Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Dress for Success.....do they teach this anymore?

I hate to sound like I'm from an "older generation" complaining about the "young whipper-snappers" but, I'm going to. I attended a mandatory orientation for all Substitute Teachers in my school district today. It was very well attended, and I hope that means that there will be sufficient substitutes available for all of the schools in our county through the year. I know that at my son's school last year, they were desperate some days to find a substitute. And, so I look forward to the (hopefully many) calls in the days and weeks and months ahead to substitute.

One substitute teacher asked, "Is there a dress code?" Well, I have to say, "if you have to ask, maybe you should look for a different job." As I looked around the room, I realized you could see the generation gap as plain as day. Now, I may be pushing 40, but most people think I'm in my early 30's. However, not this day. I was dressed as if I were going to work. In theory, I was, even though I wasn't getting paid. This was Orientation, held at my employers offices, and run by their H.R. It was work, plain and simple. So you dress the part. That's what I was always taught by my parents. However, you could the early 30 something's and younger, had missed that lesson, if they even got it. Some folks had nice jeans and tops on, with closed toe shoes. But, many had t-shirts, faded, or torn jeans, flip flops. One "dude" was in a t-shirt, bermuda shorts and flip flops! He looked more like he was headed for happy hour with the boys, than work. There is no way you will ever command respect from your students if you dress like them, or worse.

When I was a teenager, and a college student, my parents used to constantly remind me that "the clothes make the man." Guess I needed to hear it often, as I was going through a punk, black-only wardrobe crisis. As much as I hated the nagging, I'm glad they never gave up. It stuck with me. So, when I showed up at my son's school this morning before my daily run to let them know I'm now available to sub every morning - they offered me a job right then.
Unfortunately, some of the attendees didn't look like professional anythings.

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