How should I dress as a Teacher in China?
How should I dress as a teacher in China? Believe it or not, we get asked this question all the time! How You may be surprised to learn that purchasing clothes and shoes in certain Chinese cities can be more expensive than in your home country, so packing suitable work clothing for your first few months of work is a good idea.
When it comes to teachers’ dress code, it can vary depending on the school you are teaching at. In general, many private language centres provide a polo shirt (usually very brightly coloured!), for teachers to wear with black trousers and smart trainers. This is in-keeping with the high-energy, interactive and activity based classes that teachers at private language centres are usually expected to conduct.
Public schools would typically require teachers to dress smart-casual, so for men this may be trousers/ chinos and a casual shirt, and for women this may be a skirt/ trousers with a top. Classes at public schools are generally a little less interactive and more formal, requiring an outfit to match this ethos.
Universities may require teachers to be a little smarter, perhaps with men wearing a tie and women wearing a dress. This is again reflective of the institutions’ ethos as well as practicality. With discussion, debate and more complex learning methods being emphasized at a University level, so dressing for the occasion is important.
As with almost any profession in China, it’s unusual for a school to require a teacher to wear business attire or a suit to work on a day-to-day basis.
Another aspect to take into consideration is the weather. Temperatures in China vary drastically throughout the country, so you might need to be prepared for cold weather or very warm weather. In colder regions it is important to make sure you pack lots of layering appropriate clothes, long-johns may not be the most fashionable item in the world, but your legs will thank you at -32 degrees. Likewise, it is important to ensure you have appropriate clothing for warm weather, with thin long sleeve shirts and trousers if you are required to wear more formal attire in a hot environment.
If you have tattoos, you will be expected to cover these with long sleeves and trousers while at work; the same goes for visible piercings. As you’d expect, short skirts and plunging necklines are a no no – remember you will be an authority figure for your students, so dressing neatly and conservatively will aid this.
Throughout your time in China you are likely to be involved with some formal work occasions, for example graduation ceremonies, prize presentations, and formal meals with school Management.
For such occasions it’s worth having a smart outfit at your disposal, perhaps incorporating a suit jacket or dress.
Ultimately every school has its own policy; if in doubt, just send a quick email to your point of contact at the school prior to travelling!Share: