Skill? Experience? Personality? Looks?

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by smalagreca, Jul 10, 2009.

  1. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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    Jul 13, 2009

    I think appearance is important, however I think there are lots of shades of grey when it comes to what is deemed "appropriate." I was at a job fair and met this guy who rode his bike to the job fair. Very green of him, right? Well he was wearing what used to be khaki pants, now khaki cut-offs, and a neon colored T-shirt. He was sweating, a lot. His appearance...not so good. I am not entirely convinced hose vs. no hose is going to get you a job. If you look professional, then you are in the running.

    Sidenote: I have a tattoo on the top of my foot, and I begin working at a Catholic school in August. The P has already told me that the parish priest wants teachers to dress business-casual (not suits, but a bit more formal than any school I experienced). Hose, as told by the AP, were a matter of choice, because she fought and won that battle. I look forward to 100 degree days and hose, in order to somewhat cover my tattoo!
     
  2. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    I am thinking you are right.:)
     
  3. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    Tattoo. cool. I can understand that. :)
     
  4. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    If you don't have to wear hose, maybe some of the tattoo cover makeup would be more comfortable.
     
  5. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    I wonder if they hire what they look like NOW or what they used to look like if it is a female.... Cause my staff as a whole did not look like either of my previous female principals. And for that, I am grateful. :)
     
  6. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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    Hmmmm, I never thought of that. Do you know where you get it???
     
  7. CanukTeacher

    CanukTeacher Comrade

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    Jul 13, 2009

    I think Ps may intend to focus on skill and experience and such but I think they actually focus on appearance and personality more tha they reality. That would be fine (to a degree) if it was the way some of you defined it (dressing well, etc) but I think unfortunately sometimes it is about what the "being like the P" comment. Not always, but I do think that teachers should be diverse and it bothers me when I look at how much fashion plays in hiring (not cut-offs, etc) but truly we should have DIVERSITY in our schools and that includes teachers. A whole bunch of teachers who all look and dress the same sends a pretty strong message to students.
     
  8. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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    Jul 13, 2009

    That's why we wear the proper "interview attire" at the interview. Then, once the contract is signed you can start wearing your preferred attire!
     
  9. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    No idea, sorry. I think I am the only vegan without tattoos. :D

    I've just heard friends mention it. Maybe tattoo parlors? Or online somewhere? I suppose it is just like a thick pancake makeup.
     
  10. CanukTeacher

    CanukTeacher Comrade

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    Jul 13, 2009

    Rachael,

    For the purposes of having the best chance, I agree, wear interview attire. Unfortunately, there are a few ways this doesn't addess the problem. First, unless you know what each P looks like you don't know how to mimic their fashion. This goes beyond just dressing well. Second, I'm sorry but wearing expensive rings, etc and buying Prada does not make you a strong candidate. Yet I KNOW that Ps who spend thousands on their clothes every year at some level favour candidates who do the same. Third, how teachers are treated after the fact is certainly impacted by this as well. We should be encouraging and hiring diverse staffs. It is a school, not a fashion academy.
     
  11. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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    Jul 13, 2009

    Canuk,

    Totally agree. It shouldn't be a fashion show. However, I think gravitating towards like-minded or liked-dressed people is human nature. I naturally gravitate towards politically liberal, indie music-listening, organic-food loving, pet-friendly people. We all have those tendencies. It doesn't make it right, by any means, but it's understandable.

    I always wear a black pencil skirt and button down shirt with 3 inch heels. I wear a simple necklace and keep my make-up and hair minimal (which is a lot more than I usually do!). I look pretty neutral, and I don't look uncomfortable. I think I can easily blend into any strata in the fashion universe in this attire.

    P.S. How the H^%L does someone wear Prada on a teachers salary????
     
  12. rachaelski

    rachaelski Habitué

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    Jul 13, 2009

    My wardrobe consists of Target and a some key pieces from a couple nice mall shops.
     
