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professional dress
Old 04-13-2007, 06:04 PM
 
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The school board is updating our teacher dress code this spring for the upcoming school year. I am one of 2 teacher reps who will be able to give input to the board.

As of right now the board is thinking no capris, no cargo pants or knit/sweat pants (yes we have a few teachers who wear sweats...) and requesting teachers wear dress pants, etc. They are looking for "professional dress."

A lot of people are upset about the capri thing and other are confused. I'm kind of one of them, what is professional dress?? Truly I believe that dress pants and a blouse/oxford/polo shirt or sweater is considered professional. Also, I feel this includes dress shoes, not necessarily heels, but dress shoes.

I do not feel that cotton khakis, long-sleeved t's w/o collars, crocs, flip flops, etc are professional. These are CASUAL clothing.

So, please give me your input. Not necessarily what you wear to work, but when truly thinking about, what do you consider professional dress?? I know that teaching in a skirt and heels isn't practical for everyday as a teacher, but it is do-able sometimes!

Thanks for your honest answers!


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"Sometimes" doesn't cut it.
Old 04-13-2007, 06:13 PM
 
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When you have to do as much as we do, comfort is key. Painful shoes and uncomfortable clothes mean cranky teachers. Cranky teachers make unhappy students. Unhappy students mean low scores and high disruption rates.

I think casual is nice. Yes to capris. Of course I live in South Texas where it gets "hell" hot. I can't imagine wearing "dressy" clothes. Forget the pantyhose.

Hope this helps.
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Old 04-13-2007, 06:32 PM
 
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A pair of slacks and a blouse can look just as slouchy as an old pair of torn jeans...especially if they're faded and worn. I agree, it's important to be comfortable, but you've got to look like your at work, not on vacation.

btw... There are plenty of "dressy-type" capris out there that teachers can wear with a nice pair of shoes. Still professional!
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Professional Dress???
Old 04-13-2007, 07:06 PM
 
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With all the work we do all day long and being that it is with kids, is there really a need to dress more professionally? I am not saying that we should dress super casual, but I don't think we should have to dress up either.

My school is casual dress, but in a professional way (if that makes any sense). We do wear khaki pants, but they are accompanied by a nice blouse or sweater and shoes, not sneakers. Many wear dress pants with nice blouses and sweaters. In the warmer months, we do wear capri pants, but again with nice tops and yes we do wear sandals, no flip-flops though.

There is a way to still look professional, but you don't have to "dress up" to do it. What is so bad about khaki pants anyway? Isn't that the preppy look? I don't think I could work for a school that wanted us to wear dresses and skirts. I am not comfortable in them at all. Just my thoughts.
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Old 04-13-2007, 07:15 PM
 
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I agree with professional, tasteful dress. I also think that what defines this depends on the job description. I know a lot of high school teachers who are able to dress a lot nicer than I am, because of what their work day is like. I, on the other hand, teach 1st grade! I sit on the floor with groups, eat lunch with students, clean up messes, have to monitor recess daily without shade in the heat of the south, and so on. I hardly EVER sit down once during the day. I take my kids on a "stretch break" daily and walk with them on the track. Because of these things, I do often wear capris and sandals! I would never wear sweats, but I wear khakis, nice tennies and long-sleeved plain T's.

JMHO


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Teachers' Professional Dress
Old 04-13-2007, 10:48 PM
 
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I worked at a school where we had to wear skirts and pantyhose twice a week(We were a Catholic School, and these were Mass days). I taught third grade. I was SO uncomfortable on these two days of the week. As a teacher, obviously, I move around constantly, sit on the floor, supervise recess, etc. This type of dress was NOT conducive to these types of activities. To me, professional dress for a teacher is not skirts, pantyhose, and uncomfortable dress shoes. I think professional dress for a teacher should include nice slacks, khakis, or capri pants with dressier tops and blouses(not t-shirts or sweatshirts). Shoes should be comfortable closed toed or sandals, but not flip flops. Teachers should not look sloppy, but our profession does need to be taken into consideration. It is not fair to expect teachers to wear really nice clothes when it is guaranteed that they will quickly be worn out, stained, or ruined by our young charges and the activities we do on a daily basis.
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No Jeans....
Old 04-14-2007, 12:33 AM
 
