Shirt and tie 90% of my days.
Yep, that’s what I wear when I’m performing on the education stage and while I was one of those that didn’t think the clothes made the teacher back in the credential program, I’ve changed my attitude now. The shirt and the tie are as important as everything else regarding my professionalism in the classroom and have to admit that not only do I teach better when I dress-to-impress, but I think my students find the environment more academic.
This is not to say that the clothes make the teacher, as the debate that has started on Larry Ferlazzo’s blog has suggested. One doesn’t suddenly throw on nice clothes and become Jamie Escalante. The passion for teaching needs to come from within the soul and must be developed with hard work, a willingness to fix what’s broken, and a desire to form lasting relationships with students and colleagues. But nice clothes sets a tone. It sends the message that when a student walks into the classroom the learning process is kicked up a notch and that the person in the front of the classroom at least looks the part of a professional. It’s a valuable first step.
By the way, notice I said “90%” of the time I’m in a shirt and tie. One some Fridays I go polo shirt and slacks, or I’ll whip out a History/Government/Economics t-shirt and create a conversation piece. This Friday it was a t-shirt with the American flag and the First Amendment written in the flag. Last week for my AP Comparative Government class I wore a t-shirt that had pictures of Marx, Mao, Castro, Stalin, and Lenin dancing. Communist Party. Get it? They did and it was fun. And of course I wear my UNLV basketball jersey and Chico State hoops shorts when the Winterfest Faculty versus 6th Man game takes place in February. But know what happens after the game? I take a quick shower in the locker room and put on, you guessed, a shirt and tie.