Besides the construction paper and glue sticks in your suitcase, you should also be packing stuff to wear on vacations and in the classroom, right?
You’ve got warm winter boots if you are heading to Eastern Europe and our Thailand volunteers wouldn’t dream of forgetting sandals and swimming suits, right? But what about the clothes you wear for teaching English when living abroad? After all, that’s what you’ll be doing 3-4 hours a day.
Love the idea of teaching but aren’t sure how to make that happen?
Get more info about teaching with ILP here
But don’t worry, the question about what you need to wear is pretty easy to answer:
For All ILP Volunteers
Basically, our rule is "business casual" for what to wear in the classroom — however, some schools have more of a dress code, keep reading for that. You don’t have to look like you are going to a professional business meeting or anything, but you should look nice (so no jeans with holes or sleeveless/cropped tee shirts).
Even though you're volunteering, everyone else (students, parents of students, other teachers at the school) sees you as the teacher and someone to look up to so keep that in mind. Shirts should have sleeves and skirts need to go to your knee. Wear pants without any holes and nice tee shirts (no logos or holes) are also fine. Guys, you can teach in shorts as long as they reach your knee.
Another tip is make sure you feel comfortable to move around, because kids move around! If you are constantly needing to pull your shirt up or down or your jeans are too tight, trust me, that's one extra thing you don't want to be worrying about. Here are some of our favorite places to get comfy and modest clothes for teaching.
A Note On Modesty
Schools With More Exceptions
Certain schools have different requirements that you’ll hear all about during ILP training for your country. Some schools don’t allow shoes without a back to them or any jeans at all. For example, in China, wearing strappy sandals and flip flops look just like the shoes your students wear to shower in so it’s best not to teach in them. Stuff like that. But don’t worry! You can ask about the specifics at any point (with your ILP representative, once you come to training, or just by calling our office).
Romania has the biggest exception. Anyone who have been thinking about volunteering in the Romanian orphanage will need to wear scrubs during their shifts at the orphanage and hospital.
Schools With Dresses
If you're headed to Thailand, you are required to wear a skirt or dress whenever you are teaching. Teachers in Lithuania may also be asked to wear skirts and dresses as well, depending on the school you're teaching at.
For our volunteers in hot and humid locations (Africa, Caribbean, Central America, and the South Pacific) you've either been asked to only wear skirts or dresses, or volunteers just do that anyways because it's just so hot! Remember, dresses and skirts should reach your knee (at least ... best best is to have the fabric reach your knee even when you're sitting or sitting down).
We also suggest wearing biker shorts or spanx underneath just in case a little kiddo gets a hold of your hemline.
Ready for your own semester?
Come travel the world and make a difference with ILP! You'll be set up with a set of volunteers to live, travel, and teach with, plus some vacation time and every single weekend off (which means lots of time for exploring). We're here to help you every step of the way, starting which what country would be right for you!