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New Uniforms for Student Teachers
Old 12-28-2009, 10:21 AM
 
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I am student teaching at a Christian school this year, and in October we had a big administrative reshuffling. The man promoted to headmaster implemented many initiatives toward improving our school’s competitiveness.

One of the things he implemented was a more professional dress code for hired teachers – which I understand; but he singled out student teachers to wear specified Christian school uniforms.

I am 25 (f) and do not feel comfortable with this new policy. I teach kindergarten, and it’s very impractical to be wearing a uniform when I have to be mobile around the room with my kids.

Also, I feel like I am being singled out and being made to appear inferior to the hired teachers.


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Am I understanding this...
Old 12-28-2009, 10:31 AM
 
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Do you have to wear what the kids are wearing???? If so that is ridiculous and I would be mad too!!
I'm assuming you are wearing skirts?? What do the hired teachers have to wear??

I don't think it's right and I feel bad for you, but the only good thing is that you will only be there for a semester (I'm assuming??) since you are student teaching? Just try to deal with it the best you can and count the days till you are done!!!! Good luck!!!!
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Couple of thoughts
Old 12-28-2009, 11:17 AM
 
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First, I'd be livid if I were told to wear a kid-style uniform to student teach! I don't blame the principal for wanting a more professional atmosphere, but to me, this isn't the way to go about it. Have you talked to your college student-teaching supervisor? What does this professor think about the new rule? I cannot imagine a university would agree to this. Especially a public university. Or the state, for that matter. Back before I got into the master's program I'm in now, I was going to have to student-teach. (Long story.) I asked to do it in parochial schools and was told no, that the state told the teacher-ed program that it was in business to train public-school teachers, not parochial teachers. So, if your state has the same stance, then how will they allow you to student-teach in a Christian school that demands you wear a uniform? Too far removed from the public-school experience to qualify, I would think. Personally, I'd start with my adviser and ask for another assignment. Good luck!
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Old 12-28-2009, 12:33 PM
 
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I already completed the first half of my one-year teaching practicum for my master’s degree, and will be starting the second half of it January 11th. So for this past fall, I was under the same dress code as the hired teachers, but I was informed of the new policy in the beginning of December.

My cooperating teacher said the new headmaster views me more as a ‘student being groomed to teach here’ rather than a hired professional teacher. Incidentally, when classes resume, he also wants me to be tutored in Christian theology as preparation for being able to instruct on those themes.

The uniform they specified is a classic Christian school uniform seen in our lower grades– the only difference from what the kids are wearing is the color. My cooperating teacher said the purpose, according to the administration, is to impart the school ethos upon me as preparation for hiring me. It’s just that he seems blind to how unprofessional I will appear wearing it next semester. My college advisor told me to e-mail him photos of it, but the semester is out so nothing has been done yet.

I looked ridiculous when I tried it on, and can’t imagine maneuvering around the classroom in it, i.e., crouching down to my kids' level, and setting up activities.
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This is sad
Old 12-28-2009, 01:07 PM
 
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I am so sorry you have to go through this. I can't imagine a grown woman having to wear a "child's" uniform.

Good luck and I hope everything works out in your favor.


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Uniform
Old 12-28-2009, 02:58 PM
 
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I would talk to your college supervisor about getting assigned to another school to complete your student teaching. It sounds like they don't want to treat you as a professional, not just in your dress but in all areas.
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Mixed reaction...
Old 12-28-2009, 03:38 PM
 
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The principal can't seriously think that a full-grown woman can wear children's clothes. (Please pardon me if I offended any petite-sized teachers.) On the other hand....


I teach at a uniform school, and teachers are encouraged to wear the uniform on one particular day of the week, but we can be tasteful about it. Basically the uniform is khaki or navy chinos, skirt, or walking shorts and a light or navy collared shirt--polo or button-up. Teachers can also elect to wear the school t-shirt or sweat shirt. It is all very low key and nothing bad will happen if you forget. If I am out in public on a uniform day no one would think that I was wearing a uniform, nor does wearing chinos/skirt and a light colored blouse impede my ability to be on the floor with my students. I haven't noticed any teachers wearing little girl jumpers.
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are there uniform options?
Old 12-28-2009, 03:59 PM
 
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I’m guessing that you are probably petite and youthful looking for your age, otherwise the principal would probably see your concerns about it without needing to be told. I’m unclear as to what your uniform looks like at your school. Is it the same uniform the kids wear, only in your size? Is it conspicuous in school uniform style? Or is it toned down?

Is there a unisex version?

Is there only one style of “classic Christian school uniform”?
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Old 12-28-2009, 04:00 PM
 
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I find this very strange thinking on the headmaster's part. I find it odd thinking on his part that making you wear what is basically a student's uniform will impart the school ethos on you. He has to be observant enough to notice you are a woman but he lacks logic and respect by not understanding how you will feel wearing the uniform. How old is this guy? Reputation? Is he a man who likes to control? Surely there are more pertinent issues for him to deal with than sticking student teachers in school uniforms. Is there a shoe and sock requirement to go with the uniform? What about male student teachers? I wonder what he will think of next. I agree with a PP to ask for a change of assignment if possible- unless you love this school and hope to work there. At least you would be forwarned about the headmaster.
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Sorry
Old 12-28-2009, 04:11 PM
 
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that you have to do this--to be honest he sounds a bit perverse (think sexy school girl)
My question is who is paying for this? Do you have to buy the "uniform" that you will only wear for a few months?
Did you choose this school or was it picked for you, and most importantly do you wish to teach there in the furture?
I would not do anything until I speak to my advisor and then take it from there.


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This is one of the dumbest things I have ever
Old 12-28-2009, 04:16 PM
 
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heard and I would immediately start looking for a different placement.
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talk to your advisor
Old 12-28-2009, 04:25 PM
 
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Maybe your college advisor can straighten this out before the start of next semester. I don't think your college would want to allow you to have your teaching experience in an environment that makes you uncomfortable.
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Old 12-28-2009, 04:40 PM
 
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I’ve heard he is a taskmaster in response to Zipline. He has a longstanding relationship with the board of directors, and they brought him in to improve the school’s image and competitiveness.

He’s probably in his mid-to late 50’s, and I don’t think he’s ever taught in the classroom before. He has a business and administration background. The school seems to be obsessed with increasing revenue by increasing the amount of students. He wants to make the school more marketable and appealing to a wider base of families, while at the same time increasing our 'prestige' in the community.
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I would run!
Old 12-28-2009, 05:10 PM
 
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Does your principal have a clue as to what teaching kindergarten involves? How is an adult woman supposed to bend down, sit on the floor, and maneuver arround setting activities up while wearing a christian school uniform? (I'm assuming it's a skirt?) Does this guy like the skirt look, I wonder? How is he making the hired faculty dress - especially the women? Is there a trend?

Like Zipline asked, is there a shoe and sock requirement too? I think it's outrageous that a chauvanistic man can come in and impose this on you. Even as a student teacher, you deserve the dignity afforded to hired faculty.
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Old 12-28-2009, 05:36 PM
 
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Ok this sounds terrible but when I read this I first thought it was ridiculous, but then I starting thinking that this is just a dirty old man who gets his jollies by seeing young adults in schoolgirl uniforms!! Seriously, what would he do if a 60 year old just went into teaching and taught there? Or a male? I agree that you need to talk to someone. I think I would ask to get reassigned if nothing was done.
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Old 12-28-2009, 06:41 PM
 
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I was thinking the same thing, friendlypoofy. It would be debatable if she only has to wear a toned down version of the uniform. But it's a whole other story if she has to wear the full getup with uniform socks and shoes.
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Old 12-28-2009, 08:05 PM
 
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Someone else posted a thread like this awhile back. She said she had to wear the student uniform (skirt, etc) to school as her teacher uniform.
Personally, I have never heard of this and I think it is ridiculous and not right.
My first thought also was that this principal had dirty thoughts in mind.
I would ask to be re-assigned to another school or I would go above his head to his superior and explain the situation.
I would not think this would be acceptable anywhere. Teachers do have certain freedoms. We are not students.
Good luck!
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Old 12-29-2009, 02:47 AM
 
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To be honest, this sounds like a similar post that generated a great deal of attention on another teacher forum a year or so ago. Hopefully I am wrong.

Having taught in parochial schools for 38 years, my experience along with many friends teaching in other Christian schools, has been a dress CODE for all adults in the building, but never a uniform.
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Old 12-29-2009, 04:58 AM
 
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What type of uniform are you being required to wear? Many here are assuming you are being required to wear a student uniform. That would be weird. But, if it's a uniform in the sense of khaki pants, polo or button shirt, then that's not so bad.
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Old 12-29-2009, 07:02 AM
 
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I, too, am curious as to what type of uniform you are required to wear. If it's as bad as we're assuming, then no woman has to put up with that bull.
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Old 12-29-2009, 10:47 AM
 
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Quote:
He’s probably in his mid-to late 50’s, and I don’t think he’s ever taught in the classroom before. He has a business and administration background. The school seems to be obsessed with increasing revenue by increasing the amount of students. He wants to make the school more marketable and appealing to a wider base of families, while at the same time increasing our 'prestige' in the community.
Oh, boy. He's not off to a very good start- making a (not so good) name for the school in regards to odd dress codes for student teachers! I bet the advisors who set up student teacher postitions may end up rethinking placing people there. I can see a dress code where a certain professional attire is required but not sticking young women in school uniforms (which I thought seemed perverted but then I thought maybe I my thinking was in the gutter- until others mentioned exactly what I was thinking!)

To me, having to wear the same uniform as the students is akin to placing the student teacher on an equal level with the students. Are students going to see the student teacher as an adult or as someone who is like a kid and who possesses no authority and no higher respect? I wonder if this all makes for a clear "unspoken message."

I wonder if the board of directors are aware of this at all.

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not a matter of khaki pants
Old 12-29-2009, 05:02 PM
 
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If it was a matter of wearing khaki pants and a polo shirt, I would do so gladly. What was ordered for me is a navy jumper over a white blouse, black shoes and finally what makes me cringe - opaque white knee-highs! They couldn’t have picked a more conspicuous uniform other than to make it in plaid – which is what our students wear.

My advisor was in touch today and offered to talk with my cooperating teacher, but I already know her take on this. While she is supportive, she's not going to debate our new headmaster about it.

