Sunday, June 12, 2011

Dressing for the part

An interesting conversation on Twitter arose about professional dress.

The conversation went on about how some teachers feel that dressing more relaxed allows them to connect with students, while others suggested that we need to dress as professionals.

Personally, I think it's all about dressing professionally for both students and teachers.

I've worked at two uniform schools and one non-uniform school, and while every school is different, there is a distinct and noticeable difference in the uniform schools.  I firmly believe that dressing for what you intend to be doing subconsciously changes your behaviour.  This is very evident on "non uniform" days, and even students will notice this.

Just as you wouldn't wear gym clothes to a fancy party, there should be an expectation that students and teachers dress appropriately.

Does this mean uniforms?  Personally I think it does - it means that everyone is dressed appropriately, and furthermore, it removes the issues with clothing being a differentiator.  Uniforms don't have to be super formal, however, to work - a nice golf shirt and business-casual pants are all that is required for students to "act the part" and dress for a purpose.

Some teachers suggest that dressing for the part doesn't change how professional they act.  While in the larger picture I would agree - clothes don't make the man (or woman), but I firmly believe that dress affects how we behave, subtly.

Another very large issue is how we are perceived - far too often the public has a negative view of teachers, and I think that if we want to start being treated more as professionals, we need to start dressing and acting that way.

Every job has a dress code, why shouldn't school?

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