In Pursuit of the Power Suit

The first day matters. Every professor, every guest speaker in our classes, every Kremen School of Education official seems to agree on that much.

First impressions are everything if you want a job where you student teach. First impressions matter just as much during regular job interviews at regular, paper-pushing clerical jobs or simple data entry, but student teaching is different. Every hour at my school site until the end of May is part of one, big job interview.

I’m entering my second semester of student teaching. This time, I’m going to make an impression.

Sure, I’ve been to this school before — substitute teacher, classroom observation — but I’ve never been the real, lesson-planning, I-actually-have-daily-authority teacher at this school site. I’m going to show it, to the other adults at least.

The colloquial wisdom says that student teachers need to dress up so students recognize their authority. I haven’t had a problem with that. Colloquial wisdom also tells us that you won’t get hired if you wear the daily T-shirt to classes, and your tenureless self won’t get your contract renewed without dressing professionally.

Now that I’m actually jockeying for a position here, I’ll have to jump that particular hoop. If my parents hadn’t decided to make some shirts and a pair or two of pants my Christmas gift, it would have been a investment I could afford only because it was mandatory.

Last semester, I didn’t own a suit. I didn’t even own a nice pair of dress pants. Whenever I had to dress up, I wore black denim, with white socks not matching my shoes at all.

This semester, it’s coat, slacks, tie — the whole bit. Wish me luck.

If you’re having trouble finding clothes, there are plenty of post-Christmas clearances. As a large man who doesn’t fit in any of the clothes at the discount outlets, Sears and Big and Tall are my favorite haunts for snappy malewear. Ross and Goodwill can have some great deals for either gender.

For major retailers or department stores, check out the Sunday edition of the local newspaper for ads. It seems to me that a good two-thirds of The Fresno Bee on weekends is nothing but ad inserts.


  1. 1 Beware Evil Armrests « On the Tenure Track

    […] start in less than a month, I could have done without that pair of pants. I have a whole other second pair […]

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