Thursday, February 9, 2012

Clothing in the Classroom

We all know that I love fashion-- bright scarves, red lipstick, dramatic eye make up, etc. Still, I'm sure that we also know that in order to excel in the job market, we have to dress like professionals. Clothing is taken very seriously. Potential employers will judge you on how you present yourself as a total package and what you wear during that judging is also taken into consideration. If you cannot present yourself professionally, there is a good possibly that you can count yourself out for that job.

Now, I ask myself a serious question. Do I personally think that the man over there in the three piece suit and tie can do his job better than the guy over yonder in the "Duff Beer" shirt and crocs? Absolutely not. In fact, Duff Beer guy may be a totally awesome teacher, even more awesome than Fancy McFancypants who only looks awesome but really isn't.

So what's the big deal?

I know personally that there is a time when my crazy clothes just can't be worn (for instance, I dressed very blandly during my field experience and while completing my observation hours). But why did I do that?

Honestly, it was because I wanted people to take me seriously.

Why is it that we judge character by a tie (or lack of it), a suit jacket, or a pair of dress shoes and not by their accomplishments, ideas, and abilities?

Imagine this. Do you think that you would look at your child's teacher differently (or think less of him or her) if he or she dressed more like a punk rocker and less like Carlton and Hilary Banks? I know I would.

Why have we been taught to do that? Feedback, please!


  1. My English teacher during my senior year had a strange style. I remember that one day she wore a leather jacket and more punk looking clothing, and the next day, she dressed in a more Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen boho style. We, as the students didn't take her seriously. I don't think we were right to judge her by her dress, but it is just something that humans do. We judge and form opinions on the things around us.

    I know that I am not a fashionista, but I tried my hardest to dress to impress at field, even if that meant wearing things that I was not comfortable wearing. I think that we have to find what works for us, especially females. Besides, I think we can always spice up an outfit with appropriate accessories. It will be a battle for the first few years of our careers; an unfair battle, but just something we have to do to be taken seriously.

  2. First of all, I appreciate the Fresh Prince reference, best. show. ever. Second, I think that dress is something which is important. Perhaps it is easier for me to say since my "getting dressed up" as a guy adds maybe 35 seconds to my morning routine. But getting dressed up is a sign of respect and it shows that you take your job seriously, and the psychology of it should not be overlooked. Studies show that if you get dressed up you feel more confident and actually perform better in academics. Also, in our culture we get dressed up for certain things such as, church (not all), weddings, funerals, and work. Obviously there are exceptions in that list, but for the most part we dress up when we show "respect." People respect the dead and the grieving family at a funeral, God or religion at church, two people who are making a decision to commit themselves to each other at a wedding, and people respect their employers and their students at school. It shows that we take it seriously enough to show respect in how we present ourselves.

    You are right though that it shouldn't be a mark on the persons teaching ability per se, but I think that not wearing what is considered to be appropriate attire shows and indifference to the rules, a lack of respect for the institution, or maybe just cluelessness as to professional protocol. That is just my opinion on it. But thank you for bringing this up! It is becoming especially important nowadays with all of the cultures represented here in the states.

  3. Tym,

    I love this post! When I went "professional" shopping my roommate came with me and made comments like "you think that pattern is appropriate to wear in the classroom?" My response was hell yes. If everything is covered and nobody is being offended who cares if teachers add a bit of their own style? I think that books and teachers are often judged by their covers and we usually play it safe for the sake of professionalism. Does the fact that I have a tattoo mean that I will not be as good of a teacher as someone who does not have one? No. It just means that I have something on my body that will be judged by some parents and therefore most schools will not hire me if it is visible. I say embrace who you are and do not let your job rob you of that! If you want to dress like the fresh prince DO IT! Screw Carlton sweaters.