Field Experience Guide

Resources and information about the Okanagan School of Education field experience program for mentors, administrators and BEd students.

Ideas for Candidate/Intern Responsibilities

Suggestions de responsabilités pour les candidats et internes

Initial conversations: Mentor teacher(s) & Interns/Candidates

Developing a collegial, constructive relationship is a core goal for any professional partnership. It is important to begin with this goal in mind and stay committed to fostering this relationship throughout each field experience.

  • Get to know your new school community: peruse the school and district websites, drive around the neighborhood, have conversations with colleagues
  • Revisit your e-portfolio and other reflections (interns)
  • Think about ways that you can contribute to the class and school community
  • Think about your growth goals (interns)
  • It is advisable to dress professionally (business casual) for your initial meeting.
  • Take notes: Bring your padfolio and a pen and take notes during your conversation.
  • Try to learn what is important to your mentor- their priorities need to be your priorities!

Here are some possible questions to ask your mentor(s):

  • What are some core qualities of your class community? How do you cultivate these at the start of the year? … during the year?
  • How do you approach instructional design and planning? (e.g. year overview, unit/project/theme planning, daily teaching)
  • What kinds of initiatives or innovations are you trying/do you want to try next year? How can we work and learn together?
  • In general, what does your weekly work schedule/work flow look like? What do you need me to do to complement your work schedule?
  • What can our collaborative partnership look like? What is important to you in a collaborative partnership? What are your expectations re: my role in the class and school community?
  • What are your expectations regarding my planning/preparation? How do you want me to share my planning with you?
  • What do you need me to do to prepare for this field experience?

Interns – If time allows, discuss possible opportunities for collaboration prior to and/or at the start of the school year:

  • Help with classroom set-up*
  • Assist with school-based set-up*
  • Help with student welcome/orientation events*
  • Attend ProD with your mentor*
  • Attend ProD on own

*at mentor and/or administrator’s discretion

Send a thank you note in which you summarize the discussion and your understanding re: next steps.

Developing a Teaching Plan in Conjunction with your Mentor

A teaching plan is an overview of key dates and details in a term, semester or full year. Teachers have to keep track of a lot of information and the teaching plan is used as an organizer to record these important details in one location. This teaching plan is a working reference that is added to and revised on an ongoing basis as new details are known.

Knowing the key dates and details will enable you and your mentor to prioritize your work and be proactive in your planning and preparation. It will also help you stay aware of the important elements of your broader teaching context.

Develop a week-at-a-glance template. Make sure you have one page for each week of your field experience.

Some options: You can adapt your mentor’s weekly schedule as a starting point, share a planning document with your mentor, or create your own week-at-a-glance template.

Refer to your school calendar and your OSE field experience schedule and note the important dates and deadlines, key events and meetings on each week of your teaching plan.

School events might include: staff meetings, supervision, early dismissal, assemblies, ProD days, field trips, report card dates, parent/teacher meetings etc.

Field experience dates are any due dates for assigned tasks and scheduled appointments such as teaching plan submissions, ongoing weekly reflections, self-assessment/goals, observations, meetings etc.

In consultation with your mentor(s):

  • Determine the lessons, lesson sequences and/or units** that you will teach/co-teach
  • Note the dedicated class time in your week-at-a-glance schedule
  • Discuss your role in communicating student learning (assessment) and note relevant key dates and details
  • Note your prep time. Normally this is on the same days/times as your mentor
  • Note collaborative time and/or time for reviewing working drafts of your planning with your mentor

**Teaching responsibilities by field experience:

  • EDUC 440: plan, prepare & teach a minimum of 3 lessons (e.g. planning a community building activity, leading a routine, facilitating a review activity, developing a mini-lesson) as directed by the mentor.
  • EDUC 441: plan, prepare, & teach/co-teach a minimum of two lesson sequences. Each should be approximately 2-4 weeks in duration. In addition, each candidate should facilitate various routines and/or stand-alone lessons as directed by the mentor.
  • EDUC 444: plan, prepare & teach/co-teach units, lesson sequences, routines and stand-alone lessons. By mid-October and as directed by the mentor and field advisor, interns normally assume a 70-100% teaching load.

Make sure you have set aside regular time for ongoing reflections and have scheduled these into your week-at-a-glance schedule.

Complete a teaching plan development checklist by using the template provided and submit it to your field advisor by the specified due date.

Mentors are eligible for 3.0 Okanagan School of Education Tuition credits if they host a BEd candidate or intern during the immersive field experiences. These tuition credits will be issued in the spring and can be redeemed for any of the Okanagan School of Education’s Summer Institute in Education, Post-Baccalaureate or Graduate courses.

Note: These tuition credits are valid for two years and are not transferable.

