On this page:
- Policies concerning Placements
- Dress Requirements
- Conduct and Confidentiality
- Guidelines for Images & Video in Schools
- Time Commitment:
- Concurrent Events:
- Substitute Teaching/Tutoring
- CT Presence in Classrooms
- Support Visits
- Problems & Procedures during Placement
- Student Rights and Responsibilities
- McGill Principles of Practice, Behaviour and Ethical Conduct for Teacher Candidates
Student Teachers are responsible for reading, understanding, and abiding by all the policies and rules pertaining to Student Teaching.
Field Supervisors and Co-operating Teachers should also be familiar with the policies and rules, to ensure that placements are being carried out properly.
Policy application and liability may be different for MATL students on contract; please confirm with your Placement Coordinator if you are unsure.
Under no circumstances are students to approach schools or teachers to make their own arrangements. This is prohibited by agreements between universities and school boards.
- Students will not be placed in schools where they have relatives (members of the administration, teaching staff, student body and support staff).
- Field Experience and Internship placements are made through the Internships and Student Affairs Office and student teachers are expected to conduct their Field Experience or Internship in the school designated by the ISA.
- It is the responsibility of each student teacher to register for their EDFE or EDIN course on Minerva and then submit their online Placement Form.
- Field Experience/Internship credits from other Universities are non-transferable to a McGill teacher certification program. All Field Experience/Internship courses must be completed at McGill University to count towards a B.Ed. or MATL degree.
For further information and policies regarding placement organization, please consult the Placement Process page.
While we appreciate that "dress codes" and regulations about personal appearance can be inequitable and debatable, we must also work with the expectations and, at present, norms that are present in the field. While opinions of what is "appropriate" can vastly differ, the student teacher is expected to project a professional image, and conform with the established dress code of the assigned school. Students are encouraged to find/ask for the school's dress code in advance of their placement, to ensure they are adhering to it as of their first day. Students who do not conform with the school's dress code cannot be guaranteed a student teaching placement.
Need advice on how to dress?
- Dress in a way that first and foremost makes you feel comfortable and confident - but that also meets or exceeds typical expectations for "professional" attire. A helpful tip: Dress as you would for a job interview. (In a way, your placement is a long-term job interview.)
- Typical expectations around professional dress in schools are that teachers do NOT wear: jeans, leggings, sweatpants, ripped pants, shorts, short dresses/skirts, baseball caps, hoodies, tank tops, or clothing that exposes excess skin.
- Be safer than sorry with the choices you make, and defer to being more professional than typically required in your attire during your placement. Don't let your clothes be something that your Supervisor, CT, students/teachers/parents, or the school administration need to take note of (to you or to themselves).
- Use your professional judgement on whether to cover visible tattoos and piercings
- Do not necessarily go by what your CT wears/suggests, either, as you will be interacting with many members of the school community, and do not have the same job security and positioning in the school community as your CT.
- If you are unsure about what to wear, check:
- Your host school's website to see if they have an official dress code/policy.
- Your host school's website or social media for what teachers from that school might be wearing in posted photos.
- With your Supervisor or Placement Coordinator.
- With trusted (and honest) members of your personal support network.
- Pinterest and blogs, for ideas and inspiration.
- Phys. Ed. students: The easiest thing to do is wear your McGill-approved uniform! (white golf shirt with McGill crest, black basketball shorts). Yoga pants/leggings worn alone are not appropriate.
Student teachers are bound by the Principles of Practice (below), as well as the rules of their host school. Be sure to discuss these rules with your cooperating teacher or the school administrator.
In addition to the Principles developed by McGill's Faculty of Education, the Consultative Committee on Student Teaching for Greater Montreal created the Guide to Professional Behaviour with practical examples of appropriate and inappropriate behaviours for use by student teachers and staff at all Quebec universities.
McGill student teachers should not post any photos or information about their students or host schools on Facebook, social media or other websites. This is a breach of confidentiality. Note that it is also not appropriate to add or fraternize with your students on social media.
