Evolution of how teacher's dress

I began teaching in 1989 and plan on retiring next year.

When I first began teaching, our school system didn’t have a written dress code. I don’t know if this has anything to do with it but the public college I attended stressed for all graduates to ‘dress professional’ out in the world because WE are now professionals.
No one had to tell the male teachers to wear a neck tie & sport coat or a sweater with a turtle neck and dress pants, they just did it. Also, men came to work clean shaven or with neatly groomed facial hair.
The females would wear professional dresses or a knee length skirt with nylons and heels. Some females would wear a blouse with dress pants.
Starting 5 or 6 years ago I noticed a decline in ‘professional attire’ the younger faculty began wearing.
I have witnessed faculty wearing pajamas or leggings paired with an old wrinkled t-shirts on a daily basis. I also noticed the style was to wear old & dirty Croc shoes or worn out flip flops. Men now have un-groomed beards and were coming to work looking like they’ve been on a weekend binge and woke up under a bridge. I won’t even go there with the sleeve tattoos or face piercings.

This caused our school board to enact an official dress code policy for faculty.
During inservice, everyone had to sit through a 3 hour training with ‘acceptable’ & ‘NOT acceptable’ photos. I also could’t believe the 31 people walked out and quit afterward.
At our next staff meeting, we were during out processing, the main reason for leaving, ‘I didn’t go to college to have someone else tell me how to look or what to wear.’

Nov 5

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  • I agree. I retired a dozen years ago as a principal. The decline in civility and dress codes was atrocious in my last decade, all due to the power of an aggressive teachers' union and weak-spines by the school board and central office administrators. I always dressed in a suit and tie. I was always visible in the halls and made sure to engage with the students to share a laugh, give them confidence in me, and a belief that a school should be friendly and give every student the idea they had a fair chance to succeed. Guys used to ask me how to tie a necktie (usually before a formal dance) and I would whip my tie off and put on a demonstration right in the hallway ( I made it easier by teaching them my favorite knot; the half-windsor!).

    Your post made me happy for an older, classier, and more professional time. Teachers, I implore you to consider that your clothes and grooming make a huge difference. The kids notice the lack of effort in your appearance and realize that you don't even care enough to show you respect them by dressing professionally. Education is an event! Dress accordingly.

  • Professional clothing is very expensive. Everything described reflects the decline in pay for teachers. If inflation was reflected in your pay check you would make at least $100 an hour. You took pay cut of 5-6% ever single year. You are making over 250% less comparable income than when you got hired. Prices of everything has continued to go up pay has been stagnant. Attitude and dress are appropriate for the profession. You are treated like crap with low pay, you feel like crap, and hate going to work every day.

  • I totally agree! I'm 50 year old female and would be ashamed if I had to go home and change!
    Starting around 5 years ago, our school system had to develop a dress code for the faculty.
    Each year, there have been numerous faculty sent home for wearing inappropriate attire to work.
    Examples: PJs with slides, leggings with a t-shirt.
    I sat through a 'coaching' moment with our principal this year which required a staff member to go home and change.
    The female staff member was wearing a t-shirt with leggings. I'll try to be polite but the young lady is very 'curvy' or 'voluptuous' or just plain thick. Short and maybe 260lb. She was wearing department store cotton leggings that stretched to show her obvious granny white cotton panty line!
    Something you would see on the internet 'People of Walmart'.
    She argued with the principal and threatened to quit if she got sent home.
    She decided to take three day's off to 'reflect' but came back to work. She currently wears a dress tunic with leggings. The minimum requirement.

  • I have wonderful memories of my old sociology teacher in the late eighties and early nineties. He had a great figure and amazing legs. A delight for a red blooded teen! The schools Deputy Head was also very attractive and dressed very elegantly. Nylons, high heeled court shoes and occasionally some truly sensational boots too! I too bemoan the decline in dress standards in the teaching profession. Though perhaps for slightly different reasons than you do.

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