Teacher Dress Up: Transitioning to Spring

Some people take the shock route towards transitioning their spring wardrobe.  Eager for the weather change, they throw on their sandals, light skirts, and sleeveless tops….all at once.  It’s like jumping straight into cold water.  Instead, I take the slow approach.  One step at a time.  I start with pants in lighter, spring shades.  Gradually I add closed toe sandals, then skirts.  This buys me some time in the color department when it comes to the ghostly looking limbs made visible by spring skirts.  The key pieces consist of a light trouser, crisp button, dark sweater, lighter shoes, and simple accessories.  After a week or so of lighter basics paired with simple accessories, I add skirts and simple flats.

Spring Style Teacher

Beyond the Bell: Spring Evening Bridal Shower – Floral Dress Code

Evening showers are becoming ever-so-popular.  Young, not stuffy; celebratory, not boring.  These events are much more exciting than a brunch affair infested with in-laws devouring finger sandwiches and mortified grandparents gasping at the sight of racy lingerie.  This spring I am on the hunt for an outfit that fulfills the following requirements:

venue:  loft space

location:  New York City

purpose:  Friday evening bridal shower

season:  spring

dress code:  floral

additional requirements:  potential for a night on the town following the event

I put together the following sets based on four desired styles and the fact that my closet boasts a tremendous collection totaling ZERO floral items.

Floral Shower Spring

Sophisticated:  The pants favor a more classic approach and could be worn to work earlier in the day with a switch of shoes and an added jacket.

Feminine:  This is probably not the route I would go, but favors more of the “after party” piece of the equation.  Would be appropriate for a dressier crowd.

Casual:  I’m most comfortable in casual chic.  I love the idea of a loose blouse with a dress short. The heels and blazer are a requirement to keep the look appropriate for the occasion.

Polished:  Seems like the most practical option.  An easy-to-find floral skirt, paired with a simple white blouse (no buttons) and accessorized with a simple sandal and clutch.  I would begin building with items in my closet and then finding the missing pieces (as in, the skirt).

Teacher Dress Up: The Teacher (Job) Interview

You’ve advanced from the teacher job fair to a small pool interview, most likely with a school principal or department chair in need of your credentials.  Based on my experience, your overall aesthetic should read:  traditional with something memorable.  I achieved this look in all instances with a neutral suit, a hint of color, a unique ring, and complimentary-to-my-face earrings.

The two options below can be modified based on the contents of your closet.  Sometimes the shoes act as a starting point, since it may be easier to find an appropriate blouse than the perfect shoe.  Work one piece at a time and see what you can pull together before running out to the store.  Though, sometimes it feels nice to wear something fresh (NOT HEAD TO TOE), as long as you’ve tried it and it doesn’t present any wardrobe malfunctions.

Notice the blouse in both option is a hint of color, nothing too distracting, nothing too overpowering.  The blouse should be free of frills, loose threads, or a sheerness requiring a camisole.  The suit is sleek, clean, and polished, but offers a bit of style.  I prefer an ankle length pant with a fitted jacket that brushes the hip.  I chose navy, but also have a black suit (actually made of separates that is neither severe nor masculine); I find brown suits appealing if the color fits, and also favor a grey combination as well.  If I went with brown, I would complement with a coral blouse and brown shoe.  If I went with grey I would opt for a blue or yellow blouse and grey pump.  If I went with black I would choose a BASIC black and white print or solid yellow with black patent pump.  All shoes should be a round toe, unless the suit is a straight leg to the floor, favoring the pointed toe.  Notice the simple ring and simple drop earring which frames the face; sometimes a simple stud is more favorable.  A necklace and bracelets are both unnecessary, though you could opt for a pendant necklace and remove the earrings.

Teacher Interview

Some reminders:

1.  Do keep your wrists clear of jewelry capable of making music.  Jingly, clink-able charms are completely distracting, no matter how much you like ’em.

2.  Choose one, not both:  simple necklace or simple earrings.  Do keep your neck free of statement necklaces.  The neck area has too much going on between the jacket collar and whichever blouse you choose.