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Our district took away our jean friday's and said that we could only wear jeans 10 times a year, to avoid that "casual look". The catch is that it has to be with a collared shirt. The shirt also has to be school colors. Most of my "nice" shirts do not have collars, so I don't see the point.
I think it is great that they are asking for teacher input. I hate that the people that tell you what you should wear are sitting behind a desk in admin, not teaching and on their feet all day. Maybe if they paid us more, they could expect us to wear "their" idea of professional.
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Old 04-14-2007, 03:18 AM
 
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Maybe I'm in a bad mood because I'm dreading TAKS next week, but I start to wonder if there aren't better things to worry about.

Teaching is more of a "business casual" look. I don't see a problem with nice capris and aren't khakis a teaching standard? I had a principal who abhored jeans, and told us that if we felt like dressing down to wear khakis.

I also don't see the problem with a no-collared shirt, long or short sleeved. Most of my tops don't have collars! Actually most of the clothes currently in style don't. They still look nice. In fact, my oxford shirts wrinkle so easily, you generally can't tell I even bothered with the iron by the time I get out of my car in the morning! (Okay, maybe I'm not the world's greatest with the iron.) A lot of shirts look good with a skirt.

I understand the no flip-flop rule, but in Texas, sandles are pretty standard. It gets really hot down here.

By the way...what's your opinion about gauchos? I love mine.
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Dress Code
Old 04-14-2007, 05:38 AM
 
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In our district, we are told we have to dress professionally, but they don't define what that means. Most teachers wear nice pants with a nice blouse or sweater. We also wear a lot of khakis and capris, but they are usually dressy ones. We don't wear flip flops, but we do wear sandals. I wore crocs once, and my principal said to me, "I can't believe you jumped on the croc bandwagon." I told him I was having a lot of problems with painful feet, and he never mentioned it again, except to ask if my feet felt better. I only wore the crocs that one day. We have jeans day every Friday. Shorts are okay on Fridays too, when it gets hot. They are suppose to be tasteful. One of our teachers pushes the envelope on that. She's got a teenage daughter that she lives vicariously through. She's able to wear her daughter's short short shorts, so she does. No one has ever said anything to her about that, but I really feel like those should be saved for out-of-school activities. Good luck teacher_cac. I hope you come up with a plan everyone can live with.
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thank you!
Old 04-14-2007, 08:28 AM
 
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I'm loving reading your input! Keep it coming. It's an interesting question in that we as teachers want to be seen as professionals (because WE ARE!!!) and yet professional dress (such as a business suit & nylons etc) do not fit into our schedules as teachers because of who we serve. I hope I can relay that idea to the Board. I hope some more teachers post =)


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Old 04-14-2007, 09:29 AM
 
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Teacher cac--

I think you summarized well when you said "we as teachers want to be seen as professionals (because WE ARE!!!) and yet professional dress (such as a business suit & nylons etc) do not fit into our schedules as teachers because of who we serve". I will be completing a degree in school administration in the next year and have pondered the issue of "professional dress" myself. I think a lot of valid points are made in regard to practicality (i.e. it is not practical to have morning meeting on the floor with little ones in nylons and heels), so I think that khakis and capris should be allowed.

However, I am not in favor of dress down days (i.e. jeans) while school is in session (workdays being a possible exception to this rule). I know there are arguments that say "Hey, we work hard and we deserve it!", and I agree we work hard and deserve something, but I don't think wearing jeans to school is the best reward. I feel that if we want to be treated as professionals, we should look the part each day. Wearing the same jeans to school that I wore to the mall or the movies (or out on the town), does not portray the image of the professional I feel teachers should establish on a daily basis. Let me also add that I am not talking about old, tattered, or super lowrise jeans, but even nice, pressed, "appropriate" jeans sends off a message which I feel is too casual for work. I would extend this thinking to flip flops and croc shoes as well (except, of course, if there is a medical issue which deems wearing these kinds of shoes necessary).

