First encounters

4th May 2001 at 01:00
Teresa Wilson learns how to dress like a proper teacher.

I spent my first block school experience with a Year 3 class. Before starting I received a rainforest worth of paper, tomes such as School Experience Booklet, Guidelines for Planning and Assessment and Personal Development Profile. But no information on the most important matter: wimmin's problems.

Shoes: I started my first day in smart court shoes, the sort worn to an interview. By break I felt a dull ache below my ankles; by lunchtime I would have happily chewed my feet off if it would have stopped the throbbing. Day two found me in "sensible" shoes, like other teachers in the building.

Clothes: I started my first day in smart yet efficient business suit, the sort worn to an interview. First lesson: Damp;T. Has anyone done an academic study on the spreading distance of a glue stick? My suit jacket flapped open as I leaned over and became edged with a lace-effect layer of sugar paper; my shoulders had external shoulder-pads of coloured paper from te little darlings tapping me for attention. The skirt didn't fare much better. Continuously squatting at tables turned a knee-length straight skirt into a crumpled cummerbund. Day two found me in "sensible" jersey-knit separates, like other teachers in the building.

Tights: I started my first day in sheer tights, the sort worn to an interview. The first snag appeared before I even got into the classroom; school furniture, it seems, attacks anything less than 70 denier. Tights also roll down with all the bending and squatting. Day two found me in "sensible" tights, like other teachers in the building.

Underwear: I started my first day in my lacy bra, the sort wornI well, never mind. The first time I bent over, body and cups parted company. By the third time of trying to jiggle things in place I stopped bending. Day two found me in a "sensible" cross-your-heart-and-never-let-them-escape bra. On day two I looked like a proper teacher.

Teresa Wilson is a mature BSc QTS student at Brighton University

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