In this post I would really like to address the issue of how to dress as an educator. Yes, a very simple topic, but so many teachers in the world of EFL/ESL seem to get it so wrong.
With this in mind it is important to understand that each location will have its own specific clothing requirements, as will each different teaching context. For example, you may be able to wear a Mickey Mouse t-shirt and jeans while teaching children in Japan, but I dare you to try that while teaching Business English at Samsung in South Korea.
So what I want you to do is take a long, hard look at yourself and those around you. Are they really dressing like trained professionals? Are they dressing in a way that their students can respect? Are they dressing in a way that suits their role as a teacher and represents our profession in a positive way? Or are they (you) dressing like a slob?
In my years of experience teaching in South Korea and Japan I have noticed that more than 1/3 (ballpark figure) of the teachers I have encountered dress like slobs. Absolute slobs! They dress like they don’t care about their job. They dress like they are in another country doing a job that doesn’t really matter.
All this does is serve to undermine our job as educators. We are educators. Act like educators. Dress like educators (Yes, elbow patches are cool!).
And no, this does not mean spending a lot of money (because we also get paid like educators – which is terrible) or time on this endeavor. It just means washing and ironing your clothes. Not wearing the same clothes every day (unless you have a specific uniform), and dressing in a way that exceeds the expectations of the parents, students, and managers you might have to encounter on a daily basis.
So team – let’s bring sexy back.
Keep English Real!
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