Proper Attire for Teachers
It may sound cliché or relatively obvious, but dressing appropriately is extremely important for your profession. Your clothing choice is part of your career, and it plays a major part. Whether you are a construction worker with boots and Carhartts or a business professional in a three-piece suit, your attire reflects on who you are. Specifically, this hub addresses the proper attire of teachers and other educators.
From my time as a student to now as a teacher, I understand the importance of appearance. The way you dress is your first impression and a reflection of who you are. It may sound shallow, but you will be judged on this immediately. Not only will dressing well help in an interview and around other faculty, it will help garnish more respect from the students as well. Appearance is always your first impression, so it needs to count.
Proper dress seems to generally be more of an issue for males than females. This may sound stereotypical or sexist, but face it, men, because it's true. I'm a guy, so I can get away with saying that. Since I am more aiming this at men, I will only address the women on a few points. Keep it classy and not trashy. Looking good is fine, but there is no need to dress seductively. You are not there to really impress anyone. Keep everything covered, and don't wear extremely form fitting clothes. You are trying to teach the students and not distract them.
Gentlemen, this next portion is devoted to you. Unfortunately, male teachers often seem to struggle with dress. There are common issues to address:
Shoes and belt - Your shoes and belt should always match (brown shoes/brown belt or black shoes/black belt). Always wear a belt, and if not, wear suspenders. Don't just go without. Don't wear tennis shoes either. Dress shoes should be worn because you are dressed up; keep them polished and not all scuffed up.
Ties - While many schools do not require male teachers to wear a tie, I recommend it. Ties and sport-coats help to gain respect and show authority. Make sure the knot of your tie is tight and centered; also be sure the length of the tie is around the buckle of your belt.
Wrinkles - Don't wear wrinkled dress pants or shirts. Take them out of the dryer early and invest in an iron. Wrinkled clothing looks sloppy and like you don't care.
Untucked - While moving around teaching all day, it is easy for your shirt to come untucked. Reaching to write on the board and other actions can cause this. It looks very sloppy for part of your shirt to be untucked and hanging out. Be sure to check and make sure your shirt remains tucked in.
Matching – This one may sound obvious but to some people it isn’t. Your clothing should always match. You cannot just pair any color with another. Mixing different patterns can also cause other disasters.
Most of this advice is simple and easy to correct. However, the simple things can make a huge difference to someone’s outfit. Dressing well and looking like you care about how you look will help to immediately gain the respect of those around you. You can never take back a first impression. Students pay attention to how their teachers dress, and I have witness it firsthand that they appreciate and more easily respect well dressed teachers.