By Jane Morris

After a teacher gets through their first few years of dressing the part, they tend to fall into a comfortable pattern of attire. And what they choose often reveals a lot about them! See what your teacher clothes reveal about you below!

Teacher Clothes

Most teachers fall into one of the following teacher clothing categories. To help paint a picture of each one of these teachers, I’ve included a physical description and typical behavior for each one. It’s time for a teacher clothing role call!

Code Name: Miss Matchy-Matchy

Physical description: A female teacher whose teacher clothes color coordinates every inch of her body. If yellow is her chosen color for the day, not only will her dress and shoes be yellow, but her necklace, earrings and hair ornament will be yellow as well. She has a
chunky necklace in every color.

Behavior: She is cheerful but to a weird, unnatural degree because she’s got some pretty dark secrets that she’s overcompensating for. This way, if anyone finds photos of her college years on the internet, they won’t be able to fathom that it’s the same person.

Code Name: The Copy Machine Creature

Physical description: He or she wears various shades of brown. They wear brown pants that would effectively cover up a serious bathroom accident on the daily, often paired with a brown cardigan and sensible brown loafers.

Behavior: This person has an unnatural obsession with the photocopy machine. They babysit the machine like it’s their newborn child. They take personal ownership over the copier and in their view, everyone is always messing with the machine or about to break it. If the creature is in the copy room, expect to be yelled at. People wonder if this person even teaches, or if their sole purpose is to make people uncomfortable while using the copier. Many teachers choose to avoid them altogether and make their own copies at home.

Code Name: John Keating

Physical description: Sweaters galore! Cable knit sweaters, v-neck sweaters, sweater vests, and the occasional tweed jacket mean this teacher has been teaching for too many decades to change his wardrobe or he just got into the game and is trying to inspire his students to appreciate classic poetry.

Behavior: This is the young male teacher who got into teaching to change lives! It isn’t enough that he puts his mind, body, and soul into planning and implementing lessons. He also holds therapy sessions during lunch and after school. He is not just here to teach, he is here to inspire! And he will surely burn out before he gets tenure.

Code Name: Disgruntled Debbie

Physical description: They wear the same black pants every day. You can tell because there is a tiny white stain on the same location every single day. The pants are usually paired with an earth-toned, free-flowing top to cover the dehydrated bloat of too much coffee.

Behavior: This person is at her breaking point at all times! If you want to complain, seek her out! She will agree with every angry point you make and add another twenty reasons why the job sucks! You can count on her to say what everyone is thinking in a staff meeting, and you will be grateful.

A man and woman dressed in Christmas sweaters.

Code Name: Hippie Dippie

Physical description: This teacher just can’t drop that sixties vibe. The female wears free-flowing clothes, no bra, dangling jewelry, and has wild hair. The male has similar Albert Einstein hair and wears the same totally worn-out jeans from the 70s every single day with brown moccasins, of course.

Behavior: Gives spontaneous lectures about the benefits of yoga and suggests that students meditate before and after every class. Speaks very softly, and the peace sign is the go-to gesture at all times. They are super sweet but annoying and the patchouli stink can make you nauseous.

Code Name: Retiring is Not an Option

Physical description: The female often wears cliche teacher clothes like a long denim dress with school-themed appliques on the chest like apples and school buses. She has worn the same mauve lipstick since 1976. The male has worn the same brown sweater vest every day for the last 40 years.

Behavior: This teacher should be in a nursing home instead of a school. They have been teaching for 40+ years and can barely even do the job anymore. The kids hate them because they are boring and other teachers hate them because they make three times as much money for doing three times less work. These people usually lecture their classes all day about whatever is on their minds. They are evil geniuses because they make more money than anyone else in the building, and they know they can’t be fired, so they don’t have to do much more than show up. Jerks.

Code Name: The Thespian

Physical description: Velvet. Lots and lots of velvet. And scarves dramatically draped across the chest and pinned down with a vintage brooch. Females wear flowing skirts so they can spin and prance freely. Males wear a black turtleneck on the daily. They can often be found barefoot upon their stage and they carry a canvas tote bag they bought at the gift shop at the Globe Theatre, London.

Behavior: This is usually an English teacher who also runs the theater department. The theater is their life. They love to regale anyone who will listen about the various productions they have been in and the D-list actors they’ve met. They take the school show way too seriously. Directing the middle school performance of “Hello Dolly” is like preparing actors to perform Shakespeare for the Queen of England. Speaking of Shakespeare, no one knows more about him than this person. Just try to stump them! They also attempt to direct a Shakespearean play every now and again, and it is sheer torture for both the students in the play and the adults who have to watch it. Regardless of how ridiculous this person is, you have to appreciate the amount of time they dedicate to the school show- because I sure as shit ain’t staying there til 10 o’clock at night!

