How To Dress For ESL Success
*First of all, know that it’s standard to ask your school if they have a dress code – different schools even within the same country will have different norms, so asking doesn’t mean you are uninformed; it shows that you’d like to be prepared.
Generally schools just want you to look “nice”; some specifically say you shouldn’t wear jeans. I generally think taking a middle path of some kind is best, and if your students seem to dress up (as people are perhaps more likely to do outside North America), you may decide to take this as a cue from them, more to fit in than to meet any formal requirement. As a whole, I’d say jeans and what people consider T-shirts (oversized ones?) in North America are uncommon, as are suits, ties, and business attire.
Shoes are important, and this is more than just the Carrie Bradshaw influenced portion of the TEFL Logue speaking out again. You want to look presentable (and sadly the gym shoe/trainer hike to work doesn’t really cut it outside North America) but you will be on your feet quite a bit, especially if you teach larger groups, lower levels, or kids.
You are probably also more likely to walk to work and get lost while teaching than at home. The TEFL Logue’s opinion is that a good pair of shoes is a good investment – and the TEFL Logue is sometimes quite the cheapskate, so that’s saying something. I am personally a fan of Sketchers for being comfortable, stylish and relatively reasonably priced (and, hey, you can order boots at 30% off, with no sales tax and free shipping by entering BOOTS4ALL).
While shopping for food or other things abroad can be a fun challenge, shopping for clothes is a little more serious: they need to fit right and you need to feel okay in them and wear them for your job. That said, clothes will be available, so if you’re not sure what to bring, don’t stress. For the TEFL Logue’s choice for TEFL clothes, check out At Long Last: TEFL Gear.
*As for the picture: how is it relevant? This dog is wearing a sweater, and therefore dressed for success (perhaps not ESL success, but success all the same).