MS Appropriate Teacher Clothes?

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by MissKayJo, Feb 2, 2017.

  1. MissKayJo

    MissKayJo New Member

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    Not sure if this is the right place to post my question, but I'm running out of options! I tried "Pin"-teresting ideas and options, but some of them still seem too professional. I'm about to begin teaching MS Science (7th grade), which I'm super stoked about, but I'm having trouble finding/putting together looks that are MS appropriate.

    The school culture is pretty laid back (principal wore dress pants and a school pride t-shirt during my informal interview or meet & great as he called it) and works to build a positive, fun atmosphere where kids want to learn. I did my student teaching in a HS where teachers were very business casual with few teachers participating in jean Fridays. I feel like a lot of the good clothes I have are going to be "too much" for the school atmosphere I'm going into.

    I could definitely use some help from my fellow teachers: what you typically wear, maybe photos of your outfits (if that's not too creepy to ask for), good places to look at, etc.
     
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  3. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    My main suggestion is to be comfortable! Pants that have a little bit of give to them so you have a full range of motion would be perfect. I found several pairs of stretchy slacks at Macy's that are NOT leggings but still move like them. I pair those with tops or sweaters that are a little longer / roomier than I might normally wear, but again, they cover everything and give me a wider range of movement around the school. Be very careful of wide / low neck tops, possibly pairing with tees or tanks underneath.
     
  4. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    I don't think you can ever go wrong by being "too" dressy at first, especially if you are younger or look younger. You can always tone it down later, and it's better to err on the side of being too formal. I started off wearing dress pants and skirts at my current school, but now I have a daily (self-imposed) "uniform" of leggings, tall boots, tunic/dress, and long cardigan, topped off with a scarf. I'm comfy but still look put together, even though some of my colleagues wear jeans and flip-flops(!).
     
  5. MetalTeacher

    MetalTeacher Companion

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    This was the advice I was going to give. If you show up dressed up in the beginning and it is too much, you can tone it back later and you still made a professional first impression. But if you're too casual when you start, you have to work to rebuild a reputation of professionalism just from that first exposure.
     
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  6. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    On top of that advice about erring on the formal side at first, find what you feel most "comfortable", not necessarily in the sense of how it physically feels (though that's important too, ha), but your attitude/confidence when wearing it.
     
  7. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Comrade

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    It's better to err on the side of formal, but in my experience, it's less about formality and more about looking put together. I do a lot of layering basic items and a lot of neutrals. A typical outfit for me might be a plain black t-shirt, khakis or a neutral skirt, a colored cardigan, and flats. My winter "uniform" is mostly khakis, a sweater, nice sneakers, and jewelry or a scarf to make it look nicer. You can probably dress down the clothes you have with more casual shoes/accessories or by pairing a dressy item with something casual, like wearing a graphic tee with a blazer. Also, fleece-lined tights are amazing. They feel like wearing sweat pants, but look nice and you don't freeze your buns off wearing a skirt in winter.
    If you're going to buy anything new, I advise sticking with versatile basics and classic styles. The school you're at now may be casual, but you might be somewhere dressier down the road. When you buy quality classics, you come out cheaper in the long run. I have a polka-dot shirtdress I got when I was 15 and you still see ones just like it in the stores a decade+ later.
    For stores to check out, Loft has a good mix of things and a teacher discount, the nicer stuff at GAP might suit you, the casuals at White House Black Market (expensive, but good sales), Modcloth, and if you have one nearby, Von Maur.
     
  8. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Buy 2-3 pairs of basic black dress pants. You can't go wrong with those. Generally I wear:

    1. Black pants, dressy tank top, cardigan
    2. Leggings, tunic, cardigan

    On Fridays sometimes I am more casual with dark-wash "nice" jeans.

    Today I was sick and it was our Friday so I definitely wore black pants with a long sleeve tee that had a giant pink tiger on it. I knew I'd made an interesting choice because no adult said anything and like...12 middle schoolers screamed that they *LOVED* my tiger shirt. One said, "I have that shirt!" o_O
     
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  9. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    Save Pinterest for Halloween costumes and just go to the store and pick out some nice pants and nice shirts (not sporty but not overly fancy like silk). If you are wearing solid colors then just dress it up with a scarf. It's really common sense. Have you been inside of a school at all during student teaching? What did the teachers there wear? I wouldn't change my clothing based on it being a MS or HS. Should be pretty much the same wardrobe. If you have clothes that are "too much" for this school, I'm sure it would be ok to wear what you have for the first week then go pick up some other things based on what you observed others to wear in your building.
     
