Monday is my worst day.
Not always, I’ll have you know. In fact, last Monday was rather relaxed – muchly because I didn’t get to bed until half six, which puts a spin on that day’s productivity. But normally, on Mondays I have five lessons back to back, with an additional meeting thrown on top. Considering my usual productivity on a Sunday, that’s a lot of lessons back to back with no time for photocopying. It’s a long slog, but at least the day goes swiftly.
Because it’s so relentless, it’s difficult not to take a bad experience one lesson into the next – so if my Year Elevens are being a real pain in the arse**, it’s hard for it not to come out in my subsequent lesson with Year Nine. While I should avoid allowing myself to let this happen, that is rather difficult.
That being said, today went more smoothly than many of my Mondays, and that could be because of my attire.
Now, while I’m often an advocate of the statement that it’s rare that you can be too well-dressed, I usually wear shirt-and-tie or shirt-and-jumper. Today I wore a suit (well, a matching pair of trousers and simplistic jacket, that have the impression, especially upon impressionable children, that it is a suit), and outside of a few comments on how well dressed I was, there appeared to be little obvious difference.
Although I am sure that the children were better behaved, or at least that they responded more rapidly to my instructions and tellings-off. It’s something I have noticed before, and considered it an odd occurrence on each of those occasions. It could be for a number of reasons:
1. When wearing a suit, I carry myself with a greater poise and come across more confidently.
2. The children react positively to instructions from a suited member of staff because the management team usually wear suits.
3. They are socially hard-wired to take a suit as a symbol of authority (although I teach in East London, so I am likely to discount this one).
Exactly why it works is somewhat irrelevant. The dilemma I am now stuck with is this. Do I wear suits more often, hoping that behaviour continues to be relatively good? Or will the children become accustomed to the suit, so I should retain it for when its effect is most needed?
* This makes more sense when read aloud, especially in the vocal tones of Neil Patrick Harris. Or considering the obvious context of the post itself.
** No need for the conditional there, at least at the moment.