My pre-service teacher is using unprofessional talk with students, how should I handle this?

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Some students might need extra guidance in understanding how to speak professionally with students – expectations for teacher talk is a topic that is addressed at in depth at University. Occasionally PSTs may slip up with silly conversations (what they were watching on Youtube, did on the weekend etc.) or informal language (OMG, WTF, soft swear words like bugger etc.). This is understandable particularly in younger students and can usually be dealt with through an informal conversation on what is appropriate.


  • Make sure you address the situation as soon as possible so that it is still fresh in students minds. You might like to say something along the lines of “I overheard you saying ____ .Just be careful to make sure you always use school appropriate language/are discussing school appropriate topics. If I was you I would avoid _________”. Please be explicit here about what the student should or should not be saying/doing.
  • If your PST is using extremely inappropriate language or speaking about inappropriate topics with the students in your class then this needs to be addressed immediately. RMIT has a zero tolerance approach for inappropriate behaviour with students and will take prompt action with any concerns of this nature.
  • Please fill in an Expression of Concern form (link form) and contact RMIT and so that a representative can visit the school ASAP to follow up with the PST and school staff. In extreme cases pre-service teachers placements will be terminated.
  • We also encourage you to set up a formal meeting with yourself, the PST and a representative from school leadership to outline the issue and your concerns.

Additional Resources:

  • The following Conversation Plan (link form) will help you to make notes and prepare for your difficult conversation.



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