3.  Hair should be pulled back off the shoulders; I opt for a half-up/half down style, or a low, pulled back ‘do.  Keep shoulders clear; again, too much is resting in the neck zone with the collar and blouse.

4.  Shoes should make a strong yet appropriate, rather than frumpy, statement.  Please do not parade into the interview room wearing 4-inch heels.  You’ll look ridiculous no matter how good you feel.

5.  Scents are unnecessary.  A shower and fresh press (cleaning) of the clothes goes a long way, giving off a natural scent that I find best.

6.  Make-up should be based on confidence level.  If you feel more confident hiding your blemishes, go for it.  If you feel more comfortable au naturel, do it.  Keep the dark liner and bright (or dark) lips for the post-interview celebration. I choose a titch of tinted moisturizer (in the winter), a coat of dark brown mascara, and a hint of gloss.

7. Nails should be clean, short, and polished with a light pink or natural shade.  My nails rarely feel the stroke of a brush, but even I feel insecure showing up to an interview with bare nails.  In fact, I’m more likely to coat my nails for a job interview than a night out.  If anything, layer with a clear coat.

8.  SMILE!  So important and tops any outfit you put together.

Teaching Trenches: The Interview

InterviewSo, you made it through the initial screening of the madness titled, “teacher job fair”…Congratulations!  Next up, the small interview.  Prepare yourself, this may be a one-on-one, one-on-two, or in my most recent case, one-on-five.

Positive preparations:  Bookmark the school’s website and increase the site’s traffic so much that they start to wonder.  Next, make a cheat sheet and memorize it.  Things to know:  school mission, team make up, school demographics, access the school improvement plan, data documents, anything that will give you an edge.  Record and memorize the names of the people conducting your interview.

Mandatory Materials:   Print enough resumes and cover letters in case they are needed, and, of course, one for yourself.  Bring a tote bag with minimal student work samples (I brought a copy of my student interactive notebook, accessible if needed — note:  I did not use mine, but felt more prepared knowing that I had it).  Bring a neat, new notepad and pen.  No frills, patterns, or excess; a simple notepad and nice pen are sufficient.

Fantastic First Impressions:  Greet the office staff, introduce yourself, and state the position you are interviewing for or who you’re interviewing with.

Enlightening Expectations:  Upon arrival at my most recent interview, I was given a selection of student work samples for a research project.  Although I knew what the end result was, and had great ideas about how to teach argument writing, the process, and everything in between, I was at a LOSS!  I could not target the problem area for the sampling I was given.  It seemed like the RED FLAG sample was removed from the stack and I was looking at a collection of average work that did nothing fabulous, but didn’t lack in one clear area.  I quickly drew up an idea about some strengths and weaknesses.  Upon entering the conference room, I was asked for my feedback.  This was an area that I felt prepared for, but did not excel at due to the lack of sampling.  If I can advise in this area, I would say, develop a key list of feedback criteria ranging from developing stronger thesis, developing key evidence, proper citations, elaborating on ideas, etc.

More on question and answer preparation and standout attire later…

Savvy Strategy: Character Tissue Box

Acquiring tissue boxes is just as difficult as avoiding the cold that the tissues will be needed for.  After several years of purchasing boxes and boxes of tissues, I gave in by selecting a project that could be categorized as “arts and crafts”.  After reading a class novel, students were asked to design and create a character (tissue) box.  Here are the directions:

Side 1 – make a character claim: _____________________ [insert name of character] is ___________________ [insert adjective].

Side 2 – provide evidence:  list three quotes from the text that support claim sentence.

Side 2 – symbol:  create or print a symbol representing your character

Side 4 – literary terms:

_________________ [insert name of character] is a protagonist/antagonist because…

_________________ [insert name of character] is a major/minor character because…

_________________ [insert name of character] is a likable/unlikeable character because…

Students should cover, decorate, accentuate their boxes.  Remind students that tissue box should be FULL and the opening should be left uncovered.  I learned this the hard way.  No matter how many times I explain the purpose and draw attention to the need for tissues, I still find myself +2 boxes filled with air.