Dressing as a Teacher

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by vivalavida, Aug 17, 2013.

  1. vivalavida

    vivalavida Companion

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    Aug 17, 2013

    Teacher Attire

    I will soon begin student teaching (eek!) and am gathering some professional clothing such as slacks, low/comfortable heels and wedges, nice tops, sweaters, etc. I know many teachers tend to dress more casually than this, but I figure it is important to make an impression, especially since I also look young. However, it it a bad idea to out-dress the teacher I will be working with? This happened frequently when I did some practicum work in classrooms last year. I want to look professional and respectable, but not like I am trying too hard. While I know some teachers wear jeans, I would never do so as a student teacher. Are heels with slacks too much? What do you think?
     
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  3. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    It's always good to look professional. As long as your feet won't kill you in heels all day, go for it!
     
  4. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Every school has its own climate.
    Where I subbed, it was a fashion show. Where I taught for six years, khakis, flip-flops, and a cotton top were the norm. Some went above, and a few wore stretch pants and Crocs :eek:

    I don't think there is such a thing as 'too professional' when it comes to wardrobe.
     
  5. Tek

    Tek Comrade

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    Guys have it easier, haha. I always wore khakis and a polo during student teaching. I just rotated between the polos and khakis. I would say dress to impress on day 1 for sure, but see how your master teacher and the others are dressing for that week. If they're going casual, then you'll want to tone it down a bit and go a little more casual as well.

    I remember one time in student teaching even when I was going khaki polo that my master teacher mentioned "I don't know if you've noticed this, but we're very casual here" (as if to suggest it was OK to wear jeans)
     
  6. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Our university told us no jeans, so that was a non issue. I tended to dress more nicely than my cooperating teachers, but I didn't feel weird about it. Student teaching is like a really long interview, and the impression you make is important. I always just reminded myself that my CT already had a job, and I did not. Impressions are important in this job market.

    I hate heels and never wear them. I go for comfortable shoes, especially when teaching. So during student teaching I wore what I wear now - skirts or dresses, Dockers khaki type pants or slacks, nice shirts. I have tons of cardigans. I especially like short sleeved cardigans.

    I think you are on the right track with the professional wardrobe. :)
     
  7. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Vivalavida - I think your plan is right on track.

    I wear many of the things you described. My student teacher wore dresses and skirts with heals. I never had a negative reaction to her wardrobe. Yes, she was dressed "dressier" than I was, but it didn't concern me one bit. I thought she looked great and I appreciated that she was taking her teaching position so seriously.
     
  8. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Personally I wear what I want to work as long as:

    1. When I bend over, you can't see any cleavage

    2. When I sit down you can't see up my skirt

    3. It's comfortable

    4. It isn't form fitting (so no stretch pants or leggings for me)

    5. I don't feel self conscious in it

    Mainly I wear skirts to my knee or below, slacks and nice tops. On Friday's, I sometimes wear black, dressy jeans and an education t-shirt with Dr. Seuss, or something positive about reading or loving 1st grade.
     
  9. Ted

    Ted Habitué

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    Yes, guys do have it much easier.

    On a day-to-day basis, I wear Dockers-type pants (varying colors), belt, and usually a button-down shirt. There are times I do wear polo shirts as well, but I tend to be picky because some polo shirts have those darned curling collars which drive me crazy. :dizzy:

    For me, the most important part of my wardrobe is my pair of shoes. If they are not comfortable, then forget if I look like $1M. I'll feel like something the dog drug through a keyhole! (Tiny dog). :)
     
  10. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    Viva, your wardrobe sounds great! When you student teach, you are making an impression about yourself as a teacher and your university. It's important to look professional, yet still be able to do your job. I wouldn't worry about "out dressing" the teacher. It's not like you plan to wear suits every day.

    I wear what you described pretty much every day. Are there teachers around me that dress more casually than that? Yes, but I don't feel comfortable dressing that way (especially being young). Wear what you feel confident in so that you can do your best!
     
  11. TeachingHistory

    TeachingHistory Companion

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    In the words of my sister's Asst. Super..... As long as you can't see up it, down it, or through it you're good!
     
  12. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Check the school dress code, too.

    Our student teachers get a university dress code as well. We wear jeans on Fridays. The university says no jeans. My ST had an observation on a Friday, so I stressed no jeans.