  13. BLHutch25

    BLHutch25 Rookie

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    Jul 13, 2009

    I don't think I got hired because of my looks. However, I wore my new three piece suit to my interview. The principal commented that she had not seen a three piece suit in a while and that she liked the look. It has sort of a retro 1930s look to it. Wearing it was a bit of a gamble I'm sure, but it paid off.

    My current job (three weeks left) requires me to wear a shirt and tie everyday. July in Texas can be brutal when that is the required attire. At least they don't make us wear suit jackets in the summer.
     
  14. CanukTeacher

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    Jul 13, 2009

    Rachael,

    It sounds like you are doing the right thing. However, it still doesn't make the process right :) While we may gravitate to people like us, Ps are paid to put their biases aside and most don't. We get paid pretty well in Canada and some teachers have pretty well paid spouses :)
     
  15. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    Jul 13, 2009

    I've got some Chanel pieces. If you wear a size 2-4 you can find things at sample sales if you are willing to do that. Or you can shop around online, or, what I did was pounce on the very discreet and very significant markdowns on "damaged" items at the Chanel boutique in Heathrow. Often they only let you know about these items if they like you. So, I got a great black summer skirt for $150 instead of $700. It had a broken zipper and the boutique in DC had it fixed for me for free. I got sunglasses for $200 instead of $600 because they were in a white pearl case instead of a black case. Seriously. I've had those sunglasses 10 years now; I love them so much. The boutique has replaced all the screws for me twice now. And I got a great scarf for $70 instead of $350 just because it was the only one left and it was spring collection and fall was already out.

    Or, you can be silly and financially irresponsible and spend a months rent on a skirt, I guess. I guess it depends if you want them because you like nice things or if you just want the "status." People seem more willing to spend stupid percentages of their money on status things. I got my things when I was still working in graphics, so I could easily afford what I bought since I didn't go nuts otherwise.

    But, a lot of the "designer" things you see people wear are fakes. If you know what to look for, they are very easy to spot. For example: if you see someone with a Louis Vuitton bag and it has frayed edges--FAKE. Vuittons don't fray. Zippers on Chanel bags don't have chipped, peeling finish. Hermes bags do not lose the little metal feet on the bottom. As far as clothes go, tons of Prada stuff and the Ralph Lauren Pink Pony line are fake. You can tell that they just don't hang right, or they look cheap somehow.
     
  16. CanukTeacher

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    Jul 13, 2009

    I guess my point wasn't if they were real or not but that hiring educators shouldn't be about fashion. I really don't care if their bags are real or not. It bothers me that fashion (rather than just looking professional) plays too big of role in hiring. While this might make sense in business, in education it destroys creativity and limits diversity.
     
  17. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    Jul 13, 2009

    Mollydoll you know a lot about fashion. Maybe that can be a fun second career. You can do out shopping for us and find us the deals, we pay you a small commission. I usually do the Ann Taylor Loft thing. Hip, professional, and easy to wear. But I would be willing to switch it up for some great fashion tips.:hugs:
     
  18. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    I was just responding to the cost post. As to the rest, I've never seen any evidence that "fashion" matters. Maybe there is some principal somewhere that will hire based on such superficialities, but I hardly think that is the norm. In most cases, I would think it would be a detriment. Going in dripping designer logos doesn't really present a professional image. People shouldn't look dowdy--presenting a modern appearance (and this does not mean out of the pages of Vogue) helps present the notion that the candidate possesses modern and progressive ideas. But there is a huge range of appropriate business wear for women of any age or body type. I think the single biggest thing is that the clothes should fit properly. When I went to job fairs, I saw so many young girls, obviously in their first ever suit, and they just looked awkward.

    When I worked in graphics in Amsterdam, it could be important. That was when I went all out and did my manicure in the newest weird green that Chanel had for the season (yeah, I have a Chanel obsession; I just adore the deep pure colors that nobody else matches). But even in those cases, they still had your portfolio before the interview. If they didn't like your work, you weren't coming in. And let's not even discuss the programmers and tech support people and their fashion sense...:whistle:

    Mostly, I think people get too worked up over this issue.
     
