Back-to-school retains a certain feeling of newness and excitement for educators that many adults no longer feel after they graduate for the last time. As a former high-school teacher myself, I remember well the desire to get my school supplies and wardrobe in order to face a new year and, I always hoped, make it the best yet! Of course, classroom teachers face challenges that outsiders do not understand—teachers are on their feet and often do a great deal of physical labor throughout the day. And now, many educators are doing more online teaching than ever before, with even Kindergarten teachers spending far more time on Zoom than sitting on a tiny chair ready storybooks to enthralled five-year-olds. Here, we are going to talk about back-to-school shopping for teachers in both of these scenarios. Whether you are returning to your classroom or will interact with your students via technology, we can guide you in adding items to your wardrobe that will not only help you look and feel your best, but also do it in complete comfort.
If you are a professor or lecturer, you probably never have to soothe broken hearts like high school teachers or tie shoes like elementary educators. At the same time, you have to capture the attention and garner the respect of older teens and very young adults; that presents its own set of challenges, and your sartorial choices can absolutely support your success.
Lecturers tend to stand a great deal, so choose footwear that is attractive yet comfortable. Flats, such as ballet flats and loafers, wedge-heel dress shoes, and low-heeled pumps are ideal for you. You can attain the comfort you need without looking “orthopedic” from the ankles down. This makes a difference because young people often clock style choices unconsciously, and you want to make a favorable impression without any obvious effort. For the rest of your ensemble, try to include a colorful or eye-catching element—a bright scarf or statement necklace can take a neutral outfit and transform it into an ensemble that students can’t look away from. A mature person has often built a wardrobe of high-quality, versatile basics, so when you’re back-to-school shopping consider incorporating a few trending pieces, especially accessories, to keep your overall look fresh and updated. A person in higher education will do well to avoid the cliché of baggy tweeds covered in chalk dust!
Comfort with style is the name of the game for classroom teachers at every grade level. Teaching is a profession that requires education and training, so naturally, educators want to present themselves as polished professionals insofar as is possible when balanced with the day-to-day realities of being on one’s feet, doing the work of setting up displays, organizing materials, keeping up with children. . . It can be difficult to counterweight these two needs, but we have a terrific answer to the conundrum: knits. As you shop do your back-to-school shopping, consider adding high-quality knitwear to your wardrobe. The famous Lands’ End Starfish collection includes pants, tops, cardigans, and dresses in weighty, smoothing knit that wears well and drapes beautifully. You can enjoy pulled-together ensembles that offer great comfort and freedom of movement as they help you look your professional best.
When working with children of any age, incorporating fun and color into your ensembles helps them focus on you. The human eye has a hard time ignoring movement; personally, I twirled a pointer when I spoke and practically hypnotized my students into paying complete attention. However, you can achieve movement passively with carefully chosen accessories. Earrings that dangle, a necklace with a tassel, or a scarf tied around your neck or ponytail will offer constant motion without you expending precious energy. Do remember that you are engaging young people, not mimicking them. Save silly or themed accessories for special, fun occasions with your class.
Teachers are absolutely heroes in every sense of the word, and at this moment in history, we are seeing the best of educators’ innovation, dedication, and generosity through their ability to make online and distance learning engaging and effective for so many students of differing ages and abilities. If you are teaching online, you will still want to freshen your wardrobe for school, but will also want to consider the needs of a teacher who is online, on camera, all day long. We recommend looking for the most comfy work from home clothes possible—knit pants and skirts are ideal. There is a lot of sitting at your computer involved in online education. Concentrate on selecting tops that frame your countenance; collared shirts and bateau necklines are just two examples of garments that do this exceptionally well! Add accessories with the same goal in mind. Earrings or a necklace are both good choices, although you may wish to limit yourself to one or the other. Beware of anything that rattles or interferes with your headset or microphone. And, just a tip from me to you, consider getting a ring light for the best possible lighting. You’ll feel better when you see yourself looking terrific on-screen, and we all need every mood boost we can get right now!
Teaching may look different this year, and back-to-school shopping may include aspects of getting dressed for school that it never has before. That’s okay! With a little forethought and ingenuity, back-to-school shopping, just like back-to-school itself, can be just as satisfying and effective as it is different and unprecedented.