Ok I have been sitting on this post for a while now. I started it after ISTE12 and then started again after school started. Now that I have a shopping gift card to give away I figured this may be the best time to post it. First let me say that the reasoning it keeps going back to the “drafts” bin is because I never want to make someone feel negative about themselves or others. In this area I never want anyone to think I am judging them. I just want to point out professionalism and the importance behind it. FYI guys, it is mostly for us ladies so understood if you leave now.
Something I see often is the argument that teachers are not treated like the professionals that they are. I have felt that way many, many times. But we know we are professionals. We have to have college degrees and most educators I work with have graduate degrees or higher. But do we always “dress” the part? When we walk into our classrooms or into conferences do we look professional?
Are you dressed professionally for your job on an everyday basis? Do I mean that kindergarten teachers should be wearing suits everyday? No. When I taught 1st grade, I never got to wear a skirt, most of my days were spent on the floor or in a rocker surrounded my students, so of course I had to consider that when getting dressed. Heck, I even have jeans on today, but I have a rule – only one casual piece at a time, the rest of my outfit is dressier. When you leave in the morning do you look in the mirror and are you dressed as someone your students will look at as a professional? Their parents?
I had a student come up to me the other day and ask “Why do you dress up and look nice everyday? You don’t have to.” and I told her that no I did not have to, but then I told her “because y’all are worth dressing up for.” The look on her face and the “really?!” after it reminded me why it is important to be a professional and dress the part. Especially the older the students are. Some may not have positive influence on how to dress for a career. You are someone they look up to, teach them with actions. Show them your job is important to you, because if you are in shorts and a Tshirt it may not look that way.
When I was attending ISTE12 last year I was walking with a friend trying to find a party sponsored by a vendor. We felt kind of lost and looked up and saw a group of women and decided to follow them because they were “dressed like teachers.” Now please take a moment and realize, ISTE is a professional organization with a professional conference. Yes it is in the middle of summer and no one needs to be wearing a suit in SoCal in June. But oversized T-shirts and shorts are probably not considered “professional” in any profession. This was typical wear during the conference. This is a conference, not a vacation. Professionalism needs to be a priority. Yes I know there is a lot of walking, so I do understand the want and need to wear sneakers. But how can you say you are being professional dressed like a tourist? I have plenty of friends who in the business industry. When they go to conferences I always send a DM tweet and ask them “what were people wearing?” Not once has “mom jean capris and sneakers” or “too big vendor tshirts” been an answer. Ever. Even worse, this summer I was at a district science meeting and there were teachers in Nike Tempo shorts and Tshirts. Again, not professional.
I am really not trying to be fashion police. It really does not matter how “in-style” or how high your heels are, just be professional. I never will claim to be a fashionista, but I do have a few tips. Have a few staples for your closet. For example: nice pencil skirt, dress pants, a blazer, solid blouses, trendy jeans, and of course the perfect crisp white shirt. Good Housekeeping actually has a great article in the November issue on how to pair staples. When you go to conferences, a nice cotton dress can go along way and be just as comfortable, if not more – think breezy! They make fantastic sandals that are just as comfortable as sneakers. A fantastic investment.
Also, understand a teacher’s budget. I will be the first to admit sales are my favorite part of life. Not much in my closet has cost me over $40. Many stores will give you a teacher discount – Loft, JCrew, NY & Co to name a few. Shop at Target, TJMaxx, and outlets. I live for Loft and Banana Republic outlets. Speaking of outlets, this is where the good part comes in – for you teachers in the Birmingham area (or like to come here to shop) I have a $50 gift card to give away for the Shops of Grand River outlets. All you have to do is fill out the form and promise me you will spoil yourself and only buy something for you with the card! I will randomly draw a winner on November 13. Have your entry in by 8:30 am on Nov 13 to be entered!
We have a winner! Ashley Turner from North Highlands Elementary! Congrats!
**I would like to take a line to thank The Shops of Grand River for hosting a wonderful event as well as Alabama Bloggers and giving y’all this chance to win (and shop!)**