Your responsibilities – Before a Placement

This topic provides a summary of key tasks that you are responsible for before your professional experience placement. These tasks are very important to ensure that you are eligible for a placement and to ensure that a Placement Officer knows that a placement has to be organised for you.

To do List

(Tasks to complete in the University Term before your scheduled Professional Practice or Professional Praxis unit)

You will need to follow all of the steps in this “To Do” list to be able to undertake professional experience and to ensure that you can start your placement at a school or other learning site on time.

  • Ensure that you have a valid and current Working with Children Check (WWCC) for the Australian State or Territory where you will be completing your placement
  • Check that you are eligible to enrol in and complete the unit that includes your professional experience placement in the next university term
  • Check your Professional Practice Calendar and know when a placement is scheduled
  • Fill in and submit a “Request for Placement” form to your Placement Officer in the Professional Experience Office
  • Advise your Placement Office immediately if any of your circumstances change and if have decided that you will not be enrolling in the unit that includes a placement in the following term.

Finding out about your placement

You will receive an email from staff at the Professional Experience Office that tells you these details about your placement:

  • The name of the school, early learning centre or educational site where you have been placed
  • The telephone number of the site
  • The name of the Site Coordinator you will contact about your placement
  • Instructions for your first meeting with the site coordinator or supervising teacher

When you can expect to hear from the Professional Experience Office

In usual circumstances, you will be notified of these details when placements have been finalised for all students who are undertaking the same unit (and professional experience placement) as you. Depending on when school holidays are scheduled in relation to the university term, you can expect to receive notification about your placement approximately two weeks before your Professional Practice / Professional Praxis placement is due to start.

Placement Officers are very busy so you should wait to hear from them before making enquiries to check on the progress of your placement. Your placement officer will be in contact with you if there is any delay in finalising a place for you at a site close to the address you have listed on your Request for Placement form.

When to contact the Professional Experience Office or your Placement Officer

If you have not heard from a Placement Officer one week before your placement is due to start, you should contact the Professional Experience Office by email or phone to make further enquiries.

Your first meeting with staff at your placement site

First impressions are very important. Site coordinators and supervising teachers will gain an impression of your commitment to the placement from the time you first make contact with them. You should ensure you make an impression that shows you are professional and well-prepared for your placement.

The expectations for your placement will be explained in detail by your tutor in your university tutorials or zoom sessions. In many cases, you will be contacting staff at your placement site before your unit starts for the term or before you have access to your unit Moodle site.

This list of helpful hints will help you to make the right impression at your first meeting:

  • Access a copy of the booklet for your professional experience placement from the page called “Information and Guidelines Booklets and Reports” on the side bar menu.
  • Read the booklet thoroughly and take a printed copy with you to your first meeting
  • Contact the school by phone, introduce yourself and ask if the site coordinator is available. Leave your contact number and email contact if the site coordinator listed on your placement email is not available or arrange a suitable time to call back.
    • (Note: For any contact with the site coordinator or a supervising teacher via email, always use professional written communication e.g. no small “i” to refer to yourself as often used in text messages, etc.)
  • Arrive at the site for any arranged meeting in plenty of time
  • Take proof of your WWCC (e.g. Blue Card) as schools will need to sight this prior to the start of your placement
  • Dress neatly and appropriately for your meeting (no thongs) and pay attention to your personal grooming
  • Ask questions that show your enthusiasm for the placement and ensure you find out the procedures for arrival times, signing in, where to park, etc
  • For placements that include single day visits, ensure that you discuss and know the day of the week that suits your supervising teacher for your attendance (Note: This day may be pre-organised if you are studying on campus to fit in with your university timetable. The day can be negotiated to suit the requirements of the school and class timetable for your supervising teacher.)
  • Meet your supervising teacher, where possible, and obtain his / her name and email contact details (This information is vital for university academic staff to make contact to support you and your supervising teacher during your placement.)
  • After your first meeting, return the completed contact details form to the Professional Experience Office by email or hand it in personally to your placement officer or tutor if you are studying on a regional campus.

Presenting yourself as a professional

This video explains the helpful hints above in more detail to help you prepare for your first meeting at the school or learning site and make a good first impression.