Specific expectations of interns

Lesson and unit planning

Because the internship occurs over an extended period, there is a strong emphasis on the planning and development of a sequence of lessons that constitute one or more units of work with classes taught. Unit plans and daybook notes should be discussed with the mentor well before lessons are given. Written evidence should exist for all planning. While plans will vary, they should include:

  • identification of syllabus outcomes and indicators

  • development of appropriate learning outcomes specific to the particular context

  • specification of procedures/tasks to be completed by students including resources to be used, linked to achievement of outcomes

  • indication of development in lesson sequence

  • strategies for progressive and cumulative assessment of students’ work and evaluation of lessons/units

  • procedures for reflective evaluation of teaching and program planning and implementation

  • alignment with the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership Professional Standards for Teachers: Graduate Teacher. This framework can be used to guide reflection as well as to help plan and implementation phases of teaching practice.


Observation of other teachers in their professional roles and all aspects of school life is central to a successful internship. Interns should spend a part of every day engaged in some form of observation. Observation of teachers (including other interns) in other subject areas and/or on different classes, particularly in the early part of the internship, is essential. It may be possible for interns to participate in a team teaching situations during these observation lessons, or engage in one of the many other professional roles of teachers besides classroom teaching.

Interns should maintain a written record of their observations. Each record of observation should also include some reflective comment related to their own professional development as a teacher. A Lesson observation feedback guide (pdf, 81kB) structured according to the NSWIT Elements is useful to this process and can be downloaded from the Policies and forms section.

Roles additional to the classroom

The key purpose of the internship is to provide the opportunity for interns to learn about the broad range of roles and responsibilities of teachers in the school and its community. Thus, performing in this broad spectrum of roles is an essential part of the internship.

Interns should participate in every aspect of school life. This includes all roles related to the teacher in the classroom, in the school and in the community. Interns should thus participate in:

  • playground duty

  • sport supervision

  • roll duties

  • school and staff meetings

  • professional development sessions

  • parent/teacher meetings

  • any other programs or events in the school.

Attendance, absences and leave procedures

Expectations regarding attendance, absence from the school and leave are in accord with the expectations of teachers at the specific school. It is the responsibility of each intern to determine what these are. The University requires interns attend for all of the normal school day, on each day scheduled of the internship, except where leave of absence has been approved. Any absence must be covered by approved Leave of Absence in accordance with University policy.

Jury duty

Jury duty does not entitle interns to an exemption from internship. A jury duty appeal can be lodged with the Sheriff’s Office but, if not granted, an intern will be required to make up internship days lost.

Industrial disputes during internship

If an industrial dispute occurs during an internship it is the responsibility of the intern to determine whether they will be “on strike” or not. If they are “on strike”, they are expected to attend any stop-work meeting or other strike activity. If an intern decides to be “on strike” they must inform their mentor/s well before the day of the strike.

When the mentor of an intern is “on strike” and the intern attends school, it is inappropriate for them to undertake any duties and responsibilities of absent teachers.

Safety of students under duty of care of the intern

Accidents to school students during activities conducted by interns are the responsibility of the interns. Interns must make themselves familiar with procedures for reporting accidents to students, any safety procedures in the school, and the location of first-aid kits/room/personnel and fire extinguishers in the first week of the internship. Interns are not employees but are required to be aware of and abide by the occupational health and safety policies of the school/system.

All interns have completed the mandatory anaphylaxis training as required by the NSW DEC.

Social media

The eSafety program provides extremely useful guidelines for student teachers in their final year of their course. As the introduction on the eSafety website says:

"To further promote the importance of cybersafety in schools, the ACMA’s Cybersmart program provides cybersafety education for preservice teachers in their final year of study at university.

"The program is available free to all universities throughout Australia and consists of a 60 or 90 minute lecture, plus an optional 60 minute tutorial.

"The program is aimed at equipping preservice teachers with skills, knowledge and confidence to educate their future students about cybersafety. Topics covered include cyberbullying, sexting, safe social networking, identity protection, digital citizenship and professional conduct.

"View the cybersafety program for pre-service teachers video."

Exclusion from school

If in the judgement of the mentor, head teacher or principal the intern is not fulfilling the expectations of an early-career teacher, the principal may choose to terminate the internship. Such a decision will be made with the advice and support of the school's director of professional experience. Aside from exceptional circumstances, termination of an internship will generally have been preceded by a process for students in need of additional support, including clear communication of all concerns and instigation of a remediation plan and timetable (pdf, 84kB).

Generally, if an intern, for any reason, is asked to leave a school, she/he will fail the internship and will be required to ‘show cause’ for continuation in the course. Grounds for exclusion would include:

  • inability to cooperate with staff and work effectively in the school environment

  • demonstrated attitudes and actions antithetical to the profession of teaching

  • absence from the school or school activities without satisfactory explanation, approved leave or the necessary documentation

  • serious deficiencies in their knowledge and understanding of their subject disciplines as appropriate for a Graduate Teacher at a beginning stage

  • serious deficiencies in their communication skills

  • serious breaches of University regulations, procedures or The Code of Conduct for Students of the University (pdf, 72kB)

  • breeches of departmental /school/university regulations or the law

  • inappropriate or unprofessional behaviour.

Schools as alcohol- and drug-free sites

Interns are reminded that all schools are alcohol- and drug-free sites. The carrying and/or consumption of alcohol and other prohibited substances during the internship is illegal. Failure to observe these legal obligations will result in immediate termination of the internship and consequent failure to complete requirements for the award of the degree.

Occupational health and safety induction

Interns must be made aware of occupational health and safety policy and practices at the commencement of the placement period. A signed form must be faxed to the Office of Professional Experience or returned by the school experience coordinator when documents are returned.