Substitute Teacher Dress Code: What to Wear as a Sub

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Like they do in all professional settings, first impressions matter in the classroom. Schools are looking for reliable, engaged, and professional substitute teachers, and they sometimes offer feedback on how subs present themselves.

Schools use dress codes as a way to show students what professionalism looks like, and they expect their educators to wear appropriate attire as well.

Many schools communicate the dress code to substitute teachers in advance of the assignment. (If you’re a substitute teacher with Swing Education, that information can be found in the “instructions for this school” link, which is found in the assignment details on our online platform.)

However, there will be times when, for whatever reason, a school might not provide dress code information. When that happens, it’s still important to dress professionally. Based on an analysis of dress codes at Swing’s partner schools, we recommend the following attire when a school doesn’t make its dress code available:

  • Comfortable dress shoes/flats (avoid sneakers, sandals, or open-toed shoes)
  • Business-casual or professional attire
  • Solid colored slacks (no jeans, avoid capris)
  • Neatly ironed buttoned up collared shirt
  • Blouse and/or knitted sweater/cardigan

Schools also recommend avoiding any offensive or strong odors, such as cigarettes or perfumes/colognes, and to practice general hygiene before an assignment.

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5 Comments on “Substitute Teacher Dress Code: What to Wear as a Sub”

  1. What’s the verdict on visible tattoos/piercings/unnaturally colored hair for substitute teachers? Would it be difficult to be hired as a substitute with any of this, even with professional dress? Would schools even know about these things prior to hiring you for the substitute teaching assignment?

    1. Hi Rosie,

      It’s generally best to cover up tattoos and to remove distracting piercings, especially if they are a danger hazard (i.e. a student could tug on long hoops). Colored hair is OK for the most part. And dressing professionally will definitely be a good idea.

      I hope that helps.

      Andy from Swing

    2. Half of the teacher’s I have worked with have tattoos and colored hair, it’s pretty common. I would focus on wardrobe and deameanor.

  2. For substitute teachers, each new assignment begins by making a first impression. Each introduction sets the tone for the relationship established between substitutes and their students for the day. What we wear affects how others see us, but it also determines how we view ourselves and can influence our demeanor and productivity. Let’s consider some guidelines for substitute teacher dress codes, something every school district should keep in mind when hiring substitute employees.

  3. Great article! You are sharing a great informative article. Your guide will definitely very useful. These are very important things we didn’t keep in mind. I really enjoyed reading this article and found useful tips. I am glad to found this article. Thanks a lot for sharing this wonderful article.

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