Policies concerning Placements / Internships

On this page:

Student Teachers are responsible for reading, understanding, and abiding by all the policies and rules pertaining to Student Teaching.

Field Supervisors and Co-operating Teachers should also be familiar with the policies and rules, to ensure that placements are being carried out properly.

Policy application and liability may be different for MATL students on contract; please confirm with your Placement Coordinator if you are unsure.

 

Policies concerning Placements

  • Under no circumstances are students to approach schools or teachers to make their own arrangements. This is prohibited by agreements between universities and school boards.

  • Students will not be placed in schools where they have relatives (members of the administration, teaching staff, student body and support staff).
  • Field Experience and Internship placements are made through the Internships and Student Affairs Office and student teachers are expected to conduct their Field Experience or Internship in the school designated by the ISA.
  • It is the responsibility of each student teacher to register for their EDFE or EDIN course on Minerva and then submit their online Placement Form.

For further information and policies regarding placement organization, please consult the Placement Process page.

 


Dress Requirements

While we appreciate that "dress codes" and regulations about personal appearance can be inequitable and debatable, we must also work with the expectations and, at present, norms that are present in the field. While opinions of what is "appropriate" can vastly differ, the student teacher is expected to project a professional image, and conform with the established dress code of the assigned school. Students are encouraged to find/ask for the school's dress code in advance of their placement, to ensure they are adhering to it as of their first day. Students who do not conform with the school's dress code cannot be guaranteed a student teaching placement.

Need advice on how to dress? 

  • Dress in a way that first and foremost makes you feel comfortable and confident - but that also meets or exceeds typical expectations for "professional" attire. A helpful tip: Dress as you would for a job interview. (In a way, your placement is a long-term job interview.)
  • Typical expectations around professional dress in schools are that teachers do NOT wear: jeans, leggings, sweatpants, ripped pants, shorts, short dresses/skirts, baseball caps, hoodies, tank tops, or clothing that exposes excess skin.
  • Be safer than sorry with the choices you make, and defer to being more professional than typically required in your attire during your placement. Don't let your clothes be something that your Supervisor, CT, students/teachers/parents, or the school administration need to take note of (to you or to themselves).
  • Do not necessarily go by what your CT wears/suggests, either, as you will be interacting with many members of the school community, and do not have the same job security and positioning in the school community as your CT.
  • If you are unsure about what to wear, check:
    • Your host school's website to see if they have an official dress code/policy.
    • Your host school's website or social media for what teachers from that school might be wearing in posted photos.
    • With your Supervisor or Placement Coordinator.
    • With trusted (and honest) members of your personal support network.
    • Pinterest and blogs, for ideas and inspiration.
  • Phys. Ed. students: The easiest thing to do is wear your McGill-approved uniform! (white golf shirt with McGill crest, black basketball shorts). Yoga pants/leggings worn alone are not appropriate.

 


Conduct and Confidentiality

Student teachers are bound by the Code of Ethics (below), as well as the rules of their host school. Be sure to discuss these rules with your cooperating teacher or the school administrator. 

In addition to this official Code developed by McGill's Faculty of Education, the Consultative Committee on Student Teaching for Greater Montreal created the Guide to Professional Behaviour with practical examples of appropriate and inappropriate behaviours for use by student teachers and staff at all Quebec universities.

McGill student teachers should not post any photos or information about their students or host schools on Facebook, social media or other websites. This is a breach of confidentiality. Note that it is also not appropriate to add or fraternize with your students on social media.

 


Guidelines for Images and Video in Schools

It is essential that Student Teachers safe-guard the privacy of children/youth in school settings where their Field Experience and Internships take place. This policy is to make clear what is and is not permitted as regards the photographing of any images and video recording of children/youth you might work with in classrooms and other school settings - whether for use in your portfolio (electronic or paper), for a McGill course, class project, assignment, or other related professional purpose.

You ARE permitted to:

  1. Share the written work/products (i.e. drawings, etc.) of students whom you have taught during a Field Experience/Internship but must insure the removal of any and all reference to the name of the student, or any other student(s) mentioned, school, cooperating teacher(s) and/or school administrator(s). 
  2. Share photographs and videos that feature ONLY yourself teaching or leading a learning activity of any sort (i.e. classroom or non-formal learning activities). 

