What type of clothing do you wear when you teach?

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  1. amethyst

    amethyst Companion

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    The school that I am student teaching in is pretty casual. I've seen some teachers where clothes that really didn't look professional to me at all. Over my winter break, I've been looking for some clothes (last semester I was only there 2 days per week, now it will be 5, and I literally was wearing the same 2 outfits every week because I had NO money and that was all I had :( ).

    So, I still have almost no money for clothes, and it's very hard to find clothes that fit me well. I found two shirts (same style/different colors/designs) that are dressy, but they are long. Like not a dress length, but too long for me to wear with pants. I'm not really a stylish dresser, but I guess that's sort of the style now.... long shirts with leggings.... and I have seen some teachers wear outfits like that, but I'm not sure it feels professional to me, although the shirt is dressy. What do you think?

    I also bought these shirts before I started subbing, feeling like I would feel comfortable in them, and then I think after I started subbing in different schools, I felt like maybe I wouldn't feel comfortable wearing them, like other people are dressed in more of like a sweater and pants type of outfit. So, maybe I should return them?
     
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  3. nyteacher29

    nyteacher29 Comrade

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    My school has no dress codes and most teachers wear leggings and jeans and boots. I wear slacks and nice dressy top or cardigan and always flats. On Fridays I think I will start to wear jeans but with dressy top and flats still. I find cheap cardigans at old navy. I also dress up with scarves which are on sale now. Call me old fashioned but I personally am only comfortable "dressing up" . It makes me feel like a professional, weird I know. I'm just not comfortable enough to wear leggings to work
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Think classic rather than fashion...classic trousers, blouses or tanks/shells, cardis/blazers.
    Clean, neat, polished and professional should be your mantra. Nothing that could be questioned as too short, too low....
    Always better to err on the side of conservative/ overdressed than casual.
     
  5. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    I'm wearing dress pants (slacks) and a button up dress shirt (top button undone, no tie...I only like wearing ties on special occasions) every day. The only time I've ever worn jeans while subbing or teaching was one day, about 3-4 years ago, for jog-a-thon day with the whole school.
     
  6. Croissant

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    I would suggest that as a student teacher you dress more professionally than the contracted teachers. Treat it like an extended interview. If you wouldn't wear it to an interview, don't wear it to teach in.

    Try Goodwill. The first time I went was when I began student teaching because I was panicking about my limited wardrobe. If you dig, you can find some cute, professional clothes.
     
  7. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    The expectation in my district is that we dress business casual - at least. I generally wear dress pants or skirts and a sweater or professional looking top. We are also required to wear hosiery which I gotta say, doesn't thrill me.

    Leggings, jeans, sandals, mini skirts, etc. are all big no-nos for us.
     
  8. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    I'm in CA, so things are pretty casual here. Jeans are common, though teachers at my school will usually pair jeans with a nice top. We all tend to wear jeans and a school shirt on Fridays. However, even though I sometimes wear jeans now, I NEVER wore jeans during student teaching. I agree that as a ST you need to dress as nicely as you can, possibly nicer than the teachers.

    If I were you, I would try to go for solid color nice pants (I wear Dockers trousers, personally) and solid color skirts, and pair those with nice blouses, cardigans, and solid or patterned shirts. If you have a limited wardrobe, solid colored bottoms will be more versatile.

    Places to buy on a limited budget - Kohl's, Goodwill (they often have nice dress shirts!), maybe Target, though I've found their clothes to be too expensive for not as great of quality. However, Target does have great cardigans.
     
  9. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    The Op Is in NJ... What is considered 'professional dreas' seems to vary geographically..
     
  10. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I'd say about 90% of the female teachers within my district wear jeans and a cute top. Maybe it's a CA thing! :)
     
  11. BumbleB

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    I agree with Croissant...you always dress professionally during student teaching, no matter what the teachers around you look like.

    No leggings, jeans, etc. Nice slacks, professional looking tops/blouses, knee-length skirts or dresses with tights are all appropriate. Wear a cardigan for more coverage. Nothing too showy (like glitter or "bling").
     
  12. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    In winter I mostly wear skirts & dresses with tights and boots. I have a few pairs of dress slacks as well. I wear blouses and layer with cardigans. I always wear jewelry and dress shoes.

    In warmer weather I wear sandals, heels, and mostly the same blouses, just without the cardigans. I have dress capris or lightweight slacks.

    I shop everywhere. I browse all the time. I never pay full price for anything, and I usually find things on clearance that are very inexpensive.

    I rarely wear jeans, but that's mainly because I had trouble finding them to fit me correctly. NOw that I've lost about 25 pounds, I've got a couple of pairs that look nice, so I'll probably wear them on Fridays. That's the only time we can wear jeans.
     
  13. Kat53

    Kat53 Devotee

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    The tops would be cute with pants that are slim cut and ankle length.More professional than leggings but still gives the same effect. I love long shirts with leggings, but not so much at work. If you do go with leggings, make sure they are a quality material, and not super thin.
     