I’m most concerned with letting down my kids whom I have grown attached to. And if it wasn’t for this, I would want to stay and complete my practicum. Also, I don’t know how leaving mid-year might impact my evaluation, and whether that’s going to haunt me later on.
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Old 12-29-2009, 08:23 PM
 
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As a student teacher, you are considered a STAFF member of that school. You are not one of the students and should not even be compared to one. You should be following the dress code adhered to by the rest of the faculty and not following some random dress code given to you.
Guidelines for uniforms worn by school staff members mean that all staff follow similar guidelines. If the rest of the staff wear pants, there is no reason you shouldn't be wearing pants.
Find somebody well versed in school law and ask them what has happened in cases like this in the past. If your university supervisor isn't going to help, then go ask the administration of your university. You could also very well take legal action against this principal and school. You have grounds for sexual harassment, unfair treatment, and discrimination among other things. Even if this is a Christian school, they are still required to uphold statutes regarding school laws and they are required to follow labor laws. You should not be forced to be singled out to wear a student uniform (even a different colored one).
I understand your feelings about not wanting to abandon your kids, etc, but in the long run, I think it is for the best in this situation if you are going to be forced to wear a Christian school student uniform. If you leave and that shows up in your evaluation, I almost guarantee that any administrator will look at the reason for your leaving, drop their jaw, and then ignore the reason because it goes against what is right.
Stand up for yourself in this situation. You don't have to be bullied into wearing something you're not comfortable in just because you're a student teacher. You're a professional, not a child enrolled in that school. Expect the school to treat you as such or find a placement that will.
I hope everything works out for you!

Last edited by City Mouse; 12-29-2009 at 08:45 PM.. Reason: Other thoughts
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Old 12-30-2009, 05:08 AM
 
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Oh my Gosh! That is absolutely outrageous what he expects you to wear. I would not tolerate that and agree that looking for another placement should be your university supervisors priority!
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Old 12-30-2009, 07:50 AM
 
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Quote:
What was ordered for me is a navy jumper over a white blouse, black shoes and finally what makes me cringe - opaque white knee-highs!
Oh, dear. It's worse than I thought! A jumper and knee highs sounds denegrating and there is a real disconnnect with this man's thinking if he thinks that will help instill the school's ethos on you.

Newteacher, you ultimately have to do what you feel is best for you but here are some things I would suggest:

Ask your student teacher supervisor to intervene directly with the headmaster and address the inappropriateness of the dress and how it would make student teachers (not just you) feel in this uniform. Sounds like they want you to look like a high school student there- not a college educated future teacher who should be treated as a professional.

Perhaps your student teaching advisor could work for a compromise to be made for a particular color of slacks (if other teachers wear slacks), a certain type blouse, and an ID badge with your name and designated position. If skirts are what the other femlae teachers must wear then a dark colored skirt. Example- white blouse, blue slacks or skirt, hose, and flats, with an ID badge with your name and title.

If your supervisor refuses to do this or if the headmaster is not willing to compromise, then ask your supervisor to find you a new placement. He or she should not force you to remain in a situation in which you feel uncomfortable.

If you move to a new placement and are concerned about the evaluation you will get from the school, after you complete your new student teaching assignment and get a job, write to the headmaster and cc the board of directors at the Christian school and let them know in your own words why you chose to move to a new placement. They will already know more than likely once you are gone and from what your supervisor says, but at least you then speak up for yourself.

It will be sad to leave your kids, but consider how you will feel for the next semester if you wear the uniform and give in to the headmaster's ridiculous demands. If you think you can stomach it and you really think you have a shot to work at this school and you want that, then you will need to do what will work for you. If you have not student taught in a public school and you think that you will end up teaching in one, then do your student teaching there now since it is a whole other world and will prepare you much better than continuing in a private school!!

Do realize that if you stay and wear the uniform, you are in essence giving approval for this... and it will affect future student teachers and give approval for future innane descisions made by this headmaster. If he thinks this will improve the reputation of the school and draw in new enrollees then I would wonder about future policies set by this man and if I would want to work for him.

Teachers have to put up with many policies we do not agree with but there are limits we need to set- and it is essential that we all learn to speak up for ourselves and voice our opinions. Some districts want you to shut up and put up with whatever. Some treat teachers as professionals and foster an atmosphere where you can voice your opinion freely and not feel threateded. No matter which one you work in, it is important to always maintain the ability to speak up and not shrink away and lose your sense of self.

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Wow!
Old 12-30-2009, 08:07 AM
 
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He is taking all authority away from you. Does he want the children to respect you as a teacher or to consider you an equal student? You are not the same as a student. You are an adult. I am not sure what the best approach is. Have you been dressing the same as a the teachers all year? Have other student teachers been dresssing too casually? I am trying to understand his reasoning but I don't think there really is any logical thinking going on on his part.
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I'm sorry but...
Old 12-30-2009, 09:13 AM
 
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I would say no way, no day. It does seem perverse and seems to be making a statement that you are not to be respected as a teacher. I don't think it should affect your future or hiring later, I think a lot of intern teachers split their assignments to get a feel for more than one grade. I would not want to teach at a school like this in the future so that would not worry me.

Good luck!
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Old 12-30-2009, 12:22 PM
 
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That's super creepy, and seems totally unnecessary. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you that you get a new assignment - a school that makes adults dress as children does not seem like a great place to work in the long run.

I remember someone on teacher a to z having this same issue a few years ago. She posted a picture of her uniform, and it was seriously creepy and infantile. I think she ended up getting a reassignment.
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Old 12-30-2009, 07:05 PM
 
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This isn't about the students. At all. The kids are important, true, but ultimately you are more so. Don't be a martyr, even if it is a christian school. It is about your professional future. To participate in anyway with that man's unprofessional, perverted thought processes is insane. I am having trouble believing the absurdity of it.

Going to another school to get another view on teaching would be better for you anyway. I have never heard of a whole year of student teaching in one place.

Besides, you are only technically a student now, the teacher portion of your title is what counts. If he cannot see you as a professional, and treat you as one, well then, you aren't really getting a student teaching experience are you? Use that backbone God gave you. How will you be a strong advocate for your students in the future if you can't be one for yourself first?

Be strong!
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If it were me...
Old 12-30-2009, 08:45 PM
 
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in your position, I would come to school dressed the same way the other teachers are dressing and not say a word. Follow the TEACHER'S dress code to the T. Basically, dare him to send you home. Then if he does, get a lawyer.
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Old 12-30-2009, 09:18 PM
 
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I agree with Apple Annie. This whole thing is absolutely ridiculous....weird even. White knee socks? That would never stand up in court! Oh my goodness...I am so sorry! Keep us posted.
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If there is any silver lining...
Old 12-31-2009, 01:51 AM
 
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My take on this is the new headmaster has grand visions of reform and a uniform for student teachers is probably an example of overreaching. I wonder if the school has had dress code issues with student teachers in the past, or maybe with newteacher26 herself?

If you decide to stay, the silver lining is you won’t have to spend money on a professional wardrobe for the balance of the school year. As conspicuous as the uniform appears, do you think it will be viewed the same way by others at the school itself? It’s no doubt an adjustment to wear it for you, but maybe others at your school won’t give it much thought?
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Old 12-31-2009, 08:35 AM
 
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I agree with Apple Annie. Wear the TEACHER dress code to school if you stay. DON'T wear the uniform. It goes against school laws and I am sorry, but I must disagree with Adam.
If all of the teachers were going to be required to wear a uniform such as khakis and a polo shirt, then the silver lining would be not spending money on clothes. However, since student teachers are being singled out to wear a totally unreasonable uniform, there is no silver lining. You are being discriminated against and disrespected by being asked/required to wear the same style uniform that young students in your school wear.
It's irrelevant whether or not others will notice, think differently of you, or if it would be an adjustment for you to wear it.
You shouldn't wear it because it would set a terrible precedent. School law and labor laws say that any uniform policies that are set by businesses must be uniform among all the staff. Nobody can be singled out to wear a different uniform. The only variation is among uniform guidelines for staff versus management.
Stand up for yourself. Get re-assigned or wear the teacher dress code to this school. If you get sent home for it, then take legal action.
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Old 12-31-2009, 09:57 AM
 
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How are students and parents in the school supposed to respect you if you look like a school child yourself? Also, I agree with you. How are you supposed to get down on the floor with the children in a jumper? It would be hard, but unless he changed his mind about the uniform I would be asking my collage if there was any way to change my placement.

Maybe you can find different uniform options and present them to the headmaster to see if he is willing to change a little?
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one weekend left to decide
Old 12-31-2009, 02:25 PM
 
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My practicum resumes Jan 4th, and my college semester a week later, Jan 11th. My advisor e-mailed me and said he was told by the school that the headmaster would like me to wear it – at least for the time-being, and that if there is”cause to reassess the policy’” after a few weeks into the term then we can have a meeting about it.

I guess I can hope that once he sees me, he’ll “reassess the policy’.” Had I grown up with uniforms, maybe I would feel different, although I doubt it. I am Christian, but went to public schools without uniforms. Maybe Adam has a point that others at school won’t think much of it, but I am very uncomfortable wearing it because of the stereotypes associated with it; and it’s downright impractical for teaching any grade, especially kindergarten.

I love my kids as well as other facets of being there, but I don’t know if I can swallow my pride to the point of wearing it. I have the weekend to soul search.

On a lighter note, I want to wish everyone a happy new year. I appreciate your advice.
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Old 12-31-2009, 02:45 PM
 
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I posted way back in the beginning of this thread and have been following it. Newteacher26, I just saw your last post about being asked to try the uniform for "a few weeks," and the headmaster may reassess the policy after he thinks about it for a while. Don't do it! Do not show up in that uniform on Monday. You will feel awful on so many levels, and wearing it once opens the possibility that this nitwit headmaster may like what he sees (!) and decide to keep the uniform for all semester. Then you really are stuck. Show up dressed in keeping with the teachers' dress code. Or--call in absent on Monday. That might buy some time to do the next thing, which is:

Did your adviser point-blank ask the headmaster if he would rescind the uniform order? If not, then he/she needs to do that ASAP on Monday. If he/she did specifically ask and got this namby-pamby answer, then your next step is to go to the department head, i.e. the adviser's boss. Do it Monday morning. Get your head together before you go in there. Make notes so you know what to say, especially since you might get flustered. Create a paper trail--a list and/or copy of all phone calls, emails, personal conversations etc. so you have the exact outline of what has happened. Even better, bring the friggin' uniform to the meeting, if you've got it, or a photo of it. Let the department head see how ridiculous this is. Also, take a minute to search on the Internet for similar situations. The Scholastic new teacher helpline had a conversation on this same issue back in September 2008; go there and search for "uniform." You might find others in blogs and so on. Use that info to help form your approach and reasoning.