Assessment Process

Candidate Field Experience

Learning Goals for Field Experiences

Candidates and interns in the Okanagan School of Education develop the competencies reflected in the Professional Standards for BC Educators (2019).

Documentation of Learning & Assessment Tasks

Mentor’s role is in bold
Field advisor will be referred to as FA

Candidates will reflect regularly on their experiences.

Candidates will complete a self-assessment (including Growth Goals) and email it to their FA and mentor teacher by early January

FA will meet with candidates to discuss their self-assessment and goals
FA will check in with mentors to discuss candidate progress to date and preparations for the five-week experience.

Five-week immersive experience (Collaborative Explorations II)

  • Candidates will reflect regularly.
  • Mentors provide feedback directly to candidates (feedback options provided, cc FA).
  • FA will email comments and feedback from observations to the candidate and mentor(s).

Week of February 24 – March 4

Working with their mentor(s), candidates complete their Curation of Learning Self-Assessment and Growth Goals document. This document is then shared with the candidate’s FA.

March 7 – 18

  • FA will curate the documentation of evidence and draft a final report with growth goals.
  • Exit meetings held during which candidate, mentor and field advisor discuss draft report and finalize growth goals.
  • Following the exit meeting, candidate and mentor receive a copy of the final report.

Mentors will receive a link to an online survey to provide feedback about the candidate field experiences.

Internship/Certifying Practicum

LEARNING GOALS FOR FIELD EXPERIENCES

Candidates and interns in the Okanagan School of Education develop the competencies reflected in the Professional Standards for BC Educators (2019).

Documentation of Learning & Assessment Tasks

Mentor’s role is in bold
Field advisor will be referred to as FA

  • Interns will reflect regularly on their experiences.
  • FA and intern observers will schedule regular observations for October and November.
  • Mentors provide feedback directly to interns (feedback options provided, cc field advisor)
  • FA and intern observer will email comments and feedback from observations to the candidate and mentor(s)
  • Interns will complete a self-assessment/growth goals document, review it with their mentor(s) and email it to their field advisor
  • Mid-point check-in meetings are scheduled: intern, mentor(s) and FA will meet to discuss the intern’s self-assessment and growth goals

Interns will complete a final self-assessment/growth goals document and review it with mentor(s) prior to emailing it to the FA and mentor(s).

  • Final meeting date/time set: Intern will schedule an appointment based on mentor(s)’ availability
  • Late November: Mentor will receive a draft copy of intern’s final report for review. Mentor will send field advisor any suggestions, additions or feedback regarding the report.
  • The day before the final meeting: FA will send a ‘preview’ copy of the final report to the intern (cc mentor) to read in advance of the final meeting.
  • At the final meeting: Final discussion and signing of the report. The final meeting will take approximately 20 – 30 minutes.
  • Following the final meeting, the FA will send mentor and intern a scanned copy of the signed report.

Mentors will receive a link to an online survey to provide feedback about the internship.

Transformative teaching: Bringing equity and inclusion into the classroom

Interns can bring new energy, ideas and practices to a classroom.

The relationship between a teacher intern and their mentor can be an exceptionally transformative learning experience. Mentors play a vital role in our teacher education program as they help to guide interns’ learning and influence their identity as future teachers. Interns can bring new energy, ideas and practices to a classroom.

At Okanagan Mission Secondary School (OKM), Lindsay Ellis, intern, and Candace Sharko, mentor, have a great working relationship – that perhaps stems from some common traits, professional goals, and shared beliefs in promoting equity and inclusion in the classroom.

Read more

Feedback Options for Mentors

“The goal of feedback is to improve the effectiveness of teaching and promote professional growth.” – Eric J. Feeney, Quality Feedback: The Essential Ingredient for Teacher Success

We believe that regular feedback is an “essential ingredient” for promoting learning. In our Bachelor of Education program, we want to empower mentors to support and work with their candidates/interns in a way that best fits their practice and teaching context. As such, we are offering multiple ways for mentors to provide feedback.

Here are some examples (not an exhaustive list) of mentor’s options for providing feedback to candidates/interns:

  • Ongoing conversations with candidate/intern (candidate/intern takes notes and uses these as a basis for reflection)
  • Written observations/running records that are shared/discussed with candidate/intern and forwarded to field advisor
  • Focused observations during lessons that are shared/discussed with candidate/intern and forwarded to field advisor (notes can be written on a Word doc, a recipe card, directly on the candidate’s/intern’s lesson plan, or using the observation notes in one of the templates provided)
  • Shared planning documents (e.g. Google Doc) accessed by candidate/intern (link sent to field advisor) where mentor posts comments/provides feedback

Mentor Feedback Templates

Optional: Mentors may choose to use the below templates to record feedback and general commentary.

