Growing up, I had three sets of clothes.
There were school clothes, play clothes, and church clothes. It was important to remember which was which. As it turned out, they were just hung on hangers at different ends of the closet. There was a time when school clothes would tumble down to being play clothes but, for the most part, those were the rules for what to wear.
As such, it was important that we came directly home from school to change before hopping on our bikes and heading out to play. The ultimate sin would be to get school clothes dirty or to tear a hole in the knee or something.
At the Faculty of Education, one of the pieces of advice that was given to us was to dress formally once we got our first jobs. After all, we could be only 5 or so years older than some of the students and this would establish who was who! At my first staff meeting, our principal went through the Teacher Handbook and there was a section about dress and it just said “dress professionally”. Since I was in the Business Department, I watched other department members that first week and the dress could probably be described as business casual. Not quite a suit but at least dress shirt, jacket, and tie.
For the most part, that’s how I dressed for my career although the tie was nicely replaced with a sweater over a shirt at times. Particularly when you’re crawling under tables, a tie can be a real nuisance.
Just yesterday, a picture popped up in my Facebook memories of a group of us all dressed up for the RCAC Symposium in 2013. I’ve cropped my colleagues out.
For a number of years, I was the MC for the event and that always meant wearing a tie and jacket. I still have that jacket and tie (and maybe even the nametag) but it’s been years since that symposium as been held and formally dressed public appearances have gone away in these times.
I recognize that there are differences everywhere. Between face to face, hybrid, and remote teaching, have the standards changed? Even before COVID came along, this had become more casual. Given the move to more active classrooms, I appreciate that more formal attire just doesn’t cut it.
But that doesn’t mean that the fun necessarily has to go away. Just this morning, I read this article…
Of course, I had to read about it. It was a nice refreshing read full of hope for her career and her mentality. We’ve heard lots of things about only needing to be dressed from the waist up when online because that’s all that the camera will catch. You make your own decisions.
I started to think about things. Certainly, given all that’s happening, people can understandably be given a pass for not dressing up formally. On the other hand, there really is something that affects your mood by how you dress. For me, I suppose I would have been able to dress up as a banker, a clothes salesman, an insurance agent, … When you’re working with a sports jacket, a dress shirt, and a tie, your options are limited! But, if you have access to fun clothes and the ability to change the background of your video session, why not have some fun with it, if you want?
Personally, I’m not that sophisticated. Yesterday, I had a Zoom beer with friends in Cedar Falls and Omaha. I was wearing a comfortable pair of sweat pants and made sure there weren’t any crumbs on my black sweatshirt before turning the camera on.
If you have a moment, how about dropping your thoughts about dressing in the days of COVID. Have you found that you have changed how you do things? Your insights might just be inspirational to others.