Monday, May 16, 2016

Student Teacher Style Essentials

This (school) year was my first of two in the Teacher Education program at the University of Ottawa. Part of the requirement was an eight week evaluated placement at a school. Despite my teachable subject being English, I was placed in a subject area class for none other than...math, grades 6, 7, and 8, as well as one class of language arts. 

During my placement, I quickly learned the unspoken rules of dressing the part of a student teacher (namely, no jeans), and today I offer some of my favourite pieces. Keep in mind that all schools are different; some portray a more casual vibe, while others tend to have a higher standard for teacher attire. As a student teacher, it is important to look nice, but not out of place. Also keep in mind that I did my placement in the winter months, so most of these essentials are tailored to that season. My next placement will be in the fall, so we will see if my essentials change with the season!

Dress Pants

Instead of jeans, I was introduced to the world of dress pants. Aside from the wide leg / boot cut pairs, I was also able to find skinny pants that fit well but did not look like leggings. The ones on the far right are in fact jeans, but they are black and so soft that they feel like pants, so they are an exception to the no jeans unspoken rule. If you are allowed to wear jeans or if your school is more casual, I would suggest skinny or boot cut fits in dark washes. 

Dressy Tops

Clockwise from top left: Target, Zara, Dynamite, Dynamite, Smart Set (middle one)

Unfortunately, I could not find links to any of these specific tops, as they are all at least a year old (except for the one from Zara, which is not online, but it might still be in stores). Instead of traditional button down blouses, I found myself wearing more printed tops, first for comfort, and second for interest. They are easier to move around in and still look dressy and professional. Try to choose tops with interesting patterns, colours, and necklines (I love the zipper detail on bottom two). 

Sweaters and Cardigans

Clockwise from top left: Eddie Bauer, Tommy Hilfiger, Forever 21, Eddie Bauer
(similar styles here)

All Lord & Taylor except top right, American Eagle (similar)

Since it is now spring, most stores have gotten rid of their stock of cable knit sweaters and wool cardigans, but once it hits fall and winter, they will be back in stock (I know for a fact that Eddie Bauer has new wool sweaters every winter)! As I mentioned before, my placement was during the winter months, and it was COLD in the classroom, so I had to layer up as much as I could. That meant wool or chunky cable knit sweaters and cashmere / wool cardigans. To relieve some of the itch from the wool, I would sometimes wear a thin long sleeved shirt underneath. These essentials, especially the Lord & Taylor cardigans, are quite pricey, but they are worth it!

(Comfortable!) Shoes

Left to right: Payless (similar), Payless, Naturalizer (similar)

Comfortable shoes are a must for teaching, as you are on your feet pretty much all day. My footwear choices were definitely not the best during my placement, as the black flats in the middle were not very comfortable at all, even with insoles. I will continue my search for comfortable shoes in the fall! I had to change into shoes at my placement school, but if yours allows you to keep your boots on in the winter, definitely invest in a good pair!


Left to right: Accessorize (similar), Forever 21

Left to right: Ardene (similar), Ardene (similar), Forever 21

For accessories, I loved wearing statement or long necklaces instead of bracelets, as they were less in the way when showing something underneath the projection screen, or pointing at something on student work. These necklaces work especially well with the chunky sweaters from above.

These are all my student teacher essentials! Let me know what other essentials you have for student teaching / internships / placements!

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