I don't know if I have given you anything new to work with, but I just wanted to give my two cents! Best of luck with your challenging task!
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dress code
Old 04-14-2007, 09:43 AM
 
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Teachers at my school really wear a mix of clothing, from dressy clothes to jeans. I really feel like it really depends on what grade you teach and the activities you are trying to do all day long. I think it's appropriate to dress nicer for special events or on days when you know that you'll be interacting with parents or community members, but for days when you're only working with the kids, being comfortable is more important.

I can agree with no sweat/knit pants, sweatshirts, shorts, & flip flops -- they really are casual clothes best left to weekends. However, I don't see the problem with khakis or capris -- with a nice shirt and shoes, these can still look neat and put-together. Nice sandals are a must in the warm weather -- in my opinion, there is nothing more miserable than wearing hose when my classroom is 90 degrees! I don't think t-shirts with emblems, writing, etc. on them are appropriate, but they're fine if they are plain & in good condition. I think the idea of only collared shirts is a little out-dated.
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Old 04-14-2007, 10:58 AM
 
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Hi
a neighboring district to where I teach does NOT allow teachers to wear sleeveless anything....I thought that was interesting since I own some very expensive silk shells and would NOT be allowed to wear them to work if I worked there...

we have jean day 2 x's a month...and on the other 2 Fridays we can wear jeans if we pay a buck...and that money is put into a special fund that we use to help any needy student in our school buy snowpants, boots, mittens or what ever that family can not (for what ever reason) buy for them. This year we only had one family who could not afford snowpants and boots and we were able to quickly supply them for the students.

I think capri's are fine, many are beautiful and dressy.

I have a problem with shoes. I have a heel spur and currently can only wear athletic shoes and not be in pain. That limits what I can wear to school and not look stupid....I know I am not the only person with a foot problem and would hope that any administration would allow a staff member to wear what is needed as opposed as to what looks best for an image.

I also have a problem with jeans, not wearing them to school, but that the ones staff memebers wear to school look presentable. I find in my school that the younger the staff member, the worse the jeans...I also have a problem with seeing what kind of underware the teacher is wearing because his/her pants are so low cut. Again it seems that this is with younger staff at my school. I keep hoping that our principal will tell them that we do NOT need this type of education in elementary school but so far nothing has happened.
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Old 04-14-2007, 12:17 PM
 
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I don't know how to define it, but in my opinion teachers should dress neatly and look nice without necessarily wearing suits/skirts/heels. Some examples of what would look nice:
khakis
capris of nice material (It's REALLY hot down here!)
sandals but not flip flops
blouses/sweaters/tops that match
gouchos (I think they're fine as long as they're not too clingy.)
clothes without tears, wrinkles, or stains

Basically, I think our appearance should be neat and clean but functional because of what we do.

My school doesn't allow jeans for teachers, but I honestly feel like I can wear jeans that look better than some of the clothes that are allowed. I understand that jeans aren't exactly professional, though.

I don't think that bermuda shorts should be allowed. Tennis shoes are sometimes necessary, depending on what's going on in the classroom. I think that shirts without collars are okay, as long as they don't have words/pictures on them.
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A Fine Line We Walk
Old 04-14-2007, 04:05 PM
 
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Since we are professionals, I feel there should be a bit of professional dress. I understand those who work with younger children being a bit more relaxed; however, I feel our students look up to us more if we are dressed a bit nicer. I don't mean skirts, pantyhose and heels. I refer to nice dress slacks, capris and khakis if the top is nice. We have some teachers who also dress a bit too "openly" For example, low cut and clingy tops with short skirts. I feel these should certainly not be allowed. All in all, what we need to be careful about is anything that is wrinkled, stained or dirty. That really makes anything look unprofessional. Good luck with your decisions.
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Hey how about requesting PROF. PAY??
Old 04-14-2007, 05:06 PM
 
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I understand that yes we are professionals...with that said... I love my capris with sandals, and nice shirts. Where I work it gets hot ...there is no AC and I work before & lunch duties...I choose not to wear flip-flops because of safety not so much looks, but I have some dressier sandals and some have the backs out.

