Many teachers, parents, community members and business people would agree that the first element that an individual should be
aware of when starting a new job is . . . their wardrobe. A great deal of my colleagues would agree that looking the part can be 25% of playing the part.
There have been many conversations, blog posts and comments that I have read and made about the appropriate dress that is required, and at times expected, in relation to being an educator. This belief carries even more weight if someone is an administrator. There is an underlying belief that does hold some merit, that dressing appropriately brings a level of respect and authority. You know the old cliché, “Look professional to be professional.”
I am a believer that a lot can be achieved if people see you in the role that you are playing. Keeping this in mind, there is one element directly related to this that we may not remember or may not realize until we are faced with the situation. I am sure many educators do what I am about to share, but it was in hindsight of experiencing the ordeal that I came to this conclusion.
In regards to attire I have only one piece of advice to teachers, and more importantly administrators, and my advice is this: Have an extra pair of clothes. Whether they are in your car, hanging behind your door or in a suit bag in the staff room closet. TRUST me there are many things that one can prepare for, but you can never be completely prepared. Yes, sometimes a fix can be easy, like throwing on a blazer to cover a stain, or removing your tie (for guys if you spill), but you can’t exactly tie your jacket around your waist if you rip your pants.
At this point you may be giggling or smirking to yourself – but just think for a moment. You are helping the Kindergarten students and your pants rip or you spill paint on your shirt. And of course you have a meeting in the afternoon. Now, this is when that extra set of clothes comes in handy.
You can’t prepare for everything that can happen in a school day, so why leave it to chance. Take an extra set of clothes to work with you and if at the end of the week you haven’t used them, you’ve got them for next week. A simple idea, but something we don’t think about until it is too late.