A teacher that looks like the students...

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by gumbita, Jun 14, 2007.

  1. gumbita

    gumbita Rookie

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    Jun 14, 2007

    I have always been told that I look "young" for my age - I guess I have a baby face or something. But it worries me because recently, I was taking a tour with parents and other teachers of the new school, and some of the parents thought I was going to be a student, and when I told them, no, I was going to be a teacher, they stared at me incredulously and asked me how old I was. I am worried about not being given respect (by students or parents) because I look so young, or worse, being hit on by the students (3 people have told me to watch out for that in the past 2 days!!!!) I don't want to have to wear power suits every day, but I don't know - will I have to? Does any one have any advice about this (or ways to make me look older without being frumpy)?
     
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  3. shasha379

    shasha379 Devotee

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    I have been told that I blend in with my students as well. I take it as a compliment because I'm almost 30.
     
  4. Mable

    Mable Enthusiast

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    I think you can dress professionally without looking "frumpy". How about some nice dress pants and professional shirts? You can still keep your youth and dress nicely.
     
  5. gumbita

    gumbita Rookie

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    I usually do that - button down shirts and nice dress pants or skirt with heels - Ann Taylor like stuff. That's what I was wearing when the parents thought I was I student. I guess it's just my face and my hair or something.
     
  6. GatorGal

    GatorGal Cohort

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    Jun 14, 2007

    You're not alone!

    I deal with this problem too. Do you wear your hair down? I have shoulder length hair, and I always pulled it back in a clip while I was subbing middle school. That seemed to help me a little.
     
  7. kt_lock_13

    kt_lock_13 Rookie

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    I understand your dilemma! I had the same problem when I worked in the classroom as a high school teacher. (I now teach in an online school.) I was 26, and students and parents always commented on my youthful looks. When I was student teaching, I would constantly be stopped by campus security when I had to leave campus at lunchtime.

    To look older, I would try various hairstyles. I would usually wear my hair down...because it made me look older. Also, I would wear professional clothes (button-up shirts and dress pants), but I would try not to be too trendy. I avoided looking frumpy, shopping at stores like Ann Taylor.

    I feel better that someone else has this problem! I was even asked if I was a student at a high school basketball game.
     
  8. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    We all started off there.

    The advice to dress professionally is good. A blazer always adds a professional touch; if weather permits, wear a few those first few days of class.

    But more than anything else: you need to project an air of authority. The two most feared teachers in our building are both women who are about 5 feet tall. But they follow the rules and expect the kids to do so as well.

    Become known as a fair, tough teacher. You'll be amazed at how few kids even remember that they thought you looked young.
     
  9. kt_lock_13

    kt_lock_13 Rookie

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    I agree! I always set up an atmosphere of respect, and it has helped. The seniors know I will always be consistent, and it has helped. The main problem is when I run into people I do not know...especially when I coach.

    Thanks for your reply!
     
  10. jillsciencegirl

    jillsciencegirl Rookie

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    I agree with the above posters. I was 23 when I began teaching HS, some of my students were 18. So, I really wasn't much older then them. I cut my hair and made sure to dress nice everyday (as opposed to very trendy Jr's type clothes). I also projected an air of authority and was well liked and respected. Now, I'm 31 and about to go back to teaching. I'm sure that looking like my students will no longer be an issue!
     
  11. weno88

    weno88 Companion

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    Jun 15, 2007

    There is an awesome thread on the same topic... I think it's titled "the curse of looking young." You'd be surprised how many people on this board are in the same boat!
     
  12. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    Are you one of those feared women, Alice?
     
  13. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Nope. I'm 5'4" :)
     
  14. JWar417

    JWar417 Rookie

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    I'm 24 and my 8th graders think I am one of them half the time. We have a great atmosphere in the classroom, though. They know there is a time for jokes and such, but they also get serious for the majority of our time together. I was a little lax with rules as the year progressed and I'll know better in my second year of teaching. I guess because I was a little lax with the rules since Christmas, make jokes when the opportunity presents itself and it's appropriate (usually with a minute remaining in class) and because I go out of my way to do fun and engaging stuff with them (a few weeks ago, they made life-size posters of reformers), they tend to think of me as too young.
     
  15. beinthemoment

    beinthemoment Rookie

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    I agree with Aliceacc: students tend to see your integrity (rather than your outward appearance) as you consistently act it out--and if you are tough and fair, they respect you. I'm still in the process of earning my rep (I am 34 and considered a "kid" by many on the faculty and in the student body)--I do consistently communicate honestly, but with high expectations and follow-through with consequences for any behavior, good or bad...I do know it is who I am on the inside that students (and parents) want to see, but they are conditioned to see the outside and then stop to judge. You gotta believe that you are amazing--if you treat yourself as such and act as such, I believe others see that and follow your lead.
     
  16. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    OK, the NY Mets fan in me just LOVED that line... you managed to fit "You gotta believe" and "AMAZING" into the same sentence.

    Nice work!!
     
  17. JWar417

    JWar417 Rookie

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    Another Mets fan? Just like me! Where do you teach?
     
  18. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I'm in a Catholic HS on Long Island.

    And the Amazin's won the World Series on my 11th birthday!!!
     
  19. beinthemoment

    beinthemoment Rookie

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    Aliceacc--

    I was moved by the Spirit, I guess! I'm nowhere near a fan of anything New York--NY might as well be another country for as much as I know about it--not by choice, but just by location. I've never been further east than Ohio. (And I'm not a Chicago native, either--no Cubbie blue or White sox--I'm inspired by good, honest sportsmen and women, no matter the team!)

    I asked my husband about your post and he filled me in about the Amazin Mets and their World Series win--dare I say the year (grin!)--awesome that you have such history with this team! Also that you teach in a Catholic school--I'm just leaving one after my first 4 years of teaching--not because I've lost my faith, just lost faith in my administration. I guess I'll keep with my words of ya gotta believe, but I'll focus it to what's just around the bend here come fall. Thanks for broadening my horizons!
     
  20. knittingbec

    knittingbec Comrade

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    Jun 16, 2007

    gumbita, I can totally relate...and I teach elementary school! I am just shy of 5 feet tall (no matter how hard I prayed, I couldn't get that extra inch!) and have a young face. I'm 26, and kids definitely seem bigger than they used to be! Parents & teachers often comment, "I thought you were one of the kids" and when I did my student teaching, they tried to get me to wear one of the kids school uniforms for Halloween. *Eye roll*. It's most irritating when teachers that I work with make comments...
     
  21. JWar417

    JWar417 Rookie

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    :)

    I did all my student teaching in NYC - I went to NYU. I wish I was still in the city.

    Im 5 days older than Jose Reyes...that my closest link to the Mets, I guess. And, we got Keith Hernandez in a trade a few days after my birthday, but a few years earlier than my birth...does that count? :)



     

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