My concern is yes..we are professionals; lets request professional pay then we can scrutinize other issues. I have a MA+32 and I think it is sad what teachers make, considering our amount of education.
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Old 04-14-2007, 05:34 PM
 
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Our school district does not have a dress code-that is set by the principal at each school. At my school, we are to dress professionally-- business casual- Mon.- Thurs., then on Fridays we can wear jeans. Personally, I would rather see a teacher in a neat, nice pair of jeans that sweat pants or velour track suits. I fully support that we do need to present ourselves professionally, but I don't make enough money to have really nice clothes dry cleaned. My clothes do get different kinds of dirt on them than a business person- overhead marker, dry erase marker, I have been barfed on twice this year.....I need clothes that are comfortable and easy to care for.

I have to wear sneakers to school every day. I have plantar fascitis and haven't found any other shoes that make it possible for me to stand on my feet most of the day. I used to make fun of the older teachers I worked with who wore sneakers with all kinds of clothes- never dreamed I'd be one of them!
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Not all teachers have the same duties
Old 04-14-2007, 06:31 PM
 
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I do not feel that all teachers fall under the same dress issues. Some are on the floor quite often with their kids and others have paint in their hands (art). If something is implemented at your school I would suggest there be allowances for the ones that don't just stand in front of their classes.
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capris
Old 04-14-2007, 06:51 PM
 
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I have seen some outfits with capris that are very dressy/nice. I can't imagine what is not "professional" about wearing a pair of capris. I guess I just need to be thankful that I work for people who don't mind the casual dressy look and that understand that I need to dress for my job which is working with children.
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Old 04-15-2007, 06:35 AM
 
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Amen, Tillmadd, amen!!

Where is the professional pay?
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Universal Dress code
Old 04-15-2007, 08:09 AM
 
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I don't think so. When I started teaching in the 80's you could not wear denim of any form...too bad denim skirts were in then. You could not wear Birkenstocks...too bad I have foot problems that require them now.

When I started at my current school 20 years ago, I was teaching 6th grade and wearing pantyhose and pumps daily!! I never wore denim because I felt it sent a "let's play" message to the students. I didn't make over $10,000 a year (of course gas was only $.50/gal) but still dressed professionally. I spent a lot on pantyhose too. The teachers in the other classrooms dressed in a variety of "styles." The fifth grade teacher was in to horses and came looking like she had just finished cleaning the barn---she had!!! Most of the rest wore slacks or dresses as the mood dictated for the day. In 1990 nine of us went to a seminar about dressing professionally. Some had their colors done to help them get the right clothes. We went through a wardrobe change throughout the staff (we shared the info with those who did not attend). This lasted for about 10 years as the staff changed.

We teach at a country school (remember the horse teacher) but we send a message to our students that school is where we ALL work. We have Spirit Fridays. The entire school has a school shirt, (the staff wears with jeans). Our school mascot is a Cowboy! We had a short period of time when the school had a uniform policy and the staff was to wear them too. That didn't last. In fact the students revolted first.

Overall our staff wears casual business wear. I now teach 3rd grade and pantyhose and pumps are out! The one day I wore a dress (last week) the students wanted to know where I was going!


So yes, we need to think about the message we are sending with our wardrobe, YES! WE NEED PROFESSIONAL PAY to buy professional clothes!! Common Sense should dictate what is worn to work.

Does your school board include any women?? Or is it a bunch of men trying to decide what women should be wearing? The days of Leave it to Beaver--June Cleaver are long gone!
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My two cents worth...
Old 04-15-2007, 11:08 AM
 
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So I haven't finished reading this whole page yet, but I couldn't help but think of this comparison when everyone keeps talking about how we ARE professionals and, therefore, should dress as such.

Doctors and nurses are professionals, too, but would you expect to see your surgeon wearing a suit and tie or three piece business suit for women when taking you into surgery? In fact, I don't even see many doctors dress this way anymore. Why? Because they are in and out of patient rooms all day long trying to perform their job. Are they still professional? Absolutely.

So many people in response to this post have noted that our job must be taken into consideration and that is the essential point in this matter. Yes, we are professionals. No, it does not make sense to have to dress up everyday the way a lawyer or accountant (or any other professional) might. The job is just not the same.