Ask--no, demand that the department head go back to the adviser and push him/her to bring up the issue again. Or demand a new school assignment, on the grounds that the rules have been summarily changed at this place and now include requirements that you would not have agreed to had they been in place at the start of the fall. If you can't get either one, next stop is the college dean or vice president in charge of academic affairs. Push, push, push. You have rights as a student; you have rights as a teacher. Please post and let us know what you decide to do.
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Old 12-31-2009, 03:01 PM
 
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If you wear the white knee highs, your boobs will shrink to the point of them being nonexistant. I read it in the Enquirer!

Anyway, the demand is over the top and unreasonable.
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Old 12-31-2009, 03:11 PM
 
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NewTeacher-

Barabara S. is dead-on with her advice. Your college advisor needs to push for a compromise and receive it (and be honest with the headmaster about how insulting the required dress is to a woman) or s/he needs to hook you up with another assignment. If your advisor will not help out then go to the head of the teacher education department and get the help you need. The headmaster is not going to "try it for a few weeks and then IF there is cause to reassess the policy have a meeting about it." He either "gets it" or he doesn't- and the man does not get it.

Good luck with your soul searching, NewTeacher.

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Just a thought
Old 12-31-2009, 04:19 PM
 
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Does your university have a law school attached to it, or any kind of free/reasonably-priced legal clinic for students?

It might not be a bad idea to become more informed about the law in this instance.
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Old 12-31-2009, 04:58 PM
 
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How funny that he wants it to be more professional and he's making you wear something completely unprofessional! Can you just wear the regular teacher attire and then say that you consulted your university handbook and this is what you have to wear? Is there a policy at your university? Go the university supervisor route; it should work. If not, switch-switch-a-roo that placement.
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Old 12-31-2009, 05:57 PM
 
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Barbara S, Zipline, and others - thanks for your encouragement. I don’t think my advisor fully gets it either. His attitude is to question but not challenge the school. While he didn’t tell me what I should do, he tacitly seems to suggest trying it out for the first few weeks, and hopefully things will work themselves out.

Although I don’t know for sure, I halfway suspect he thinks this will blow over once I go back and that it would be more of an effort to look for other assignments.

As for legal options, I don’t feel comfortable taking it to that level. Even if I win in a best case scenario, how would the school treat me? They will make my life miserable. And how long would it take to resolve? Would I have to wear the uniform in the meantime anyway?

I would love to have some sort of compromise, but I am not sure how to get it without upsetting the administration, and fearing retaliation. If the compromise is that we will review the situation in a few weeks, then maybe I will take my chances and hope for the best. But there’s no guarantee he will change the policy.

I feel pressured to acquiesce and wear the stupid thing just so I don’t lose all the valuable time I’ve already put in at this school. At a minimum, I don’t want them to say I’m not a team player or to say other negative comments on my evaluation. My concern is negative things like that will always follow me around, and I’ll spend all my time explaining them away in interviews instead of focusing on my positives.

On the other hand, I am aware of the precedent that will be set if I acquiesce – it will only be that much harder for student teachers who follow me, and I will spend my time feeling mortified when people see me like that.

In terms of Alicia G’s levity, the jumper already does wonders in flattening out the chest area – it’s the area below my waist that’s going to draw the most attention. (It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.)
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Old 12-31-2009, 06:16 PM
 
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After re-reading my message above, I sound so spineless compared to all of the confident advice I received from you all. My stomach is in knots over this. I'm spending New Year's Eve fixated on Monday morning when I am supposed to go back. I'm sorry.
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Old 12-31-2009, 06:40 PM
 
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Newteacher,
I understand your concerns and your fear. However, what this principal is doing is ILLEGAL. It is sexual harassment. He CANNOT require this of you.
You need to find a lawyer and talk to them about this. You WILL NOT be required to wear the uniform in the meantime. Show up Monday in the clothes that every other teacher in the school wears. Whatever you do, do not wear the uniform.
Do you really want to work for a school that treats you like this? Your adviser is not at all versed in School or labor laws. You need to go over their head to the University administration. This is nothing more than sexual harassment and discrimination. Get a lawyer. The lawyer will help you, they will tell you what you can do, and the school definitely will not make your life miserable. They will probably bend over backwards to make your life better because trust me, they DO NOT want to get involved in a legal situation over this.
Please, please think about this and do not go in on Monday wearing that uniform. You are not required to, you are not beholden to that principal for anything, you do not need to fear anything if you don't go in wearing the uniform. He cannot force you and no school in the country is going to avoid hiring you because they see that you left this school because they forced you to dress like a child and you were being sexually harassed/ discriminated against.
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Old 12-31-2009, 07:50 PM
 
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Do you attend a public or a private university? If private, is it a Catholic university?
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Have you seen "Footloose?"
Old 12-31-2009, 11:39 PM
 
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You need to watch it this weekend! Maybe it will inspire you!. . .

Here's a few suggestions, stealing from Kevin Bacon's act:

Luke 12:35
"Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning.”

~ Can you really be ready for service in the dress he is suggesting?


1 Timothy 2:9

"I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety.”

~ Can he see that there is nothing modest, decent, or proper in the way that this situation is being handled?


Deuteronomy 22:5

"A woman must not wear men's clothing, nor a man wear women's clothing, for the LORD your God detests anyone who does this.”

~ Can he see that this could also apply to wearing children’s clothing?

1 Corinthians 14:20

"Brothers, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults.”

~ Can he see the value in your thinking like an adult?


Galatians 4:3
"So also, when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world.”

~ Can he see that, by dressing you as a child, he is enslaving you?

Matthew 23:23

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”

~ Can he see that you need to be thinking about justice, mercy, and faithfulness ~ not mint, dill, and cumin (whatever that is)? Can he see that he is practicing injustice, is unmerciful, and is showing little faith in you?

John 21:18
"I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go."

~ Can he see that you don't want to be led to where you should not go?

Matthew 23:27

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean.”

~ Can he see that your outside appearance is second only to your inner attitude?

Matthew 18:3

"And he said: 'I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of hea
ven.' ”

. . . Uh, maybe you'd better not mention this one to him!


Maybe this will give you something to smile about ~ maybe something for him to think about! All of the above is said with great respect to the audience, of course, but with great expectations as well!

I'll be praying for you ~ if you don't mind ~ and keeping my fingers crossed too! (Just to cover all the bases!)

Keep us posted! Take care!

pg



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Old 01-01-2010, 05:30 AM
 
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pg, AWESOME!

Cumin is the wonderful stuff that makes Mexican food taste Mexican. It's part of those taco mix envelopes you buy. I've got a jar of cumin in the refrigerator. Every now and then I take off the lid just to smell it. Yummmm.

I think we're all in agreement that the request is about as kind and reasonable as asking a student helper in the baby room at the day care wearing a diaper and onesie.

The whole get-up is very childlike, which is fine for children. I mean, knee-highs on legs that've been shaved? You got to be kiddin' me! A jumper over a bra? Get out of town!

The school girl look is fine.

Until you hit puberty.
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Don't wear it
Old 01-01-2010, 07:46 AM
 
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Newteacher26, if you wear it you are not going to command the respect of students, or of the faculty and administration. The headmaster is either clueless as to how insulting this is, or he’s a male chauvinist who’s going to enjoy dressing you like this. I want to give him the benefit of the doubt and think he’s clueless, but if your advisor has already raised concerns on your behalf and the headmaster disregarded them, then it makes me think he’s some kind of male chauvinist.
You sound like you might be a soft spoken person that wants to avoid conflict. Do you look young? Are you attractive? If you are all these things in his mind, then maybe he is doing this for his own sick gratification. Have other teachers commented on your uniform? Do they wonder how they would feel having a similar requirement?
You should have the same dress code as teachers at your school. You shouldn’t be singled out based on being a student teacher and made to dress similar to students. I hope you do not wear it Monday. I know it’s hard to go against authority in your position, but if you feel like the headmaster is being unreasonable and overbearing now, just wait until you submit to wearing the uniform. You might find yourself in detention or worse afterschool for any perceived misdeeds! It’s a slippery slope, and you don’t know where your headmaster is coming from.
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Old 01-01-2010, 08:14 AM
 
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When I was younger, and needed help with a situation, I sometimes had to bring out the big guns--my Dad. What do your parents think about this? Maybe they could talk to the headmaster and your advisor and get them to see reason. If both the headmaster and your advisor see you as a child, then your parents may be the key.

One last thought: In this particular situation, you have the power to say no. You do not have to be a victim unless you choose to be.
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No!
Old 01-01-2010, 10:10 AM
 
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Years ago I interviewed and was hired as a teacher at a private tutoring "school". Shortly after I was hired I was called and asked to dress more "maturely". It seems that the children's parents were questioning the headmaster about hiring a "high school girl". I replied that I would continue to dress in the same style as others and suggested that the headmaster just assure parents that I was an adult! I was careful to wear dress slacks and nice blouses or sweaters.

If I were you, I would be careful to dress in a conservative manner. Not trendy. Always groomed and ironed. No jeans. But NO to the jumper and kneesocks.
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uniform
Old 01-01-2010, 11:10 AM
 
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Eeeeuuwww! The headmaster sounds like a pervert to me. Totally inappropriate. Has he also specified how short your skirt must be? Pony tail, pig tails or braids? The man is wrong on so many levels .

It reminds me of the expensive restaurant where I was a waitress in the late 60's. Every waitress had to wear a school girl uniform with knee high white socks and super short plaid skirt. Kind of the male fantasy of the sexy Catholic school girl. Even the poor middle aged waitresses had to dress like that. The patrons were mostly wealthy middle aged men.

Of course that was before the feminist revolution. Your headmaster may be pining for those days when men were men.
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Old 01-01-2010, 01:37 PM
 
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re:ballony's advice, I wouldn't bring your dad in. It would not help the ultimate goal of her being viewed and treated like an educator, plus it would give the creepy administrator more fodder to pick on her if he thought she couldn't stick up for herself.

OP: Do you start back on Monday? Just go in your most professional, polished clothes, if Creeper tries to call you out on it simply tell him "I'm uncomfortable wearing the student uniform." I wouldn't meet with him alone either, ask a colleague at the school or your adviser to attend meetings with you.

If this doesn't work, just kick him in the nuts. It sounds like he deserves it, and it might cool down his school girl fantasies.

edit: It sounds like it's time for a new adviser, too. Here's hoping 2010 sees you surrounded by less creeps.

edit edit: If this student teaching setup does go to pot over this uniform nonsense and you are asked about it in interviews, be truthful but noninflammatory in your reply:

"When I was student teaching the administration implemented a new policy requiring student teachers to wear student uniforms at school. I was uncomfortable with this, so I thought it would be best for all parties involved if I found a different school to finish my student teaching."
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Old 01-01-2010, 02:32 PM
 
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I just thought of something that might help. I learned a long time ago about something called "the broken record technique."