    I still dress mostly like I did when I did student teaching. Slacks, skirts, a few dresses, heels, sandals, short sleeve or sleeveless blouses, jackets & cardigans. Jeans when permitted, but still with blouse. No t-shirts. I hate them.

    I don't wear khaki pants and polo shirts either. I look incredibly frumpy in them.

    I'd go for being overdressed any time!
     
  13. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    :thumb: totally everything said by Ima.

    The clothing you have described sound professional. Understated, clean and classic are always good choices.
     
  14. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Like others said, you can't be too professional and you can't be trying too hard when you're student teaching. It is better to be overdressed than underdressed.
    Make sure you're comfortable, so when you sit down your legs are not showing (I like my skirts to still cover my knees, even if I'm sitting), your pants are not so form fitting that your shape is obvious, if they are, wear a cardigan that covers it. Same thing with your top, if it's not that loose, I feel more comfortable with a cardigan over it.

    Find out policies for Friday, if they have casual or jeans days, might as well go with it so you look like you're part of the team, and might as well take advantage of more comfortable clothing.

    If you're in doubt for the first day, wear slacks, a nice top and whatever shoes you feel comfortable in, but yes, heels would be fine. Just expect a lot of walking and standing and not so much sitting.
     
  15. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    viva~I think your wardrobe plan is a very good one. I agree with those posters that said that student teaching is just one long interview and you definitely want to put that professional foot forward for that. For student teaching, I wore what you described. Our university also allowed us to wear jeans on Fridays if our school allowed it. During my first 3 years of teaching, I continued with that look. The last 3 years I've been in a small school district that allowed teachers to wear jeans whenever they wanted. I could NEVER wear jeans during the week. I guess because of all the years of having it ingrained in me that I had to dress professional during the week. There was one teacher that wore jeans every day.
     
  16. vivalavida

    vivalavida Companion

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    Thanks so much everyone! I will stick with my plan. I agree that it's important to make an impression, especially since the teacher is "secured" with his/her job and I definitely am not. Several people had me second-guessing myself when they would mention how casually teachers dress. I was trying on clothes at one store and the saleslady told me I was dressing too "business-like" for a teacher. (!) She was extremely surprised when I mentioned I am not allowed to wear jeans. Your comments suggest that slacks and nice tops are completely fine, so thank you! :)
     
  17. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    Don't listen to those people. When you dress professionally, you get more respect from everyone (colleagues and students). You feel more confident, as well. It's not unheard of to be offered a job after student teaching (I have been working at my school for 2 years now, and I know two former student teachers who are now my colleagues), so you need to make sure that you look your best. Every day is a job interview!
     
  18. Ted

    Ted Habitué

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    That's because still many in the non-teaching world don't FULLY see teachers as professionals. "Jeans are fine... or maybe shorts. Heck, anything you fall out of bed will do the trick. After all, you're just a teacher...nobody has expectations that you'll look nice."
     
  19. vivalavida

    vivalavida Companion

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    No kidding! It irked me a little that she said that. I've read many posts on this site that suggest this will be the first of many similar interactions. So sad! The more I learn about teaching, the more I respect all you dedicated individuals out there! Thank you for all that you do. It takes a special person to be successful in the teaching field.
     
  20. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I would like to add that making sure your clothes FIT WELL is extremely important. I see so many people walking on the legs of their pants! Hem, people!

    Buying clothes too big doesn't camouflage anything either. For example, a properly fitted shirt will do more to camouflage a large chest than buying a too-big shirt. I have a DDD chest. Nothing looks much worse on me than a button-down shirt. Yes, the button-down is a classic . . . but I just look sloppy in one. In order to get one to button across my chest without gaping, I have to go up at least two sizes. Then I'm dealing with it being too wide across the shoulders, too long in the arms, etc. Tailoring helps, but is a lot of work for something that I can replace with another type of shirt.

    Oh, and keep your shoes clean and polished.
     
  21. Pencil Monkey

    Pencil Monkey Devotee

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    I also do the reach for the sky test. If you can see my belly button when I reach above my head then it is a no go.
     
  22. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    This is pretty off topic, but I HATE that I can't buy slacks off the rack. I'm not very tall, so I've gotta get everything hemmed.
     
  23. Ted

    Ted Habitué

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    YTG - how tall are you? (If you don't mind my asking)
     
  24. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    5'6" (5'7" if I'm wearing shoes with little heel). :haha:
     
  25. Ted

    Ted Habitué

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    That's not TOO un-tall. :) I can't help imagine that there would be pants with an inseam that would work.