You are NOT permitted, no matter the policy of the school/school-board where you undertake a field experience/internship, to:

  1. Photograph or record (video or audio), children and youth with whom you work during a Field Experience/Internship - whether in classroom settings or any other context that involves the children and youth with whom you engage during a Field Experience/internship (i.e:  field trip, recess, play, performance, ceremony etc.).  This policy applies to anything you might wish to post online even in a private and fully secured domain*Exception, B.Ed. Music and B.Mus./B.Ed. students may record audio of products (i.e. musical performances, etc.), however, these recordings may not include mention of any names or other identifying features of the children/youth, Co-operating Teacher(s), and/or host school/board. 
  2. In videos or images you might wish to record of yourself teaching, any images of the children/youth you are teaching, or of Co-operating Teacher(s) or fellow student teachers CANNOT be captured (even if software exists that can distort the image, etc.).

 


Time Commitment

Placement Schedule & Amendment Requests

  • Placements have specifically prescribed start and end dates, and weekly schedules, which are based on a number of considerations and requirements. Students are asked to comply with this schedule and it is expected that they will start on the prescribed start date and end on the prescribed end date, barring needing to make up missed days due to illness, religious observations, etc.

*NEW* PILOT PROJECT FOR 2018-19: In an effort to better support student teachers, ISA is prepared to receive requests for the schedule of a placement to be slightly amended – if a student presents a clear, compelling, and pertinent reason, such as:

  • Responsibilities related to financial need
  • Family care responsibilities
  • Serious health concerns (not serviced by the Office for Students with Disabilities*)

Requests for amendments due to personal travel plans or course conflicts will not be considered.
Any request for amendment must be sent to your Placement Coordinator a minimum of 2 months before the placement start date, and should include:

  • Your Name and Student ID
  • The placement for which you are requesting an amendment
  • Your reason (with supporting documentation, as possible)
  • Your amendment request

Requests will be reviewed by the ISA Director on a case-by-case basis, and decisions will be based on, among other considerations, the amendment’s impact on the ISA Office, your host school, your Supervisor, and/or the placement timeline. Please allow 1-2 weeks’ time before a decision is rendered.

*Note: Guidelines for student teachers in the Faculty of Education requiring accommodations from the Office of Students with Disabilities (OSD) for student teaching placements are available here.

 

FE1-specific policy amendment: Excused absences – and whether they need to be made up – will be reviewed by the ISA office on a case-by-case basis; confirmation of the make-up plan may be rendered closer to the end of the FE, when the full context and total amount of missed days are better known.

Attendance

  • Student Teachers must attend school all day and be on time every day.
  • Student Teachers must follow the schedule determined by the School Administrator at the start of their Internship.

Activities and Travel

  • Student Teachers are strongly advised not to engage in activities (e.g. employment, courses) which could interfere with the time and energy required to prepare lessons and effectively teach during their placements. Course conflicts with a field placement will not be grounds for an excused absence from the field.
  • DO NOT make plans to leave the city for 1 week (minimum) immediately after your placement - you may be required to make up days lost to illness or school closure.
  • Student Teachers are expected to attend school all day and be on time every day of their placement.
  • MATL and B.Ed. students are not permitted to participate in overnight field trips with their host school, without a thorough review of the context and circumstances by the ISA Office.
  • An effort is made to place students within reasonable traveling distance (defined as up to 1.5 hours of travel time each way by the assigned method of transportation) from their address as indicated on Minerva or within reasonable distance from the downtown McGill campus (since students must also be able to travel to campus during this term). However, circumstances vary, and this travel time cannot be guaranteed and may be beyond the 1.5 hours. Students must budget time and money for travel to and from their assigned school. For example, you may choose to rent a car, or you may need to purchase a transit pass for a different region.

 


Concurrent Events

The following events may take place concurrently to a placement, and should be handled as follows:

EVENT DESCRIPTION DOES THE STUDENT TEACHER NEED TO MAKE UP THE DAY(S)??
Illness

Up to two days of absence do not require a supporting medical note.

Any absences lasting longer than 2 days will require that a valid medical note be submitted to ISA, at which point the outcome of the placement will be evaluated by the ISA Director on a case-by-case basis.

As soon as you are aware that you will be absent due to illness, you must contact the following people:

  1. Cooperating Teacher
  2. ISA Placement Coordinator by e-mail or by telephone (514-398-7046)
  3. Field Supervisor (particularly if a visit is planned for that day)
YES
Holidays Statutory holidays: Labour Day, Canadian Thanksgiving, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Victoria Day (Fête de Dollard), La Fête Nationale, Canada Day NO
 

American Thanksgiving: Absence may be permitted, pending ISA and CT approval, and depending on number of days missed; Student Teacher must notify ISA before the placement begins if interested in travelling home for American Thanksgiving.

