Alberta Teachers' Association logo in colour, all one line.


School Leader

A female and male colleagues talking in a room holding coffee cups.


School leaders (including the principal, assistant principal or vice-principal) play key roles in supporting field experiences within their schools, initially in agreeing to welcome student teachers to their schools, and second, in ensuring that the field experience is a positive, meaningful experience for all concerned.

If serving is below you, leadership is beyond you.


In large schools where a large number of student teachers are identified, the school leader may identify a lead teacher / field experience coordinator to assume some of the roles and responsibilities of administration.

Note: The first obligation of a school leader and a cooperating teacher is to their students. Therefore, the school leader has the right, in consultation with the faculty advisor and the cooperating teacher, to terminate a student teaching placement if the student teaching performance is interfering with the learning and/or well-being of the school’s students.

The Association defines the principal as follows:

  1. An educational leader who helps develop, promote and maintain a shared vision for the school community
  2. An instructional leader who supports high-quality teaching, evaluation and student placement
  3. A decision maker who establishes a collaborative decision-making model for the school
  4. A leader who ensures that the school operates as a safe and effective learning environment
  5. An advocate who promotes the school and public education in the wider community
  6. A colleague who works with teachers to create an environment that helps students to learn and teachers to grow professionally
Transition to Teaching Professional

The Taking Flight Framework of support for student teachers illustrates a holistic approach to teacher induction in Alberta. Research demonstrates that successful induction programs exist in schools where teacher induction is viewed as a collective responsibility.

Diagram of three solid triangles and one line arrow representing the support needed for student teachers.

Alberta Teachers’ Association 2021

“Alignment doesn’t mean making someone else align with what you’re already doing. It means building together an integrated approach to preparing teachers.”

Stronger coordination between teacher preparation programs and school jurisdictions can solidify the knowledge and skills that novice teachers need.

The best support is an environment conducive to professional learning and growth. This implies that supporting induction experiences is a collective undertaking. Sources of support are identified as follows:

  • A formal cooperating teacher, university faculty advisor and school administrator
  • Informal support from school colleagues, students, parents and the school community, as well as other university personnel
  • Relationships with other preservice teachers
  • Sharing resources with peers and colleagues
  • Formal observations and feedback related to evaluation

Four moral purposes compel school leaders (principals) to take active roles in the induction process:

  1. Facilitate effective socialization into the profession
  2. Reduce beginning teacher attrition
  3. Increase retention
  4. Benefit the entire school community