Many times in life situations a person is judged upon how well dressed they appear. The same holds true for teachers, whether in the classroom setting, during a job interview, for a teacher parent conference or open house. Teachers should dress for success everyday of the week, unless a stated dress code policy allows you to dress casually on a given day. Many days throughout the school year a teacher is allowed to dress casually if there is a pep rally or scheduled event during the school day. First year teachers should always consult their mentor regarding the established dress code of the school. Failure to dress appropriately can impact the way an administrator, other teachers, students and parents perceive the teacher in question.
Dressing for success allows teachers to gain the respect needed to set a positive example for their students. Imagine the image you are sending to your students if you fail to follow the established dress code policy that has been established in the district. Many times, students adamantly oppose their dress code policy for various reasons. For example, many students feel they should have the opportunity to wear hats to school. An important point to remember is that children are very good at modeling the behavior they observe in adults.
Dressing for success has three main effects for teachers:
- Maintain respect
- Establish credibility
- Establish yourself as an authority figure
Dressing for success and following the established teacher dress code policy will help you obtain the respect and credibility necessary from students and parents. Students will tend to model the behavior and appearance they see in the classroom. An effective teacher will dress appropriately as a professional educator to model success. Your respect in the classroom begins with your appearance and you should strive to be a positive role model for each student. In addition, teachers must dress professionally for teacher parent conferences and open house to gain the respect of each parent. Making a good impression upon parents during a teacher parent conference or open house will help to foster a productive relationship to help the child excel in the classroom. If a teacher chooses to disobey the dress code policy for a teacher parent conference, parents may lose respect and admiration for the teacher in question. Establishing yourself as an authority figure by following the dress code policy and the established rules of the school will help instill a sense of integrity with each student.
First year teachers should try to dress conservatively during an interview. Dressing for success during an interview will allow the interviewer to focus on the wonderful attributes and skills the applicant can bring to the job, rather than the appearance or dress of the individual. Dressing for success is crucial during a job interview since first impressions are key to help the individual obtain a teaching position.
Dress for success – Men:
- Suit should be navy or gray – conservative style with a white shirt and tie
- Dress slacks, not jeans - business shirt and tie
- Dress shirts should always be tucked in
- Should not expose body piercing or tattoos
- Shined shoes
- Sport coat for meetings and teacher parent conferences/open house
- All belts should be worn appropriately
- Cologne should be used sparingly
Dress for success – Women:
- Dresses – hose should be worn if the dress does not fall below the knee
- Nice slacks – no tennis shoes
- Midriff tops should not be worn
- Skirts – length must fall no higher than the top of the knee
- Choose neutral-toned hosiery
- Shoes should be closed heel or pump style
- Make-up should be subtle
- Hair should be natural looking
- Perfume should be used sparingly