Getting Prepared for 'Prac'

Teaching practice has a dual role. Whilst you are testing your skills you are also being assessed. It is therefore important that you are given appropriate support and the opportunity to make a good start.

The times of the 'practicum' in the University year should be known well in advance and as far as possible your 'Prac' school should be known well in advance. A successful prac and therefore a good assessment grade will be helped by some advance preparation. It is a good idea to visit the school before the actual prac period to get the general low-down on the school and meet with key members of staff.

In School - What Can I Expect?

On any teaching placement, you can reasonably expect the following:

  • a named teacher-tutor or 'mentor' with whom you should have regular contact;
  • proper communication and co-operation between your higher education institution and your school;
  • information about your school in advance of your arrival;
  • opportunities to meet with other teachers, in particular other students and newly qualified teachers;
  • clear assessment procedures and known performance requirements from both the university and the school
  • a safe and harassment free work-place and learning environment.

You should be given:

  • a Teaching Prac (TP) school within reasonable travelling distance of your term time residence (unless part of a negotiated 'non-metro' or 'rural' placement experience);
  • an opportunity to visit the school in advance of the practice to liaise with staff;
  • a copy of the school time table;
  • time within your timetable for consultation and review with your mentor;
  • a copy of the school's code of behaviour for pupils and details of the rewards and sanctions available;
  • a safe and healthy working environment.

During your preliminary visit to your TP school:

  • check out the travelling time;
  • introduce yourself to the school principal;
  • meet with mentor and teacher(s) to discuss program of work;
  • introduce yourself to the school's Federation Representative ( Fed. Rep.). There is an elected rep. in each school;
  • find the location and availability of equipment and other resources. Learn how to use it, and who to contact if it does not work!
  • check on the resource situation. It would not be appreciated if you were to consume a term's supply of paper during a two-week practice!
  • get to know the school layout and location of staffroom. Many schools have a staff handbook which provides a great deal of useful and essential information. Request a copy if you are not automatically given one.

You should not be given:

  • classes with exceptionally difficult pupils;
  • classes out side the age range for which you are training; or subject areas to teach about which you have no knowledge.

Going Solo

Most teacher trainees want to 'go solo' with their own class. This is understandable but the Federation's advice is 'be patient' it will happen soon enough!

The extent to which you should expect to be supervised by and accompanied by teachers before 'going solo' will depend on your experience and skill level. The teachers concerned remain responsible for their classes and they will exercise their professional judgement in the level of support and presence that is appropriate.

You should be given regular, constructive written feedback on your lessons.

While at the school, you should be given the same levels and forms of support as are available to the members of staff there.