I wore a sport coat and tie everyday during my nineteen year career as a community organizer. It was clearly important in my work with community groups and religious institutions — it put me on the same professional “level” as many of the clergy and officials I worked with and removed a potential obstacle (casual attire) from getting my message across.

I have worn similar attire in the six years I have been teaching.

Apart from weddings and funerals, and from seeing people wear ties on television and films, I may be the only person most of my students have seen wearing a sport coat and tie.

I think this kind of attire slightly elevates my authority in the classroom, so I believe it’s in my self-interest to continue to wear it. However, I’ve been trying to figure out what, if anything, students get out of seeing me wear these kinds of clothes. Okay, I’m the only one they see dressing this way — so what? I’d like to think there is some benefit for them, but I can’t think of one.

Any ideas on that particular question?

What are your thoughts in general about appropriate teacher attire?