3 Comments

  1. helldriver

    Thanks for this. My classroom uniform is a dress(y) shirt, dockers, and something unlike sneakers on my feet. Another wrinkle: I’ve sometimes wondered whether there is something classist about it … is appearing “professional” or “authoritative,” this attempt to create a visible difference between students (some of them anyway) and teacher (or librarian), more common in schools with mostly working-class students than in schools of predominantly middle-class students? I don’t know. Maybe not. I do know that I adopt a professional persona as a teacher, and the dress is part of that role. Maybe if we dressed like Wal-Mart greeters …

    • I don’t know about classist. In my case, I just need to set myself apart from the students. If I were to come in to work dressed like I do in my non-professional life, you wouldn’t be able to pinpoint me as the professor in the room. (Outside of work, I’m very much the 24-year-old: Converses, jeans, and t-shirts all the way! And when the weather turns cooler, I’m known to throw on a hoodie.)

      James Lang (who works at a private Catholic college) had a piece in the Chronicle five years ago about looking like a professor. He described it as sending a signal to the students about the kind of classroom that you run. This may, of course, be based on the student population that you serve… but a teacher must always be aware of his/her audience.

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