It is essential that Student Teachers safe-guard the privacy of children/youth in school settings where their Field Experience and Internships take place. This policy is to make clear what is and is not permitted as regards the photographing of any images and video recording of children/youth you might work with in classrooms and other school settings - whether for use in your portfolio (electronic or paper), for a McGill course, class project, assignment, or other related professional purpose.
You ARE permitted to:
- Share the written work/products (i.e. drawings, etc.) of students whom you have taught during a Field Experience/Internship but must ensure the removal of any and all reference to the name of the student, or any other student(s) mentioned, school, cooperating teacher(s) and/or school administrator(s).
- Share photographs and videos that feature ONLY yourself teaching or leading a learning activity of any sort (i.e. classroom or non-formal learning activities).
You are NOT permitted, no matter the policy of the school/school board where you undertake a field experience/internship, to:
- Photograph or record in any manner, children and youth with whom you work during a field experience/internship - whether in classroom settings or any other context that involves the children and youth with whom you engage during a field experience/internship (e.g. field trip, recess, play, performance, ceremony etc.). This policy applies to anything you might wish to post online even in a private and fully secured domain.
- In videos or images when you might wish to record yourself teaching, images of children and youth you are teaching, or of cooperating teachers or fellow student teachers CANNOT be captured (even if software exists that can distort the image, etc.).
Exceptions to the above may exist for the purpose of facilitating remote supervision of a teaching activity. In this case, to protect the confidentiality of the young people with whom you will be teaching and to accommodate the need for remote field supervision, teacher candidates must use the provided consent forms for the livestreaming or recording of any teaching episode for the purpose of assessment during their field experience.
Permission for research involving youth requires formal ethics approval from McGill’s Ethics Review Board
Placements have specifically prescribed start and end dates, and weekly schedules, which are based on a number of considerations and requirements. Students are asked to comply with this schedule and it is expected that they will start on the prescribed start date and end on the prescribed end date, barring needing to make up missed days due to illness, religious observations, etc.
In an effort to better support student teachers, ISA is prepared to receive requests for the schedule of a placement to be slightly amended – if a student presents a clear, compelling, and pertinent reason, such as:
- Responsibilities related to financial need
- Family care responsibilities
- Serious health concerns (not serviced by the Student Accessibility and Achievement Office*)
Requests for amendments due to personal travel plans or course conflicts will not be considered.
Any request for amendment must be sent to your Placement Coordinator a minimum of 2 months before the placement start date, and should include:
- Your Name and Student ID
- The placement for which you are requesting an amendment
- Your reason (with supporting documentation, as possible)
- Your amendment request
Requests will be reviewed by the ISA Director on a case-by-case basis, and decisions will be based on, among other considerations, the amendment’s impact on the ISA Office, your host school, your Supervisor, and/or the placement timeline. Please allow 1-2 weeks’ time before a decision is rendered.
*Note: Guidelines for student teachers in the Faculty of Education requiring accommodations from the Student Accessibility and Achievement Office (SAA) for student teaching placements are available here.
FE1-specific policy amendment: Excused absences – and whether they need to be made up – will be reviewed by the ISA office on a case-by-case basis; confirmation of the make-up plan may be rendered closer to the end of the FE, when the full context and total amount of missed days are better known.
- Student Teachers must attend school all day and be on time every day.
- Student Teachers must follow the schedule determined by the School Administrator at the start of their Internship.
- Student Teachers are strongly advised not to engage in activities (e.g. employment, courses) which could interfere with the time and energy required to prepare lessons and effectively teach during their placements. Course conflicts with a field placement will not be grounds for an excused absence from the field.
- DO NOT make plans to leave the city for 1 week (minimum) immediately after your placement - you may be required to make up days lost to illness or school closure, or to extend your placement in order to accommodate any required remaining evaluations.
- Student Teachers are expected to attend school all day and be on time every day of their placement.
- MATL and B.Ed. students are not permitted to participate in overnight field trips with their host school, without a thorough review of the context and circumstances by the ISA Office.
