Thursday, November 29, 2007

Teacher Attire

When we started teaching this summer, a lot of people had to go out and buy new clothes. After coming from undergrad or some other laid back environment, they were used to wearing jeans everyday and didn't have much "professional" attire. I, on the other hand, was not worried about my wardrobe stocked with slacks, button-down shirts and other business casual pieces. Of course I quickly learned that teaching is not your average business casual setting.

I wasn't that surprised that my high heels got the axe after the first week of school. As comfortable as they are (at least on the high heel spectrum of comfort), there's just no comparison to flip flops. The big surprise was my skirts and slacks. Although they look very professional, they lack a key element that I never realized was so crucial to teaching: pockets. In my office jobs, I almost never put anything in my pockets, but now there seem to be millions of things that fall into my hands everyday that have nowhere else to go. There's no time to put some kid's late pass in the recycling, so it goes in my pocket. That cell phone I took? In my pocket. Trash? Markers? Candy? All in my pockets. Now I understand why so many teachers wear jeans. Who can resist five pockets? I almost want to invest in cargo pants.

The pockets are how I really know I'm a teacher. I keep finding stuff in my pants at random times. On Thanksgiving I was wearing a pair of corduroys that I'd worn the previous week and during dinner I pulled out a broken pencil. I think more late passes and notes end up in my recycling at home than at school. The best is when kids forget to get back the items I hold as collateral in exchange for pencils, so I end up with Muni passes, house keys, etc. A few weekends back I was at a party and one of my (teacher) friends reached into his pocket for his wallet and pulled out a handful of paper clips. Clearly we are a dedicated bunch.


Linda said...

So can all of you young, dedicated teachers start lobbying the fashion industry to make easy care, machine washable, attractive clothing with pockets. It is, as you have discovered, nearly impossible to work in a school setting without pockets. I think this explains why so many elementary teachers have for so long been prone to wearing goofy looking dresses with multiple pockets on their full skirts. Those are what even teachers think of somewhat derisively as "teacher clothes."

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

Sounds about right. I think it's even worse for elementary school teachers, and I'd echo what Linda said.