A new year finds many of us making resolutions with the intention to be better in some way. I encourage you to take time this year to be more aware of how you present yourself. It makes a difference in your professional influence and future opportunities. Welcome to the first in a series of four posts that pays tribute to the significance of always putting your best foot forward...and happy new year!
A new world is opening up as many of you prepare for student teaching. No doubt, you will experience a rollercoaster of emotions throughout the day: Energy highs...and lows; triumph when you see nods of understanding on your students’ faces; frustration when you feel like you can’t get a lesson “quite right....” It’s normal and you are not alone. This is your opportunity to show what you can do and begin to figure out what you want your next steps to be. With that in mind, you need to remember: Amidst all of the “newness,” every day is an interview.
First up, dress the part. You are now fulfilling a professional role and you are seeking to pursue that role further upon graduation.
As you become more familiar with the culture of the school you are student teaching in, it’s easy to fall into the norms that you experience on a daily basis. Maybe the environment you are teaching in is really casual, or you work with young children who are the world’s best participants in “messy” projects; or maybe the morale is at an all-time low in your district because there are impending contract negotiations. Regardless of your personal experience, it’s important to remember that you are trying to establish yourself as a role model who has the respect of the students, teachers and administrators you will see on a daily basis for the next few months and, ultimately, who you might work with as a student or colleague later on in your career.
Don’t get too comfortable that you forget: You are always “on.” You’ve worked so hard to get to this point--no matter how hard it might seem, put on a professional face and dress the part...
- Err on the side of conservatism (size up if you think a piece of clothing is too tight)
- Attend to your personal appearance (clean nails, trimmed facial hair, etc.)
- Avoid strong fragrances
- Leave the 3" evening shoes and flip-flops at home
- Iron your attire
- Minimal make-up
You’ll thank yourself later when students and colleagues come to you for help because you’ve paid attention to the “little things” and earned their respect at school.
Duquesne University, School of Education
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