Students with classes on the Friday after American Thanksgiving are expected to attend these courses, unless they receive permission from their instructors. ISA cannot give you permission to miss co-requisite courses, only days missed from the field.

YES
Religious Observation / Holy Days McGill University recognizes and respects the diversity of its community, including diversity of religious faiths and observances. The University is committed to providing an environment in which its students can fulfill both their university and their religious commitments. YES
Exams, including the EETC
*NEW*

Students may be absent from the host school for the entire day that they have a McGill exam or exam related to their B.Ed. degree, regardless of when during the day the exam is scheduled. Students are NOT permitted to be absent from the host school for the day prior to the exam for studying, etc.

Advise your Cooperating Teacher, Supervisor and your Placement Coordinator of an exam conflict as soon as the draft exam schedule is posted, and confirm the conflict once the final exam schedule is posted.

NO, if McGill exam

YES, if exam/test unrelated to McGill B.Ed. degree (e.g. GRE, LSAT, driving test, certificate pursued elsewhere)

Pedagogical (PED) Days

Student Teachers are required to attend pedagogical days at their school, unless the Co-operating Teacher or School Administrator informs them that they are not invited.

NO
Snow Days Snow days that cause the host school to be closed.

NO, if 2 or fewer days missed.

If a school closure exceeds 2 school days, each case will be looked at on an individual basis.

Spring Break IN1 and FE4 Student Teachers should follow the break schedule of their host school, and do not get time off during McGill's Reading Week.

NO, if 1 week break.

YES, if a Student Teacher's host school has a break longer than 1 week; the placement's end date should be extended accordingly.

McGill Varsity Sporting Events

Requests to be absent from the placement due to participation in a McGill varsity sporting event will be evaluated by the ISA Director on a case-by-case basis.

McGill athletes who wish to register a request must obtain a signed copy of a 'Participation in an Intercollegiate Sport Event' form from McGill Athletics and submit it to the ISA Office a minimum of two weeks before the proposed absence. Copies of the form can be obtained from Athletics' Manager, Varsity Sports, or Eligibility Officer.

YES

QPAT Convention
(November)

Student teachers are permitted to be absent from the field on these days, only if they want to or must attend the QPAT Convention in November (e.g. for assignments in other courses); it is also a good networking opportunity for students. An email from the ISA Office will let them know when they can pick up their free tickets.

Date in 2019: November 14-15, 2019

NO
Jennifer Wall Address
(November)

FE3 Phys Ed students will be absent from the field on the day of this annual mandatory address, which takes place in November.

Date in 2019: November 29, 2019

NO
Other
*NEW*

Requests to be absent from the placement for any other reasons are exceptionally permitted by the ISA on a case-by-case basis.

Any request for absence must be sent to the Student Teacher's Placement Coordinator a minimum of 2 weeks before the proposed absence.

If you need to consider rearranging your course schedule in order to accommodate a foreseeable absence, please communicate with your Placement Coordinator and your departmental Academic Advisor.

YES

Substitute Teaching / Tutoring

The following policy on substitute teaching and tutoring applies equally to B.Ed. and MATL students.

Substitute Teaching

  • *NEW* Student teachers are not permitted to substitute teach during their Field Experience/Internship.

    • Student teachers completing FE4 or IN2 who are discovered to have done any substitute teaching will be in violation of this policy AND will be ineligible for the Intern Perseverance and Success Scholarship because it will constitute "remuneration".

Tutoring

  • Student teachers may tutor in the school where they are placed for their Field Experience/Internship, and they may receive remuneration for that tutoring, provided they are not tutoring any students that they interact with and teach during their placement.

    • In the case where a host school's policy conflicts with ISA's (i.e. a school does not permit student teachers to tutor), the host school's policy shall prevail.


CT Presence in the Classroom

Co-operating Teachers are mentors, coaches and models to their student teachers and must exercise good judgment as well as professional accountability at all times. Relative to classroom presence, the professional expectation is that the Co-operating Teacher will always be within "easy reach" in the event that an emergency arises or the student teacher encounters a problem (the sole exception being MATL student teachers on contract in their own classroom). 

"Easy reach" means that the Co-operating Teacher should always remain within a reasonable distance from the classroom (e.g. teachers' lounge, library, office, etc.) and should not leave the school or its premises at any time while they or the student teacher are "on duty." 

Furthermore, Co-operating Teachers should never assign a colleague to conduct their job of mentoring/supervising a student teacher without the express knowledge and agreement of the School Administrator.  