  19. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    Jul 13, 2009

    I'm actually very boring. I like fashion, but I don't have good fasion sense myself. My style would be best summed up as "pretentious designer goth." Before I lost weight, I had loads of Ralph Lauren: long skirts etc all black. Since I lost weight, I've been mostly a poor student, so Ann Taylor Loft sales racks have been my friend.

    My last interview outfit was a black Calvin Klein suit with a mandarin style color and ribbon closures instead of buttons. It is lovely, but actually dressier than I would recommend for a school interview, but it was $33 (from $390) at TJ Maxx. It was the absolute last suit they had left for the season. :lol: I made it work by dressing it down with a really fun zebra print sleeveless shirt from Ann Taylor ($15 on second markdown from $48!). (I got the job)

    I don't do accessories, and I keep my nail polish neutral (for interviews only :D). I also don't really wear makeup, just a neutral gloss.

    For the record though, I would have no issues spending $10k at Saks. :D

    Since I won't have THAT budget, I expect I will get most of my work clothes from ATL, with some splurges for Michael Kors or Calvin Klein when I find something I know I will keep for a few years. The quality is great, prices are great on sale and I usually find something I like.

    Really though, I am convinced that the ENTIRE key to looking good is to wear what you like and are comfortable in. If you hate skirts, get a nice pants suit. If you don't like heels, wear professional looking flats. And don't stuff yourself into some drab black outfit if you never wear black and don't like it. People gravitate to the dark colors because they automatically look more professional, but there are lots of color options. Even well cut khaki suiting can work, especially on blonde women. And if you are the right person to pull off red, go for it! If your clothes are occasion appropriate, clean, fit well and your hair and makeup are neat, how can you not look good? Pick something that enhances who you are and shows off your personality a little bit. For me, this was keeping my 4" mary jane stacked heel shoes and the zebra shirt (and forgoing my black nail polish :rolleyes:). I really think that having one quirky or interesting item of clothing or accessories is a good thing, even if that one item doesn't fit the "rules," as long as that item doesn't detract or distract.

    Sheesh. I am excessively wordy this morning. Sorry. :blush:
     
  20. CanukTeacher

    CanukTeacher Comrade

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    Well Molly I think we are just going to disagree (which of course is fine).

    I don't think you need to look modern. I know that some of the teachers I teach with are not modern but they are professional and they are great teachers. I also think that "fashion sense" has an influence on most Ps (at a subconscious level). I've generally noted in my district that young teachers who use their fashion sense to their advantage also says it has no impact on hiring. (In other words they don't recognize that it was part of the reason they got the job). However, that combined with ageism has certainly led some of them to get jobs quicker than just as qualified older, less fashionable people. I'm not saying Ps discuss this, I'm saying that it influences their opinion of the person regardless of if they are aware that it influences them or not. And for the record I'm young, reasonably fashionable and probably benefited from this unfair advantage.
     
  21. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    I think we might have different definitions of modern. A 50 year old teacher is probably not going to dress the same as a 25 or 30 year old teacher (and probably shouldn't), but both can be modern. It is a fact that our world is very superficial, so presently a polished appearance at an interview is important. Showing up to an interview wearing an old 80's style power suit with shoulders out the wazoo probably isn't going to make the best impression, but a conservatively cut suit with a more contemporary design would probably help.
     
  22. CanukTeacher

    CanukTeacher Comrade

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    Perhaps but I'm still of the opinion that you don't need to look modern. I can think of 2 teachers in my building who wouldn't fit your definition. One of them is one of the best teachers in our building. The bottom line is that not dressing to these superficial standards does have an impact on interviews and I'm realize others may disagree but I think that quashes diversity and hurts education.
     