  14. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I agree with what other said about being a ST- you should dress nicer than the other teachers. I'm in a new school this year and people dress really casually. Last year, my school had a very strict dresscode so most of my clothes reflect that. I usually wear dress pants with a sweater or nice top or a dress with leggings or tights and boots. We wear jeans with school shirts on Fridays, which I do participate in. Most of the other teachers at my school wear jeans with nice tops during the week. I feel too weird dressing like that for school, so I end up being one of the most "dressy" people at work.
     
  15. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I have a LOT of cardigans. A LOT. I have thinner ones for summer, and thicker, sweater like for winter. They can camouflage and dress up a lot of outfits. For example in the summer I wear tanktops with skirt (matching), but you couldn't tell, because the cardigans are not see through.

    Now, in the winter, I'm more comfortable in skirt, so I have ankle length or knee length ones, and wear them with boots, and sweaters, or other tops and cardigans. Of course I also wear pants instead of skirts.

    Our school is also very laidback, and although I could dress down I only wear jeans on Fridays, and I dress up every day. I feel more comfortable and more professional. When I student taught, daily subbed, long term subbed, I dressed the same way: as a teacher, as a professional.
     
  16. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Button down shirt, slacks, black shoes, black socks. During student teaching, I wore a tie.
     
  17. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Black sneakers, dress pants, blouse.
     
  18. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Business casual. They don't take us seriously if we wear jeans, sandals, etc. (I don't, either.)
     
  19. Go Blue!

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    Very casual. Whatever I want, usually jeans or a casual dress.
     
  20. MissScrimmage

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    Dress pants, blouses, blazers, cardigans, dresses and skirts. On Fridays I wear jeans with nice blouse and blazer.
     
  21. amethyst

    amethyst Companion

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    All good advice! Thank you! Yes, I think schools do vary A LOT! I was in one school where I thought teachers were dressed pretty casually, but I had a classmate who student taught in a different school in the same district and she said they were allowed to wear jeans all the time! I've never seen that anywhere else yet! I never wear jeans anywhere on Fridays or any other dress down days... and I think I will return those shirts (came from Kohl's by the way- on sale), and see if I can find some more shirts. Then I could probably even keep matching them up with the pants I already have- at least for now. I have one black pair and one gray pair. They're not the dressiest, but with a nice shirt, they work well, and they hold up well, as far as frequent washing, and things like that. I'm mostly concerned with just having ENOUGH outfits right now!!
     
  22. LinguaTutor

    LinguaTutor Rookie

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    Anything casual (as long as there's nothing offensive on the shirt) and with shoes, no slippers or open toes shoes. However, for my older students (high school level) sometimes a dress shirt and jeans would suffice.
     
  23. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    The one massive downside to long-term/full-time teaching instead of subbing ;) Oh well, as long as all the clothes are always clean and it's only repeated once every couple weeks, I always think to myself! :lol:
     
  24. Janedo5513

    Janedo5513 Rookie

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    You can never go wrong with the Goodwill! Sometimes they have designer names! I purchased Ann Taylor Capri's for five bucks! Especially when you are on a budget, khaki's, black slacks and a few colored blouses that you can interchange with the bottoms. Good luck!!
     
  25. Brendan

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    As both a teacher and an administrator I usually am in a tie, button down shirt, and dress pants or khakis 2-3 days a week. The other two days I'm usually in Khakis and a Polo Shirt or dress shirt without a tie. Fridays were always jeans, sneakers, and a school shirt. I also tended to wear a blazer nearly every day, but Friday. Now as a principal though I do tend to wear a suit much more often.
     
  26. Shanoo

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    The kids won't notice if you wear the same pairs of pants all the time, unless they stand out in some way. A few years back, I was low on clothes and found pants that I liked on sale. I bought a black pair, a grey pair and a brown pair and rotated them through the week. I would concern myself with getting enough nice tops to get you through one week, in colours and styles that can be matched with all (or most) of the bottoms you already have.

    I also find that light scarves are an easy way to change up an outfit.
     
  27. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    I dress as if I'm going on a hike - layers, sturdy shoes, cargo pants or shorts.

    All our rooms here open directly to the outdoors and it's all very spread out. So if you need to leave your room, you face whatever elements Madame Nature has sent that day. And since California is now a desert climate, that can mean very very hot or very very cold.
     
  28. Sarge

    Sarge Enthusiast

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    Absolutely true. I bike to work every day and keep most of my wardrobe in my classroom. I generally have two or three pairs of pants and rotate through them.

    My first graders noticed I was wearing the same shoes every day before they noticed the same pants.
     
  29. MissCeliaB

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    Our students are not allowed to wear leggings unless their shirts are long enough to be a dress. That means three inches above the knee. As faculty, the (unwritten) standard is that our skirts come to the knee. We would not be allowed to wear leggings with a shirt unless the shirt came to, or very close to, the knee.

    We mostly wear slacks, a blouse, and a cardigan. I can buy a whole outfit at Old Navy for $35 that looks nice, lasts well as long as I take good care of it. To stretch my money, I have slacks in four or five colors, cardigans in five colors, and some tops in solids and patterns.

