My pre-service teacher has a bad attitude and is not participating satisfactorily at school, what should I do?

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Occasionally PSTs struggle with the reality of what being a teacher involves. At other times there are things going on in PSTs lives outside of school that impact their attitude and ability to function at school. If you are concerned about your PSTs attitude or their participation on placement this issue needs to be addressed immediately. Below is a series of steps that may help you to resolve or at least understand the problem.


  • Set a time for a private meeting with your PST to discuss your concerns. You might like to use some of the following prompts to guide your conversation. “I’d like to talk about ____________ with you, but first I’d like to get your point of view.” “I have been noticing that ____________ and I was wondering if there is anything going on that it impacting your experiences here at school?”. Discuss your school’s expectations with the PST so that they clearly understand what is required of them.
  • If your PST tells you about something that is going on outside of school that is of significant concern. Please contact RMIT immediately and encourage your PST to seek support through the RMIT counseling services (what details should I be passing on for this?).
  • Help your PST to set some professional learning goals that will help them to change their behaviour in a positive way. These goals will vary depending on the student but might include things like, arriving at school by a certain time, actively moving around the classroom and working with at least 2 students per lesson, visiting the staffroom once a day, attending meetings after school etc. You might like to use the goal setting template below to assist your PST in setting some SMART goals, be sure to reflect on their progress


  • If your PST does not make an effort to meet these goals set up a meeting with someone in school leadership to discuss your concerns. Make sure you are prepared for the conversation with evidence ready to support your claims. This evidence should include a list of the goals set with your PST and anecdotal notes showing their attempts/failure to meet the goals. Go in with a positive attitude of wanting to help the PST improve and fit in at the school setting – discuss your concerns and set some further goals.
  • Please also make a note of it in their Mid-Placement Review form. (link form)  
  • Also, depending on other elements of their professional practice you might also consider marking them as Unsatisfactory on Standard 7 of the RMIT Professional Experience Report form. (link form)
  • If your PST continues to show little/no improvement please fill in an Expression of Concern form (link form) and contact RMIT to discuss your concerns. An RMIT staff member will then pay a visit to the school and have a meeting with the PST.


Additional Resources:


  • You might like to ask you pre-service teacher to fill in the following Y diagram (link form) ‘What does an effective pre-service teacher look like, feel like and sound like?’ Look over their thinking and together discuss what each of these things are like in your school. You will also find a teacher copy of a completed Y diagram included to support your thinking.
  • Ask your student to set a personal learning goal to help them improve in this area. You might like to use the following goal setting template (link form) to support your PST’s reflection.
  • The following Conversation Plan (link form) will help you to make notes and prepare for your difficult conversation.


  • You light like to look use the RUOK? website for further reading on conversations regarding mental health concerns.

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