Frequently Asked Questions

It is expected that candidates/interns attend all staff meetings. Candidates/Interns are expected to attend school-based team meetings if all parties are in agreement about their participation. Candidates/interns DO NOT attend any union meetings such as staff committee meetings or union updates.

It is expected that your candidate/intern will join you for your weekly supervision. They cannot supervise on their own and must remain with you during your supervision time. Candidates/interns may participate in or run clubs if they are working in close collaboration with a supervising teacher. They may help to coach and be involved with sports teams if working under a supervising teacher.

Yes! You are welcome to leave the class for short periods if you feel your candidate/intern is ready for this next step. Candidates/interns are not to be used as a TTOC in case of a mentor’s absence. However, when there is a TTOC in the classroom, this is a great opportunity for candidates/interns to take on a lead teaching role as they know the students and classroom routines. The TTOC must remain in the classroom, and may take on the role of support teacher in these situations.

Collaborating can look different in different situations:

  • Co-planning a lesson/unit together where ideas are shared and incorporated equally
  • Co-teaching a lesson that has been planned by the mentor, the candidate/intern or co-planned together
  • The candidate/intern sharing their planning and receiving constructive feedback on the strengths and challenges of the lesson and how to improve it
  • The candidate/intern observing the mentor teacher teach a specific lesson and then debriefing together about the observed lesson

Collaborating is NOT the mentor providing lessons for the candidate/intern to follow and teach (similar to how a TTOC would work in the classroom).

Planning for regular opportunities to share feedback with your candidate or intern is an essential part of their learning in the field. Some mentors have meetings after school where their student takes notes, others create Google Docs with feedback and some write notes directly on the student’s plan. There is no mandated format. Please see page 21 of this Field Guide for more information. Should you wish to complete a feedback form to give to your student, examples of feedback templates are included on pages 22-25.

Mentors are an integral part of the support team and their input/feedback is invaluable. We recognize that mentors are extremely busy and we strive to provide a variety of ways for them in which to share their feedback. They are encouraged to share any written feedback they have with the field advisor (see pg. 21 for more ideas). The field advisor writes all formal reports, such as the candidates’ Summary of Learning Report and the interns’ Final Report. Mentors receive copies of all reports for review prior to submission to the candidates or interns.

Candidates and interns are expected to work closely with their mentors to develop teaching plans and learning sequences. It is recommended that candidates and interns share their planning with their mentors regularly. It is at the discretion of each mentor for when candidates and interns turn in their plans for mentor review. It is beneficial to have a set schedule for the review of lesson plans, such as sharing lesson plans a day or two before instruction. Mentors should be aware of lesson plans before each lesson.

Mentors should contact the field advisor (FA) whenever they are concerned about any aspect of their candidate’s or intern’s progress, conduct, or preparation. FAs are here to assist you with other questions, too, such as questions about the timeline, expectations etc. If you have concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the field advisor. It is preferable to contact the FA early when there is a concern. If you feel there is a concern and you have addressed it with your student, please let the FA know so that they are informed and ready to step in, if necessary. We are here to support you.

Candidates and interns are expected to conduct themselves to the highest standard in regards to punctuality and professional conduct. A general guideline is for candidates and interns to be at school thirty minutes prior to the start of the day and stay thirty minutes after the final bell. Although many candidates and interns complete some of their preparation at home, the OSE strongly encourages them to be fully prepared for the next day prior to leaving school at the end of the day. Candidates and interns should dress appropriately and are are expected to present themselves professionally as junior members of staff.

Interns:
As each situation is unique, an exact percentage of teaching time is sometimes challenging to identify numerically. For example, in some collaboratively-planned learning communities, the interns are 100% part of the planning and teaching teams; in other situations, there may be a portion of the day when some lessons are co-planned/taught and some lessons are planned/taught independently by the interns/candidates. To allow for flexibility in these unique situations, a guideline of 70-100% teaching load would be appropriate for the internship as it is their certifying practicum.

Candidates:
The teaching responsibilities of candidates may be based on their readiness to take on new challenges and responsibilities. While it is expected that the candidates will teach within the guidelines outlined, there is room for some discretion in assigning workload by the mentor and/or the field advisor.

While it seems that the Self-Assessment and Growth Goals document is completed at an early stage of the five-week field experience (EDUC 441), this document is actually reflective of all of the combined experiences candidates had during their school visits in November and January, the two-week field experience in December (EDUC 440), and the first three weeks of EDUC 441. The candidates complete the document, review it with their mentor and then submit to be reviewed by the field advisor. This document, along with observations and conversations along the way, are considered by the field advisor as the final summary of learning is written (in week 4) and reviewed by everyone (in week 5).