It is spirit week at my school. Homecoming on Friday, music playing in the hallways between classes, pie eating contests, Ms. Homecoming Court, and more festivities make up the events of the week. For teachers, spirit week can either be a headache or a great way for your students to see you get out of your comfort zone. Assuming you choose the latter, you are going to do lots of dressing up each day.
I love clothes. My wife gives me a hard time about how much I enjoy shopping for clothes. Her rule is that whenever I spend money on clothes she gets to spend the same amount on her own. For my fellow fashion lovers going into the teaching profession, there are some pieces that need to be added to your wardrobe for your first year of teaching.
Suit: Guys or girls need a solid suit that they can wear to job interviews. You won’t be overdressed. Most principals wear a suit every day. I’ve even worn a suit to IEP meetings if I think it would be appropriate based on the people attending.
Old-man clothes: As a new teacher you will get sick of people asking if you are a student. I started to keep track of how many times I was asked, but just know it was a lot. Teachers at my school are not required to wear a tie, but I do nearly every day to stand out from the students. Even on days when we are allowed to wear jeans, I still try to dress them up and sometimes wear a tie with them. I don’t know what girls would wear to look older, but it’s something to think about.
Functional everyday clothes: For most teachers, but especially special education teachers, everyday clothes needs to be functional. Wearing a slim fitting skirt isn’t going to fly for a preschool special education teacher who spends most of the day on the floor in circles and centers with her students. On days when I do the coffee shop with my students, I don’t wear a dress shirt and tie; I stick with a collared shirt and khakis.
Comfy shoes: Comfortable shoes are a must! I spend all day on my feet, and I can tell a difference in my back, feet, and legs when I wear less supportive shoes.
Spirit week clothes: High school teachers and even some middle and elementary school teachers will have spirit days or spirit week to prepare for. Here are some popular dress-up themes so you can prepare ahead of time:
- Retro day-your school might have a ‘70s or ‘80s theme. This one is easier for those teachers who were around during those time periods and view everyday as retro day.
- Camo day- every spirit week I have been involved with has had some form of camouflage dress up day. Go all out—head to toe—in camo.
- Tacky day-another one that is easier for some teachers than others. When I was in high school, we had “Geek Day.” Most schools have moved to a more appropriate name for this day. Get some thick-rimmed glasses and put white tape around the nose piece. Add a pair of suspenders to your pants that are pulled up halfway to your chest and you are set.
- Favorite college or team day-for teachers who have recently graduated this one is pretty easy.
- School spirit day-after getting hired, find out how you can get a t-shirt or collared shirt from your school. I have several students involved in cheerleading, the marching band, JROTC, and other school groups. I try to get t-shirts that support the things they are involved with and wear these shirts on designated days. My school allows teachers to wear jeans and Dorman gear every Friday with a $1 donation to a designated charity. You might want to suggest this to your principal.
Hope these suggestions help you prepare for your first year as a teacher!