- An effort is made to place students within reasonable traveling distance (defined as up to 1.5 hours of travel time each way by the assigned method of transportation) from their address as indicated on Minerva or within reasonable distance from the downtown McGill campus (since students must also be able to travel to campus during this term). However, circumstances vary, and this travel time cannot be guaranteed and may be beyond the 1.5 hours. Students must budget time and money for travel to and from their assigned school. For example, you may choose to seek access to a car, or you may need to purchase a transit pass for a different region.
The following events may take place concurrently to a placement, and should be handled as follows:
|EVENT||DESCRIPTION||DOES THE STUDENT TEACHER NEED TO MAKE UP THE DAY(S)??|
Up to two days of absence do not require a supporting medical note.
Any absences lasting longer than 2 days will require that a valid medical note be submitted to ISA, at which point the outcome of the placement will be evaluated by the ISA Director on a case-by-case basis.
As soon as you are aware that you will be absent due to illness, you must contact the following people:
*NEW PILOT POLICY*
|Holidays||Statutory holidays: Labour Day, Canadian Thanksgiving, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Victoria Day (Fête de Dollard), La Fête Nationale, Canada Day||NO|
American Thanksgiving: Absence may be permitted, pending ISA and CT approval, and depending on number of days missed; Student Teacher must notify ISA before the placement begins if interested in travelling home for American Thanksgiving.
Students with classes on the Friday after American Thanksgiving are expected to attend these courses, unless they receive permission from their instructors. ISA cannot give you permission to miss co-requisite courses, only days missed from the field.
|Religious Observation / Holy Days||McGill University recognizes and respects the diversity of its community, including diversity of religious faiths and observances. The University is committed to providing an environment in which its students can fulfill both their university and their religious commitments.||YES|
Absences for Bereavement are modeled after McGill's HR policy.
A Student Teacher may be absent for bereavement for the following number of days, in the event of the death of:
For record keeping, the ISA Office will also require that Student Teachers send their Placement Coordinator a link to an obituary or record of death, following a request for bereavement absence. This documentation may be sent up to 5 working days following the absence request.
If a Student Teacher needs more time for bereavement, they can contact their Placement Coordinator to discuss options, such as a late withdrawal from the placement.
|YES, if absent for five (5) days, will only have to make up three (3) days at the end of the placement.|
|Exams, including the EETC
Students may be absent from the host school for the entire day that they have a McGill exam or exam related to their B.Ed. degree, regardless of when during the day the exam is scheduled. Students are NOT permitted to be absent from the host school for the day prior to the exam for studying, etc.
*NEW* If the exam is a take-home or timed open-book exam with an availability window greater than 24 hours, absences from the field will be coordinated and agreed upon in communication with the student teacher's Placement Coordinator. Each exam will only result in the maximum of one (1) day's absence from the field, no matter the length of the exam's availability window, and may result in no permitted absences if the exam's availability window is during the weekend. If a student has several exams with overlapped availability windows, the number of days with permitted absences will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Advise your Cooperating Teacher, Supervisor and your Placement Coordinator of an exam conflict as soon as the draft exam schedule is posted, and confirm the conflict once the final exam schedule is posted.
NO, if McGill exam provided that the student is not missing more than one day. If the student has to miss more than one day, making up the missed days might be required.
YES, if exam/test unrelated to McGill B.Ed. degree (e.g. GRE, LSAT, driving test, certificate pursued elsewhere)
|Pedagogical (PED) Days||
Student Teachers are required to attend pedagogical days at their school, unless the Co-operating Teacher or School Administrator informs them that they are not invited.
|Snow Days||Snow days that cause the host school to be closed.||
NO, if 2 or fewer days missed.
If a school closure exceeds 2 school days, each case will be looked at on an individual basis.
|For FE4 and IN2 students only. If you have a job or grad school interview scheduled during your placement, reach out to your Placement Coordinator.||
To be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by the ISA Office.
|Spring Break / McGill Reading Week (Fall and Winter)||
Fall: FE3 and IN2 Student Teachers should follow the schedule of their host school, and do not get time off from the field during McGill's Fall Reading Week.
Winter: IN1 and FE4 Student Teachers should follow the Spring Break schedule (if any) of their host school, and do not get time off from the field during McGill's Winter Reading Week.
