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ETFO Brochure: Advice on Being an Associate Teacher
You have chosen to become an associate teacher for a candidate at a Teacher Education Faculty. We thank you for accepting this voluntary professional role. Your expertise in mentoring a teacher candidate during a practicum is invaluable. ETFO members have told us that both associate teachers and practicing teachers benefit from this relationship. The brochure below will provide you with some information on how to make this practicum a rewarding and wonderful time for both of you.
Should you have any questions with regards to this document, please contact Joanne Languay, Executive Staff, at 416.962.3836 / 1.888.838.3836 ext. 2271 or firstname.lastname@example.org
9.0 Associate Teachers – 2008 9.1 That the participation by a member as an associate teacher be voluntary. 9.2 That associate teacher positions be posted.9.3 That the selection process for associate teachers be developed through consultation with members on the staff at the school. 9.4 That associate teacher candidates have a minimum of five (5) years of successful teaching experience. 9.5 That appropriate remuneration be paid directly to a member serving as an Associate Teacher. 9.6 That one associate teacher be assigned to each teacher candidate per placement and that there be a maximum of two (2) placements per year.9.7 That a member serving as an Associate Teacher be provided with professional development by a faculty of education during the instructional day. 9.8 That professional development on the relationship between associate and teacher candidates, responsibilities, and evaluation procedures be provided to associate teachers. 9.9 That planning, supervising, and conferencing time be provided during the instructional day for a member serving as an associate teacher. 9.10 That when a member acts as an associate teacher, priority be given to candidates enrolled in teacher education programs at publicly funded Ontario universities.
“Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.” - John Crosby
As an associate teacher, you are a mentor, coach, and advisor. You model innovative and successful teaching practices and help the teacher candidate to develop new skills in classroom management, differentiated learning, assessment, lesson planning, and establishing equitable classrooms. Your role is to demonstrate, break new tasks down into stages, provide time and space to practice, and share or suggest resources. You engage the teacher candidate in dialogue, challenge assumptions, and promote reflective practice as an essential component of ongoing professional growth. The relationship between the associate teacher and teacher candidate is based on trust.
Your classroom becomes the site for learning as the teacher candidate gets to know and understand the breadth and depth of teaching through the daily classroom experiences you provide. The teacher candidate needs to observe you teaching. Multiple and diverse opportunities for classroom observation will provide great learning opportunities. If possible, the observation of other teacher colleagues will help the candidate expand her/his repertoire of teaching skills. You have the opportunity to help the candidate blend theory and practice. Discussing with teacher candidates how you develop instructional goals, plan lessons, identify objectives, and creating assessment tools will greatly benefit his/her understanding. Assisting teacher candidates to develop problem solving skills is essential. Although, the teacher candidate is responsible for delivering lessons, and/or planning units, it is important to note that during the entire practicum, a teacher candidate is never to be left alone in the classroom. Legally, you are responsible for your class and you cannot relinquish that responsibility. Your presence is required with the class at all times. Teacher candidates are not qualified teachers and, as such, may not have any legal protection should anything occur which could involve allegations of assault or negligence while they are alone with a class. Such an instance could result in ending her/his teaching career before it begins. The associate teacher may also be the subject of criminal legal action and/or investigation by the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT) for having left the classroom without proper supervision. Teacher candidates are neither to be used as “on-call” teachers nor as occasional teachers.
As an associate teacher, you are key to ensuring the teacher candidate integrates into the school culture. You should introduce the candidate to:
You should also help the teacher candidate understand the inner workings of the school and the Board including policies, rules, and regulations.
The teacher candidate should experience all aspects of the teaching profession including: supervision duties; staff meetings; curriculum nights; school meetings, and parental interviews, if allowed. Your teacher candidate should also be invited to attend any professional learning activity in which you take part.
Offer to take the teacher candidate to a local union meeting during the time of her/his practicum. Many locals host a recognition evening for associate teachers and their candidates. Encourage your candidate to attend the meeting. Check first with the local to ensure that the meeting would be open to teacher candidates.
Although associate teaching is voluntary in nature, some faculties of education provide honoraria for their associate teachers. The honorarium can take the form of monetary remuneration given directly to the teacher or provided to the school for time-release. Other faculties may designate funds to the school or the department. Sometimes the faculty will give the associate teacher a tuition discount. Please refer to the faculty handbook for details. Note: if the honorarium is paid directly to the associate teacher, it must be declared as income for tax purposes, whether the faculty provides a T4A form or not.
Most faculties of education have procedures for addressing incompatibility or conflict between associate teachers and teacher candidates. Addressing issues early is important.
Familiarize yourself with the faculty of education handbook. It is the responsibility of the faculty to have established procedures on harassment and conflict. An associate teacher who feels harassed by a teacher candidate should identify harassment correctly. Use the ETFO Human Rights Statement and Harassment Policy as a guide. http://www.etfo.ca/AboutETFO/Governance/HumanRightsStatement/Pages/default.aspx If you feel you are being harassed by your teacher candidate, take the following steps:
Harassment and discrimination on the basis of a prohibited ground are violations of the Ontario Human Rights Code and are illegal. The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario will not tolerate any form of harassment or discrimination, as defined by the Ontario Human Rights Code, at provincial or local Federation sponsored activities.
--- Inform your students that you will be having a teacher candidate in the classroom.
--- Read the faculty of education handbook for associate teachers.
--- Discuss expectations, time lines, and protocols with your teacher candidate.
--- Provide an appropriate workspace for the teacher candidate.
--- Provide a copy of the school’s daily schedule and information about the school’s layout, routines, including announcements, extra-curricular activities, safety drills, etc.
--- Provide access to resources: curriculum documents, course outlines, and assessment and evaluation materials.
--- Plan for the teacher candidate to observe your classes and routines before assuming teaching responsibilities.
--- Check with colleagues to determine their willingness to have the teacher candidate observe their classrooms.
--- Provide access to essential board policy.
--- Provide the teacher candidate with a list of dates of upcoming staff/department meetings, local meetings, federation events, and professional development opportunities.
--- Introduce the teacher candidate to the support staff, the administration, the ETFO steward, and others.
--- Review your class lists with the teacher candidate.
--- Schedule mutually agreeable times for planning, observation, feedback, and reflection.
--- Establish the parameters of the relationship: roles and responsibilities.
--- Identify a procedure in case of conflict.
--- Provide clarity on the evaluative nature of the relationship, expectations and indicators of success.
--- Inform parents that a teacher candidate will be in your classroom.
--- Note the presence of a teacher candidate in the supply teacher binder.
OTF Policy on Associate Teaching