(Using a word like "record" that tells you right there how old it is ~ still, it's a good one!)

It's simple: whenever you have to take a stand with someone, you just keep repeating your point ~ like a broken record that keeps skipping.

So you just pick your message ~ and stick by it. Like, if you like what Lou Reed said ~ then you just keep finding ways of saying, "I'm uncomfortable wearing the student uniform."

By doing this, rather than coming up with different arguments to defend your point, then you put it right back on him. He then has to do the work of finding different arguments to defend his point.

It's a beautiful strategy; every time you restate the argument ~ you'll feel stronger and more confident, especially as you see him struggling again and again to find a way around it!
Please keep it in mind!

Good luck again!



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After Footloose,
Old 01-01-2010, 08:49 PM
 
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make sure you watch that Brittany Spears video - "Not that Innocent", I think. Loved all the scripture verses, too!

I think pg has given you a great way to handle it. Practice your message and keep it short and sweet. No explanations, no compromises. If you start telling him reasons why, he will come up with alternatives or reasons why not.

Your university supervisor sounds like a wimp, but I wouldn't be surprised if he's right about the whole thing blowing over. I would be willing to bet that if you showed up at school dressed like a normal teacher, and didn't say anything, he wouldn't say anything either. He's trying to see what he can get away with, and your actions will let him know that you aren't as big a pushover as he thought.

Just curious, who was present when he told you about this new dress code? Was this a meeting between just you and him or was it a faculty meeting? On this forum, he's coming off sounding like a total perv, but maybe he's just an idiot. Does he give YOU a creepy vibe?
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Wear the uniform while pursuing a solution
Old 01-01-2010, 11:28 PM
 
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I agree with what’s been said by members except for one thing…

If Newteacher26 (NT26) wears what she chooses prior to getting the dress code changed, then that might been seen as insubordination and make it all the harder to convince her headmaster to relax the rules.

He’s already been approached apparently by the adviser, and he restated his directions for her to wear it. Moreover, the uniform has already been purchased. So if she shows up next week not wearing it, it’s likely to be seen as antagonistic to the situation, no matter if NT26 is acting reasonably in doing so.

I am assuming the school atmosphere is strict, and it is after all a Christian school with its own rules. Public schools are much different in that regard. So as hard as it may be for NT26 to stomach wearing the uniform, I think she has a better chance of not upsetting the situation while she works toward a solution if she wears the uniform when she goes back.

At least she will be demonstrating respect for the new head; otherwise, this disagreement will morph from NT26’s legitimate concerns into an issue of insubordination by a student teacher. She will be on the defensive about her conduct as opposed to arguing the high ground.

And I agree with NT26 about retaliation in an evaluation. Criticism won’t be limited to just an issue of the uniform; the schools entire evaluation might be written from a negative standpoint resulting from this. So yes, NT26 should be able to explain away the uniform in future interviews, but it’s reasonable to assume that ALL her evaluation criteria will be documented in a more negative manner because of disagreement on the uniform. They can shade ALL her conduct in a negative manner, not just the uniform. And if she gets a lawyer involved, does anyone think her evaluation will objectively reflect her experience?

If NT26 doesn’t have other opportunities or she wants to stay at her school, then my advice is to wear the uniform while pursuing a solution. Don’t make YOUR conduct the issue at hand. It will only strengthen the head’s belief that you need to follow his unreasonable rules.

Good luck.
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Thinking...
Old 01-02-2010, 12:00 AM
 
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I read this post a few days ago and didn't keep up with it. Well, because I can't sleep, I just got caught up with it.

I am a teacher and it could be possible for me to be your father (If I had started early)

But there is no way I would want my DD to wear this to work. It would prob cross my mind to whip his @ss over this situation.

I think you should show up at work, ready to work, dressed as any other teacher. If he says one word to you, (I would have someone else with you for this conversation) I would leave, and drive to the best law office around and sue him. My next stop would be the newspaper and a local TV station if there is one in town.

And I may also sue your student teacher advisor too.
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I hate to say it, but. . .
Old 01-02-2010, 05:47 AM
 
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I have to agree with Adam's words, "So as hard as it may be for NT26 to stomach wearing the uniform, I think she has a better chance of not upsetting the situation while she works toward a solution if she wears the uniform when she goes back."

~ This IS a private school, and a whole different ball game than public.
~ Not wearing the uniform COULD be viewed as insubordination.
~ Future evaluations COULD be given a negative spin in retaliation.

Is there anyone else who could represent you? Another teacher? Another administrator at your college or at this school?

How many days of absence are allowed? Could you take a day off to seek resolution?

Hang in there ~ the end is in sight!

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Old 01-02-2010, 09:00 AM
 
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I agree with mathman's advice. Christian school or not, your school is not exempt from following state laws. You are being discriminated against and the uniform you are being asked to wear is sexual harassment. I'm with Mathman. Wear normal teacher clothes to school Monday and have someone else with you for the conversation. If the principal says one word to you, leave, find a really good lawyer, and sue the principal and possibly the university advisor.
This is not a case of you appearing insubordinate. How many student teachers are in your school? If there are more than just you, are they being required to and are they going to come to school Monday wearing this ridiculous and humiliating uniform? The dress code cannot differ that much among faculty and you are a faculty member of that school. You did not enroll to be a student there. He wants you tutored in Christian theology, he wants you to wear a kindergarten student's uniform, the next thing you know you're going to be sitting in a desk in a classroom being one of the students instead of the professional you are because he will think that the experience of being a student at that school will "impart the student ethos" on you.
I teach at a parochial school and I have for a total of 5 years. I have also taught in public school. I guarantee you that the expectations of this principal are not the norm in a private, religious school. They aren't the norm anywhere.
This man is on a power trip and you do not need to humor him in any way!
It isn't insubordination, it's common sense. Just keep repeating to him, "I'm uncomfortable wearing a student uniform." You are not being mean or insubordinate. You are stating your feelings in a polite, but repetitive, way.
Private schools are still required to follow certain laws and you cannot be singled out or discriminated against at this school.
Defend yourself. Don't accept this.
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Old 01-02-2010, 09:34 AM
 
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This is not the norm in any Christian schools that I am aware of. Many have uniform dress codes to insure professional dress, but obviously a school girl uniform on any adult, in any capacity, is not professional.

In fact the ONLY place I have ever heard of anything similar was someone who posted about a year ago that she had to wear a student uniform as a paraprofessional in a Catholic school.

Most administrators are aware of sexual harassment laws and in fact, there is supposed to be a poster explaining the law posted in every work environment. So MAYBE this ISN'T considered sexual harassment?

Although I find this situation hard to believe, the bottom line is you can choose to comply for the few months you are there or you can choose to dress professionally and take the chance that you may be dismissed or get a poor evaluation. Only you can make this decision based on your needs. Not everyone is up to the challenge of lawsuits. You have had about 50 responses advising you what each poster would do in your situation, but you are the one that needs to live with your decision, so do what is right for you.
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Old 01-02-2010, 09:54 AM
 
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You might consider going to the principal at the end of the first day back and expressing your concern about remaining modest when moving around the room. It will be a valid concern then b/c you will have been dealing with it all day. Ask if he would be open to you substituting a navy skirt (a-line, below the knee) or navy slacks for the jumper. You can handle the rest if you can get rid of the jumper. It won't be the most fashionable outfit, but it will be tolerable. He may see it as a workable compromise.
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Sexual Harassment and Discrimination? No.
Old 01-02-2010, 12:47 PM
 
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I do not t see how this would be sexual harassment absent a ‘hostile work environment’ where a person is subject to sexual banter, imagery, or solicitations. If students wear a uniform and it is acceptable, why is it sexual harassment to have student teachers wear something similar? In terms of a legal violation, I don’t see it at this point. If however, wearing a uniform invites this conduct in the future, then the situation may escalate to that level. But the very act of wearing it, without additional sexual conduct, isn’t sexual harassment.

Is it discrimination? I think the answer hinges on whether NT26 is considered “faculty”. By definition I do not think she can be considered faculty because she is not a hired employee of the school. She is a “student teacher” training to get teaching experience. There is nothing illegal about having a dress code for “faculty” and a different set of requirements for “student teachers” so long as NT26 is not singled out within the student teacher population.

If all student teachers have similar requirements, then I do not think she has a discrimination claim.

As much as I agree with others’ passionate opposition to the uniform requirements for student teachers at her school, I think advice to hire lawyers, sue in court, or otherwise escalate the situation is ill advised and will not facilitate a successful compromise. I’m talking about seeing the big picture here – not what “feels right” intuitively in the short term.

NT26 should comply with the rules while she tries to get the requirements changed in terms of achieving the larger long term objective of having a successful practicum and positive evaluation. Following advice to the contrary will not facilitate either of these objectives, regardless of how intuitive it seems to nullify the uniform requirements unilaterally.

I agree with many posters who think the uniform should be changed; I respectfully disagree with their tactics of achieving that objective because those tactics will destroy any possibility of a successful practicum.
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Applause, applause!
Old 01-02-2010, 06:16 PM
 
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As distasteful as Adam's message is, it is the voice of reason. And, sadly, that's what usually wins. Please consider his comments carefully as you face Monday morning.

Let us know how you come out! You have a lot of people here that are behind you whatever you decide to do!