Depending on the Field Experience/Internship, Student Teachers may (or may not) be left on their own in the classroom, per the guidelines below: 

  • 1st Field Experience (B.Ed): The Student Teacher should never be left alone in the classroom, even for short periods of time
  • 2nd Field Experience (B.Ed): The Student Teacher should rarely be left alone in the classroom and, even then, only for reasonable periods of time (i.e. not exceeding 20 minutes)
  • 3rd Field Experience (B.Ed.)/1st Internship (MATL, unless on contract): The Student Teacher may be left alone in the classroom and/or to teach portions of or an entire class as the Field Experience/Internship progresses and based on the assessment of readiness by the Co-operating Teacher; however, they should never be left alone for an entire day or used as a substitute teacher 
  • 4th Field Experience (B.Ed.)/2nd Internship (MATL, unless on contract): The Student Teacher may be left alone in the classroom and/or to teach portions of or an entire class; however, they should never be left alone for an entire day or used as a substitute teacher

 


Support Visits

Field Supervisors may register a request with the ISA (via your Placement Coordinator) to make an unannounced or extra support visit if you feel that it is warranted.

Support visits MUST be pre-registered and approved by the ISA!

Certainly, you do not want to be obtrusive in the school but you may take the necessary measures to ensure that the Student Teacher is performing adequately under a variety of conditions (i.e. when you are not present).

If you have questions about the appropriateness of a support visit, please contact your Placement Coordinator.


Problems & Procedures during Placement

  • The Co-operating Teacher should inform the Field Supervisor if the Student Teacher shows professional shortcomings in any of the following, including but not limited to: pedagogical weakness; punctuality and reliability; responding well to feedback and suggestions; following established rules and routines; appropriate dress and grooming; working to develop good relationships with students/staff;.
  • Prompt action is necessary. The first step will be to call a meeting with the Student Teacher, Co-operating Teacher and Field Supervisor, in order to discuss everyone’s concerns and determine a course of action.
  • The Field Supervisor and Co-operating Teacher may use the 'Record of Early Concern' or ‘Competency Improvement Plan’ form to notify the ISA Office of a Student Teacher’s problems or a pedagogical and/or professional nature and the plan of remedial action.

When Challenges Arise...

  • Refer to the ISA website/e-Handbook for confirmation on rules, policies, etc.
  • If it involves another person, communicate with the individual and clarify the problem/issue/miscommunication
  • If the issue is between a Student Teacher and CT, and you cannot resolve the issue directly, communicate with your Supervisor and ask for guidance about how to proceed
  • If you cannot resolve the issue through these methods, communicate with your Placement Coordinator or, as required, other ISA staff

Constructive Communication

Whether resolving conflicts or providing feedback, the following principles should be kept in mind:

  • The Student Teaching experience is first and foremost a learning space; approach any interaction as an opportunity for learning
  • Be timely, ideally sometime soon after your observation/experience and when there is still time for resolution/change
  • Focus on what you've observed/experienced rather than what you may be assuming or inferring
  • Describe specifically what you have observed/experienced
  • Offer specific suggestions for improvement or change, but be prepared to be flexible and responsive to other ideas
  • Give the other person an opportunity to respond, and listen actively to their response
  • Summarize and express your support
  • Above all, be professional and respectful

 


Student Rights and Responsibilities

McGill places a great deal of importance on honest work and the fair treatment of all members of the University community. A solid understanding of everyone's rights and responsibilities can ensure that all our interactions are fair and respectful.

Namely, McGill students have the right to:

  • The safeguard of their dignity and a right to be protected by the University against vexatious conduct displayed by a representative of the University acting in an official capacity
  • Equal treatment by the University; this right must not be impaired by discrimination based on race, colour, ethnic or national origin, civil status, religion, creed, political convictions, language, sex, sexual orientation, social condition, age, personal handicap or the use of any means to palliate such a handicap
  • The protection of their personal information
  • The freedoms of opinion and of expression
  • Safe and suitable conditions of learning and study

In turn, McGill students are expected to behave and conduct themselves with utmost professional and honest.

Namely, no McGill student shall:

  • Plagiarize and/or cheat
  • Knowingly misrepresent material facts for the purpose of obtaining academic advantage or credit
  • Knowingly create a condition that unnecessarily endangers or threatens or undermines the health, safety, wellbeing, or dignity of another person or persons
  • Knowingly defraud or abuse the trust of any University office, facility, or service
  • Violate the McGill Code of Ethics for Student Teachers

 


McGill Code of Ethics for Student Teachers

A. Preamble – A student-centered perspective

Mandate:

A joint subcommittee consisting of members from two standing committees of the Faculty of Education (Faculty of Education Ethical Review Board and Student Standing) was created to develop a Code of Ethics for Student Teachers and to examine the ways in which this Code will be communicated to students, faculty members and educational partners.

