Preparing for Professional Experience

Sue Hudson

Hi, I'm Sue Hudson and I am the Director of Professional Experience here in the Faculty of Education at Southern Cross University. Professional Experience is a really important aspect of your Education Degree, it's where you have the opportunity to take what you have learnt at university and apply it in the real world context of a school or early childhood centre.

As with any profession, there are certain requirements that we need to adhere to. First of all, you need a Working with Children Check for your State or Territory. If you live in Northern NSW or Southeast Queensland you will require a NSW Working with Children Check and a Queensland Blue Card. Before you can undertake any volunteer work or observations or professional experience you must have a Working with Children Check. You will find the application form on this Professional Experience website. It's really a good idea to apply for your Working with Children Check before orientation or during orientation. That way you will be well prepared for any site visits that you will need to undertake.

Another requirement is that you will need to undertake your professional experience as a block. That means that you need to be there all day every day for a number of weeks. Depending on your program you may have to undertake your professional experience for four weeks or even possibly up to nine weeks. It's really important that you check the calendar well before so you know the number of days that you need to undertake as part of your professional experience and the dates for your professional experience.

We release the calendar well before, actually, we do it the year before so that you can plan well in advance. By planning well in advance you can take some time away from your job, or if you have family you can ensure that you have childcare.

The other requirements for Professional Experience will be sent to you via email once you are enrolled in a Professional Experience unit. The Professional Experience placements will be released to you up to two weeks prior before you commence. Once you know your placement you can go on the school or early childhood centre website and investigate everything that you need to know about that placement. You can contact your mentor teacher beforehand and get to know them so that you can ensure you have a successful placement.

Remember, be professional, be organised and be prepared well in advance for your placement.

Mel Reeves - Final year pre-service teacher

Professional Experience will probably be one of the most challenging but one of the most rewarding parts of studying to be a teacher and it definitely pays off... the more effort you put in, the more you get back from it. So I really think that this is one of the big bits of the four years you have and in my interview to become a teacher that was what the whole interview revolved around was my Professional Experience reports and the feedback that I had been given from the schools. So I think this is the time you really need to put 110% in and that's probably what you will get out of it.

Sue Hudson

If you have any queries or questions about Professional Experience don't hesitate to contact me. My contact details are on the Professional Experience website. Alternately you can contact the Professional Experience Office by emailing educationplacements@scu.edu.au. Enjoy your professional experience, make the most of every moment and learn as much as you possibly can.

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