What not to wear – a back to school guide for teachers

TES Professional

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During the long (not so) hot summer, many teachers have been lounging in their most comfortable clothes. Free from the confines of the classroom dress code, they have indulged in their fashion of choice rather than being forced to opt for office wear. They haven’t used an iron in six weeks, they’ve shunned any garment in black, grey or charcoal and any shoe that looks vaguely sensible has been served as a beer glass holder for many a summer barbecue.

Yet all good things must come to an end. The new term is approaching and teachers have to revert to their working attire. But when guidance is lacking, deciding what's appropriate can be a challenge. To help avoid any dress code disasters, here’s our short guide to what not to wear in the classroom.  

1. Heels

What not to wear as a teacher

Some people can spend 12 hours on their feet – chasing students down hallways, pacing playgrounds, waiting for silence, traversing classrooms and students – all while wearing sky-high heels. These people are incredibly rare and fantastically skilled. Well done them. For everyone else, massive heels mean massive dollops of pain, a slightly comical walk and the sort of spectacular falls that end up on Saturday evening ITV entertainment shows.

2. Flip Flops

What not to wear as a teacher

Fine for the beach, perfect on a boat, ridiculous anywhere else. A teacher who flaps into the classroom like a penguin with ideas above its station will surely be heading for trouble.  

3. Onesies

What not to wear as a teacher

Quite how oversized Babygros became a thing is anyone’s guess, but they’re here and we all love them, apparently. However, if it's a school day, leave it at home. Anyone sporting a onesie in public looks as though they belong in a Channel 4 documentary, not a classroom.

4. Sports kit

What not to wear as a teacher

The rugby world cup is approaching and the football season is upon us, but arriving at work dressed in your team’s home kit is not “supporting British values”, it’s a desperately silly fashion choice. Meanwhile, if you do wish to cycle to work, all power to you, you little Bradley Wiggins, but change out of the lycra. No one wants to see it. Any of it.

5. Festival wear

What not to wear as a teacher (via rileyroxx on Flickr)

It probably looked great in that field with an over-priced lager in one hand and your phone taking a grainy video of a distant Sam Smith in the other, but turn up the school in this combo and it won’t be just a new-found appreciation of clean toilets you gained from those days in a tent. You will have a fantastic opportunity to pursue another career, too, courtesy of a rather tense meeting with the headteacher.

6. Hats

What not to wear as a teacher (via helga on Flickr)

If you feel the urge to wear a hat, google "Jay Kay" and you will quickly be relieved of that urge.

7. Novelty/funny clothing

What not to wear as a teacher

“Wouldn’t it be hilarious if…?” No. No it wouldn’t. The kids won’t think it’s cool, hilarious, or awesome. They will think you have gone insane. They will mock you mercilessly. And you will deserve every sniggering glance at your homemade Game of Thrones outfit. Save it for World Book Day when this sort of thing has a free pass.

8. Club wear

What not to wear as a teacher

Tiger Tiger a classroom is not. If you want to dress like Kim Kardashian or Justin Bieber then feel free on your own time. But if you turn up to school wearing an homage to either celebrity, expect to be sent home looking like a sausage roll as you are almost certain to be wrapped in a crashmat from the PE store cupboard so that no parents can catch a glimpse of you.

9. Jeans

What not to wear as a teacher

The place of jeans in a school needs to be debated. It seems that women may on occasion be able to get away with wearing them but men most definitely cannot. Rod Stewart’s love of denim may or may not be the cause of this.

10. Miley Cyrus style

What not to wear as a teacher

She’s the fashion icon of the moment, which is odd considering she seems ludicrously averse to clothing. But if you do want to stick on something neon, controversial or barely there, save it for invite-only events. If any one sees you wearing it in or out of school, you might just have taken a wrecking ball to your career.

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