Why I dress the way I want to be treated
Before becoming a full-time teacher, I worked as a para educator in a school for students with special needs. The teacher I worked under kept an entire fish tank filled with candy behind her desk that was raided by other staff members throughout the day. Quotes were displayed throughout her room that read things like, "Good teaching is being near and involved".
This teacher taught me many things, and on one day we got into a conversation about buying a new pair of shoes. I was debating whether to purchase an expensive a pair of leather dress shoes or something that looked similar, but was made of more "affordable" materials.
She grabbed a piece of paper and looked me squarely in the eyes. "Let's say those 'expensive' shoes cost you $300. You would probably be able to use them for at least five years, and after that you could have them resoled."On the scrap paper she wrote it out: 5 years x 12 months = 60 months. $300 / 60 = $5 per month.
"Now," she said, "If you buy a those "affordable" shoes for $120 and you wear them out within two years, you'll have to buy another, and within four years you will have spent $240, and still be needing to buy a new pair in two years." That conversation was five years ago and I am still wearing the shoes I purchased based on that conversation.
I spent the next week or so using Reddit forums to research the best shoes I could find, and after reading about how soldiers in World War II had worn Allen Edmonds with their officers' uniforms, I settled on a pair of chestnut brown “Park Avenue” cap-toe brogues.
When I attend a graduation, hold conferences with families, or go out to a nice dinner with my wife, I enjoy wearing these shoes. When I look my best, I feel my best, and under those auspices, I do my best work. As one of the players I was coaching this past season said to me, "My teacher wears sandals every day to work and its not too motivating for a high school student who is having a hard time getting out of bed to see that."
Of course, there is so much more to teaching than the way I dress; however, the way I present myself shapes the way my students perceive me. Taking pride in my appearance on a daily basis demonstrates that I am consistent, that I have self-respect, and that I want to make a positive impression my colleagues, students, and family.