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Old 01-02-2010, 10:21 PM
 
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Sorry, I don't agree with Adam's message. Sexual harassment does not have to be somebody making sexual innuendos, actions or banter towards another to be classified that way. In this situation, N26 IS the sexual image. It is blatant sexual harassment. Read about the laws. The laws are open ended enough that almost anything that makes a woman (or man) uncomfortable in the workplace because of their gender can be considered sexual harassment. Adam is right. This is not a hostile work environment. It is what is known as "Quid pro quo" harassment. This states that an employee is required to tolerate sexual harassment in order to keep a job, benefit, raise, or promotion. N26 is being asked to wear a child's uniform (albeit in an adult size) that she is definitely not comfortable wearing and that to adults insinuates sexual innuendos. Sexual harassment laws say to bring an action for sexual harassment the complaint must be based on the fact that the action was hostile, abusive, or offensive and a reasonable person in the same situation would consider the action abusive, hostile, or offensive. What N26 is being asked to wear can definitely be considered offensive and could border on abusive because it is emotionally degrading. She is being asked to dress in a manner that is provocative so it can be considered both quid pro quo and hostile harassment because the manner of dress may start actual sexual banter.
As far as being considered faculty, N26 is a student teacher. That doesn't make her a student of that school. A student teacher is comparable to an intern. They are still considered an employee of the school they are currently teaching at even if they are not in paid positions. They are still protected by labor laws.
My bet is that N26 is the ONLY student teacher currently student teaching at that school because private and parochial schools do not see many student teachers. So even if the principal claims that this is a policy for all student teachers, the fact that she is likely the only one demonstrates that this policy is targeted at only her.
Sexual harassment laws have changed tremendously over. N26 clearly stated that she is uncomfortable wearing almost the same uniform that the LOWER school students at her school wear (this would be K, 1, 2, and maybe 3). Why would this principal choose to have her wear the K-3 uniform rather than the uniform that the higher grades wear, which is probably more tasteful if an adult picks it up and puts it on?
It keeps being mentioned that she is a student teacher so that is what makes the uniform okay.
Wearing this type of uniform is not okay because she is a grown adult woman. Adult woman do not go around wearing Christian school jumpers with knee high tights.
It is still not relevant to think that she is considered insubordinate. She is not at all being insubordinate by not wearing a uniform that she feels so uncomfortable in. If she wears the uniform, she won't have a successful placement anyway because she is being placed in a lose lose situation. She will be miserable if she wears that uniform to school. Her self esteem will be affected as well as her performance on the job. If she doesn't wear the uniform, she could receive poor evaluations (which have nothing to do with her performance, they have to do with how she refused to dress).
What she needs to do is be re-assigned and get out of that school altogether. She also needs to go to the University administration and explain the situation. My hunch is that the higher ups at the University will not approve of the situation and may take action themselves.
If N26 does not say anything about this and decides to wear the uniform, then what will happen to the next student teacher that lands in that school and will just go along with whatever that principal says? This would set up another student teacher to be victimized because the precedent has been set. The principal will see that he has the control and can behave however he wants and get away with it. The fact that the principal tried to convince her to "try it out for a couple weeks" means that she is being targeted and this is not a sound policy of the school. The only reason he is trying to get her to "try it out" is because he knows that what he is asking is not appropriate and he has no valid reason to have her wearing something different from the rest of the grown adults in the school. The fact that this school just did a major administrative reshuffling and now this is coming down is also concerning. A school cannot just haphazardly adopt a policy whenever they feel like it. It must be something stated in a faculty handbook, which the student should have been given a copy of. If it is not in the handbook, then is not a set in stone policy. She is being singled out. There is no written policy and it does need to be written in order for the school to CYA should anything happen that does bring about a legal situation.
N26, I don't know if you're still following this thread, but I still advise that you do not go in wearing that uniform on Monday morning. Go in on Monday wearing the regular clothes that the regular staff wear. Find out who is in command above the principal at your school. Schedule an appointment immediately to talk to them and explain the situation. Go to the people that supervise your College advisor. Explain the situation to them as well. Begin documenting every conversation you have with anybody and do not meet with your principal alone. Find someone that can go with you and witness what is being said.
If you choose not to take legal action, that is your choice. Just don't let yourself become a victim. Go visit employmentlawfreeadvice dot com. You could also go to your state's department of education website. They also post links to the various laws there. It doesn't matter that you work in a Christian school. They still have to abide by sexual harassment and labor laws, and this does qualify as that. Educators and administrators sometimes forget that these problems can exist in the education realm as well. They don't want to accept their legal and ethical responsibilities when it comes to these types of situations. This probably happens because we just turn our heads and ignore the situation.
Don't ignore it. Stand up and do something about it. You DON'T have to wear the uniform if you are uncomfortable in it. Wear what you would normally wear to school. Dress professionally. Don't bargain with the principal for a better uniform. Don't wear one at all. Ask for a reassignment of schools if you need to. An evaluation from that school won't follow you there, besides which, your college will have to help explain why you were reassigned.
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Old 01-03-2010, 08:18 AM
 
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Absolutely, Purplecrazy, you're right. This is sexual harassment. Newteacher26 is being made to feel uncomfortable in her workplace by a policy unilaterally imposed by a man who is her boss. (In fact, I have wondered whether all Newteacher26 has to say is, "This sounds kind of kinky to me..." and let the thought hang in the air. My bet is that the principal, adviser and everyone else would cave quickly.)

Purplecrazy has given you exceptionally good advice. DO NOT wear that uniform to school Monday! Arm yourself with all your notes on conversations, directives, etc., complete with dates, names/titles of who you talked to, etc. Add to that stack all the info you were provided when you were assigned to this school. Did it include a uniform policy? Get a copy of the faculty handbook and note what it says about dress code. Also collect the names, titles and phone numbers of additional folks--your department head, the academic dean or VP at your university, a labor lawyer. How about collecting the names and contact info on the church that operates the school? I'm thinking the pastor, board of directors of the church and school, etc. You want all your ducks in a row so that when you go in there Monday dressed like the TEACHER YOU ARE, you will be ready to move if/when the headmaster decides to challenge you. Or... call in absent on Monday and start going up the line of command to get this policy reversed or get a new student teaching assignment. I sub and have been a teacher assistant in Catholic schools, and my kids attend Catholic schools. I can tell you that no teacher in any of the schools I've been in are or have been required to wear any sort of uniform, and especially not a student jumper and knee-highs. I'll be honest: This is weird, and you should flee. And please don't even think about applying for a job at this joint. If it's this weird now, imagine what it'll be like when they're in control of your paycheck...
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Thanks for everyone's feedback.
Old 01-03-2010, 10:10 AM
 
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I want to thank everyone for their opinions and feedback. I deeply appreciate you all sharing your wisdom based on your experience in the teaching field.

All of you make excellent points on both sides of the issue. In my heart, I totally agree with Purplecrazy21 and others who argue similarly to not wear the uniform. Honestly, I feel ridiculous wearing it. It's not how I want to be viewed by others - especially males at school.

On the other hand, a lot of what Adam has been saying I agree with too. Ideally, I don’t want another assignment because I feel successful at my school so far, and I love the group of kids I am with. Also, I don’t have any other assignments on the immediate horizon.

I wish I had the confident assertiveness that many of you have - especially Purplecrazy21, Barbara S, and Zipline among others. I admire that so much in you. However, I don’t see how getting a lawyer involved and escalating the situation in an adversarial way is going to allow me to have a successful relationship with the administration at my school, even if I win.

Additionally, there is another student teacher here; she is one year younger than me. We’ve been e-mailing each other about this, and she e-mailed saying she is going to wear it Monday and try and talk with the headmaster about changing it.

So I will be the odd one out if I don’t wear it, and I’ll look like I am being insubordinate. I suggested that we both try being unified and consistent with wearing the teacher dress code, as many of you suggested; but she is afraid of receiving a negative evaluation, much like I am.

The way I am feeling now is that I think I am going to suck it up and wear the uniform tomorrow, but the other student teacher and I are going to try and reason with the headmaster and demonstrate why wearing this style is not appropriate for us in the classroom. We need the option of wearing slacks, both for modesty and because it’s freezing outside here in the mornings.

I may have a change of heart as tomorrow approaches because my mind is all over the place on this from minute to minute, but as of right now, I am feeling the pressure to wear it because tomorrow is coming so much sooner than the time I need to work a solution.

To answer Confused2, I’m enrolled in an evangelical university.
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Old 01-03-2010, 11:00 AM
 
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Before you or your other student teacher friend wear this uniform, read the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website. It explains all the laws surrounding this issue.
I know this is an extremely difficult situation for you, but really just knowing the laws will help you. It is so easy to get someone to see your point of view (and not retaliate against you) if you are familiar with the laws and can state them as fact.
You and your friend should unify and go in wearing the same clothes the rest of the teachers at that school wear. You are both young female women that are being taken advantage of by this principal. Would he have tried to enact this same policy against a much older student teacher or against a male student teacher? I highly doubt it.
Insubordination is not at issue here. It has no relevance in this situation. I was reading about several cases similar to yours last night in which employees were asked to dress in provocative clothing in the workplace. The responses clearly stated that this is blatantly illegal. You and your friend both need to go to the board of directors or whoever is above the principal at your school immediately and explain to them the policy he is trying to enact. He should have gotten this policy approved by them anyway. He can't just randomly enact a policy without sound, valid reasons for the policy stated in writing.
If you both receive negative evaluations because you don't wear a child's uniform, then you are being retaliated against and that is definitely cause to file a complaint with the EEOC. That too is illegal. He can't require you to dress in that manner and he can't retaliate should you choose not to wear that provocative clothing. You can't be placed in any situation that invites sexual banter or innuendos from others, which will happen if the two of you go to school wearing those uniforms tomorrow morning. What was his reasoning for ordering jumpers and opaque knee socks for the two of you when I am sure the older students in your school have different uniform options? Why did he want you dressed specifically like the little kids in your school? If he was going to make you wear the student uniform, why didn't you receive the exact same options for the uniform that the students have? There has to be more than one choice for them...
You are being bullied into wearing this particular uniform. We teach our students to stand up to bullies and take a zero tolerance against bullies. Do the same now. Stand up to your principal. You will be much better in the long run for it. This situation is NOT going to end your career before it begins. You will go on to become a successful, caring, compassionate teacher.
Your principal knows he can't enforce this policy of his that's why he was trying to convince you just to "try it out for a couple weeks". I think that if you go in tomorrow wearing normal clothes, he probably won't say anything because he knows he could get in big trouble if this becomes an issue.
You're afraid of losing if this case were to make it to a court. I guarantee you wouldn't lose. I'm not saying you have to take it to court, but you wouldn't lose and there wouldn't be retaliation if you chose to take it to court.
Your principal is putting his job on the line creating a policy that he can't enforce because it is not contained in the dress code guidelines in the faculty handbook. He singled out 2 teachers in the entire building for this unreasonable policy.
Christian schools are free to have their own curriculum and ways of working with students. They are not free to make up their own rules around the employment of their teachers. They have to abide by the same laws that any other workplace does when it comes to those issues.
If you and your friend go in wearing that uniform tomorrow, the year is not going to improve for you. If you want to talk to your principal, go in wearing the regular teacher clothing. Otherwise, he is going to see you in that uniform and always come up with another excuse why the uniform is working out so well and he doesn't want you to stop wearing that jumper with opaque knee high socks.
None of us really know the situation like you do, but I feel deeply that what is being asked of you is VERY wrong. You should not wear the uniform. Sometimes being the odd one out is not a bad thing. You would be doing what you know is right.
Being that you are in a Christian school, what would Jesus have done? He went on preaching even though many people opposed him and challenged him. He didn't stop preaching because he was afraid of retaliation. He kept on because he knew he was right.
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Old 01-03-2010, 04:36 PM
 
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Do you think you could convince the other student teacher to come in normal clothes before tomorrow?

