Student-Teacher Shares Her Thoughts On “Presenting Professionally.”
After 8-hours of student teaching, senior Art Education major Chloe Hetrick takes off her long sleeve turtleneck and slacks and puts on dark blue pajama pants and her mom’s vintage, turquoise sorority pullover. Hetrick then opens her purse and pulls out L’Oréal boxed hair dye in the shade light amber brown (the first step in dyeing her hair red) and two pink nail polishes, one lighter than the other. On this day, she wanted to transform herself into a new woman. But in a few months, she’ll morph again, this time into your average hometown teacher.
“I knew I wanted to go to Kent before I knew what I wanted to do.”Senior Art Education major, Chloe Hetrick
Hetrick has spent the last five years studying art education after being inspired by her tenth-grade art teacher at North Ridgeville High School.
“In 10th grade, I had a really good art teacher, and he showed me that art was a teachable thing,” Hetrick says. “This guy inspired me. He went to Kent, and so did my mom and dad. So, I knew I wanted to go to Kent before I knew what I wanted to do. I also knew we had a really good art program from that teacher.”
Growing up with divorced parents, Chloe never had one set room she could decorate. Moving to Kent State was the first time she had her own space to illustrate to her liking and could host friends over without worrying about her parents interrupting. Since turning 21, she’s been able to enjoy going out to the bar with friends. Her favorite way to end the night is by going to the bar, Barflyy, and dancing until the bar closes at 2:30 a.m.
But, despite typically getting home at 3 a.m., she still manages to get to her eighth-grade classroom by 7 a.m.
“I’ll put on a long necklace because I know that’s what teachers do. It makes me feel really weird.”Senior Art Education major, Chloe Hetrick
“Every day, I have to sift through my closet and like find my black turtleneck. I’m always wearing stuff that’s very blank and just teacher-esque,” Hetrick says. “I’ll wear a turtleneck over my small necklaces, and then I’ll put on a long necklace because I know that’s what teachers do. It makes me feel really weird.”
Like many young adults, Hetrick worries that she’s not presenting herself in a way that’s ‘appropriate’ for teachers. She’s afraid of not speaking, dressing, or acting professionally enough. The extensive monitoring and testing she has to pass to start her career further exacerbate this anxiety.
“You have to have an interview with all these professors and really vouch for yourself and how professional you are,” Hetrick says. “It’s so tiring to always have to improve, to prove that I’m an adult teacher. To prove that, you know, I’m professional and whatever.”
Interestingly, there’s no dress code or rules regarding appearance. The rules are unspoken but widely accepted.
“I’m an artist, and I just wanna be crazy, and I don’t have like strung together thoughts.”Senior Art Education major, Chloe Hetrick
“They aren’t necessarily saying, ‘hey, you can’t do this. Hey, you can’t do that,’ but it’s like if you do certain things, you’re going to get looked down upon and not get as much opportunity,” Hetrick says. “I’m an artist, and I just wanna be crazy, and I don’t have like strung together thoughts. It’s really hard for me to present myself in a way that I feel like I’m supposed to be presenting.”
Hetrick believes that once she establishes herself in the industry, she can gradually express herself through her fashion sense and cadence but is prepared for the process to take years.
“Some teachers say you can slowly start incorporating different clothes and jewelry and stuff, but it has to be so gradual they don’t even notice. The concept upsets me as an artist because I have to wait a long time before I can put my chokers back on,” Hetrick says.