER appropriate for you to engage in a personal relationship with a student even after the Professional Experience has been completed. This would be a significant abuse of the trust placed in the site community (including pre-service teachers) by a student's family. Legislation has been passed to comprehensively protect students from sexual abuse and other inappropriate conduct by those working with children.
Code of Conduct
Teachers working in educational settings are bound by the relevant code of conduct which shapes and guides the standards of practice required of teachers. The Queensland College of Teachers determines that individuals working in Queensland schools are fit and suitable to teach. Any serious legal infringement may result in failure to be registered with the Queensland College of Teachers and therefore not able to teach in Queensland schools.
Taking Photographs of Students and taking originals of student work
Discontinuation of placement
Please follow these procedures if you make the decision to withdraw from your PE:
- Inform the PEO, your school site coordinator, your university supervisor and your unit coordinator immediately if you decide to discontinue with your PE.
- If you are withdrawing from the unit, you will need to withdraw via QUT Virtual (dependent on dates of withdrawal there will likely be academic and/or financial penalties).
- You will need to contact Student Affairs for course progression advice.
Sites can choose to discontinue a placement for a variety of reasons, some of which may not be related to the pre-service teacher's conduct. The university's response to the discontinuation of a placement is dependent on the circumstances surrounding the decision. If the discontinuation of a placement is related to internal school/centre organisation and for reasons outside the pre-service teacher's control, then the university will endeavour to find a new placement for the pre-service teacher. However, under the conditions set by the Queensland College of Teachers, it is likely that the placement will need to be repeated in full. Due to the limited number of placements available, it is also possible that another placement may not be able to be found until the following semester in which the unit is offered.
Placements will be discontinued if a pre-service teacher breaches the QUT Student Code of Conduct (Refer to MOPP E/2.1 QUT Student Code of Conduct). Sites will exclude a pre-service teacher from a placement if their organisation considers on reasonable grounds that the pre-service teacher's conduct during the placement is inappropriate or that the pre-service teacher is not suitable to undertake or to continue the placement. The site coordinator will notify QUT who will advise the pre-service teacher not to attend the site. In most cases the pre-service teacher will receive a failing grade for the unit. Other disciplinary actions may also be taken in accordance with university rules.
Academic and personal support services
Professional Experience is a very busy time and pre-service teachers need to juggle many professional and personal demands while completing a Professional Experience block. There are a number of different support services available during your Professional Experience.
If an issue occurs while you are on Professional Experience, the attached flow chart indicates the sequence that your response to a situation should follow. Remember though that the severity of an issue may dictate an immediate request for support, rather than trialling different options.
Each pre-service teacher undertaking Professional Experience is allocated a university supervisor for the duration of the Professional Experience. Their role is to support you, and your supervising teacher while you are out on Professional Experience. Your university supervisor is familiar with the day to day classroom challenges that you may encounter. It is your responsibility to make contact with your university supervisor and to take advantage of their support and assistance. Contact details are available to you via InPlace, in the same section as your site confirmation details.
The University's Counselling Service provides a professional, confidential and free counselling service to pre-service teachers. Professional Experience can become a stressful time for a number of reasons. Making those times less stressful is a major goal of the counselling staff at QUT.
If you have a disability/medical condition and you are enrolled in a Professional Experience unit, you can discuss your individual situation with a Disability Officer to determine what additional support/arrangements can be provided.
Disability advisers are available to pre-service teachers with a disability to ensure you have the appropriate accommodations in place to undertake study including your Professional Experience.
If you are experiencing financial hardship during Professional Experience, you may be able to access some financial assistance. The following website offers a range of short-term services provided through QUT to assist you with financial hardship.
Preservice teachers on QUT approved course related placements (both domestic and overseas) are covered (subject to certain limitations) under QUT's insurance coverage.
If you have an accident at the site, or on a site-related activity away from the site, you are required to report it to the school/centre administration and complete an accident report form. You also need to advise your university supervisor and the unit coordinator and also complete the QUT Student Accident Claim Form.
Preservice teachers who are participating in work experience or professional trips of their own volition need to organise their own insurance through QUT Careers and Employment http://www.careers.qut.edu.au/student/insurance.jsp. You are also advised to discuss the site's insurance cover prior to undertaking voluntary work experience.
Culturally and linguistically diverse pre-service teachers
QUT has produced a 5-episode DVD titled Bridge to Professional Experience that supports culturally and linguistically diverse pre-service teachers in relation to Professional Experience in schools.
- The PE Toolbox (QUT students only) contains a range of resources to support your professional practice, for example, outlines for lesson plans, observation forms, guidance on difficult conversations. It is located in your community Blackboard site.
- Library Resources and Support
- QCT Guide to Providing Evidence of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (APST)
- Completion of observation days declaration form
Professional Experience Office
Telephone: +61 7 3138 3467
Fax: +61 7 3138 3049
Level 3, Room 343A, B Block
Faculty of Education
Queensland University of Technology
Victoria Park Road
Kelvin Grove, 4059