My big worry is the precedent that the uniforms set. What will he ask you to do next if you go along with this?
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Hope for a respectful resolution
Old 01-03-2010, 08:37 PM
 
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I just recently checked in and find this thread disturbing. I would imagine such archaic rule making in the 1800's under a monarchy, but not here and now.
I agree with the pps that point out that ultimately you have to live with your decision, but find this on the Vent and feel that you have reservations about the situation. I regard and expect all our student teachers to come to school and behave as teachers/adults, not students. And seeing that you are 25, I can't imagine how ridiculous you will feel wearing the attire of a child.
Laws are there for a reason and this guy has no experience understanding their application in the school setting, private or public. In my early experience, I was also considered a "young looking" teacher and those who treated me as a child soon learned that I was oblivious to it and worked hard as a professional.
I hope that your Monday goes well. I would vote for the Monday sick day to see what happens when the other ST shows up in the ridiculous outfit, contact the university ED Dean, and get versed on ED law in your state. Find out what is really considered insubordination and if your ED dept. doesn't know, they should brush up to educate their students.
If I was a parent of a student and saw that, I would have to seriously question the motives of the school. Hmmmmmm
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Old 01-04-2010, 08:50 PM
 
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Well, I don’t have too much to say other than I caved to the pressure, and both I and the other student teacher wore the new uniform today. If it wasn’t for my kids, I wouldn’t have made it through the day. I felt totally self-conscious, and to add to that - I was freezing in the jumper.

I’m sorry to all of you who advised me not to do it. In my heart, I agree with you. I just couldn’t overcome this pressure I was feeling. I felt ridiculous, and a few parents said they thought I was a student from a distance.

It’s been a long day.
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Old 01-05-2010, 10:02 AM
 
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Wear the uniform. Finish up and cross of that place as a potential place to apply to get hired (at least until I exhausted everything else). I would show up every day in my outfit. What makes it through the day is another thing. I might "accidently" spill on that white blouse and vest. I might "accidently" get runs in my tights. I would suggest they purchase 5 for me as I would not have time to wash it every night for school, with your studies and all it is realistic to expect you to wash it every night is it? If they didn't buy me more I 'd just wear it anyway - stains and all. They want me in this one outfit that is what they are gonna get. I woudl not let them force me out over stupid clothes. I would finish up w/ my hard work and take my well educated self elsewhere.
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Old 01-05-2010, 10:34 AM
 
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"I was freezing in the jumper."

That alone would be a reason to not wear it, or to modify it by wearing pants under the jumper and a thick sweater over it. Can that dictator make you feel physically uncomfortable as well? I think labor laws definitely apply in this case.

So sorry you have to deal with this nonsense in this day and age! Ridiculous.
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Old 01-05-2010, 01:07 PM
 
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subczy ~ You are SO clever! What a sneaky way to give them what they want, and wind up getting the problem solved!

cvt ~ You know, I've been following this closely, just wanting to see it resolved well! I don't want to hijack the topic, but I have to wonder why they make the kids wear things that adults know makes no sense! It's unfair and ridiculous!

newteacher26 ~ Hope your day went better today! You know you have won a lot of people over, feeling for you! Whatever you do ~ I hope you can hold up your head high over it. An attitude like that will surely make it a success, both now and when you wind up sharing this incident with possible future employers! Good luck!

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Old 01-05-2010, 05:05 PM
 
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PG, I am holding my head up because my commitment to my kids is what keeps me from quitting over this. I want to continue building upon the success I’ve had with them so far.

I have an appointment tomorrow with our headmaster to discuss the situation. I am going to really press him to make the uniform more workable. I’m going to layout all the issues I’ve been having while wearing it this week, and try to appeal to his sense of compassion and decency.
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Old 01-05-2010, 05:19 PM
 
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Well, good luck with that.
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This WILL be a good thing ~ sooner or later!
Old 01-05-2010, 05:45 PM
 
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newteacher26 ~ "I am holding my head up because my commitment to my kids is what keeps me from quitting over this. I want to continue building upon the success I’ve had with them so far." Wow.

Too many kids in this world are starved for a relationship with someone like you ~ someone who sticks by the child's side, in spite of personal physical, emotional, and moral challenges. Now, THAT"S a value to be admired!

I'm sorry that this is so difficult; at the same time, you are getting much more out of this assignment than the usual student who merely learns to write lesson plans, manage many duties, and develop a strong behavior incentive program. . . I hope you can keep this outlook tomorrow as you face your appointment. You are definitely going to come out on top of this in the long run!

I'll be thinking of you tomorrow, and biting my nails while watching for your post to read how this goes. I imagine the plans are already set, but many would be concerned about your going into that meeting alone. Be careful ~ and know that we're all pulling for you!

Take care!

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Old 01-05-2010, 06:16 PM
 
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PG, although I deeply appreciate your kind words and empathy, I don’t feel I deserve nearly the level of credit you seem to be expressing toward me. Personally, I am not confident I made the right choice by swallowing my pride, self-respect, and personal freedom by essentially submitting to wearing that getup this week.

These past two days have been full of self-doubt, a sense of personal shame, and above all - humiliation by being seen looking like I do in that style uniform. I very much admire people like Purplecrazy21, Zipline, Barbara S, and many others who told me to stand up and fight or run for the door.

I caved to the pressure at the last minute. I thought of my future being upended, and I thought of my kids whom I care very much about. I let myself down in many ways, as well as future student teachers at my school who will now have to overcome a precedent that was set this week. I don't see any silver lining in this situation. It's a bad situation, and I am trying to make the best of it.

Tomorrow is another day, and hopefully we can reach a compromise. From what I know of our new headmaster, I’ll be surprised if he agrees to anything different. He has no incentive to do so.
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I see LOTS of silver. . .
Old 01-05-2010, 06:28 PM
 
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newteacher26 ~ maybe I need to be more clear. . . but you surely need a break now! I won't bother you with that tonight!

I hope you can go do something brainless like curling up on the couch and watching something stupid on TV to take your mind off this! (That's what I've got planned next!)

Good luck tomorrow!

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Jingle, jingle :)
Old 01-05-2010, 08:11 PM
 
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"Whatever you do ~ I hope you can hold up your head high over it. An attitude like that will surely make it a success, both now and when you wind up sharing this incident with possible future employers!" pg
Great words to live by and I pray you will continue through your week with dignity. Congratulations for you, understanding that the kids are why we do it.
There is a saying that every time a bell rings, a teacher gets her wings.
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Old 01-05-2010, 08:25 PM
 
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NewTeacher26,
When you have your meeting tomorrow, be sure to reference the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission and let your principal know that this IS sexual and gender discrimination. That is not insubordination. You have been humiliated enough.
He cannot retaliate against you for pointing that out. Make sure you schedule a meeting with the board of directors too.
Your headmaster is not going to be willing to change his mind now. You already did what he asked, so he won. He will just make excuses for why this uniform is the greatest thing since sliced bread and you are sunk.
Your best hope will be to point out that you have been sexually harassed, discriminated against because of your gender, and singled out (you and the other student teacher).
The principal KNOWS that he broke more important policies than you would have by not bowing to his wishes.
If you point these things out to him and let him know that you will be talking to the board, the uniforms will be history and your life at school will improve.
If he tries at all to retaliate for you standing up for yourself, file a complaint with the EEOC. Your dignity is not worth accepting to wear a uniform like this all semester. The kids are extremely important, but they don't want to see you humiliated and sad, and they will pick up on your feelings. Your teaching will be affected by your feelings very quickly if you don't take strong action.
I will be praying that you find the strength to act for you and for the sake of your students. They need their happy teacher!
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Today's meeting
Old 01-06-2010, 02:45 PM
 
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I have given the new headmaster all benefit of any doubt up to this point. But now it is confirmed – he is an arrogant sexist jerk! There is something not right about him. I had my meeting with him today, and of course the other student teacher called out, so it was just me left to go to the appointment alone.

I don’t feel comfortable hashing out the specifics publicly on the board here – but I’ll just say he thinks women should be subservient to men under 1 Timothy 2:11, and that I should be obedient to his authority under Hebrews 13:17. He’s a real trailblazer in leadership philosophy as we begin 2010, isn’t he!

I was taken aback with his arrogant superiority – at some points actually speechless.

He thinks I look “very nice” in the new uniform, and he doesn’t want to make changes three days into the policy. He said that making changes so quickly would weaken the authority of the administration in regard to all rules that are in place.

I think it’s a load of BS. I also brought up how it could be seen as workplace discrimination, and he said, and I quote, “little lady, you don’t want to go down that road here.” He said essentially what Adam was saying earlier – that it’s not discrimination because all student teachers will be subject to the same policy, and that as far as the difference in requirements between females and males – that institutions can legally differentiate clothing based on gender.

He went on to say how I should "embrace the new uniform" because it will help student teachers feel more like a permanent part of the school during this transitional time. He is so full of it - it is sickening.

Some other things he said were very disturbing, but that's not for this public forum.

Anyway that’s how it went today.
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Old 01-06-2010, 03:19 PM
 
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Wow! That's all I can say. At this point I have no suggestions for you. So sorry you have to endure this for your career.
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Old 01-06-2010, 03:47 PM
 
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Yikes! The school is being run by a neanderthal! He wasn't even recepetive to warm tights and how they would afford you more modesty? That is absolutely insensitive, innane, and controlling. And how nice that he quotes scripture to excuse his chauvinistic and moronic behavior! I applaude you for going forward and meeting with him- and going it alone with the absence of the other student teacher. Did you share anything with your master teacher and what did she say?

What do you think you will do next? I really think you need to meet with someone higher up in your university teacher program and at least report this so that perhaps your university will avoid placing future student teachers there. Of course, I would imagine after word gets around that student teachers won't want to accept a placement there. You should go to your next education class and model the uniform and spread the word! I wonder what will happen when an older student teacher is assigned to the school. You are young but not everyone in an education program is young!

I have to say that if the board of directors really thinks this guy is who they need to lead the school then I am shocked.

I'm sorry you are in this situation. Bless you!
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Old 01-06-2010, 04:25 PM
 
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Document, Document, Document and NEVER meet with him alone. Find someone you trust to go with you to any meeting you have with him.
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Gotta agree with purplecrazy21 on this one!
Old 01-06-2010, 05:49 PM
 
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Document, Document, Document and NEVER meet with him alone. Find someone you trust to go with you to any meeting you have with him. Document, Document, Document and NEVER meet with him alone. Find someone you trust to go with you to any meeting you have with him. Document, Document, Document and NEVER meet with him alone. Find someone you trust to go with you to any meeting you have with him. Document, Document, Document and NEVER meet with him alone. Find someone you trust to go with you to any meeting you have with him. Document, Document, Document and NEVER meet with him alone. Find someone you trust to go with you to any meeting you have with him. Document, Document, Document and NEVER meet with him alone. Find someone you trust to go with you to any meeting you have with him. Document, Document, Document and NEVER meet with him alone. Find someone you trust to go with you to any meeting you have with him. Document, Document, Document and NEVER meet with him alone. Find someone you trust to go with you to any meeting you have with him....

