Four Tips To Dress For Teaching Success

Mean Ugly TeacherWhen I was in sixth grade, we had a substitute teacher whose name I remember, but won’t mention to protect the “guilty.” This was around 1990 and she was wearing bell bottoms. Now, I wasn’t the most fashion forward sixth grader, but even I knew that by 1990 bell bottom jeans were hopelessly dated. Even though she was probably a nice person and a good teacher, we couldn’t see past the clothing.

If you are a teacher, you probably don’t give a second thought to how you dress, beyond perhaps comfort and looking at least somewhat professional. But, you should. Kids, especially teens in high school, care a lot about looks, probably too much. But, that doesn’t matter because those are your clients. And, if you want to make a good impression on your clients, then you’ll have to care about how you dress.

If you haven’t tried to be trendy for ten, twenty, or even thirty years, don’t worry. Our tips will help you dress for teaching success.

Tip One: Be Trendy, But Professional

Most teachers, especially older ones, aren’t trendy at all. They have clothes that scream another decade. However, others, especially young ones, make the opposite mistake, and look unprofessional or even inappropriate.

The key to success is striking a balance between impressing your students and keeping a professional demeanor. You can do this by shopping at stores that cater to adults, yet have trendy, professional clothes. Check out their mannequins and ads to see what is currently in style. You can also consult fashion magazines. Oh, and make sure to follow your school’s code!

Tip Two: Act Your Age

Younger teachers can get away with more from a fashion perspective. Being fifty and trying to look twenty will probably get you laughed at. The same is true of someone who’s twenty but dresses like he’s fifty. It’s important to wear clothes that are age-appropriate, but trendy. Again, look at the models you see in the ads and magazines. Find clothes on models your age and let that be your guide.

Tip Three: Keep Your Weight in Mind

Your driver’s license may say a certain number, but that shouldn’t guide your clothes buying choices. Be realistic about your weight and make sure to wear the size that flatters your body. You definitely don’t want clothes that are too tight (or too loose if you’re a man). Kids will have a field day mocking you if they think you’re trying to squeeze into an outfit.

Tip Four: Dress For Your Personality

If you are the hip teacher, then dress a little more boldly. If you’re more traditional, then err on the side of conservative. If you are fun, then wear fun clothes. If you’re the nerdy guy, then you can get away with geekier dress. Let your personality shine through your clothes. Young people are generally accepting of teachers who are authentic, even if they don’t particularly follow your chosen values. On the other hand, they can spot a fake a mile away.

I hope these tips help you improve the way you dress. If you have a hard time earning the respect and admiration of your students, changing what you wear could make a world of difference. If they already love you, then expect even more admiration.

About Jonathan Bennett

Jonathan Bennett is an administrator, author, and speaker with a background in teaching. His articles receive over a million hits per year and have appeared in a variety of publications. He is co-owner of the small business Theta Hill, and he also writes for The Popular Teen, The Popular Man and other sites.