  23. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    I know lots of hip 50 year olds. And I think that while agism does exist, it is not a norm for most P's. I say, live and let live. Agree to disagree. Looks and an outfit do matter. If you think it does not, sit in on a few interviews. It matters. Age - not so much if the person is a right fit for the faculty. I wish you all good luck. And Mollydoll - congrats on the weight loss. I might need some tips on that too! Need to stay motivated and stop feeling hungry all the time! ANd BTW- your fashion sense sounds good to me. :)
     
  24. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    This is true in ANY field though. There are hoops people have to jump through in order to get a job; for most, that includes finding an appropriate interview outfit. I don't think people have to change their entire personal style, but being savvy for the interview can help land jobs. I doubt that many of us dress as we would prefer or do every day for nterviews. I certainly don't! I alter and adapt according to what presentation will most help me get hired. I can wear my black nail polish AFTER I get the job. :lol:
     
  25. rachaelski

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    Jul 13, 2009

    I like to wear heels to school, run around in my stocking-ed or bare feet in my classroom, and walk out of the building (or around the building) in my heels. :lol:

    I am loving the fashion debate!
     
  26. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    I'm kinda diggin it too. Hee-Hee. :) :eek:
     
  27. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    I'm going to be showing up in biker gear and changing when I get to work. :D
     
  28. TeacherShelly

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    Jul 13, 2009

    Just to throw this out there: don't you usually have to do a demo lesson? I interviewed with a panel of 6 Ps just to get into the hiring pool... then a P chose me and I had to do a demo lesson in front of 4 Ps (the other two couldn't make it!). I wore a skirt and blouse to the first, and capri pants with a dressy top for the second (I had to sit on the floor for the lesson).

    I was just on the committee to hire a P and I don't think looks and personality could really be separated into two categories. People seemed to dress their personality: cheerful, upbeat young woman in a LOFT looking suit; quiet near-retirement man in gray 3piece suit; stiff, rule-following, risk adverse woman in a black Macy's like suit with hair pulled tight; see what I mean?
     
  29. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    This is sort of my whole point: people should dress to show their personality. I think a lot of people don't though. I saw a lot of job fair people who just looked awkward. You have to wear the clothes, not let them wear you. Lots of people wearing drab black who looked horrid and washed out in black, but probably thought they HAD to wear black. My old roommate was a tiny blonde girl with a bright personality, total sweetheart. For her interviews (not teaching) she got a horrible black sack from Belk clearance rack with skirt down to below her knees and a bulky jacket to cover up her larger chest. She looked 12 playing dress-up to go to a funeral. I tried to talk her out of it. She had no luck first day of job fair even in a high demand field, then went for a mock interview at the career center. They told her all she needed to change was her outfit and she ended up getting an inexpensive bright navy suit that fit properly at NY&Co. She got three interview offers (with paid plane tickets) the next day at the job fair. I think the biggest part was that she is so tiny, she needed the polish to be taken seriously.
     
  30. newbie23

    newbie23 Comrade

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    Jul 15, 2009

    Great question! I think it depends largely on how many applicants the particular posting has. If there's a large pool, I know several districts around that refuse to hire new teachers without at least 1 year of full-time experience. That stinks for those of us still waiting for that 1 school to say yes.

    I had a supt. tell me that the reason I was his # 2 choice for a position was because I didn't show him my portfolio like the other candidate did. Then there are the interviews where they tell you either not to bring a portfolio because there won't be time to share or you just never find time to sneak it into the dialogue.

    Basically, pull out the dice because it's a GAMBLE! Good luck to everyone!
     
  31. Katisop99

    Katisop99 Rookie

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    Jul 15, 2009

    I would not recommend wearing a skirt for a kinder demo. I wore pants and didn't even realize what a good idea that was. I was squatting to be at eye level with my students for a good portion of the lesson, the students sat on the carpet while I was on the chair and I was constantly leaning in to hear them... hard to do and be appropriate and lady-like ;-)

    In middle/high school I doubt there is a lot of eye level squatting though...
     

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