RE: WINTER SPRING BREAK IN HOST SCHOOL
NO, if host school has a ONE WEEK break. FE4 and IN1 dates assume the host school has a 1-week "spring break" where student teachers are not present at the school.
YES, if a host school has a break LONGER THAN ONE WEEK; the placement's end date should be extended accordingly.
McGill Student Teachers are not members of a union, and as such, should not feel pressured to engage in any strike actions, including picketing or crossing a picket line.
In the event a host school is closed due to strike action, teacher candidates may remain at home. In the unlikely event that a school is closed for several days (i.e. more than 2) during the duration of a field experience, teacher candidates will be informed by the Internship and Student Affairs Office as to the protocols to be followed to make up days missed.
In the event a host school remains open but is only accessible to a teacher candidate by crossing a picket line, teacher candidates may remain at home. In the unlikely event of a school being inaccessible for several days (i.e. more than 2) during the duration of a field experience, teacher candidates will be informed by the Internship and Student Affairs Office as to the protocols to be followed to make up days missed.
We expect that McGill teacher candidates will exercise good judgment in these situations.
NO, if 2 or fewer days missed.
If a school closure/inaccessibility exceeds 2 school days, each case will be looked at on an individual basis by the ISA Office.
|McGill Varsity Sporting Events||
Requests to be absent from the placement due to participation in a McGill varsity sporting event will be evaluated by the ISA Director on a case-by-case basis.
McGill athletes who wish to register a request must obtain a signed copy of a 'Participation in an Intercollegiate Sport Event' form from McGill Athletics and submit it to the ISA Office a minimum of two weeks before the proposed absence. Copies of the form can be obtained from Athletics' Manager, Varsity Sports, or Eligibility Officer.
Student teachers are permitted to be absent from the field on these days, only if they want to or must attend the QPAT Convention in November (e.g. for assignments in other courses); it is also a good networking opportunity for students. An email from the ISA Office will let them know when they can pick up their free tickets.
|Jennifer Wall Address
FE3 Phys Ed students will be absent from the field on the day of this annual mandatory address. Attendance for PHE students at the address is required.
Requests to be absent from the placement for any other reasons are exceptionally permitted by the ISA on a case-by-case basis.
Any request for absence must be sent to the Student Teacher's Placement Coordinator a minimum of 2 weeks before the proposed absence.
If you need to consider rearranging your course schedule in order to accommodate a foreseeable absence, please communicate with your Placement Coordinator and your departmental Academic Advisor.
The following policy on substitute teaching and tutoring applies equally to B.Ed. and MATL students.
*NEW* Given the current needs of schools, The ISA is prepared to exceptionally authorize McGill Teacher Candidates (also known as Student Teachers) in FE3, FE4, IN1, and IN2 to substitute for their Cooperating Teacher in the event of their CT’s absence under specific conditions:
- The McGill Teacher Candidate consents to serving as a substitute teacher
- The McGill Teacher Candidate is serving as a substitute only for the Teacher Candidate's Cooperating Teacher(s)
- EXCEPTION: The McGill Teacher Candidate is only permitted to act as a substitute for another class/teacher if they have no assigned/expected student teaching duties (e.g. teaching, observation, ECAs) during this period.
- The Cooperating Teacher(s) or the School Administration endorse the Teacher Candidate’s ability to serve as a substitute teacher via our online substitute teaching endorsement form.
- By submitting this form, they confirm that they have discussed and agreed upon the terms with the other member of the host school.
- The McGill Teacher Candidate has received positive reports on assessments from the current field placement.
- The ISA Office provides the Teacher Candidate's host school administration with an official substitution authorization letter, after receiving the Teacher Candidate's consent and the school's endorsement, and reviewing the Teacher Candidate's assessments to date.
