Trendy Teachers What We Can Learn from Obama

What Not To Wear: “That Tie”
Do you remember that teacher growing up that always wore “that tie” or some other quirky garment? I was definitely not that teacher – I love fashion too much (and myself).

I was disciplined, however, in that even if I came to work having just rolled out of bed, I still managed to wear black slacks at the minimum and on jean day threw on a black boyfriend blazer on top of my school logo polo. To this day I keep in my touch with my students from high school teaching days. They ask what I’m up to and I tell them about my recent fashion endeavors like going to events, taking fashion related classes, or starting this blog. There baffled at my wanting to have a hand in many pots, but not surprised. They remember a well-dressed teacher and then realize fashion has always been a part of me.

Election Time and Public Discourse on Education
Back in November during election time there was a lot of attention paid to education crisis. A lot of the discourse I often hear from the public is about how poorly our teachers are paid. I agree, of course, because I’ve been that teacher that worked endless hours, whole heartedly cared for each of my students and their families, and know the devalue we face in perspective and especially in our paychecks.

Just say ‘No’ to Guayabera Renditions & Chargers T-Shirts (well sort of)
I’d like to put part of the blame on the way teachers dress. Sounds harsh, but there is something powerful about dress and overall presentation. I don’t exactly see Obama showing up to work every day in jeans, untailored suits or unhemmed dress pants, and certainly not wearing oversized tropical print guayabera renditions. In an ideal world we’d be wearing Chargers t-shirts to work, but this is a joke of course (some dreams can come true).

Like Obama, teachers are leaders and I call to action that we start dressing like it. I do understand that being overpaid and underworked often enough in the profession adds to the obstacle. If price is the issue, there are low price point options like NY& Co. Express has great coupon deals, and higher ends retailers like J. Crew extend a teachers’ discount. Fellow curvy petite blogger, Tara from Mix and Match Fashion, is a New Jersey teacher that does a weekly posting on items for under $30. It’s a fantastic curation I look forward to every weekend, after all curation is the tanchi way. A la orden (at your service) for your teacher style needs on teacher budget!

Stacy London Please Intervene!
I wish Stacy London from TLC’s “What Not to Wear” would do an intervention in classrooms and start chewing out teachers for how their dressing and demand that tanchi and honorary tanchi teachers especially go see a seamstress. (Or better yet tell teachers to stop wearing jeans to parent conferences).


Photo Credit: Beauty is Inside Blog posted by Nancy Lynne Kanter

We are public individuals and many of us continue to look unkempt and unprofessional to audiences that we are preparing to venture into professional settings. It begs the question: Are we really modeling and leading by example?

Bad Teacher Photocall - London

LONDON, ENGLAND – JUNE 16:  Actress Cameron Diaz attends the ‘Bad Teacher’ London photocall at the Dorchester Hotel on June 16, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images for Sony Pictures)

Wa Wa Wa, Get your Dress On Teach

When I hear a teacher complaining about their depreciated career, wearing a polo with no undershirt, wearing clothes unflattering to the panza, a faded pair of khakis or jeans, and shoes resembling my grandmothers ‘comfy’ shoe, my inner thoughts include asking if they want a higher salary–then start by looking like someone who makes a higher salary. And if you’re not trying to make a statement of uplifting the perception of teacher at least do it for yourself.

I’m mean, “You think your cool just because you ate in the teachers lounge and used the vending machine.” -Kingsley

Value yourself and hit up the Kohl’s and splurge on a J. Crew staple cardigan (they provide teacher discounts) and show students ‘I value myself and you should as well’.

You Say You Want a Revolution
I think assessing our practices, experimenting with new instructional practices, collaborating with disciplines and other partners will add value to the argument on why teachers should make more. But I’m calling for a revolution with teachers and the way they dress. Get some dress slacks, blazers, pencil skirts, shirts with collars, and a bag that screams, “I’m a professional, out of my way!”


3 thoughts on “Trendy Teachers What We Can Learn from Obama

  1. I found this post via Marionberry and love it. I totally agree with you – I live in Austria and it’s the same debate – teachers are overworked, underpaid and undervalued. But when I used to work in a high school I realized by the end of the year that I had increasingly been dressing like my students, I suppose just wanting to blend in. Not a great way to be taken seriously! Thanks for this post!

    • Caitlin, so glad to cross paths with another educator blogger! I can’t wait to follow your blog – you have very useful and not redundant info for helping to become better educators !

      I can relate to the dressing like students temptation. I found myself having to hold back asking where students got there fashion finds from often. I did however eventually give in to the Toms shoes trend. lol.

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