Role of School Leader
The school leader (principal) plays three major roles in teacher induction, which includes preservice and inservice teachers. The school leader is a culture builder, an instructional leader and an advocate/ retainer.
As a culture builder, the school leader creates awareness and understanding of the school culture and the role of teachers as members of the profession; communicates the school’s mission, vision and values; responds to questions; and develops a community of practice that supports the continuous growth of all staff.
As an instructional leader in the school, the principal ensures that their leadership is a supportive leadership that focuses on the growth and development of their professional staff. School leaders address areas of classroom instruction that are governed by school or board policy.
As an advocate and retainer, the school leader supports teachers throughout their induction and understands preservice and inservice teachers’ stages of development.
Essential tools & Advice
Responsibility to the Cooperating Teacher
School leaders (including the principal, assistant principal or vice-principals) 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. Prior to the field experience, school leaders are responsible to the cooperating teachers for becoming familiar with the teacher preparation institution field experience expectations, policies and regulations (field experience handbook) and making this information known to cooperating teachers, encouraging cooperating teachers’ participation, assisting with suitable placements, overseeing the field experience, maintaining regular contact with cooperating teachers, providing advice as required and providing ongoing professional development opportunities to cooperating teachers.
Responsibility to the Student Teacher
School leaders are role models and as such are well positioned in their leadership roles in the school community to respond to student teacher needs and queries. Student teachers are well advised to seek out their assistance, experience and expertise as needed.
Note: The first obligation of a school leader and a cooperating teacher is to the students within the school. Therefore, the school leader has the right, in consultation with the faculty advisor, 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.
Responsibility to the Faculty Advisor
School leaders are responsible to faculty advisors in that school leaders should remain abreast of the teacher preparation institution field experience expectations, policies and regulations (field experience handbook) as they pertain to the student teacher(s) in their schools. School leaders should become involved with the field experience by engaging with the field experience partners including faculty advisors as the need arises and consulting with the field experience office personnel as required.