At any educational establishment, true learning begins when the teacher has gained and retained the respect of students and parents. Garnering respect as an educator begins with your appearance. Dressing appropriately conveys the message that you have invested time in taking care for yourself. Your clothing not only expresses your personality and world view, it also affects the work, attitude and discipline of your students. Usually, teachers dress for 4 main effects:
Most schools in India have made the salwar-kameez as the mandatory dress code for teachers across all grades. While saris are still in vogue amongst educators, the convenience of the churidar-kurta has made it the popular clothing choice for teachers in schools all over India. Both these outfits when worn with élan can add a dash of style and spice to staid school environments. (Here are 4 Indianwear ensembles for under Rs. 2000).
Wearing a designer block-printed cotton sari or an ethnic Indian outfit in earthy tones for a collaborative event like the parent-teacher meeting, sets the right mood for a significant discussion regarding the student’s milestones. The annual function is another important cultural school event. Wear an elegant sari that flaunts your own trademark style. A tussar sari with kantha work would accentuate your innate charm and sophistication (click here for 6 types of saris to wear to work).
Trust is the foremost quality parents seek for in teachers when they leave their precious one at school. Our appearance influences other people’s perception of our qualities and trustworthiness. When a teacher is relaxed, enthusiastic and honest, students are more likely to be actively engaged in meaningful interactions with her.
Dockers with a polo shirt or a satin white shirt, ruffled or cowl-neck floral tops worn over dress slacks are perfect for teachers who prefer Western professional wear. (These collars are perfect for work.) For those who prefer Indianwear, full-length kurtas in pastel shades with printed dupattas or a short waistcoat worn over a churidar are trendy and comfortable, and add efficiency in completing tasks while working with children of all ages. (Here are 8 fabulous Indianwear looks for work.)
Grooming expert Shreya Dhingra in a self-designed outfit for work. Photo credit: Pinterest
The first impression has a lasting impact on young minds and it’s important to be dressed just right for the crucial first days of school. Depending on the age group of the students, wear clothes that are not too formal and not too casual. Clothes that are too formal reflect an authoritarian outlook while a semi-formal outfit communicates approachability. Set the tone of your class from day one with the right attitude. Students in the elementary and middle-school classrooms are observant and interpret nuances of decorum and etiquette quickly. The way the teacher talks, her grace, body language, teaching skills, all these sum up the image of a teacher created in the child’s mind. (Here are 10 quick hair tips for busy working women.)
A teacher who wears outfits that has pleasant colours and balanced designs adds to the learning ambience. Bold designs in bright colours create imbalance and distract the student’s attention from meaningful learning engagements. (Here are 5 smart and serious kurtas for work.)
An effective teacher needs to be both authoritative and approachable. A well-dressed teacher whose dressing radiates an aura of authority and leadership has laid the foundation of a lifetime of professional success. Studies indicate that clothing has an effect on how the wearer feels internally. This, in turn, affects how you behave externally. An extroverted teacher may have a flamboyant choice in clothing that is in sync with the current fashion, whereas an introverted teacher may set her own standards in personal style. Whatever the personality type, an eclectic style in clothes with a smattering of an authoritative approach will work wonders in the classroom!
A former educationist from California, Urvi Shah is now a full-time mother, writer and blogger based in Ahmedabad. Read more posts from her on her Fashion101 Blog.