- AN IMPORTANT NOTE ON ISA AUTHORIZATION: A McGill Teacher Candidate being given authorization to substitute by the ISA Office should NOT be considered as an implicit or explicit summative evaluation of the Teacher Candidate or their placement. Student Teachers who are authorized to substitute are still expected to complete their field placement as directed and continue to be subject to potential termination/failure if ever deemed appropriate. Substitute teaching cannot substitute for, give any credit for, or exempt the student from any requirements of a Field Experience/Internship. For any conflicts that may emerge as a result of substitute teaching duties, please note that the student will not be exempted from any responsibilities assigned as part of their Field Experience/Internship or associated course work, including but not limited to attendance, participation, assignments, projects etc., required in the completion of their degree.
- The McGill Teacher Candidate will be hired (via the school/board's HR) as an official employee (Substitute Teacher) of the school/board for the period(s) in which they substitute and will be remunerated for this time, as per the school/board's HR salary administration policy.
- Student Teachers must ensure that they are fully hired by the school/board's HR as an official employee (Substitute Teacher) BEFORE they complete any substitute teaching hours to ensure that they will be properly remunerated for their time.
- If you arrive in the morning and your CT is unexpectedly absent, report to the school administration immediately to inform yourself of their plan to replace your CT during their absence. Student Teachers should NOT be be used a as a last minute Substitute Teacher for their CT if they have NOT yet been officially hired as an employee (Substitute Teacher) by the school/board's HR.
- AN IMPORTANT NOTE ON LIABILITY INSURANCE: When a Teacher Candidate serves as a substitute teacher, they are expected to be a paid employee of the school/board during this time, which means they will consequently NOT be covered by McGill's CNESST coverage for students performing internships. To be covered by the school/board's CNESST liability insurance during any substitute teaching, the student and school/board must ensure that the student is officially employed as a substitute teacher and paid employment income by the school/board for this specific work period.
- Student Teachers must ensure that they are fully hired by the school/board's HR as an official employee (Substitute Teacher) BEFORE they complete any substitute teaching hours to ensure that they will be properly remunerated for their time.
- A period in which a McGill Teacher Candidate is serving as a substitute should not be used for any formal assessment (e.g. Formative Assessment) by the Student Teacher's CT or Supervisor.
- The McGill Teacher Candidate can serve as a substitute teacher for no more than five (5) days or 32 hours during their field placement.
- The McGill Teacher Candidate must self-report all periods/days that they served as a Substitute Teacher during their placement. This self-reporting can be done via our online substitute teaching self-reporting form following each substitution period.
- Under normal circumstances, student teachers are not permitted to substitute teach during their Field Experience/Internship.
Student teachers completing FE4 or IN2 who are discovered to have done any substitute teaching will be in violation of this policy.
Student teachers may tutor in the school where they are placed for their Field Experience/Internship, and they may receive remuneration for that tutoring, provided they are not tutoring any students that they interact with and teach during their placement.
In the case where a host school's policy conflicts with ISA's (i.e. a school does not permit student teachers to tutor), the host school's policy shall prevail.
Co-operating Teachers are mentors, coaches and models to their student teachers and must exercise good judgment as well as professional accountability at all times. Relative to classroom presence, the professional expectation is that the Co-operating Teacher will always be within "easy reach" in the event that an emergency arises or the student teacher encounters a problem (the sole exception being MATL student teachers on contract in their own classroom).
"Easy reach" means that the Co-operating Teacher should always remain within a reasonable distance from the classroom (e.g. teachers' lounge, library, office, etc.) and should not leave the school or its premises at any time while they or the student teacher are "on duty."
Furthermore, Co-operating Teachers should never assign a colleague to conduct their job of mentoring/supervising a student teacher without the express knowledge and agreement of the School Administrator.
Depending on the Field Experience/Internship, Student Teachers may (or may not) be left on their own in the classroom, per the guidelines below:
- 1st Field Experience (B.Ed): The Student Teacher should never be left alone in the classroom, even for short periods of time
- 2nd Field Experience (B.Ed): The Student Teacher should rarely be left alone in the classroom and, even then, only for reasonable periods of time (i.e. not exceeding 20 minutes)
- 3rd Field Experience (B.Ed.)/1st Internship (MATL, unless on contract): The Student Teacher may be left alone in the classroom and/or to teach portions of or an entire class as the Field Experience/Internship progresses and based on the assessment of readiness by the Co-operating Teacher; however, they should never be left alone for an entire day or used as a substitute teacher
- 4th Field Experience (B.Ed.)/2nd Internship (MATL, unless on contract): The Student Teacher may be left alone in the classroom and/or to teach portions of or an entire class; however, they should never be left alone for an entire day or used as a substitute teacher
Field Supervisors may register a request with the ISA (via your Placement Coordinator) to make an unannounced or extra support visit if you feel that it is warranted.
