What if my university can’t find me a teaching placement?

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What do I do?

  • Wait, and contact the university. 
  • Reach out to any teachers that you know. 
  • Cold-call or drop-in at schools

Doing your teaching placement can be very anxiety-inducing. Even though many schools across Australia take pre-service teachers for placements every year, there never seems to be enough places to go around. There have been many cases of pre-service teachers not being able to do placement because their university couldn’t find a place for them.

What do you do if you find yourself in this situation?

Wait, and contact the university.

Organising teaching placements is something that universities need to do every year. While it is stressful for you to wait to hear about what school you will be doing your placement in, it is also stressful for the university staff to find an appropriate place for all of their pre-service teachers. 

Most universities would prefer you don’t contact schools yourself and you wait for them to find a place for you. Relationships between universities and schools are essential for ensuring that they can find placements for every pre-service teacher, and so they would rather be the ones in contact with each school. 

Teacher looking at his watch while he anxiously waits for his university to find him a teaching placement.
Waiting for your university to organise your teaching placement can be stressful, but it’s often
the best thing that you can do.

It is also likely that your university has certain requirements about which schools you can and can’t do your placement at. For instance, most universities will not allow you to do your placement at a school that you have a family member working at in case it is a conflict of interest. Waiting for the university to organise your placement for you is the only way that you can be certain that there will not be any issues about which school you are going to be working with. 

Finding placements for every pre-service teacher takes a lot of time and energy. Sometimes it does just take some time and it will be well worth the wait. If you are becoming concerned about getting a teaching placement, you can always contact your university. If they are struggling to find you a place and you have a school that you know would be willing to take you, make sure that you speak to your university staff before you contact the school.

Reach out to any teachers that you know.

Sometimes, your university will not be able to find you a placement. This does happen occasionally, and can delay the completion of your teaching degree. It is very important that you reach out to your university first. They may have an arrangement that they are trying to organise, or they may have tried contacting the school that you have in mind before. It is always the best option to contact your university first to avoid any confusion or disappointment.

If you’ve contacted your university and they would appreciate your input, it is worth contacting any teachers or schools that you know. Many universities have rules about the schools that you are allowed to do your placement at, so you may not be able to contact the school that you went to or where a family member works, but it is worth reaching out to friends and other contacts. 

Pre-service teacher sitting on steps alone worrying about finding a university y teaching placement.
If you are in a position where you’re not going to get your placement, there are things that you can do.

If you find a school that would be happy to take you for your teaching placement, you need to still formally organise the placement through your university. This will make sure that all of the necessary checks and paperwork is completed properly and the placement will count towards the completion of your degree. If you do not organise your placement through your university, you risk the placement not being able to go towards credit for your degree. 

Cold-call or drop-in at schools

If your university can’t find you a placement and you have not been able to find a place yourself through your contacts, it is possible that you will not be able to complete your placement during this time period. This happens to pre-service teachers all the time, and universities are prepared to help you through this. 

If you would like, you may want to suggest the possibility of going around to local schools and introducing yourself to see if they will take you for your teaching placement. Universities are unlikely to encourage this, as their relationships with local schools are essential for finding placements for future students. It is not recommended that you drop into schools asking for a teaching placement without the support of your university.

What do I do if my university can’t find me a placement?

If your university can’t find you a placement, it’s important to remember that this happens to many pre-service teachers every year. Your university will be able to give you more advice that is specific to your situation, but you will likely need to do your placement in the next period instead. 

This may delay your graduation, particularly if it is your final placement before you graduate. Universities know that they need to be flexible around this, and will help you as much as they are able to.

Elise is an enthusiastic and passionate Australian teacher who is on a mission to inspire and support fellow educators. With over a decade of experience in the classroom, Elise leverages her expertise and creativity to provide valuable insights and resources through her blog. Whether you're looking for innovative lesson ideas, effective teaching strategies, or just a dose of inspiration, Elise has got you covered.

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