The right way to dress for teachers-A A +A
Sunday, July 1, 2012
IT is school time again; teachers and students are back inside the classroom. Coming to school needs a lot of preparation and one is choosing the right clothes to make an impressive identity as the school year starts. In going to the teaching field, teachers must wear the appropriate clothes to look professional; this applies for both new and veteran teachers.
Teachers should consider the right clothes to wear in the classroom. At times it’s quite difficult to choose the right stuff. Some struggle to get dressed in the morning, others come to school overdressed, and others underdressed.
What could be a good get up for teachers in the elementary, high school and college? Students today are sharp-eyed. They are very keen about their teachers’ outfits, looks, hairstyles, jewelries and make-up. As teachers we want to look nice. Are dress pants and skirts, jeans and rainbow flip-flops, plunging necklines, miniskirts, sleeveless blouses, long shapeless dresses, unflattering jumpers, unbecoming floral, and everything matched with a too-big cardigan becoming of a teacher?
How do our students want us to dress? According to Beth Lewis, “It’s a fine art, achieving effortless teacher style while still maintaining a teacher’s professional look.” She added two tips in making a teacher’s wardrobe. First, modesty is essential, especially if you’re working with high school students, those teenage boys have enough estrogen to distract them from their studies; no professional teacher wants to be another distraction. Keep in mind when choosing tops, especially V-neck tops, the majority of the time you’re going to be bending over helping a student with a problem. Second, “length and comfort are key, especially for those teachers working with elementary students. The majority of the time, teachers need to squat down or bend down to meet a student at eye level or help them with their projects. A lot of projects are done on the floor as well.”
Choose clothes that are purposely cut with modesty, not low cut, covering the upper arms and have longer hemlines. One can choose cute t-shirts and blouses that have some pretty embellishments to dress them up a bit for work with khakis or under a blazer. Skirts are best at a length that is right below the knees to mid-calf. This length is probably the best bet for any teacher dress or skirt because it’s comfortable and professional.
Below are guidelines when assembling your teaching wardrobe from, “The Right Classroom Atmosphere” by Beth Lewis.
• Loose-fitting and well-tailored is best. - If you're a curvaceous womanly woman, avoid clingy tops and rump-hugging bottoms in favor of less distracting clothing. Gym-loving men might want to avoid muscle tees, too.
• Stay stylish, but not too much so. - You want to appear "with it" but you don't need to blindly follow every passing fad to a fault. A teeny-bopper persona is not a wise one to cultivate when dealing with parents who hope you're wise and responsible as you guide their young and impressionable children. Look for the classic in your closet or head to the mall for the old standards you still need. Men - dress pants and tucked-in button-downs are best.
• Some people say avoid sleeveless. - It's a personal preference, perhaps, but I've heard it suggested that sleeveless is too casual for the classroom. Consider sleeves for a more put-together and adult look.
• If you're young, be extra careful. - No ageism here, just realism. It's likely that you are pre-judged as lacking teaching experience and hey, it's probably true, right? If you are just starting out or look particularly young, take steps to make your appearance more mature. This goes for men as well as women. In the age of botox and obsession with youth, this might sound counter-intuitive, but teaching is one profession where a youthful look does not always inspire initial confidence; that is until your kick-ass teaching chops show them what's really underneath your youthful exterior!
• Makeup is not necessarily your friend. – . But a peacock's palette on your lovely face is not exactly classroom-appropriate. Save the more daring hues for home.
• For shoes, comfort is king. - Avoid trendy too-high heels and opt for sensible flats that can last all day. For the most part, tennies are out, but maybe for field trips or Jog-a-thon day, you could get away with it.
• Leave the bling at home. - K-6 teaching is a messy job. Don't chance an accident or the loss of meaningful jewelry. Simple, classic, and minimal are the key words here. Men - this might go even more so for you.
These general tips should set you off on the right track as a teacher - putting your best foot forward and earning respect right off the bat.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on July 02, 2012.