Saturday, February 09, 2008

I Tire of the Attire

It's pretty obvious--teachers and professors don't always dress appropriately. We want to be treated (and paid) as professionals but show up to school wearing shorts and flip-flops. Should there be a dress code?

Probably not. But societal norms, even today's very loose norms about clothing, should have more influence on what some people wear. I enjoyed reading the part in the linked article about how men used to attend baseball games in coats, ties, and hats (not baseball caps). I despise ties, hate wearing them, and I'm sure others despise wearing long pants, collared shirts, or even shoes. But is there really no minimum standard?

The end of the article is well done.

Any well-dressed freshman should question Posner’s premise that, just because we can’t draw a bright line, no distinctions between acceptable and unacceptable are possible.

At a minimum, I hope we can agree on one thing: Teaching is a thongless task.

11 comments:

Ellen K said...

One of the main complaints I have against young female teachers is that they can't turn off the obvious attempts to get male attention. It may not be noticed at an elementary, but in high school the boys will and do talk about the teachers that are dressed as if they were going out clubbing. Strangely, those seem to be the teachers that have the most behavioral problems in class. Could it be that informal and provocative attire in the classroom leads students to think you aren't deserving of respect?

Darren said...

Where I went to college, both students and professors wore uniforms.

Donalbain said...

Now, I LIKE wearing a tie. I am consistently the most smartly dressed member of the science department, which is second only to PE in regards to smartness.
I always wear a suit to work, and only put on my lab coat when I am actually doing the practical part of the lesson.

allen said...

At a minimum, I hope we can agree on one thing: Teaching is a thongless task.

Any agreement entered into under threat of pun is unenforceable no matter how brief.

Ellen K said...

I think one of the biggest problems that I see is a cleavage issues. I understand the need to feel pretty, but when there are problems between teenagers and young teachers it is mainly caused by lack of boundaries. And dressing like the students is one of those boundaries. The cheerleading sponsor who slept with a kid showed up at the homecoming parade dressed in the same shorts and tied up tee shirts worn by the squad. And in fact she marched with the squad rather than following behind them with the other cheerleader/drill team sponsors. That right there was a huge clue that she wasn't setting up any limits. Lots of us saw it as that months before the news came out and she got non-renewed. There's a bigger nastier story behind the fact she was non-renewed rather than fired outright, but I will leave it at that.

socalmike said...

I feel funny even teaching in jeans - khakis at the least are my standard. Don't like ties, but no need when you teach science and engineering.

Anonymous said...

At my children's elementary school, the staff often dress inappropriately. The principal doesn't see or care. The irony/cause for extreme irritation is that there is an insanely strict dress code for the students. For example, a kindergartener can't wear clothing with a butterfly on it, but her teacher can have her thong showing.

Mrs. C said...

Like, yoinks, Scoob...

Don't see much wrong with asking the teachers to adhere to the same dress code as the students... and BTW "no cleavage" is one of the standards in our district handbook.

Most of the time, though, I don't see the need for strict codes. It's a shame that there always seems to be a person or two who have to "push it" so that rules have to be made and revised frequently. Even with uniforms, people "push it" like you wouldn't believe. When I lived in Australia, the girls would hem their uniforms up to very literal Star Trek dimensions...

Just blogged on this issue of codes recently... a young lady dyed her hair a reddish colour and got herself kicked out of school! It sounded like the administration was a bit overly strict with her, though.

rightwingprof said...

I own over a thousand ties. I feel naked without one on.

Polski3 said...

Our local high school once had to issue a reminder that teachers wearing running shorts, spandex and plastic/rubbery sandals (thongs), was not appropriate for teachers. This high school also has had at least three teachers "messing" around with students and one who showed her special ed classes the wrong homemade video tape (alas, it was not something from Discovery Classroom, it was something from HER BEDROOM......and it ran for ten minutes because she started the program and left the room for some errand.....)

As for me, I often wear blue jeans. I almost always wear cross trainer "tennis" shoes because of issues with my feet (arthrtis). But I try to wear a tie at least once a week, usually with kakhi's. However, you will never see me in sandals, t-shirts, polo shirts or short pants while I am teaching.

Darren said...

I think we're beginning to see here the difficulty in determining a standard of dress for guys.

I could go with "no shorts except for PE coaches, no flip-flops". Remember, that's a *minimum* standard.

I wear jeans on occasion, but just about always wear a collared shirt. May not be button-down, but it's got a collar.