Somehow, people seem to have convinced themselves that "if we only dressed more professionally, people would take our profession more seriously." Honestly? I don't think so. It is what it is, and if we wore three piece suits to work everyday, I honestly don't think it would make a difference in the perception of teachers and education (except that people might note that teachers had gotten crabbier! )

With the shift that society has taken today and the issues that schools have relating to parents and families, I think it is important to make sure that teachers are people that parents can relate to. If a high level of professional dress would serve that purpose, then so be it, but it seems as though it would only widen the divide.

I believe that teachers should respect themselves by wearing outfits that are neat and well put together. I see nothing wrong with khakis, capris, sandals, and other such business casual attire. Honestly, I don't see the problem with crocs. Teachers are on their feet all day the way nurses are and I see loads of nurses wearing these comfy shoes to work each day. Why shouldn't we be taking care of our feet?

I just think that the whole issue of professional dress is somewhat of a grasp at taking life back to the "way things used to be"...but, unfortunately, I think that it is what it is and we have to evolve and adapt as such. The profession is far different these days than it was back when, as well.

If you made it all the way to the bottom of this post, thanks for reading!!
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comfortable teachers = happy classroom
Old 04-15-2007, 11:26 AM
 
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I teach in a state that is cold from November to May. We are expected to dress professionally which means no sweatpants or jeans (except for Fridays). We may wear school spirit sweatshirts or tee shirts on game days. We are also allowed to wear sweatshirts or fleece shirts with designs on them (holiday or seasonal designs). Shirts w/o collars, knit pants, capris, khakis, shorts and skorts (weather permitting), sandals, crocs, and tennis shoes are all allowed. Due to feet and back problems, I wear tennis shoes every day.
Our administration realizes that we are on our feet or sitting on the floor most of the day, so they are very understanding.
I also think that parents relate better to us when we do not intimidate them with how we are dressed.
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Professional Dress
Old 04-15-2007, 12:11 PM
 
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To me, professional dressing means you need to dress for the part of your profession. So...if you are on your feet all day shoes of comfort/safety would be a mainstay...by MY feet's definition of comfort. Heels have never fallen into that category while I am teaching. If I am running to the copy machine or to pick up kids from all over the building or setting up paint, clay, glue, or cleaning up those items, then I need to wear comfortable, washable fabrics...unless I am being given an assistant! Plus, air conditioning is not a part of our classrooms...I should wear a suit in the heat of the day...NO WAY!

Society's outlook about dressing has become more about comfort and being casual on all levels. Has anyone seen a bustle or powered wig lately? Khaki pants, gauchos, slacks of any fabric, blouses, tops, sweaters, whatever, should be the choice of the professional dictated by personal budgets. Unless of course, the school board has decided to allocate funds to offset such a request. I wouldn't mind money for a new wardrobe or dry cleaning bills!

Now, truth be told, we all know some colleague who has pushed the envelope on good taste. Very revealing clothing...LOW necklines; short, short, skirts; skin-tight pants; dirty, crumpled jeans...does seem to cross the line of what most people feel is acceptable. BUT, that colleague needs to be addressed privately with the administration. We all shouldn't have redo our wardrobes because someone has decided we dress unprofessionally by some long-gone standard. That problem falls under the category of modesty. If you are clean and show some pride in yourself then you are professionally dressed for being a hard-working professional educator! By the way, will all school board members dress accordingly for their meetings each week?

Geez, next thing I 'll be hearing is how teachers need to stay unmarried so they can ALWAYS put the needs of their classes first!

PS: My dentist wore khakis and a golf shirt and he's considered a professional! My doctor had on a pair of COTTON capris, a tee-shirt and vest with clogs and she's considered a professional! And they both do a fantastic job!
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"professional"
Old 04-15-2007, 02:13 PM
 
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I find it humorous that some people are more worried about the appearance of a professional, and not the behavior of the professional.

It burns me up that we're given such a low pay scale, and then dictated what to wear. Are other professionals? NO! My mom is a legal secretary and the lawyers wear jeans! The only time they wear suits is when they have to appear in court. My son's orthodontist wears jeans with a smock (for splatters) and looks nice. I think jeans can look professional if they're clean, holes-free, and with a cute shirt/blazer.

