Roles and responsibilities

Roles and responsibilities

School of Education

The information below which describes roles and responsibilities for professional experience is taken from A Framework for High Quality Professional Experience in NSW Schools. The full document can be found here.

The Teacher Education Student

Teacher Education Students are encouraged to reflect on and integrate the knowledge and skills developed in the University and school-based contexts with their own understandings and beliefs about the teaching role. For this reason it is expected that the Teacher Education Students, especially in the early stages of the Professional Experience Program, will draw heavily upon the advice of the Supervising Teacher in planning and presenting lessons. As the year progresses, the Teacher Education Students should exercise more autonomy in this aspect of their professional practice and the nature of the relationship will change from that of Supervising Teacher/ Teacher Education Students to that of professional colleagues.

Responsibilities of the Teacher Education Students include:

  • Being familiar with and complying with all requirements of the Professional Experience Program including documentation, contact with relevant staff, teaching load;
  • Being fully prepared for the Professional Experience placement in terms of prior contact with the school or Supervising Teacher and developing an initial appreciation of the school context;
  • Complying with school policies and procedures relating to staff and conforming to the school's professional expectations of staff;
  • Presenting an ethical, responsible and professional attitude in all contact with the school staff, students, and parents and caregivers;
  • Respect the personal effort and constructive professional advice provided by the Professional Experience Coordinator, Supervising Teacher and Tertiary Supervisor;
  • Fulfilling all other requirements of their Teacher Education Program including any related in-school requirements of program units.

The Supervising Teacher

Responsibilities of the Supervising Teacher include:

  • Modelling quality teaching and learning practice including a knowledge of the subject content to be taught and how students learn, of effective planning, programming and student assessment, and effective interpersonal and communication skills;
  • Developing a comprehensive understanding of the specific Macquarie Professional Experience requirements from the Professional Experience Guidelines in order to guide the planning of the learning opportunities appropriate to the developmental level of the Teacher Education Students;
  • Being aware of the relevant Professional Experience Report and the Graduate Teacher Standards that are to be the focus of the particular Professional Experience placement;
  • Liaising with the Tertiary Supervisor concerning the expected learning outcomes of the specific Professional Experience placement as well as effective ways of supporting and facilitating the Teacher Education Students professional learning and professional relationships within the school;
  • Developing a comprehensive professional learning program appropriate to the level and duration of the placement informed by the guidelines in the Macquarie Professional Experience Guidelines, including:

- acquainting the Teacher Education Students with the roles of teachers in schools and within the community;

- selecting a range of suitable teaching experiences and then guiding and supporting the Teacher Education Students teaching in all phases of their Professional Experience;

- managing the pacing of the Teacher Education Students engagement in learning experiences, as described in the Macquarie Professional Experience Guidelines, including building from largely observation in the first few days to assuming increasing responsibility for groups and classes across longer time periods;

- ensuring that the Teacher Education Students has completed suitable preparation and documentation required for all lessons to be delivered, and that these are discussed and reviewed with the Teacher Education Students before the lesson is presented;

- providing both informal advice and more-structured written feedback on lessons taught by the Teacher Education Students that provides formative and constructive advice to guide the Teacher Education Students on-going professional learning;

- ensuring that the Tertiary Supervisor and/or the Professional Experience Office is contacted if the Teacher Education Students is experiencing difficulties or is in need of additional support. Ideally this should occur as early as possible so that Additional Support processes can be implemented; and

- consulting with the Tertiary Supervisor and the school-based Professional Experience Coordinator concerning the Teacher Education Students progress, final report and grade if applicable.

  • Understanding that the Teacher Education Students does not assume duty of care of students and that consequently overall supervision responsibility is always exercised by the Supervising Teacher; and
  • Completing all necessary documentation from Macquarie University including the Professional Experience Report(s) and Attendance Register of Visits. The report and register are then to be discussed with the Teacher Education Students who also is required to sign the documents, before they are forwarded to the Professional Experience Office.

Types of lessons to be taught

The nature of the Professional Experience placement usually allows a wide variety of lesson types to be taught. Teacher Education Students are usually keen to put into practice the pedagogies they learn in methodology workshops. Some, however, may be apprehensive about attempting group work and using technology. These are modelled on campus but their use by Supervising Teachers will encourage the Teacher Education Students to experiment, especially once they are familiar with the students.