Code Name: Super Turbo Organized

Physical description: They are the very definition of “business casual.” The younger female shops at Ann Taylor Loft and the older female shops at Chicos (sale rack). Shirts are pressed and tucked beneath a chic belt. The shoes match the belt. Their entire school year is planned in advance, and their lesson plans are mapped out using a ruler and perfectly sharpened pencil. In a world of chaos, the more they can control the calmer they feel. So don’t touch their shit and you won’t get hurt.

Behavior: Lord help you if this person is in charge of anything, like a supply closet. They will count everything and hoard supplies. “Do you really need all of those index cards? Here’s one pack. Is one pack not enough? How many more do you need? Let’s count them out.” This person will also roam around classrooms and offices passing judgment on the poor organizational skills of others. Forget the fact that they totally neglect the actual teaching part of their job because they are too busy organizing the shit out of old folders. If their paperwork is in order, then their life is in order, and everything is going to be okay.

Code Name: Too Cool for School

Physical description: They dress as unprofessional as they can get away with. School allows jeans? They wear ’em every day with an old band t-shirt or rumpled old button-down shirt. Sneakers allowed? Same ones every day. Not allowed? Then they wear all-black sneakers and hope no one says anything.

Behavior: This teacher breaks the cardinal rule of teaching by trying to be everyone’s friend. They use the students’ slang, and it is downright embarrassing. The students can’t get enough of this teacher because instead of doing work they watch SpongeBob videos on YouTube and play on their phones and yet they still get an A. This person became a teacher because they wanted to stay in high school forever and that is just gross.

Teacher coach wearing a hat and hoodie.

Code Name: Just Here to Coach

Physical description: They show up to work in whatever they plan on wearing to practice after school, jeans and a t-shirt, or either their favorite team or the team they coach. Sports team hat, key chains, a coffee mug that’s always in hand, water bottle, bumper stickers galore. If you ain’t talking lacrosse/football/basketball, etc., you’re speaking a foreign language.

Behavior: This teacher really only cares about coaching their sport but needs to pay the bills and their teacher clothes reflect this. They have zero interest in the subject they teach and don’t put in much effort. But put them on the field/court/arena/pit, and the passion and dedication is astounding!

Code Name: Tacky as F

Physical description: This lady is truly a marvel, and her teacher clothes are loud and proud. She dresses in clashing neon colors and almost always has sequins somewhere on her body. The version at my school actually takes pieces of hair and gels them down on her cheeks in various patterns. It’s wondrous. This teacher almost always wears a rainbow sequin baseball cap with matching rainbow sequin ball earrings and rainbow sequin Keds. She basically doesn’t give a crap what you think. She wears what makes her heart sing, and if you don’t like it, you can suck on her sequins.

Behavior: Similar to “retiring is not an option,” this person is usually at school to collect a sweet paycheck and show off her new bedazzled fanny pack. She’s so much fun to look at, no one even cares that she doesn’t really do anything. Plus, she speaks her mind at meetings and isn’t afraid to tell it like it is.

Woman wearing a velvet turtle neck and sequins.

More Teacher Humor

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What’s Your Teacher Clothing Style?

So where do you fall on this teacher clothing tell-all? Are your teacher clothes too cool for school? Matchy-matchy? Loud and proud? Let us know where you fall in the teacher clothing category in the comments below.

Author Bio

Jane Morris is the pen name of a teacher who would really like to tell you more about herself, but she is afraid she’ll lose her job. Jane has taught English for over 15 years in a major American city. She received her B.A. in English and Secondary Education from a well-known university and her M.A. in writing from an even fancier (more expensive) university. She has a loving family and cares about making people laugh more than anything else.

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2 Comments

  1. Arthur Walton September 3, 2022 at 9:06 am

    In year 29, I still wear a fun tie with a dress shirt and dress slacks. I have now started to add fun socks. The ties range from Einstein, spiderman to save the children and breast cancer awareness. Socks are Island fun, Darth vader, etc. The kids notice! When I wear a school tshirt and jeans for dress down fridays, the kids ask why? I teach High School Math.

  2. Matt September 3, 2022 at 12:57 pm

    Dress: The special education teacher, who is constantly on the move. They wear a cycle of untucked polo shirts that they’ve had since the beginning of their career and some type of tennis shoe/sneaker in case they need to sprint after an eloping student.

    Behavior: This depends on the day and how many IEPs they are currently working on. Anywhere from the erratic, “Don’t even look at or talk to me right now,” to the manic, “I’m all caught up on my paperwork for the first time ever” vibe.

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