I can't imagine not being able to wear capris. They are so comfortable and again can look very nice if worn with a nice blouse. I do not, however, think you can dress up a sweat suit much. I think sweat suits will always look like you're on the way to the gym.

I wear a dress and heels for Open House. That's it. It's the parents first impression and I always want to dress a little nicer (just as I would with a job interview). But the rest of the year I prefer to be comfortable and focusing on my students' needs and not on how uncomfortable I am. If they want me to sit in my desk all day instead of walking around and helping students, then I'll go for the more fancy outfits. Otherwise they need to get into a classroom for a few days and see what's REALLY important.
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This discussion...
Old 04-15-2007, 05:54 PM
 
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made me have heart palpitations. Susan Teach -you are so right. I cannot understand why the original poster did not think khakis are proper for school. As much as I love flip-flops and Crocs, I can see the argument against them, but dress shoes? I am always scared that we will go to a dressier code. We can wear capris if they look nice and are not too short. We can't wear sweat pants. We can also wear sandals, but not flip flops. If you look into any current recommendations for teaching, we are supposed to be down on the floor with the kiddos or as close as we can to them. I can't see dressing up. We are underpaid and I just can't see us getting more money because we wear dress pants. If I sat behind a desk all day, there would be no reason for me to dress down. I shudder at the thought of having to go out and purchase new clothes on my salary. I hope you represent the feelings of the other teachers at your school when you go in front of the board.
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I am fascinated
Old 04-15-2007, 08:25 PM
 
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by this dialogue! I live in NW Louisiana, where it gets HOT and HUMID. I have student-taught at several schools in the area, and thus have witnessed the dress codes of many of them.

There is only one school in the area that does NOT require students to wear uniforms (and it has a much higher disciplinary problem rate, but that's a different story). It is an elementary/middle school. At this school, teachers wear what I consider to be "nice-casual" clothing. The most casual apparel I have seen is Khaki pants, or capris. Flip flops are not allowed, but sandals and Crocs are (they seem to be the rage amongst the teachers). The only requirement about sleeves is that, if a teacher (male or female) has tattoos on their arm(s), they must wear sleeves to cover them. Teachers (and students, for that matter) are not allowed to have any form of undergarment showing, either on it's own or through clothing.

The res of the schools in the area require student uniforms. While teachers are not required to wear uniforms, most end up wearing Khaki pants and the adult sized uniform polo shirts for their school. I know teachers who have 7 pairs of khakis! (If the school allows a second color pant, they have that option as well). Usually, the shirts are available in three colors, one of which is white (which you don't see often).

I am on the brink of beginning my second career, as an elementary teacher (my first was mom and part-time office manager). I have worked in the business world, and have dressed for the same. I do not think that it is paramount that teachers dress "to the nines," as they say. Yes, they should be clean and presentable, and should always ACT professionally, even if we are not paid accordingly.

Nuff said, getting of off my soapbox now.
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Old 04-16-2007, 02:10 PM
 
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To the OP...after reading all of these responses, I would suggest a few things:
1. Print this out to share with the other teachers in your school to let them see the reactions.
2. Survey the teachers in your district for the input you really need.
If you are representing them to the board, you really need to know how they are feeling. You shouldn't just present your own opinion as a rep.
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capris etc
Old 04-17-2007, 05:28 PM
 
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I am so glad I posted! Thank you to everyone for their great responses. I work at a catholic school in the midwest, so the board will be deciding only for our specific school. The board consists of both men and women. The board orginally suggested no capris which is rediculous. If anything, there are skirts that are less appropriate for work than capris! This of course will be voiced to the board.

I will be metioning my post and your responses when I'm at the meeting. Thank you for your responses. I'll keep you updated with the results!
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Professional Dress
Old 04-20-2007, 12:02 PM
 
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I wear nice gauchos (jean and Khaki) with nice shirts. I also wear dress pants, skirts, and sometimes sweatpants. I teach 4th grade and I keep my clothing on great condition. My principal has even complimented me on the way I dress. I wear jeans to work. My jeans don't have holes in them. They aren't too tight. They aren't too low. They fit me just right. I am a big girl and I have to wear what compliments my body.