Support visits MUST be pre-registered and approved by the ISA!
Certainly, you do not want to be obtrusive in the school but you may take the necessary measures to ensure that the Student Teacher is performing adequately under a variety of conditions (i.e. when you are not present).
If you have questions about the appropriateness of a support visit, please contact your Placement Coordinator.
- The Co-operating Teacher should inform the Field Supervisor if the Student Teacher shows professional shortcomings in any of the following, including but not limited to: pedagogical weakness; punctuality and reliability; responding well to feedback and suggestions; following established rules and routines; appropriate dress and grooming; working to develop good relationships with students/staff;.
- Prompt action is necessary. The first step will be to call a meeting with the Student Teacher, Co-operating Teacher and Field Supervisor, in order to discuss everyone’s concerns and determine a course of action.
- The Field Supervisor and Co-operating Teacher may use the 'Record of Early Concern' or ‘Competency Improvement Plan’ form to notify the ISA Office of a Student Teacher’s problems or a pedagogical and/or professional nature and the plan of remedial action.
When Challenges Arise...
- Refer to the ISA website/e-Handbook for confirmation on rules, policies, etc.
- If it involves another person, communicate with the individual and clarify the problem/issue/miscommunication
- If the issue is between a Student Teacher and CT, and you cannot resolve the issue directly, communicate with your Supervisor and ask for guidance about how to proceed
- If you cannot resolve the issue through these methods, communicate with your Placement Coordinator or, as required, other ISA staff
Whether resolving conflicts or providing feedback, the following principles should be kept in mind:
- The Student Teaching experience is first and foremost a learning space; approach any interaction as an opportunity for learning
- Be timely, ideally sometime soon after your observation/experience and when there is still time for resolution/change
- Focus on what you've observed/experienced rather than what you may be assuming or inferring
- Describe specifically what you have observed/experienced
- Offer specific suggestions for improvement or change, but be prepared to be flexible and responsive to other ideas
- Give the other person an opportunity to respond, and listen actively to their response
- Summarize and express your support
- Above all, be professional and respectful
Tips for Giving & Receiving Feedback
Effective Approaches for Giving and Receiving Feedback - PowerPoint Presentation created and given by Dr. Joseph Levitan to McGill Field Supervisors in January 2020
McGill places a great deal of importance on honest work and the fair treatment of all members of the University community. A solid understanding of everyone's rights and responsibilities can ensure that all our interactions are fair and respectful. Students are encouraged to fully review McGill's Code of Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures. Take note of the following:
McGill students have the right to:
- The safeguard of their dignity and a right to be protected by the University against vexatious conduct displayed by a representative of the University acting in an official capacity
- Equal treatment by the University; this right must not be impaired by discrimination based on race, colour, ethnic or national origin, civil status, religion, creed, political convictions, language, sex, sexual orientation, social condition, age, personal handicap or the use of any means to palliate such a handicap
- The protection of their personal information
- The freedoms of opinion and of expression
- Safe and suitable conditions of learning and study
In turn, McGill students are expected to behave and conduct themselves with the utmost professionalism and honesty.
Namely, no McGill student shall:
- Plagiarize and/or cheat
- Knowingly misrepresent material facts for the purpose of obtaining academic advantage or credit
- Knowingly create a condition that unnecessarily endangers or threatens or undermines the health, safety, wellbeing, or dignity of another person or persons
- Knowingly defraud or abuse the trust of any University office, facility, or service
- Violate McGill's Principles of Practice, Behaviour and Ethical Conduct for Teacher Candidates