Having taught all sorts of students along the years, ranging from athletes and high school students to top executives in Brazil, the US and Ireland I have grown to appreciate the importance of how the teacher dresses himself. Nothing fancy, but a smart casual as they say in the UK and Ireland would be perfectly fitting for most occasions.

Clothes do make the man, the monk and the teacher
Clothes do make the man, the monk and the teacher

Of course, common sense rules, but what I’ve observed along my career with other teachers of English as a second or foreign language is that many don’t care about how they are dressed. They’ve embraced that “raggedy doll look” of torn jeans and a T-shirt although much appealing as a uniform they might be, I don’t think they are the right fit for a meeting room. There’s a case of a teacher who, not satisfied with the piercing and the tattoos, (not there’s anything wrong with them), also wears a bloody cap. DURING CLASS – INDOORS.  hello… has he not had time to comb his braids?

So, my advice to any teacher is:

1. dress properly (not talking about designer clothes)

2. Cleanliness is next to godliness (I kid you not)

3. Take off that bloody cap once indoors.

Good lessons to you all,





  1. Ah! Yes, that age-old discussion about what’s “appropriate” work attire. Personally, I think teachers, ESL and otherwise, should look professional – dress slacks/skirt and a nice top/shirt. Jeans are okay if they’re clean and free of holes. I normally wear dress clothes except on days where I teach PE (Tues/Thurs) and on field trip days (or other special days). As an elementary school teacher, I need to be able to MOVE with the children and it’s much easier to do that in jeans than in dress pants. On the other hand, for observation days or parent meetings I wear a shirt and tie. It’s important to look the part.

    More importantly, though, teachers should ACT in a professional more than what they decide to wear. Our actions are seen by many eyes (big and small) and kids DO talk to their parents about what their teacher said/did when they get home (whether we want to think about that or not). Teachers need to remember their looks, actions, and words have an impact on how students, parents, and colleagues perceive them.

    Just my two cents. 🙂

    1. Thanks Ketan (not sure that’s your name, sorry) for your 2 cents, worth more than 5 pounds, I’d say. Yes, professionalism is more important but clothes, in a psychologically entwined way, do affect the way we behave. I’m not aware of studies on students who wear uniform and those who don’t but from empirical observation, students who wear a school uniform will behave in a more “honorable” way than those who don’t. Thanks again for your comments.

    1. Thanks Liam, for your comment. Nowadays, most men (and some women) are sporting a beard in the West – it’s the trendy thing now – full, long, short, goatee, almost any facial hair goes. But Mustaches are still out. As part of a dress code for teachers I see no problem in a beard as long as it’s neat and clean. I don’t think most people find it attractive to see a man snacking off his beard. Cheers,

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