I don't believe that you have to be "dressed up" everyday. At my school, the teachers are appropriately dressed for the most part. There are some things I see others wearing that I wouldn't wear, but not because it's unprofessional. But because I know I couldn't wear it and be comfortable.

I take pride in how I look when I go to school. My hair is always done. My clothes are always ironed. I look presentable for my students and my principal and assistant principal.
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Old 04-21-2007, 03:56 PM
 
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I think in Elementary school its harder to dress in dress pants, dress, shirts and dress shoes. I'm in Kindergarten and theres no way I'd wear something that dressy. It ends up either with paint on it or wrinkled by the time the kids get there. I see nothing wrong with nice capri's, nice shirts, and shoes (no flip flops). We have jean Fridays so I wear jeans or jean capris and a nice top or shirt with our school logo or my ASPCA shirt. On a usual day I wear (since its hot) nice capris and a nice top with my crocs or other type of sandals. I'm comfortable and enjoy what i'm wearing so i'm in a better mood. Theres no way I could wear a dress or be that dressy. I'd be miserable. I'd say no to sweatpants though. Also we have a counselor that wears something that would be nice on someone else but because she a large woman she wears them 4-5 sizes smaller than she needs to so to me its not professional on her but would be if it fit her correctly but she gets away with it. Thats just my opinion.
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Old 04-22-2007, 04:10 PM
 
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I live in the south too and can't imagine working in long pants or panty hose. I also have shoe issues and have gotten to the point where I can't really wear most shoes that have backs (I wear a roomy size 11).

I don't think teaching has to be overly formal to be effective. I agree that to dress nicer than the kids and nicer than you would for doing chores sends a more professional image and garners a better vibe from the people you interact with. But no need to go overboard with emphasis on dress. It's easier to go after the few who obviously don't dress appropriately than to saddle everyone with a rigid dress code.
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New Dress Code
Old 05-11-2007, 05:34 PM
 
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We have a new dress code for next year... my only complaint is that they are saying no Crocs. I know, people think they're casual.. however, they're also excellent orthopedic shoes (IF you have real Crocs, not the cheap imitations). I started wearing them two summers ago when my daughter was REQUIRED to wear them at her job (she was working in food service and they're anti-microbial). I tried them on and fell in love with them and wore them all summer. The biggest change for me was my foot. I have traumatic arthritis in my right foot, and have dealt with pain in the joint of my big toe since I was about 16 (I'm 47 now). For the first time in thirty years I had no pain in my foot in that joint (it even hurts if I go barefoot!). I started wearing nothing but Crocs (I have the beach ones, the professional - no holes - and flip flops)... my toe has not hurt in two years! It's amazing! I also have noticed that the knee I dislocated in an accident at school (a kid turned a chair as I was walking by and it caught my foot and tripped me), no longer aches... the doctor told me to expect to have trouble with it for the rest of my life, and just be thankful nothing tore and I didn't have to have surgery.. with Crocs, I have no pain in my knee. I'm going to my doctor and have him write a prescription (and yes, there are prescription Crocs) for me so that I can still wear them.

On a more interesting note... the one I couldn't believe in ours "No visble underwear"... :-(
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Old 08-04-2008, 12:46 PM
 
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I am glad I read this since I will be student teaching this fall and wondering what to wear. I already purchased some dress pants w/nice blouses and shirts, as well as some new khakis. I was beginning to worry that I may overdress, but as long as I don't show up in suits maybe this is not possible. I've heard that esp as a student teacher it is better to dress more conservatively. I think jeans may be allowed on Fri's (not sure), but I will likely wear khaki's on Fri's since that's what the principal was wearing when I met w/her one Friday.

Thanks
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Old 08-04-2008, 01:28 PM
 
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nice pants/capris and a nice top even if it is a t shirt is fine. I am finding I am wearing jeans more and more often throughout the week. If I was a gym teacher, I would be wearing sweat pants and sneakers and that would be fine. While I don't feel sweat pants are appropriate for the classroom, my feet are so much happier in a good pair of sneakers than in any other type of shoe I have worn. I have all types. I agree with you flip flops are not professional. They also make my feet hurt. I need something with good arch support. I'm not as young as I used to be.

