What to Wear in the Classroom
What to wear in the classroom can be a difficult decision. Traveling to a new country can be harrowing enough without thinking of what clothes to pack. There are many factors into picking which clothes to bring—climate, grade, school, location; how do you decide what clothes to pack with such limited space?
There are many articles and websites to help you pack a fashionable ‘capsule wardrobe’. If you are into Pinterest, you can find plenty of ideas on boards. How do you decide what to wear if you are going to be working in your new country? Especially teaching, there are a lot more factors to consider.
Plenty of places you go will have different seasons. It can be difficult to pack multiple outfits for multiple seasons. Packing for Taiwan will differ when packing for Korea. The capsule wardrobe has great ideas to pack multiple colors of shirts and one or two sweaters to go over them.
But, depending on your schedule, you may find wearing the same sweater day after day in the classroom can be a bit boring or troublesome.
Remember to pack long underwear if you are traveling to a location that has some cold weather. You can wear them under most clothes without a problem and they are a real life-saver when it comes to keeping warm. Also, a couple long-sleeve shirts, scarves, and sweaters don’t hurt either!
If you are traveling to a location that stays warm all year it is much easier to pack. Remember to bring several short-sleeve shirts and deodorant.
This can be a bit tricky when considering if you need a more professional or more casual wardrobe. You won’t want to be wearing a suit jacket and skirt if you are teaching kindergarten! And you don’t want to be super casual in a collegiate setting, either.
Keep in mind that you will be in front of people who are, in general, much younger than you. You might be moving around, bending over, and maybe even singing and/or dancing on occasion. Hey, it happens!
Also, accidents might happen. Pens breaking, dirty white board erasers, anything can get on pristine clothes, especially in lower grades! As a general rule, I will usually wear pants or tights under a dress.
Nothing low-cut, usually something over a shirt with no sleeves, and error on the side of conservative clothes and colors. It may be boring, but it is better for the students to focus on the lesson than on the clothes!
Remember, you are a representative of the country you come from, even if you don’t think that way. The kids and other adults will see you as an example of such!
You may want to check out if the location you are traveling to has any superstitions or bugaboos about certain clothing or styles. In Korea, it is required that teachers wear long-sleeves while they are in the classroom.
That means, in the summer, it is vital to find something that is light and covering your arms because it is sweltering! Maybe there are certain colors to avoid or styles to steer clear from. Or, perhaps there are colors you might want to bring—maybe you want to remember to wear red on the New Year holidays in Asia for good fortune!
Whether you are stepping into a Korean kindergarten or a Chinese university, you always want to be prepared with your wardrobe. When it is all said and done, you are representing your country and the people of the place in which you are teaching will remember, usually more-so than other places, what you look like.
Take the location, climate, and grade level into consideration and try to error on the side of conservative when dressing for class.
Have you encountered any odd dress codes in your host country? do you have anything you would like to add to this post? Let us know in the comments section below.