Kate White is the author of I Shouldn't Be Telling You This: Success Secrets Every Gutsy Girl Should Know. I absolutely love how straight forward this book is, and I've read it several times. Summer is a great time for teachers to reflect and think about what type of professional they want to be. Yes, I believe that teachers are professionals just as doctors or lawyers. Most teachers are highly trained and specialized in their craft holding several advanced degrees.
White offers tons of great advice, but for the purpose of this post I will focus on her advice for dressing for success.
1. It's absolutely true what they say: dress for the job you aspire to.-- "There are a lot of workplaces where you can dress casually or even totally grunge. But, just because everyone in your pay grade is doing so with management's blessing, it doesn't mean that you should. And just because your workplace supports casual Friday doesn't mean that you have to adhere to it."~ White
I've always believed in dressing for the job. I've heard teachers use lack of pay as a reason not to dress well. However, there are ways to be strategic and still look fabulous. I always begin my quest for professional attire at --Goodwill-- yes, I said it. I have found several dresses, and other professional tops with the tags still on them for 2 or 3 bucks! Then, I move up to Wal-Mart, Target, or T.J.Max. I look for classic items that can be mixed and matched easily. My dad, always very stylish, taught me that trick years ago. There are ways to look great on a small budget!
2. Buy great looking shoes.-- "Most women you interact with will notice your shoes. And though guys say they don't notice, on a subliminal level they're certainly picking up on things such as run down heels and scuff marks"~ White
This is a difficult issue for many teachers, who are on their feet all day, which makes it almost impossible to wear heels. However, it doesn't mean teachers have to wear items such as flip flops. My father in law calls them "shower shoes", because back in the day people only wore them in the shower! If I were to suggest spending a little extra money it would be on a couple of great pairs of comfortable, but attractive pairs of shoes. There are so many out on the market that it's not too hard to find.
3. Buy clothes that fit you-- "Clothes that don't fit right or flatter your shape look unprofessional, and that's the biggest mistake that Lawerence sees women making. The main thing is that you are looking for styles that work with your shape." ~ White
As an educator, I have five or six "work" outfits and I leave them for work. Having been a mother before a teacher it always made me feel a little uneasy if I saw female teachers or even administrators looking too sexy. Skin tight skirts or blouses seemed out of place in a school setting. I know it can be tough, but conservative dress is best when it comes to working with children. Save sexy for after hours.
I would urge educators to think about White's advice, and how using her tips might create more excellence for teachers. Dress makes a strong impression on students. Let's show them what it means to be professionals.
Mantra of the successful, gutsy girl: Go big or go home!