  10. katepalo

    katepalo Rookie

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    As a first year teacher who never taught middle school I was a little scared in the beginning too. I started off with just black slacks and a button up. It then gradually moved into dark jeans. I wear jeans everyday with a fancier blouse and cardigan during the week and a school shirt on Fridays.
     
  11. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    I teach MS science too. I've got a casual culture in school. I wear jeans everyday with a smart casual top but nothing expensive as nice clothes just get tatty really quick. As a science teacher I think pants is the way to go.
     
  12. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I wear mostly dresses with sandals in warm months and boots in cooler months. I have a few pairs of dress pants and blouses, but I don't wear them much. Dresses are more comfortable. I teach middle school ELA.
     
  13. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Besides all the great ideas mentioned above, I want to second layers. It might be hot outside and cold in the classroom because of the AC. Or in the winter cold outside but warm in the classroom. You want to be able to take off / put on layers.
     
  14. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Yes, layers! I have a lot of light and medium cardigans. They are great for keeping comfortable in a variety of room temperatures, plus they can stretch a wardrobe.
     
  15. platypusok

    platypusok Companion

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    Dressy pants and a nice shirt and Toms are my year-round wardrobe for school. And it differs at my school, some are very business casual and some are more dressed up.

    I will say that I live for spirit weeks. I can figure out how to wear PJS and sweats for every day no matter what that day is. It's a special skill of mine :)
     
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  16. Mshope2012

    Mshope2012 Companion

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    Black pants are my uniform. We are not permitted to wear jeans or sneakers until we have a "jean" day where we pay for charity. However, I basically wear black or khaki pants, a sweater set or nice shirt, and flats. It's not the most fashionable, but it works. If I have a parent meeting or observation, I might wear a black jacket and shirt. If I wear some type of heels, I shove flats in my closet, so I can change later!

    We have some younger teachers who wear the short dresses and tight clothes. People do talk and judge. One got "talked to" about it since it was distracting students and people complained! Don't be that person. Err on the side of caution.
     
  17. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    You can tone down the dressy pieces with more casual wardrobe 'basics'. A long sleeve cotton tee with slacks, a cardi over a dress, tee shirt with skirts.
     
  18. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

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    Generally pants or capris to show a bit of leg when it's hot out. One time I noticed kids giggling while I was teaching then I happend to look down and realized my panties were showing. :oops:
     
  19. DAH

    DAH Companion

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    [QUOTE="MissKayJo, I could definitely use some help from my fellow teachers:.[/QUOTE]

    Miss Kay, Adolescent student's--ESPECIALLY BOYS--notice what their female teacher is wearing. I suggest dresses, skirts, BELOW THE KNEE, preferably mid-calf.
    No tight pants that show curvature, front or back.
    No blouses that hug the bust line, show cleavage, or is so low cut that when you bend over your boobs show.
    This is just old fashioned DECENCY.

    The way you dress says WHO YOU ARE.
    We should present ourselves as MODELS in accordance with HIGH MORAL STANDARDS, especially since this is what we expect from students.

    Teachers have an OBLIGATION to present themselves ABOVE REPROACH to young, budding teens. A teacher who dresses in this manner is highly unlikely to ever be accused of sexual misconduct, and, will earn respect from her students (THEIR PARENTS) and co-workers.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2017
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  20. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Shocker.
     
  21. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I agree with the others. Start a bit more professional. As a science teacher, though, always wear pants and closed toe shoes (lab rules, you know).
     
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  22. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Miss Kay, Adolescent student's--ESPECIALLY BOYS--notice what their female teacher is wearing. I suggest dresses, skirts, BELOW THE KNEE, preferably mid-calf.
    No tight pants that show curvature, front or back.
    No blouses that hug the bust line, show cleavage, or is so low cut that when you bend over your boobs show.
    This is just old fashioned DECENCY.

    The way you dress says WHO YOU ARE.
    We should present ourselves as MODELS in accordance with HIGH MORAL STANDARDS, especially since this is what we expect from students.

    Teachers have an OBLIGATION to present themselves ABOVE REPROACH to young, budding teens. A teacher who dresses in this manner is highly unlikely to ever be accused of sexual misconduct, and, will earn respect from her students (THEIR PARENTS) and co-workers.
    [/QUOTE]


    This seems very closed minded. Women are professional educators, not school marms. One can be professionally attired and not be dressed in long skirts. Most women's trousers are going to show some shape. And why are you bringing up sexual misconduct?
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2017
  23. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

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    Why do men get a pass? I've worked with two wh wore extremely tight-fitting clothing.
     