    But, that's at my school. You do what fits at your school.
     
  30. Cicero

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    During my student teaching I was very broke. Broke like.. I'm not sure I have enough gas to get home, and I don't have any money to buy gas today kind of broke. So I definitely can understand how you feel! Just in regards to not having enough outfits -- I was able to build up a more professional wardrobe than I had due to going to places like Goodwill and finding gently used professional clothing. They have so many great sales -- I remember buying a 2pc skirt and blazer for $1. I love the skirt from that set and still wear it today almost 3 years later (and get more compliments on it than anything else I own!). I know maybe it is isn't ideal to think of buying clothes from thrift stores, but it is definitely worth checking and is certainly easy on the budget.

    Another thing to think about is just having a few key pieces in your wardrobe. You can wear the same skirt/pants in a week paired with different tops. It's not necessarily about having something completely new every day.
     
  31. YoungTeacherGuy

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    I can't wear a blazer. I get sweaty very, very easily. Plus, here in my part of CA, it's hot from May-October.

    I do wear a shirt and tie every day, though. One day, I ran into a kindergartener at WalMart and he said, "Why are you dressed like a teenager?" I was wearing shorts, tshirt, and flip flops. I guess they think I should be wearing my dress clothes 24/7. :lol:
     
  32. Milsey

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    I'm still feeling FAT after the holidays, so I wore the hideous brown sweater I wear when cleaning the house. It's very loose, but hides that bump around my mid-section.
     
  33. Ponypal

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    computer problem... whoops
     
  34. DrivingPigeon

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    Right now I'm wearing grey dress pants, a black button-up shirt, and a pink cardigan sweater. I wear dress pants every day, usually with a cardigan or sweater of some sort. We wear jeans on Friday.
     
  35. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I tend to wear slacks and a blouse most days. Sometimes in a blue moon, I'll wear a long skirt with boots. I have the same type pants in different colors that I got from Old Navy that have lasted me awhile and look good with whatever top I put with it.
     
  36. Ms. I

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    At the different place I'm at this school year, I could wear jeans, simple tops, & sneakers every day if I wanted to, but I don't. I'm a little more dressed up than that. I also like leggings or skirts with nice boots & nice tops & sweaters, & always some jewelry! :)
     
  37. teacherguy111

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    I usually wear dress pants or khakis and a collared shirt. But right now we are in a 'J term' semester, which is more relaxed. I wear jeans and a nice sweater and sneakers everyday during J term.
     
  38. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Most of our teachers dress fairly casual most of the time. Today, I'm wearing black dress pants, a beige cable knit sweater, a black scarf and black boots with a heel--this is fairly typical for me. I'm wear lots of jackets and cardigans; I need layers in the cold. I typically wear skinny jeans with long sweater or tunic on Fridays.
     
  39. mcqxu

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    I dress comfortably and wear layers - my building and especially my room and those around it are extremely cold most of the time. I have one very warm sweater that I keep in my room at all times that can pretty much go over anything.

    We are not permitted to wear jeans except for on spirit days, so I wear slacks (buy machine wash only) and have many long sleeved tees that look sort of dressy with the right necklace and mostly booties. Would love to wear flats but my feet would freeze:-(

    I like fashion a bit so often buy clothing gently used that is of good quality. When shopping, if I find clothing that is machine washable that I like on me and holds up well, I buy multiples if I can and look out for sales on those brands.

    These days before buying anything I ask myself if I could wear it to work.
     
  40. mcqxu

    mcqxu Comrade

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    I wanted to add that it may also depend a bit on what age(s) you teach. Since I work with a broad span of ages that includes very young children, it is important for me to wear clothing that is is no way revealing and that I am comfortable moving around in a lot, i.e., jumping up and down, sitting on floor with students, etc.

    If I taught older students I might want to wear skirts or nicer clothing, but with the little guys I feel like every time I buy something like that it just gets messed up, stained, snagged, or torn pretty quickly in my classroom.

    I would agree with others to err on the side of professional over casual - and remember that in generally I think no one cares if you wear clothing over and over, as long as it is clean and neat. It takes awhile to build up a good professional wardrobe!
     
  41. love2teach

    love2teach Enthusiast

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    Yes, I agree with wearing something more professional (or at least as professional) as the teachers that you are working with.
    However, wearing what you would wear to an interview, I have to disagree. Again, this may be regional, but most here wear a skirt or pant suit for interviews. I would not feel okay wearing that every day. In fact, I think that some may think that you are "trying too hard" if you wore a skirt suit to teach in! It will also cost you a lot of $$ !

    To that end, basics will get you very far! I have a few black pants, pair of brown, and some leggings that I rotate with different tops. I also try to multipurpose my clothing. For example, t shirts/tanks are worn all year just with a sweater over them in the winter. I also discovered that if you wear boots that are high enough, you can swing wearing capris in the winter!

    Good luck!
     
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