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Dressing the part

July 28, 2005

Look, I don't want to sound like an old fuddy but frankly I think a teacher should dress like, well, a teacher. What I mean is that a teacher in shorts and a t-shirt, a teacher with a bare midriff or a mii-skirt that barely covers the essentials has no place in the classroom.

I know we live in an age when dressing down is more common than dressing up, at least in certain parts of the world, but a teacher needs to command respect. A teacher needs to needs inspire confidence.
Okay, so dress is only a surface sign, but it is important all the same. It is a sign that you respect the role of the teacher. Shorts, t-shirts and sandals are fine for the beach but not for the classroom.

I think schools should have a defined dress code in their teacher's manuals. I don't say that teachers should wear suits and ties and I think trousers are fine for women. But what about jeans? Shouldn't we make a distinction between leisure wear and what we wear to work? Shouldn't women be careful in their dres so that what they wear isn't considered provocative by male students? Shouldn't a man stand out from his students by the smartness of his clothes?

Well, I have had my rant. Let me know what you think.

If you have been, thanks for reading.


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  1. Irene Says:

    I do agree with Patricia about a dress code. I am the Director of a School of English and we do have a teacher´s manual where dressing rules are clearly defined. Our teachers do normally wear formal clothes even though male teachers do not have to wear suits and female teachers can wear trouses and suits if they want to. We do not allow jeans or trainers needless to say, shorts, sandals or the like.
    Half of our staff is from abroad ie British and Irish teachers and they do follow the same dressing code. I think that the teacher should show respect not only for the role they have but for the students who come to class. Most of our students are businessmen, PAs, secretaries, etc so I do think that it is not a good image to be wearing shorts or sandals while they come in smart suits and ties.

  1. Aileena Says:

    I agree! I think that just like "you are what you eat", you can say for teachers...you are "how you dress"! Dress casual and you'll act casual and the teacher will be treated with casual respect. Dress professionally and you'll be taken seriously and treated with professional respect.
    In our adult language center, where I am a teacher, the teachers who come dressed like they just rolled in from the beach are the ones that complain the most about their classes. Those of us that dress professionally while at work have little problems with the students. I believe the way we dress has a direct relationship to the attitude of the students.

  1. Sabitha Pillay Says:

    Dress Code For Teachers?
    I totally agree with Patricia.Teachers are role models for our potential workforce of the future.
    Dress the part before you expect students to dress their part.
    I have taught at two different schools abroad and I was surprised to see some teachers in leisure wear.It was strictly in the handbook for teachers of these schools, to dress smart as students expected this.During uniform inspection time,it is no use requesting students to be dressed according to rules when teachers themselves are not appropriately dressed.Sandals,midriffs,mini-skirts,takkies and jeans are a definite no for the classroom.

  1. Michael Says:

    OK..so i can agree that teachers should have some kind of dress code. It is only when they don't or they have something ambiguous ("smart casual" means nothing to me) that they get into trouble. Suits are okay for PAs and businessmen, they work in air conditioning. School teachers in Australia rarely do. As a teacher I personally dress according to what my pay structure dictates and in this country I am paid significantly less than your average blue collar worker. I'm afraid that if the Australian government wants me to dress "professionally" they will have to take my profession seriously and pay wages that recognise 4 years of university training.
    What possible discipline problems could you have at an ADULT language centre anyway? Really?

  1. zina wilson Says:

    I agree with Ptricia. beachwear,jeans, midriffs don't command respect. Nowadays when clothing can be bought for minimal price - a clean, classic blouse and skirt or a clean and classic shirt and trousers will really make a teacher look dignified.

  1. Sonia Assis Says:

    Dress code for teachers, well I don't agree with everything that has been said just because I love my wardrobe, and have been over the years a respected and dignified teacher as some have put it. I wear jeans and smart white shirts and blouses, everyday I wear a beautiful necklace to complement it and always wear smart shoes. My students have always been respectfull to me. After all I am a woman and I want to look feminine and over the past 10 years of my career my wardrobe has not interfered with my professional life in a negative way.

  1. Maxwell Says:

    I like and support Patricia's view concerning how teachers should dress. Great ideas! I love it

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