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Top 10 Tips for Teachers: What to Wear

The choice of clothing for a teacher can influence the entire day and first impressions count. In fact your choice of clothing can influence the entire year – get it wrong and your time in the school may well be harder than necessary.

The first thing to be aware of is that you are a role model and not a fashion model at the front of the room. This is about creating a good impression, the right impression and not looking as if you have just stepped off the front of a fashion magazine.

Always wear comfortable shoes:

You are going to be on your feet for most of the day, if you wear uncomfortable shoes by the end of the day your feet will be very painful and blisters may well be bursting! The more comfortable the shoes  the better you will feel, the less likely you are to be short tempered – and this is the worst nightmare for a teacher…

Don’t wear anything too revealing:

The students are there to learn information from you… I recall one lesson I was observing when a male student piped up “Miss the breast answer is…” and yes, she was wearing something that with hindsight she wishes she hadn’t!

Look smart and business like:

The more business like and smart you look the better, you appear to mean business. I had a GTP student start last year and I overheard the students asking as she walked past “Is she like the new head or something” – she had just come out of a business environment and was wearing the clothes she wore for her previous job. She never had issues with behaviour!

Don’t pile on the make-up / hair gel:

It doesn’t look good – it is not a fashion parade… See previous points.

Be comfortable:

You are going to be running around, you don’t have time to rearrange clothing. The more comfortable the clothes the better you will feel, the less likely you are to be short tempered. Pretty much the same advice as shoes really…

Don’t wear your best clothes, have school outfits:

You are going to get them damaged, spilt on, drawn on, dropped on… So the advice is simply don’t wear anything you can’t replace or that you will be very upset to get damaged. Damage happens and you can’t run home to wash your favourite top.

Don’t wear clothes with slogans on:

It really doesn’t look professional and this is not the appearance you are trying to convey to the students. You are not trying to look hip and trendy you are trying to look calm, controlled and like you mean business.

Make sure your clothes are always clean:

Simple – it looks a whole lot better than being able to work out what you ate for supper last night by looking at them. Also if you have strong odours in your house I would suggest a fabric spray as these smells can send off signals to the students… (Second hand cigarette smoke smells awful!)

A jacket / waistcoat / tie kept in your locker will equip you from most unexpected situations:

I always have a jacket in my cupboard. As a female teacher I don’t always wear a jacket to work if I am wearing a smart blouse. I have found that from time to time parents drop in to see teachers and a jacket certainly makes you look a lot more professional. It will also hide a multitude of sins… (Maybe this was the day something spilt or your top got damaged…)

Leather patches are not obligatory!

You might also like:

Top 10 Tips for Teachers: Starting Out

Top 10 Tips for Teachers: The Golden Rules

Top 10 Tip for Teachers: How to Avoid Favoring The Best Students

Top 10 Tips for Teachers: Writing Reports

Top 10 Tips for Teachers: Marking

If you liked this….

More of my articles on a wide variety of subjects can be found via the links on my blog, click here for the link -> misty’s articles online

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  1. Diziette

    On September 10, 2009 at 8:39 am


    Very practical. Well written. I think we can use your information in more places than just teaching.

  2. Chrishbk

    On September 19, 2009 at 6:08 pm


    i appreciate what you\’re doing here… and obviously some of them are common sense and neccessary in most working environments…

    but I like spiking my hair up. I like to dress well in my best stuff and look good. The kids still listen to me and I get only positive comments from them. Lifes too short. It isn\’t 1952. Sometimes I grow my sideburns and the children and staff all have a joke about it. Its not unprofessional. We\’re teachers, not nuns.

  3. oldster

    On October 1, 2009 at 5:57 pm


    Great stuff Misty–Just the right amount of humour.
    Also –Spoil Sport–I used to love the old low cut tops, short skirts, suspenders, (ladies only). Well we were growing kids then!

  4. catlord

    On January 2, 2010 at 4:15 pm


    leather patches on elbows/cuffs are SOOOO ‘Science Teacher’ tho’… ;-)

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