Expectations for School Advisors

The following is a general introduction to what is expected from school advisors. More detailed information on the procedures and required forms for each of the three phases of the practicum can be found elsewhere on this blog – not here.

Regular observations are expected. All advisors are requested to provide at least one formal observation (either a full or partial lesson) of their teacher candidate per week. Please record observations on either the anecdotal or performance checklist form. While occasional “surprise” observations are acceptable, the majority of observations should have pre-and post-conferencing with the teacher candidate to ensure maximum benefit.

Regular meetings are essential. Due process calls for three-way meetings between the teacher candidate, the school advisor and the faculty advisor. During the Extended Practicum a mid-point meeting and final report meeting are required; however, advisors should also allow time for additional meetings such as potential interim report meetings. Any meeting should include all school advisors as well as the faculty advisor to be effective. Such meetings are expected to take place during each of the school-based practica.

Communicate with the Faculty Advisor. It is extremely important that the “triad” – teacher candidate, school advisor(s), and faculty advisor – are all on the same page with respect to expectations. It is strongly advised that an initial meeting be held during EDUC 315, prior to the 2-week experience, and again prior to EDUC 321/323 (elementary/middle years program) with all parties present in order to accomplish this goal. Possible topics to cover include lesson and unit planning, classroom management, teacher candidate workload, teacher candidate dress, and school/department protocol. It is suggested that one of the initial observations of the teacher candidate be done by both the school advisor and the faculty advisor so that each is aware of the other advisor’s expectations.

Provide a fair, but challenging load of courses. It is necessary that all students be given a gradual immersion into their teaching duties. Do not overload your teacher candidate early on in the practicum; consult with your faculty advisor and determine a fair distribution of classes. During the 2-week experience, possible strategies could include team teaching with your teacher candidate or assigning mini-lessons (20-40 minutes) to help your teacher candidate ease into their teaching responsibilities.

Complete the EDUC 315 School Orientation I form in early December and submit it to your faculty advisor. This is the official form which approves teacher candidates to proceed to the next phase of the school experience. Please consult with the faculty advisor in order to make sure that this is done correctly.

In early March, prior to spring break, please remember to complete the EDUC 321/323 School Orientation Practicum II form (elementary/middle years program) and submit it to the faculty advisor. This is the official form which approves teacher candidates to proceed to the the Extended Practicum. Please consult with the faculty advisor in order to make sure that this is done correctly.

The final report should be roughly 2–3 pages in length, and should fairly and objectively detail the practicum. Remember that this is a summative document, so areas of initial weakness need not be documented. However, if it is beneficial to the report, it is more than acceptable to include not only areas of strength but also those in need of improvement. Areas where growth is still required should also be mentioned. An effective strategy used by many school advisors/faculty advisors is to structure the final report around the section headings of the checklist form. Final reports should be completed a week or two prior to the end of the extended practicum so that they may be referred to during the teacher candidate’s final meeting. If there are concerns, your teacher candidate should be given sufficient time to address the concern well in advance of writing the final report.

Communicate! If problems arise during any of the practica, please feel free to contact your faculty advisor or the Program Coordinator in the Teacher Education Office at any time. Clear and frequent communication is the best way to ensure that all teacher candidates are afforded the best possible practica.