I am down on the floor everyday with my students. I check hair for lice and will hold it back while a kid pukes their lunch/snack up. I want something I can throw in the wash.

My husband works at IBM. They are now wearing jeans and t-shirts. My DH will wear buttom up shirts also but with a pair of jeans.

My daughter has to be in "profesional" dress where she works. She can not wear open toed shoes. She has to wear a jacket everyday. So she wears nice pants/skirt to work. BTW her feet are now killing her even with insoles added. She has been crying because they hurt so much but she has to wear those shoes. There's no way she will last.

So I think it depends upon the company's definition of "professional" dress. Ya know, capri's can be very dressy. Kinda like a split skirt. Maybe you're to young to know what that is. It's just capri's with wider legs.

I enjoy wearing my sweaters in the winter. I would be sad if I couldn't wear them.
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Old 08-04-2008, 05:24 PM
 
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Neat, clean, and modest work for me.

As far as the types of clothing that constitute "professional", that's going to vary depending on the grade you teach, the students you serve, and the community in which you teach.
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Old 08-04-2008, 05:31 PM
 
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Our principal is very easy going. We have teachers that wear nice jeans and a shirt during the week. We all wear jeans on Fridays but several wear them during the week too. I also wear a ton of capris.
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Old 08-04-2008, 05:38 PM
 
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Wearing heels is almost never do-able for me at work. I have problems with a foot I broke several years ago, as well as lower back problems. The few times I've tried wearing heels, even on half-days of school, people could actually see how much pain I was in by the end of the day; I could barely walk.

I read an article recently, and I wish I could remember where, that companies with more casual dress codes have lower instances of obesity-related health issues among their employees because they actually move around much more during the day. I know when we had "casual days" and I could wear sneakers, I was a lot more active in the classroom.
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Old 03-19-2009, 03:14 PM
 
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I've been reading all these responses and I think we must remember we are the role model for students. Our dress should reflect we care about what we look like. I lean to the side of professional. I worked for a principal that wouldn't let us wear open toed shoes. Another principal let us wear jeans everyday, if we wanted; I NEVER DID! I owe it to my students to look professional, because I AM! I'm 33 with 3 kids and tell you comfort, yeah...but you'll find me in heals and a skirt, something about it gives you confindence! Lots of jackets for layering. I've gotten many compliments about my dress, one was you set us all to a higher standard! GOOD, our students need that. Be cautious with too casual, mix it up! NEVER wear stretch pants and I have more style than to wear the cheesy teacher stuff!!!
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my experience
Old 03-19-2009, 05:35 PM
 
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I spent many years as an accountant in the business world and have(had) many outfits that most people would consider VERY professional. Then I started teaching ED kids and they tore that stuff up. I am trained to use physical restraint and I often do use it. Now, I buy $9 pants at Wal-Mart for the most part. I shop for school clothes at Wal-Mart, Target, and Cato. I hate that some people may think that I don't dress well enough.

However, when one of my kiddos has a massive meltdown and we have to restrain them for safety...I'm worried about them totally and not the $70 shirt I'm wearing.
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Dress Code
Old 03-19-2009, 08:30 PM
 
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I am very fortunate to be at a school where jeans, Khakis, Cargo Pants or Capris (when paired with a nice top) are very accepted by the principal. When I first started teaching, I wore dresses/skirts much more often than I do now. Why? Implementation of Daily Physical Education. Every student receives 30 minutes of Phys Ed daily. We don't have a 'phys ed' teacher at the elementary level, so that means I am teaching gym every single day all year. I find it very difficult to teach grade 5's what a proper dive in volleyball looks like, how to 'lead off' in baseball, how a fast-break lay-up can go wrong in basketball or how to get a proper kick in when following a cardio DVD in a skirt, suit or the like.

Does that mean I think teachers should dress sloppy? No. We need to be clean, neat, modest (don't read only turtle necks!) ---really, look 'put together'. However. We do work with kids!
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