  24. DAH

    DAH Companion

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    They shouldn't, Milsey. But it may have something to do with a "sexual turn-on." GENERALLY SPEAKING, men become easily aroused when women expose too much. Of course that could work both ways, but GENERALLY SPEAKING, it's usually men turned-on by women.
     
  25. DAH

    DAH Companion

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    [QUOTE="czacza...And why are you bringing up sexual misconduct?[/QUOTE]

    It just seemed to flow with what we're discussing.
     
  26. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Seriously, this is so archaic. Instead of counseling women to wear long skirts and beige pants that show no curves on the chance that a male not be able to control himself, let's counsel our men-young and old-on respect.
     
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  27. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    It just seemed to flow with what we're discussing. [/QUOTE]
    Nope. It didn't.
    But since you opened that door, your advice leans toward blaming the victims of misconduct because of their dress.
     
  28. DAH

    DAH Companion

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    [QUOTE="czacza, let's counsel our men-young and old-on respect.[/QUOTE]

    That too. Although I would think--and I am also a female--that it would be difficult for men to respect a woman who dresses like a slut.
     
  29. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    That too. Although I would think--and I am also a female--that it would be difficult for men to respect a woman who dresses like a slut. [/QUOTE]


    By your standards I dress like a slut. Skirts above knee, jersey knit long sleeve tees, high heels- and shocker! Trousers that don't hide that women have tushies....And I can assure you that I look professional and am well-respected.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2017
  30. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I'm with you. I don't own a dress below the knee, and I never wear crew-neck or button-up shirts. I prefer heels over flats. I refuse to wear polo shirts, khaki pants, or baggy pants. I always wear makeup and jewelry. I always have my nails done. I always have my hair down. I get compliments on my "put together" outfits all the time. I've been called a lot of things in my life, but slut has never been one of them.
     
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  31. physteach

    physteach Companion

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    I guess I'm another slut who never knew it! My skirts tend to hit the top of my knees, but I have curves, so shirts and pants will betray that I have (GASP!) a body.
     
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  32. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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  33. MetalTeacher

    MetalTeacher Companion

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    Seriously, I think people police what girls wear WAY too much.

    I'm not actually a teacher yet, but I'm seriously thinking about my policy regarding girl's clothing being "If it's legal to wear in public, I didn't notice the problem." I have more important things to worry about that what a girl chooses to wear.
     
  34. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Being male, you will seldom, if at all, be asked to enforce the dress code for female students. Those of us of the other gender have that firmly placed on our shoulders. Think of it this way - if they make the dress code an issue by "saying" it will be enforced, well, someone has to follow the rules. I do think that you will be surprised just how far away from the dress code students can get. If you are going to go with "anything goes", you are going to be part of the problem, certainly not part of the consistency that the school is hoping for. Something to think about . . .
     
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  35. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Um, it is legal to wear pasties and a thong in public. To enter a restaurant you must wear a shirt, but no one says it has to cover much of anything. You might really want to rethink your stance just a bit.
     
  36. MetalTeacher

    MetalTeacher Companion

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    Okay so what I meant was not doing overzealous things like sending people to the office because you can see some shoulder, or collarbones (like this student) and stuff like "pasties and a thong" isn't okay. I was speaking in a VERY hyperbolic and unclear manner and didn't think about the big gap between the way I phrased it and was I intended to say and I apologize.
     
  37. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Let's get this conversation out of moralizing on student or teacher CONDUCT (real or implied) and back to what is simply appropriate clothing for a middle school teacher.

    No more name-calling, either.
     
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  38. mrsf70

    mrsf70 Companion

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    I do dresses with sandals when it's warm out, some days capris and shirt. I always have a sweater to layer with. My building goes from blistering hot to cold as ice on a whim. In the winter, I do some type of khaki, gray, or black pants matched with a cardigan and short-sleeve shirt or tank underneath. Keep it simple and layered.
     
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  39. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    No apologies necessary. I also used hyperbole to show the great divide between acceptable and not. That is a big issue with dress codes. There are many times a well-meaning dress code doesn't work for someone. Take the 6' girl who is really thin trying to find skirts and shorts that work with the fingertip rule. It just doesn't happen. Then add in the fact that kids want to fit in and wear the fashionable clothes that may fit within the dress code for a shorter person, but not for them.

    For a MS teacher, I really believe conservative is the way to go.
     
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  40. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Do I know you? You MUST work in my building, because our dress patterns are almost identical except the only day I wear a dress is graduation - and even that isn't written in stone. Summer/winter, same short sleeve top and a long sleeve "other" to go over it, just because the building seems to have menopause - when it gets a hot flash, the rest of us freeze. So glad this isn't just me! :cool:
     
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