    I know that I'm shrinking myself! I once was 6'1" and now at 5'10". Each time I shop for pants... "Okay, I will go for the 36 inse---okay, no...the thirty-fou....um....32 it is." *grumble*"
     
  26. SciTeacherNY

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    I think you need to dress in what you will feel comfortable (and professional) in. I wear sheath dresses and pencil skirts from LOFT and Banana Republic every single day. I occasionally wear dress pants, but I am honestly not comfortable in them. I also wear 3-4 inch heels every day. People always comment on it and how I must be some uncomfortable, but I am not. I have been wearing them for 7.5 years so far.

    Best of luck!
     
  27. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    Can I just say....I am so jealous! I can't be in heels for an hour, let alone all day! I have very flat, overpronating feet. Keep rockin' those heels for us girls who can't wear them! :lol:
     
  28. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I've been in flip flops and a few wedges all summer...already bought 2 pair of heels for back to school. I'm in heels all year except my summer beach days! Rock on, Sci Teacher!
     
  29. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Outdressing the master teacher never entered my mind & I don't think that's anything to worry about. If the old-timer teachers want to dress in an old t-shirt & jeans w/ flip flops everyday, that definitely doesn't mean I'm going to. That's NOT my style anyway. Not that they should dress like that, but also think about this: They've already proven themselves as a (hopefully) good teacher. You're the newbie who should want to look a lot better than that.

    I don't know what kind of heels you're talking. You don't need to wear heels that are 3 inches & up or anything, especially if you're the type who always has to change into comfortable shoes halfway through the day. Of course if you want to, go for it.
     
  30. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    That is pretty much how I dressed when I was student teaching. I also wore appropriate dresses with heels. The school I student taught in was very casual so I was definitely overdressed compared to my CT, which I didn't see as a problem. (A lot of teachers wore khaki pants with flip flops/sneakers.) The principal told me that he was impressed with how I dressed and acted throughout the program.

    Now that I am teaching, I don't feel the need to dress that way all of the time. I still do wear dress pants, nice dresses, etc. and am always appropriate, but I do think it's more acceptable to follow the school culture. In my last school, many of the teachers wore nice flip flops to school and wore sundresses in the summer, and they wasn't not allowed in our dress code, so I didn't feel badly about doing the same. So I usually mix up my more formal clothes with my casual clothes. However, I definitely would not dress that way in my student teaching.
     
  31. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I WISH I could wear heels all day!! I think I'm going to try buying shoes with a little heel this year and see how that goes. I really do want to dress more professionally than I did last year for this new job. Started yesterday with buying some pants from NY & Co. Love them! Will have to start adding more pieces with each paycheck.
     
  32. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    Another rule for me are shirts that cover the shoulders.
    Sleeveless is OK but not strappy. Even tanks with larger neck openings do not pass in my book.
     
  33. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    Definitely. In fact, my school's dress code wasn't too strict and sleeveless was unacceptable...so I even wouldn't do sleeveless. One of the French teachers showed up with a blouse where the straps were only an inch thick and I was definitely shocked.
     
  34. sue35

    sue35 Habitué

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    I always have trouble with the sleeveless rule. Our building is not air conditioned and routinely gets above 90 in the rooms. I would be a sweaty mess if I wore sleeves. I am already a sweaty mess even with prescription deodorant! So I wear shirts that don't have sleeves, although it is frowned upon. The shirts/dresses have straps that are at least four fingers wide though. I am very worried at our meeting tomorrow our principal will say no sleeveless no matter what. Easy for her to say when her office is air conditioned!
     
  35. Sweet_P

    Sweet_P Rookie

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    I started student teaching today and I wore slacks, a nice but somewhat casual shirt (I'm student teaching in K-12 art) and some nice flats. I was actually a little overdressed compared to the other teachers who were wearing jeans and open-toed shoes, but I like that I have a "uniform" to wear, plus I love the way I look in it.

    In my opinion it's better to be overdressed than underdressed.
     
  36. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    We're not supposed to wear sleeveless shirts in our district, but it can get hot in my office. If I do wear a sleeveless shirt, I always wear a cardigan over it.
     
  37. vivalavida

    vivalavida Companion

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    I don't think I could survive all day in extremely tall heels either! I was mostly referring to shoes with a short heel or wedge, which tends to be more comfortable for me than completely flat shoes.
     

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