Teaching – A Survival Guide for Students and New Teachers (Part 2)
The advice may sound silly, but take notice anyway, because it is based on 28 years of teaching experience and listening to students discussing teachers’ appearances. When you start teaching your life will be much easier if you conform to student expectations. The time to be different is after you have established yourself.
Children are very traditional in their expectations of what teachers should wear. They react in a more positive way to a teacher wearing a suit. If suits are not your style then look for an alternative smart look, a jacket and tie for men or a blouse for women. Avoid the temptation to wear ultra-fashionable clothes because children want you to be different from them.
Dress is one way that teachers set themselves apart from the children they are teaching. Young teachers, especially, need to set themselves apart from the children. A lot of children will have older brothers and sisters in their early 20’s and will relate to a young teacher in a similar and inappropriate way unless the teacher distances him or her self.
Clothes should be chosen to be discrete. Tight trousers and revealing blouses will attract looks but will do nothing for your discipline. Loud ties, cardigans and sandals should also be avoided.
If you usually wear more casual clothes and feel uncomfortable and conspicuous in a suit or blouse then wear them for a week or so outside school because, otherwise any discomfort you feel will transmit itself to the children.
You may think that distancing yourself from the children is not a good idea, however following this advice will reduce many of the problems faced by young teachers, such as over friendliness and the unwanted sexual attentions of the adolescents in your charge.
Your hair style should be fairly conformist; no very long hair or shaved heads for men and no very short hair for women. Young men may think about making themselves look older by growing a beard. Make-up should be discrete and designed not to elicit comments.