As you begin this course we view you not as a student but a professional in training, for which you may be receiving a UK government bursary.
The teachers' standards could not be clearer about the professional nature of this training, as you can see from this direct extract from part two of the standards:
Personal and Professional Conduct
A teacher is expected to demonstrate consistently high standards of personal and professional conduct. The following statements define the behaviour and attitudes which set the required standard for conduct throughout a teacher’s career.
Teachers uphold public trust in the profession and maintain high standards of ethics and behaviour, within and outside school, by:
- Treating pupils with dignity, building relationships rooted in mutual respect, and at all times observing proper boundaries appropriate to a teacher’s professional position
- Having regard for the need to safeguard pupils’ well-being, in accordance with statutory provisions
- Showing tolerance of and respect for the rights of others
- Not undermining fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect, and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs
- Ensuring that personal beliefs are not expressed in ways which exploit pupils’ vulnerability or might lead them to break the law.
Teachers must have proper and professional regard for the ethos, policies and practices of the school in which they teach, and maintain high standards in their own attendance and punctuality.
Teachers must have an understanding of, and always act within, the statutory frameworks which set out their professional duties and responsibilities.
The highest standards of professional conduct are expected at all times, both in university and school. A requirement of passing the course is that you meet the standards for professionalism right up until the last day of the course, as judged by university tutors and mentors.
As will have already been made clear by your subject tutors, you must dress in a very formal fashion. Many schools have very strict dress codes for their staff, which you will of course be required to follow. These expectations often extend to jewellery. Until you know exactly what the situation is in your placement school, play it safe. As such, limit your jewellery to a watch.
Please remove all body piercings until you know what a school expects in this respect. At university unconventional dress is almost de rigueur. In school, unconventional dress will be deemed unprofessional. Your subject tutors will have given you clear-cut guidance on these matters. Please follow very carefully their advice. Remember how many milliseconds it takes to make a judgement on a person: "Your clothes are a communication!"
We wish you every success in your placement. Please read the other sections of this webfolio for more information on issues such as travel and school dates. Good luck!
As a trainee teacher you are no longer a university student in the traditional sense of the word. You are a person training to be part of the profession with money provided to you, for that purpose, by the government. As with any profession, you are required to follow the expectations and norms of that profession. so when it comes to holidays, what does this mean?
As you are probably aware, teachers do not take time off during the term to go on a quick trip to paris, go to a cousin’s wedding in Italy or even, for that matter, their own wedding! The same also applies to you. This means that you are required to follow a school's term dates, rather than the university's, when it is a matter of your holidays.
The most common issue that arises is over times such as the positioning of half-term dates and the start/end of the christmas and easter holidays. If you have children, then it is possible that your half-term dates could be different from theirs. In fact, Cumbria and Lancashire often vary quite a bit in their holiday dates.
Even in the same education authority, these dates can vary, especially if you are in a church school. It is your responsibility to find out the exact term dates as soon as you arrive in a placement school and book holidays, tickets etc accordingly. Furthermore, you must also consider your university commitments in the same way since the school half-term may be used by some subjects as teaching time because the university does not have half-terms.
Should you require leave of absence for an unmovable medical appointment or to attend the funeral of a close relative or friend, then you need to talk both to your school and your subject tutor in university. Part of this process requires you to complete a Request for Placement Deferral, which has to be discussed with your subject tutor and approved by the programme leader.