The practicum will almost certainly be the most enjoyable and satisfying part of your teacher education program. Being in schools and working with children and youth is, after all, why you are here! In our program, you will spend half your time on-site being introduced to the specialized knowledge a professional teacher requires. You will spend the other half of your time in the field where you will have opportunities to put your knowledge into practice and to build skills and confidence for success.
Below is information given to current students to prepare for their placements. Browse this page for insights into what you can expect from practicum blocks as a student in the program.
You may select your preferred school board from among a number of Ontario school boards listed here. Be sure to note any board-specific placement requirements before deciding on your board!
We attempt to ensure an excellent practicum experience for you by placing you only with Associate Teachers who have been recommended by their principals. You may not select your own Associate Teacher or arrange your own placement.
a) Placement: We will find a placement for you that fulfills the requirements of your program and the requirements for certification by the Ontario College of Teachers. In some school board jurisdictions, we are able to directly contact principals regarding placements; in others, placements must be arranged centrally through the Board office. You will usually receive notice about your practicum placement 1-2 weeks before the start of the practicum block.
b) Faculty Advisor Support: Carolyn Wilson is your Faculty Advisor. Take any questions or concerns you might have about your practicum to her. During the practicum, she may appoint a Practicum Consultant to support you with an on-site school visit.
a) Transportation: You are responsible for your own transportation. We will do our best to place you in your preferred school board and in a part of that board that is accessible via public transit, but we cannot guarantee you a convenient placement; your commute could be as long as an hour...and even an hour and a half if you wish to be placed in the GTA. Further, not all schools are accessible via public transit and you may need to car-pool or find another way to get to your school. Transportation is your responsibility.
b) Time Commitment: The practicum requires a full-time commitment, typically from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 or 4:30 p.m. in secondary schools, and from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in elementary schools. If you are not in your classroom at least 15 minutes before the start of the class—you are late.
c) Homework: Be prepared to devote your evenings to making notes and writing reflections about your daily experiences in your Organizational Handbook—and to lesson planning. This is huge. Teaching, even on practicum, is a full-time job. Do not expect to leave school early or to be assigned a light teaching load in order to accommodate a part-time job.
d) Plan Ahead: Plan now for any special arrangements you may need during practicum concerning living accommodations, child care, part-time job schedules, transportation, library access, and so on.
e) Be Flexible: Arranging practicum placements is a complex process in partnership with school boards, principals, and teachers. We can make no guarantees beyond ensuring that you receive placements to fulfill the requirements of your program and the requirements for OCT certification.
Provincial legislation requires that you teach in each of the divisions for which you are to be certified (primary & junior, junior & intermediate, or intermediate & senior). Although it is not required that you teach in each of your teachable areas, we do our best to find you placements in both your teachables.
a) Primary-Junior: At least one placement in JK-grade 3 (Primary), and one in grades 4-6 (Junior).
b) Junior-Intermediate: At least one placement in grades 4-6 (Junior), and one in grades 7-8 (Intermediate) in the teachable area if possible. Placements in grades 9 and 10 (Intermediate) may be made if Associate Teachers are available.
c) Intermediate-Senior: At least one placement in grades 7-10 (Intermediate) and one in grades 11-12 (Senior), with one in each of the teachable areas if possible.
Police Record Check
Neither Western University nor the Faculty of Education requires a Police Record Check as a condition of admission. However, a Police Record Check which includes Vulnerable Position Screening and is acceptable to our school board partners is required before you can be placed in a school.
If information appears on your police record check that is unacceptable to school boards, we will be unable to place you for practicum and you will be required to withdraw from the program.
- We recommend that you begin the process to obtain your police check in May; completed checks must be dated no earlier than June 1 of the year in which you will begin your program.
- Submit a copy of your completed police check to the Teacher Education office by the first day of classes in September.
- Failure to submit your police check on time may result in your practicum placement being delayed.