Looking professional the first day, he believes, will carry over through the rest of the semester, when he reverts to the work clothes he will don until he meets a new batch of students.
His thought is that students will remember their first encounter positively and more readily give him the benefit of the doubt as the semester proceeds because they have been primed to respect him through that favorable first impression.
First impressions is, in part, an explanation of bias.
We tend to give the benefit of the doubt to those who are either like us (family, etc.) or to those who have made a good first impression.
His look has defined 'genius.' But he was wild looking and disheveled.
A good look for an artist, I guess, but not exactly how you would want to present yourself if you looking for a corporate hire.
I happen to be acquainted with the author's colleague. In fact, he is an old school type who dresses with a tie EVERY day, along with a pair of slacks or jeans and a jacket (the more casual work clothes the author refers to..) Helps, he says, establish an atmosphere of respect and of course, that act has to be followed up with consistent behavior in which that atmosphere is maintained by both his actions and hopefully, that of his students. He does so to help establish an atmosphere, and to mark the occasion, like the opening night of a limited run play or musical.
Too many profs complain about their students informality in the classroom and lack of respect for the process, and sometimes they forget that setting the example, in fact, counts for a lot.
Most conclude that if she was good in one category (sociable), she will also be positive in another (generous).
The halo effect is powerful, but it questionable whether it matters much in long-term relationships, such as that between teacher and student.