Wednesday, September 08, 2010

You can see by my outfit that I'm a cowboy too

My friend VonCookie, who is in her first or eighth year teaching at UC Berkeley, depending on how you count it, writes of how she dresses professionally now that she's a PhD. Reading that reminded me of this bit of dialogue from my days as a high school teacher, a time when I wore a shirt and tie, slacks and dress shoes to class every day:
Student: Mr. Pritchard, why do you wear those black leather shoes every day?

Me (archly): If I didn't, you guys wouldn't respect me.

Student: Aw, yes we would!
Aw. Actually the main reason I dressed like that was because even though I was 28 years old I looked much younger, and I had to have something that distinguished me from the kids I was teaching. At that age I was still wondering "Am I an adult?" and I realized that if I wavered on that point, my classroom would be a catastrophe. So when I answered that student, even though I was sort of kidding, I also wasn't kidding.

That said, VonCookie is ten times the teacher I was, so her students would probably pay attention no matter what she wore.

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