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December 22, 2010

6 Things NOT to Wear During Student Teaching

Written By: Brandi Jordan
Category: Career Path
X What Not to Wear During Student Teaching

What Not to Wear During Student Teaching

You have finally finished your last semester of classes and are about to start student teaching. Nerves, excitement, and a desire to make an impact on your soon-to-be students fill your head, as well as your heart. In addition to making lesson plans and creating manipulatives, you also need to give some thought to what you will be wearing in the classroom. There are definitely some clothing choices that should be avoided, so check out a quick list of 6 things not to wear during student teaching to make sure you start your career off on the right foot.


What Not to Wear During Student Teaching

1. Short Skirts

Leave the club clothes for Saturday night and choose skirts that are professional, yet easy to move in. If you are teaching early elementary or preschool, you may want to avoid skirts altogether unless they are ankle length.


2. Stiletto Heels

A small heel is fine, but anything over an inch and a half should be reconsidered. This goes for high heeled boots too.


3. Low-Cut Blouses

You want your students focused on the lesson, not your clothing, so cover up! If the shirt is low cut, wear a shell or tank top underneath to raise the neckline.


4. Excessive Piercings

Earrings are fine, but nose and tongue rings may prove to be a huge distraction. They may also be against your host school’s professional dress code.


5. Sweats

Unless you are student teaching in physical education, save the sweat pants and sweat shirts for relaxing after school.


6. Wrinkled or Ripped Clothes

If your clothes are wrinkled or ripped, save them for life outside of the classroom. Picking out your clothes for the week on Sunday night will give you plenty of time to iron or steam them.

Be sure to check out your host school’s dress code policy if you are unsure about what to wear. As a basic rule of thumb, if you would wear it out to a party, it should probably not be worn in the classroom. By planning your clothes ahead of time, you can ensure that your students will focus on their lessons without being distracted by your outfit.



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  • megan12795
    January 8, 2015

    When I was student teaching, I was almost always the most formally/professionally dressed person.  Students show more respect when they see that you have made an effort to look good, particularly in the older grades.

  • Stefany
    January 15, 2012

    I completely agree with this! I just finished student teaching, but my clothing was not much like a lot of the other student teachers. My main focus (other than looking professional) is to make sure my shirts are not too low cut. I wear camis almost every day because even if you can’t see them standing up, you have to consider leaning over a student’s desk to help them. Every morning I do a “shirt check” where I bend over in front of my mirror to be sure I am still decent in that position.

    Two other things I personally don’t agree with is extremely heavy make-up or knee-high boots. I certainly do wear make up every day, but some teachers overdo it in my opinion. As far as knee-high boots, I just don’t see them as professional.

    Oh, and a good secret – Sketchers shoes! I have a brown and black pair of sketchers that are tennis shoes, but once dress slacks are over them, they look like dress shoes. Those things are HEAVENLY! I wear mine every day and it makes for a much more pleasant day!

  • Genell
    February 22, 2011

    @ Gabrielle This teacher appears to racist. Your hairstyle of braids should have not been a reason for her to call your supervisor and have you changed to a different classroom. There was probably something else going on and she didn’t know how to handle it. Now that I’m thinking about it your professor did the right thing by removing you from this class. What if this teacher gets a student who is African American and wears braids to class, is she going to call the student’s parent and say their hairstyle is too distracting? Makes me wonder why he/she has not been removed from the list of teachers your college uses as Mentor Teachers. As educators our biases should not interfere with the learning process.

  • Mary Lou Scalera
    January 27, 2011

    Don’t wear team jerseys or clothing unless it is School Spirit or Favorite Team Day! Find out if your school has a special color. At our school every last Friday of the month is Red Day!! Also, don’t keep a hoodie or jacket on all day because it will look like you are waiting to run out.

  • JWagner
    January 16, 2011

    Yes….dressing professionally sets the tone for the classroom!

  • Gabrielle
    January 2, 2011

    Also check their policy for hair styles. As a college student I wore braids (extentions, I’m black) and twice the teacher called my professor if I had to wear them cause they distracted HER. LOL! I was reassigned from her classroom to another one.

    They were just regular braids down below my shoulder pulled into a pony tail, so as not to get caught in glue, paint, paper shredder, etc. So check that with your schools also, may seem silly, but better safe than sorry.

  • Jill
    December 27, 2010

    Great tips for you, student teachers! As a former university coordinator of student teacher, I stressed professionalism and modesty in their dress. You are working to gain the respect of your cooperating teacher, students, parents, faculty, staff, and administrator at your school. No matter what a good job you are doing with planning and teaching, you can overshadow that by sending the wrong message with your dress. You don’t want to be remembered for looking as if you just rolled out of bed, or are going clubbing, or trying to give a real-time anatomy lesson!!

  • h weber
    December 22, 2010

    Great advice – even for teachers that have been in the classroom for a while – sometimes we forget!

  • Stephanie Wheeler
    December 22, 2010

    I did all my student teaching in elementary. My scores in professional appearance were lowered because I was too colorful! :S I was wearing a blue and green peasant skirt and matching blue sweater. Go figure!

  • Shanda J
    December 22, 2010

    Watch out for those “midriff baring shirts” as well. I don’t mean the obvious. Even a basic top can become questionable if you haven’t checked it first. Stand in front of a mirror, and raise BOTH of your hands. Also, try leaning over. Make sure you’re covered every way you move. Watch out for the “low rise” trousers as well. You might consider a belt if they tend to reveal anything as you lean or sit. Remember that it doesn’t take much to maim your reputation and you don’t want to go an entire day tugging and pulling.

  • Karen Greenberg
    December 22, 2010

    I just finished my student teaching in November. One piece of advice I would add to this is to dress professionally, yet comfortably. You don’t want to be worried about your clothes during the day. There are plenty of other things to juggle in your mind. Dress in a style that is right for you. For example, I don’t like dresses and skirts. I just don’t feel comfortable in them. I made sure to have plenty of slacks and nice tops for student teaching, and it really paid off. I looked good, and I felt good. I could get down on the floor to play a game with the students, and I didn’t have to worry if I was showing anything off.

  • Laura D
    December 22, 2010

    I’d also have to say leave the white clothing at home if you are teaching very young children. I learned the hard way after fingerpaint, playdough, or just dirty handprint hugs.

  • Christina Demonbreun
    December 22, 2010

    I also think leggings with right fitting sweaters or dresses over them are inappropriate. Also clothing with words across the behind.

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