Okay, that said, you (respectfully) tried to play the game his way, now it's your turn if you ask me!

Is there anything on paper about this policy and his philosophy? Something that would reveal the ridiculous nature of this to anyone living in 2010?...

Who can you go to ~ other teachers, university faculty, his superiors, the school board, anybody intelligent who will listen to you and offer assistance or at least a connection with someone who can offer assistance?...

Also, to make clear your reputation, I wonder if you would want to send out a survey to parents. I don't mean to suggest asking anything related to this ~ but rather asking for feedback on your teaching methods/rapport with the kids. That way, if at any time there's any question about how you have managed yourself ~ you would have this as back up. (I think that would be REALLY smart ~ but, not knowing your circumstances, you might want to clear this with someone at the school first. I send out surveys to parents all the time about the students and their experience, so it would be an easy thing to do... I don't know about the culture at your school, though.)

I still feel there is something good that will come out of this... It just looks like it's going to take a little longer to get there!

Hang in there!

pg
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ewwwwwwwwwww!
Old 01-06-2010, 06:16 PM
 
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I totally agree with what pg says. Don't meet with him alone, write everything down. If your adviser's blowing you off, can you go to your department head and get some backup from there?

I genuinely think you should go in your regular clothes tomorrow. If he objects, meet with your adviser or someone else at your university and bring up his comments about women and subordination. Make him face the music.

I'm bullheaded but I'd probably just give up on that school now and cut my losses. Speaking as someone who works at a private, Catholic school, if an applicant had a story similar to yours and ended up leaving, I'd probably high-five her. I can't see that hurting you in the long run. If you do get a negative review based on this, you can fight it based on retaliation if you have positive prior reviews in writing.

Good luck, I cannot believe what a POS your admin is.
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OMG, that is awful
Old 01-06-2010, 06:53 PM
 
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Newteacher26, I was hoping your meeting today would go well, but... good grief, dinosaurs still roam the earth, huh? Frankly, I was trying not to brand this guy as sexist, just misguided, but now we all know the truth. The question is, what can you do to extricate yourself from this? I agree with the PPs: DO NOT meet with this guy alone at any time! Document every encounter you have with him--date, time, location, topic, who's there, what is said. Keep a very detailed file. Also, I would absolutely go back to your university adviser and to your ed department chairman. I cannot imagine they condone having a student teacher in this type of situation. I think you may be at risk of worse hazards than this uniform. Girl, I am so worried for you. Please, please see what you can do to get out of this situation. You have tried to make it work, way more than you needed to. Now you need to get out. Please keep us posted.
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You had me at.... "little lady" !?!?
Old 01-06-2010, 09:40 PM
 
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Sounds like at this point, you are not going to get anyone above you on your side unless you have some leverage. Someone in charge needs to feel afraid of a lawsuit or losing their job - otherwise it's obviously easier to just blow you off, and not have to deal with "your problem". Bring a tape recorder to your next meeting with this clown, have someone take video of you working in your required uniform, and write a letter to the local newspaper. I bet it wouldn't be difficult to find some dirt on this guy either!
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Absolutely NOT
Old 01-07-2010, 03:31 PM
 
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I started reading this post and I really could not believe it. I dont want to repeat all the good advice you have already recieved. And I dont want to be harsh. That is the last thing you need right now. But really....you should not have put on the uniform. There is no silver lining. This is not a good situation. I have been a Christian all my life. I believe in respecting authority and what the Word says about the place of men and woman. However, people are human and sinful by nature. This man unfortunately has a stilted view of what a woman is. Proverbs 31 speakes of the virtuous woman. She is strong, industrious, intelligent, organized. Not some subservient child. If you were to wear school colors such as navy slacks or skirt and white polo or button up as a uniform for student teachers...I would say okay (like you thought) But ordering a jumper and knee socks like a child would wear is inappropriate and disrespectful. I hope you do not plan to work here because even if you get past this uniform hurdle with some self respect...there will be more issues that will come up and this person will be unwavering. That is not a place you should be working. You should be enjoying this not dreading it.

It must be common practice for a christian school to hire a superintendent to shake things up when enrollment is not as high as needed. The same thing happened at a Christian school I worked at as a Kindergarten teacher. They hired someone with a business/Admin background. He was in his late 50's and things went bad...fast. I only worked there one year because I refuse to work under people like that. Get out now if you can.
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Clarification
Old 01-07-2010, 05:50 PM
 
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I agree that this is not a good situation, but there is always a silver lining. There has to be; that's what faith means to me. I never finished explaining myself when I said that I could see much silver here ~ I didn't want to speak too much. Let me try now.

There is a silver lining if you are able to effect change ~ either in the near future or the distant tomorrow.

There is a silver lining if you are able to speak your heart.

There is a silver lining if you are able to inspire others.

There is a silver lining if you are able to hold up your head in spite of the shameful goings on around you.

There is a silver lining if you have the heart to care for those who are needing you.

There is a silver lining if you can consider others' needs as you plan your own actions.

There is a silver lining if you are learning from today about how to make tomorrow better.

I, myself, am truly challenged when it comes to being optimistic, so I understand the sense of hopelessness you may be feeling. And, although not one myself, I come from a family of rebels, so I think I can understand the outrage you may be feeling. These feelings are legitimate and surely can help you find a resolution to this situation.

I really do see some positives to your story. One of my favorite quotes (author unknown) is "Those who can see the invisible can do the impossible." I
t may be hard for you to see right now, but surely something good will come from this! A sense of hopefulness can also help you resolve this.

Hope today wasn't too unbearable for you! Good luck tomorrow!

pg

This is a little heavy; maybe you won't mind something funny ~ to lighten this up for a minute or two?

Ten Great Reasons to Go to Work Naked
10. No-one ever steals your chair.
9. Gives "bad hair day" a whole new meaning.
8. Diverts attention from the fact that you also came to work drunk.
7. People stop stealing your pens after they've seen where you keep them.
6. You want to see if it's like the dream.
5. To stop those creepy programmer guys from looking down your blouse.
4. "I'd love to chip in... but I left my wallet in my pants."
3. It's an inventive way to finally meet that 'special' person in Human Resources.
2. You can take advantage of your computer monitor radiation to work on your tan.

And ... drum roll ... the Number One reason to go to work naked :


1. Your boss will never say, "I wanna see your butt in here by 8:00!" ever again.



Hang in there, newteacher26!

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Beautiful Silver lining PG
Old 01-08-2010, 11:11 AM
 
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Very true. Those were great points PG. I really enjoyed reading those and are good for us all to keep in mind. However, I still do not feel this is a healthy working environment. But, I am speaking from my own heart and convictions. Newteacher has to follow what is right to her and follow God's lead as to what to do in her situation.
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Beautifully said, Originalkat!
Old 01-08-2010, 12:34 PM
 
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You said exactly what has been on my heart this whole time!

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Old 01-08-2010, 01:50 PM
 
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Zipline,

No. He wasn’t receptive to any changes at this point – not even tights. It’s been 25 degrees here in the mornings when I leave for work and I am freezing without tights, or better yet pants ideally. He essentially blew that grievance off, saying this weather is unusual for Georgia.

My cooperating teacher tows the line. She nice enough and very helpful to me, but she won’t go to bat for a student teacher who’s not an employee. I think deep down she agrees with my concerns, but she assumes that I should comply with wearing the uniform and make the most of it.

One of my major hurdles is that I look too young. I am barely 5’2” and 110 lbs. We have 5th and 6th grade girls that are my size or bigger. This just feeds the perception that “well, it’s not THAT big of a deal for her to wear it.” If I was 5’11” or looked older, I think the perception would be different.

I saw my adviser in person yesterday after work and I wore it. He suggested that since it’s a Christian school and there are uniforms there, then I should “give it a go. No one is going to make an issue of it since I won’t stand out." Again, the problem is I look young. People don’t treat me according to my age – I’m 25. They rationalize everything into their perceptions of how old I look.
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Old 01-08-2010, 02:36 PM
 
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Is there no alternative to a skirt for female students?
If there is an alternative for students the same should apply to you. I wouldn't even say anything to him I'd just show up in the alternate uniform.

As to tights, when I was in school, back in the early 60s, wearing a uniform, we wore flesh colored tights with our knee socks over them. Wear some flesh colored tights and if he complains tell him that he is paying too much attention to your skin and that is considered sexual harrassment. (Or since this guy quotes the bible so much find an appropriate bible verse).

I am so sorry that you are in this predicament. There is no way to stand up to him when your school advisor will not back you. Your school advisor needs a wake up call. This is not about professional dress or uniforms for student teachers. It is about a man who is getting his fantasy satisfied by your dress, and another man who is enabling him.
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Old 01-08-2010, 02:50 PM
 
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I just can't believe this ~ I really can't. Surely somebody there has to see the injustice of this. Maybe a woman would be more sympathetic to your story? I am feeling for you!

I hope you can relax over the weekend!

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Old 01-08-2010, 03:02 PM
 
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I TOTALLY agree with the PP about the flesh colored tights and the response should the Head Control Freak Neanderthal say anything to you. I am sure he is toasty warm in his slacks. As for it being "unusual" to be that cold, that is beside the point (I know you know this but I am frustrated for you). The point is that he is an insensitive and inconsiderate SOB who does not care if you are cold or uncomfortable. What is most important to him is that he is in control. He does not sound very Christian IMO because I think a tru Christian has compassion and understanding for others' feelings.

As for the 2nd neanderthal (AKA your advisor), is there a female advisor you can talk with about this? Can you change advisors? I am sure some other school would be willing to pick you up. I would really look into this unless you think you can put up with the jumper and the neanderthal for the next semester.

What does your fellow student teacher at the same school have to say about the entire situation? Surely no other student teacher in your college program at another placement is being forced to wear something so juvenile to work?
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Imho...
Old 01-08-2010, 03:45 PM
 
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I think you should QUIT! If any person ask later about why you quit and didn't completly understand.... Don't work there either. ANY normal person would see how stupid this is.

Sorry to be harsh but there are 90 something pp and a large number of them are telling you this guy is a freak with control issues and is prob breaking the law.

I think you know it as well.

Again, I am sorry to be harsh. But wrong is wrong.
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Old 01-08-2010, 03:51 PM
 
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Zipline, you’re right – he is insensitive. He cares about image more than substance. Although we rarely ever drop into the 20’s here, or 30’s for that matter, when it does happen – there’s no flexibility. He wants everything HIS way to the T, no matter how inconvenient or impractical it may be.

