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Wardrobe tips for a new (trainee) teacher

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by labtech28, Jun 4, 2011.

  1. labtech28

    labtech28 New commenter

    the bit of advice that always got me through training was dress up for parents, as it aids your 'presence' and makes you seem like a source of authority. i would probably look to take this through to the class room.
    sorry i cant be of more help but I'm an UPLS trainee teacher in a primary setting at the moment so bit out of touch with secondary. :) hope it all goes well.
  2. I think there'll be some variation amongst schools, but for our school it'd be suits and smart trousers and tops. For shoes, bear in mind that you'll be on your feet an awful lot and for that reason many seem to wear flat shoes or have a pair ready. I wouldn't have thought bare legs were appropriate, but perhaps that's personal preference. The big thing is to make sure your clothes fit well and are appropriate(!)
  3. Two brief points:
    1. Flat shoes can be the devil. They often offer no arch support. Try things on, go stomping around the shop and be prepared to spend a bit of money if not having feet and legs in pain is your thing. Wedge shoes are good for height (I'm 5'4" and most of the male students tower above me and many of the girls do too!) whilst offering decent support.
    2. No matter how demure an outfit seems in the fitting room, it needs testing. Cleavage. Does the skirt blow up in the wind? A line skirts have a lovely tendancy to slip about when rummaging in a cupboard, or to blow up when crossing the playground in a breeze. My boss once advised me that trousers are best and skirts should be as long as possible- and often, a pencil skirt is better than A line. Bounce about home, try a cartwheel or two, get a friend to do a Trinny.

  4. trinity0097

    trinity0097 New commenter

    None of the schools I've worked in has had such drastic codes as the ones above.
    For training I would make sure that you have at least one 'suit' whether that be skirt or trouser, that can also be worn for interviews. Wear this on your first day to the placement. Other than that i would recommend a couple of pairs of black trousers and some smartish 'tops'. I would also go for layers, many trainee teachers get rather hot when teaching and you don't want to be boiling!
    If the school you end up in has a smarter code you'll be told and you can then buy an extra suit then. It's one of the questions I would expect a trainee to ask me as a mentor before they start the placement.
  5. henriette