Supervising Teacher absences

If the Supervising Teacher is absent from the school or classroom, Teacher Education Students must not be asked to take the class, as this is unacceptable to the NSW Department of Education and Communities, the New South Wales Teachers' Federation and the University. Supervising Teachers can help in this regard by ensuring that Teacher Education Students are not placed in situations in which they have to refuse such requests.

Working with other staff members

Once Teacher Education Students have become familiar with the school, the Supervising Teacher might like to arrange for them to speak with specialist teachers. They should meet and, where possible, observe teachers of ESL and special needs. They should also become familiar with the work of the librarian and school counsellor.

Observing other teachers in classrooms is always beneficial. This, however, depends on the cooperation of staff members, as they are not paid for this involvement.


We encourage Teacher Education Students to participate in class excursions. Where Teacher Education Students have full involvement in an outing, including active participation in planning and evaluating the excursion, this may be counted as a teaching day. Consent must be sought from the Tertiary Supervisor for excursions of more than one day. Please consult the Tertiary Supervisor if clarification is required.

The Tertiary Supervisor

Each Tertiary Supervisor plans a schedule of school visits. The Preservice Teacher will negotiate with the Supervising Teacher and the Tertiary Supervisor an appropriate date for this visit.

Responsibilities of the Tertiary Supervisor include:

  • Being Macquarie University's representative for liaison with Principals, Professional Experience Coordinators, Supervising Teachers and Teacher Education Students, prior to, during and after the Professional Experience placement;
  • Being an advocate for quality teaching practice that is based on current theory and research and to be a supporter of current and possible educational partnerships and collaborative activities between Macquarie University and schools;
  • Providing quality educational and professional leadership in helping to foster good relationships between Teacher Education Students and school staff;
  • Contributing to the Teacher Education Students professional learning during the professional experience placement by modelling quality teaching and learning practice including a knowledge of the subject content to be taught and how students learn, of effective planning, programming and student assessment, and effective interpersonal and communication skills;
  • Collaborating with the Supervising Teacher/s and other school-based staff in ensuring the provision of effective and co-ordinated support, guidance and developmental opportunities to Teacher Education Students;
  • Undertaking the prescribed number of contacts with the school which may include:

-   a liaison visit generally involving speaking to the teacher education student and the supervising teacher(s) about expectations and progress but usually not observing the teacher education student in the classroom; and/or

-   a mentoring visit aiming to more fully facilitate the learning of the teacher education student during the placement which may involve an observation of teaching and completion of an observation report; and/or

-   a group visit, when more than one teacher education student is placed in the school, where the tertiary supervisor may choose to work more frequently with teacher education students as a group (and possibly with the supervising teachers as a group) making the focus more facilitation of peer learning rather than individual classroom observation

  • Enhancing the professional learning of Teacher Education Students through informal discussion and written feedback following classroom observations;
  • ensuring that the Professional Experience Office is contacted if the Teacher Education Students is experiencing difficulties or is in need of additional support. Ideally this should occur as early as possible so that Additional Support processes can be implemented; and
  • Discussing the Teacher Education Students development and possible grading (if applicable) with the Supervising Teacher and Tertiary Supervisor, prior to the preparation of the final report by the Supervising Teacher.

The Professional Experience Office

Responsibilities of the Professional Experience Office include:

  • Being the first point of contact between schools and the institution concerning professional experience with all administrative, financial and professional matters.
  • Facilitating and overseeing the placement of Teacher Education Students in schools and other relevant settings, by liaising with Principals/Heads of schools, Teacher Education Students, Professional Experience Coordinators, Tertiary Supervisors and other staff in the University, as required.
  • Working with the Director, Teacher Education Program (TEP) to ensure the University's documentation relating to the Professional Experience Program is up-to-date, consistent with relevant policies and is made available to those involved in supporting the Professional Experience Program.
  • Monitoring the correct application of procedures and ensuring due process in the event of concerns about the progress of Teacher Education Students and advising the Director TEP and Tertiary Supervisors if the Additional Support procedures are required.
  • Assisting the Director TEP to make decisions about the application of additional intervention and support for teacher education students on professional experience and the withdrawal of teacher education students from schools where significant concerns, conflict or unprofessionalism have occurred.
  • Ensuring the correct completion, submission, processing and recording of relevant documentation pertaining to a Professional Experience placement.
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