Our other student teacher is going along with it. She bailed out on our meeting yesterday by calling out. She was back today, wearing it. I told her what happened when I met with him and I think that pretty made up her mind not to pursue it.

Sympathy, – there is no alternative to the jumper for girls. The uniform here does not have much in terms of deviation. That is what is so frustrating to me. There is something not right about our headmaster. I imagine that it’s only going to be a matter of time before other issues arise with the faculty or maybe even parents, and then he’ll either change his ways or be removed.

Pg, thanks for your ‘silver lining’ highlights. I appreciated them very much – especially the top ten list.
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Old 01-09-2010, 09:14 AM
 
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I know you have taked to your college advisor and he is ok with this, but the college advisor is not the one who assigns student teacher. In many schools around here the advisor may not be full time faculty, but someone hired specifically to supervise student teachers and not a member of the college faculty. Have you thought about going to the person at the college in charge of student teaching assignments? They may not be thrilled that the student teachers are being treated as students and not faculty. As the college placement person they would have clout with this administrator.

I did have one crazy thought the other night. Get a uniform made where the skirt is ankle length and put your hair up in a bun. If student teachers are to be members of this guy's crazy cult than you might as well look the part. What could be more modest than a long ankle length skirt? Of course you'd look like you escaped from that compound in Texas that was on the news last year, but he certainly could not complain about your attire.
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Grin and bear it now that you are back.
Old 01-09-2010, 02:16 PM
 
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Wow! I think the policy is a bit overboard when applied to student teachers like you describe. I teach at a private school and teachers wear uniforms. It definitely makes getting ready easier in the mornings and it saves money in clothing costs over the course of time. Our uniforms are navy and khaki skirts with white blouses or polo’s in the warmer months. Women can wear the same color slacks on Fridays. I think uniforms do give a sense of unity at our school.

I can imagine how difficult it must be for you to be in this position so early in your career. It’s easy for some to say complain and make a big deal out of this, but the reality often is that student teachers are low on the totem pole, and when an administration is dictatorial there is little incentive for anyone to stand up for you.

I teach kindergarten and I will be the first one to say that it’s not always the easiest thing to teach in a skirt when you have to bend and get low to the floor. But over time you will get used to it.

Here’s my advice since you already started back up: ask if you could at least wear tights or pantyhose during the winter. If other teachers can wear them (which I assume they can) then there shouldn’t be any justification to deny the same expectation to you. Then once you start wearing them, just keep wearing them for the remainder of the school year.

If that does not work, and you are committed to staying, then I would just wear what they tell you to and make the most of it. If it was me starting my career, that is what I would do. I would wear it, not make a big deal, and just do the best for my class and for myself in terms of getting the most out of my teaching experience there.

In life sometimes when you really want something, unfortunately you just have to grin and bear it.
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Old 01-10-2010, 11:34 AM
 
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This is completely ridiculous. You need to find a different school to finish up your student teaching at. Don't worry about future employers....just explain what happened and why you chose to leave your assignment early. If they can't understand, then you don't want to be working there anyway!
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Going to see about another school
Old 01-10-2010, 02:49 PM
 
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I’m going to see about another school to complete my practicum. As much as I adore my kids here, I don’t think I can do this for the next six months. I appreciate everyone giving their feedback. For those who have been private messaging me before they changed the forum rules, you can still reach me at my yahoo if you mouse over the yahoo icon under my name. Thanks again for all your advice and allowing me to vent.
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new school
Old 01-10-2010, 02:55 PM
 
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I'm so happy to read that you are going to try to find another school. I personally would have found it intolerable to stay even one day with that misogynist in charge of the school. Good luck to you, and please let us know how things go.
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Old 01-10-2010, 04:13 PM
 
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Good for you, NewTeacher. We all need to learn to be advocates for ourselves and not give others the power to beat us down. Standing up for yourself does much to strengthen your own sense of self-respect. The university really owes you another placement and to get you out of this very uncomfortable situation. Good luck and please let us know what happens.
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Old 01-10-2010, 05:51 PM
 
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I'm proud of you for even considering taking that step! I know it's hard to step outside of your comfort zone, but you sound like a good teacher and I bet you will form an amazing bond with kids at any school. You will also feel good about doing what is right for you. Let us know what happens.
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Good for you!
Old 01-10-2010, 07:29 PM
 
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I know this is not the choice you wanted, but it does seem like this man just won't allow you to be all that you need to be. Good for you!

The next school is going to be so lucky to have you ~ and I can't help but wonder if it's going to feel like Heaven on Earth for you! I sure hope so!

pg






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Old 01-10-2010, 07:40 PM
 
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Good for you for standing up for yourself. As an intern teacher, you need to practice acting/dressing as a professional and also to be treated as such. I cannot believe your university allowed such a thing to happen. You will be such much better off in the long wrong to do your practicum in a different school. No one, especially not a teacher who's still in training, should be subject to such abuse. Good luck.
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awesome!
Old 01-11-2010, 05:03 AM
 
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Whoooo, yay new teacher! Kick some pervy old @ss! Here's wishing you a fantastic placement and a reasonable dress code!
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Yaaaayyyyy!!!!
Old 01-11-2010, 05:07 AM
 
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Newteacher26, I am thrilled you've made the decision to seek a new practicum placement. I know you hate leaving your kiddos, but it's the right move for you, and you have to do it. Good luck in getting that implemented quickly! Please keep us posted on the outcome. We are all pulling for you to have a terrific student teaching experience without that bloomin' uniform...
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Old 01-11-2010, 05:56 PM
 
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Good for you, NewTeacher!!! You are making the right decision even if it will be very hard to leave your kids! Hopefully, this headmaster will not last long and other people will be spared from the way he treated you and the other student teacher.
I hope the next part of your practicum goes well where ever you go! Keep us posted!
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No new assignment as of yet.
Old 01-12-2010, 01:50 PM
 
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I didn’t mean to sound premature. There’s nothing new to report yet on finding a new assignment. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
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Old 01-12-2010, 02:00 PM
 
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I am just so sad over this whole situation. I think back to who I was when I was student teaching and I really don't think I would have had the guts to stand up to him and tell him that I disagreed with the uniform. And I know I would have been in tears by the end of the meeting. I understand how the other student teacher is probably feeling. I know how important it was for me to finish my student teaching so that I could get a paying teacher position so I would have been scared to jeopardize it. Good for you for standing up to him. I am shocked that there is not a long skirt option. Many ladies and many religons do not allow them to show their knees. For me simply out of respect for myself and my husband I do not show my knees when I am at work. I would be offended if any man "required" me to dress in such a way. I pray that if you do get another assignment that you are able to sit down with them and fully explain your current situation so that they will not look on you unfairly. This is a completely unfair position for you to be in. I also hope that your university will not assign any other student teachers to that school (while he is still the headmaster). If I were to point out a silver lining I would have to say it has been to find the courage to voice an objection where you otherwise might have sat back and taken it. Good Luck and I hope you are able to find another assignment. I would be honored to have you work with me in my classroom.
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No success with another placement.
Old 01-31-2010, 10:22 AM
 
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It has been a month into the schedule, and my adviser did not have any success with other schools accepting a new student teacher for this term. I reluctantly stayed on because I feel I can’t let this semester go to waste.

If you want to know the kicker, here it is – originally back when I complained, our headmaster said to “just wear it for the time-being and we’ll revisit it in a few weeks.” Last week, I met with him to revisit the issue and expressed the same concerns – especially that the mornings have been uncharacteristically freezing here. To my utter surprise he said he agreed with me! I figured “finally!” we are making some headway here!

Then he told me that because it’s been cold in the mornings that he decided we (the other student teacher and I) will be permitted to wear navy track pants underneath the jumpers on our way to school in the mornings – but we have to “come straight to the office upon arriving” and leave them with the admin after removing them. (This will apparently last until spring when it warms up.)

Although I was hoping for more of a change, that’s actually a huge help in the mornings because I have to walk to my car from my apartment, and then it’s a bit of a walk from the parking lot into school.

However it doesn’t address any of my other concerns once I am at school. At this point I guess I should look on the bright side about the minor change he did make.
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Old 01-31-2010, 10:42 AM
 
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Hi newteacher26-thanks for the update-I've been thinking about you and hoping things had gotten better. I'm not surprised that the Headmaster wants you two to bring him the track pants-as if he isn't even giving you the credit to be trusted to take them off during the day! He is beyond arrogant and I commend you for remaining so professional during all this. It doesn't sound like your advisor has done much to help you either, so I guess the only thing to do is continue to enjoy your students, hope for warmer weather and start the calendar count down. Maybe a dartboard with his face...no, just kidding. Good luck to you and know that I'm pulling for you
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Old 02-02-2010, 04:55 PM
 
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" (the other student teacher and I) will be permitted to wear navy track pants underneath the jumpers on our way to school in the mornings – but we have to “come straight to the office upon arriving” and leave them with the admin after removing them. "

I give you credit for putting up with all this. I went to Catholic schools and wore a similar uniform as a student, but I would be very uncomfortable wearing what you wear at your school student teaching. What do the parents say when you see them? I would find it hard to convey any sense of authority and professionalism while wearing that.
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Old 02-03-2010, 03:23 PM
 
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2ndYrTeacher, many of the parents who mentioned it said they originally thought I was a student from a distance until I approached them. Then once I explain it, they try to say something positive – whether they mean it or not is debatable. One mother specifically told me, “well, you look cute. I’m sure the kids like it.” …Gee thanks…

I’ve adjusted to the point of trying not to think about it as much when I’m in my classroom, but when I have to go out of the classroom into the hallways, cafeteria, recess, or leave at the end of the day I feel self-conscious and less confident.

It is what it is under the circumstances. I'm committed to finishing as positively as I can.
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Old 02-03-2010, 04:27 PM
 
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I haven't read all the posts but enough to know this guy is a wacko! I would finish out your practicum if that's what you want to do but there is NO WAY I'd ever work for a man like that. You need to have some self respect. I'm sorry that you aren't getting more support from the other student teacher, your cooperating teacher or your college adviser. Any chance you could wear leggings under the stupid thing? BTW I went to catholic school and suffered with the ugly jumper and white blouse, we even had a tie we had to wear. I was only little and I thought it was pure torture and totally unfair the boys got to wear pants! I was so glad to move to Canada and get to wear regular clothes.

Honestly the headmaster sounds like a real piece of work. I'd have quit and redone the semester next year in a new placement but that's me. Good luck to you. I'm sorry your intro to teaching has been so horrible. Kindergarten is great fun at least
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