    henriette New commenter

    I'm not a trainee - I've been doing it for 20 years!
    As long as you look smart and professional then you should be OK. Many of my collegaues (male and female) wear suits, many do not. You need to be comfortable in your clothes so that you do not notice them or you will end up thinking about them, not about your students.
    Trousers are more practical than skirts, but make sure they fit properly and that you are wearing decent underwear. (recalls former trainee colleague whose trousers revealed the top of a thong every time she squatted to help a student - hence loads of boys asking for her help!)
    Tops: check the neckline doesn't bag and reveal everything if you bend forwards. That doesn't mean polo necks, just well-fitting/wear a vest top underneath. Classrooms tend to be fiercely hot or fiercely cold, so go for layers. I have yet to wear a jumper in a classroom for more than about 20 minutes - and that was in the middle of a big freeze! I have never been asked/told to wear a jacket around the building, but I always do for parents' evenings etc.
    Shoes: as long as your feet are comfortable and suported, I don't think it matters. Flip flops are not suitable (H&S) and very high heels can be dodgy on stairs. Remember you will probably have to do an outside duty at break/lunch, so make sure you aren't wearing satin when it is pouring with rain!
    I have one or two colleague who I dearly wish would read this (but they won't) - the young female teachers who, becasue it is summer, wear thin white linen trousers, spaghetti straps and flip-flops every day: it does not look professional!
  6. do test clothes first - bend over in front of the mirror and see if you can see down your top. sit down - do your trousers ride down and show the top of your underwear/bum (one teacher at school god in trouble for showing her jewelled thong and the kids started gossiping about it). also, check it doesn't go see through in sunlight. another teacher wore a black knitted top to work and her desk was under a sky light in whenever the sun came out her top went see through and we could see her bra. skirts should be knee length at least, as when you sit down they ride up so anything higher than knee length can show quite a lot of thigh... i like to wear suits - gives the impression of professionalism and authority but you don't have to.
    our shoes have to have closed heels and toes - flats or heels doesn't really matter but make sure you're comfortable in them.
    most of the teachers at my place kit themselves out at george at asda - nice and cheap and quickly updated.
  7. I buy cheap ankle length denim skirts with fancy embroidery at the market. In black or navy blue no-one knows they are denim, and I have worn them summer and winter for 2 years, they still look good.
    Kids don't respect seeing down your top, so keep it modest. I wear a jacket with pockets and I find it incredibly useful, spare pens, rubbers pencils, whiteboard marker - all to hand.
    Clarks do some wonderful, relatively dressy flat/wedges that are as comfortable as sneakers for summer, and some amazingly comfortable boots for winter - great for outside duties.
    Layers are definitely everything, and if you get some of those colder than charity rooms, and are brewing the flu, pashminas are great for that extra layer. Thick dark stockings in winter, and light ones in summer, although if you have nice legs and a tan (fake or otherwise) you can get away with bare legs. I also like simple straight dresses (wash and wear is best). Roman Originals are web based, and if you are a size 14 or bigger, they do some fabulous clothes at really good prices, and post within a week. Just a note - if you wear a skirt above ankle length ALWAYS wear a slip (black or navy if possible). If you get some ghastly little git who flips your skirt up (personal experience) you are not nearly as embarrassed!
    Generally speaking, I find that kids respect you more if you dress nicely. They have to have something to look at whilst they ignore the lesson! I tend to like to wear good perfume and the number of kids who comment that I always smell nice is large. I also wear discreet makeup and keep my jewellery discreet. Flamboyant necklaces and ID tags tend to be a bad combination......Best of luck!
  8. Hi,
    My advice would be to get yourself your own uniform or if you're a Gok fan a 'capsule wardrobe'. Get the basics tehn mix it up.I have 2 school skirts, 2 pairs of trousers, one tunic dress plus jumper /blouse combos, 2/3 non iron shirts, two school blouses. I also have a couple of charity shop jackets that smarten things up when needed. That's it for the year. It's school remember not a fashion parade and I hate to wear going out stuff for work.
    Just avoid low necklines, short skirts, dress tops with leggings ! Big no no. Smart casual and not too expensive. Save your money for a drink at the end of the week with your mates !
    I amy sound a real frump but when it comes to staff do's I look completely different and that feels great !
    Sure you will look great but more importantly enjoy
  9. CaptainTuttle

    CaptainTuttle New commenter

    I'm pretty much in the same boat as rezchan, except I don't wear skirts as I work with infants and found them impractical. My biggest problem has always been with the shoes. My balance is terrible so I avoid heels of any kind but flat shoes are either uncomfortable or make my feet look huge (also they're ugly!). Black trainers have been my solution- they must be completely black and look almost suede like. No school I've worked at have complained, in fact it's never even been mentioned, so my feet and I are happy.
  10. Nimstar

    Nimstar New commenter

    Thanks to everyone who has replied - it's more or less confirmed what I thought but it's great to hear all the examples. I hadn't thought about things like layers and also covering up outside the classroom so that's handy advice - also the tip about road-testing anything first, great idea!
    I'm actually a very dull dresser anyway so I'll likely be in some form of dark trousers and single coloured top, maybe try and find some suits for the more formal occasions such as parent's evenings, observations etc (dress not trouser or skirt as during my time in business I much prefered in being in the dress-jacket combo).
    I was wondering about bags though - I don't generally use a handbag as such at the moment, but will need something for school. I have seen a bag I really like but it's not remotely formal (it's a kind of skull & flower motif which appeals to me as an ex-rocker). Can you get away with some level of personalisation with your bag or is that still a no-no??
  11. I am really into my shift dresses at the moment, Wallis are regularly offering large % reductions on their website and they wash well. I personally feel restricted in a suit jacket.
    Go for the bag, it'll not really be on show anywa.
    Good luck [​IMG]


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