The top 10 winter coats for teachers

Early, frosty starts and outdoor duty call for some careful sartorial choices. Gemma Corby explores the options

What's the best kind of coat for a teacher on playground duty?

“I love outside duty in the winter,” said no teacher, ever.

And understandably; it’s often freezing cold, windy and wet. 

But, on the plus side, you’re getting some fresh air and topping up your Vitamin D, and you get to rock a cosy winter coat.


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But which coat should you go for to keep yourself snug? Here are my Top 10. 

1. Parka

Parkas are practical and stylish. They are long enough for you to sit on a bench to talk to a student without fearing a soggy bottom for the rest of the morning. 

They have multiple pockets useful for storing tissues, walkie talkies and keys, plus they have hoods. If you live in a windy part of the world you will know the value of a good hood (I used to live in Aberdeen, where umbrellas go to die). 

You also have the option of a 1960s mod-style parka, so you can teach your young people about an important aspect of social history while reminding them to put their litter in the bin.

Best of the bunch:

2. Duffle

Duffle coats are a playground staple (well, at least they were in 1985 when I was at school). You can channel your inner Paddington Bear and practise your hard stare when people have forgotten their manners. Accessorising with a red felt hat is optional.

Best of the bunch:

3. Mac

The ideal choice when spying on, I mean keeping an eye on, your young charges. In a mac, you are naturally inconspicuous, plus you’ll have large pockets for notebooks and pencils. 

If you find a multi-functional mac like Inspector Gadget’s, please let me know where; we could all do with some go-go gadget arms from time to time.

Best of the bunch:

4. Blazer

This will knock years off you, mainly by making you look like one of the kids. Only in northern Scotland is this considered a coat, although even there you can accessorise with a scarf and gloves once temperatures reach sub-zero, if you must.

Best of the bunch:

5. Long black coat

You can sweep along the corridor in one of these, imagining you are a teacher from a bygone age. Or Hogwarts. Or from Michael Gove’s mind.

Best of the bunch:

6. Wax jacket

Perfect for geography teachers, with deep pockets useful for storing compasses, clinometers, rulers or other field-trip essentials.

Best of the bunch:

7. Gilet

Again, a geographer’s dream – and ideal if you are going abroad on a field trip, as you can stuff the pockets with equipment. As my old geography lecturer used to say: “They only weigh your bags at the airport, not you.” Which explains why he resembled the Michelin Man whenever we travelled overseas. 

Best of the bunch:

8. Duvet coat

This will keep you toasty and can double up as a sleeping bag if necessary. Great for when you have Parents’ Evening and going home for just a few hours seems like too much bother.

Best of the bunch:

9. Teddy coat

This furry number will leave you feeling like Snoop Dogg – so you simply won’t care if it is going to drizzle fo shizzle when you’re on playground duty. 

Best of the bunch:

10. Lab coat

The choice of the absent-minded science teacher who has left their outdoor coat in the staffroom. You can even impress students by conducting an experiment or two out on the playground. 

Best of the bunch:

No coat?

Ideal if you are a PE teacher and you don’t care what the weather is doing. You are sticking two fingers up at meteorological forces and you’re going outside anyway.  

Gemma Corby is a former special educational needs and disability coordinator (Sendco) and freelance writer

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