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:
“Alignment doesn’t mean making someone else align with what you’re already doing. It means building together an integrated approach to preparing teachers.”
Riley, B, and V Sakimura. 2018. “Alignment: The Cornerstone of Teacher Preparation.” Educational Leadership 75, 8: 36.
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:
Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA). 2015. A Principal’s Guide to Teacher Induction. Edmonton, Alta: ATA, 2.