Goals and rationale:

The interests of the two Standing Committees of the Faculty of Education in promoting appropriate ethical and professional conduct have led us to develop the following Code of Ethics for Student Teachers. This code seeks to respond to, and address the following needs:

  • The Code addresses the interdependent duties, rights and responsibilities of student teachers, faculty members and educational partners.
  • By addressing common issues and needs, the Code seeks to articulate and make explicit ethical principles that transcend disciplinary boundaries. These principles reflect the fundamental values that are expressed in the duties, rights and responsibilities of all involved in Teacher Education.
  • The Code requires a reasonable flexibility in the implementation of common principles. It is designed to help those involved in Teacher Education, as a matter of sound ethical reasoning, to understand and respect the contexts in which they work and accommodate the needs of others.
  • The Code seeks to encourage continued reflection and thoughtful response to ethical issues. It does not seek definitive answers to all ethical questions or situations. Rather, it seeks to outline the guiding principles to ethical conduct and to identify major issues which are essential to the development and implementation of this Code.

Context of an ethics framework for student teachers

The principles and norms guiding ethical conduct are developed within an ever-evolving complex societal context, elements of which include the need for reflective action and ethical principles.

Education is premised on a fundamental moral commitment to advance and construct knowledge and to ensure human understanding and respect for individual and collective well-being and integrity.

The moral imperative of respect translates into the following ethical principles that assume a student-centred perspective as articulated in the Quebec Curriculum Reform and Competencies outlined for Teacher Education.

B. Academic freedom and responsibilities

Teachers enjoy, and should continue to enjoy important freedoms and privileges. However, with freedoms come responsibilities and ethical challenges. This Code of Ethics is in keeping with the philosophy and spirit of the New Directions that are embedded in the document Teacher Training: Orientations, Professional Competencies (Ministère de l’Éducation 2001) and the reflective practice literature.

The role of the teacher and the contexts of teaching have changed. Thus, new resources (knowledge, skills, attitudes) are required to practice the profession and meet the challenges of teaching and learning in whatever contexts student teachers may find themselves and to engage in professional development individually and with others.

C. Ethics and law

“Teaching is governed by a legal and regulatory framework” (MEQ p. 120). The law affects and regulates the standards and norms of teaching behaviors in a variety of ways such as respecting privacy, confidentiality, intellectual property, competence. Human rights legislation prohibits discrimination and recognizes equal treatment as fundamental to human dignity and well-being. Teachers should respect the spirit of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms particularly the sections dealing with life, liberty and the security of the person as well as those involving equality and discrimination and the Education Act that sets out the obligations and rights of teachers.

D. Guiding ethical principles

Ethical student teachers should respect the following guiding ethical principles:

  1. Respect for human dignity
    • Speaks and acts towards all students with respect and dignity; and deals judiciously with them at all times, always mindful of their individual rights and personal sensibilities.
    • Respects the dignity and responsibilities of cooperating teachers, peers, principals, parents and other professionals or para-professionals within the school, school board and community.
  2. Respect for vulnerable persons
    • Respects and recognizes ethical obligations towards vulnerable persons. This principle recognizes that students are in a vulnerable position and that student teachers are in a privileged relationship with students and their families and will always refrain from exploiting that relationship in any form or manner.
  3. Respect for confidentiality and privacy
    • Respects the confidential nature of all information related to students and their families and will share such information in an appropriate manner only with those directly concerned with their welfare.
    • Respects the confidential nature of all information related to all school personnel and will share such information in an appropriate manner.
  4. Respect for justice
    • Respects and recognizes the right of individuals to be treated with fairness and equity and the importance of avoiding conflicts of interest.
  5. Respect for safety of students
    • Respects the right of individuals to expect that student teachers will engage in practices that aim to ensure the physical, psychological and emotional safety of students.
  6. Respect for existing ethical codes and professional standards
    • Respects the authority, roles and responsibilities of the cooperating teacher and agrees to adhere to the responsibilities and obligations for teachers as outlined in the Education Act, Faculty and University handbooks as well as all local agreements by host school boards and schools.
  7. Balancing harm and benefits
    • Acknowledges that any potentially harmful practices (eg. Science Labs and Physical Education Activities) must be balanced with anticipated benefits and conducted in a prudent informed manner.

 


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