There is always talk about dress codes when you work in education.
Teachers are often concerned if a student can wear a particular shirt, a hat, baggy pants, etc. Most of these issues can be quickly addressed by a good handbook and fair enforcement by the staff.
I also think about dress codes. Except my thoughts often go towards what educators wear.
This issue first came to my attention when I was getting ready to complete my Master’s Degree in Educational Administration (yes, I have a degree… as far as you know).
My college advisor came to visit me at school.
He took time out of his busy day (????… this is a whole different blog discussion) to sit down with my Superintendent and me to discuss my future.
At the time, I thought it was a good sign that he felt like I had a future. In retrospect, I have come to realize he was just completing his part of the advising process so he could get paid.
As the meeting came to a close, the professor looked at me and said, “The best advice I can give you is to always, and I mean always, dress professionally.”
He felt that if you wanted respect, you had to look like you deserved it.
I thought this was great advice. And throughout the years, I have tried to abide by it.
If teachers or students are in attendance, I always wear at least a shirt and tie (and yes, pants).
Not every administrator does this, but it works for me.
The thing that has stuck with me about my college professor’s advice is that when he said this, he was wearing a white and lime green Puma sweat suit.
For those of you too young to remember, the Puma brand was cool way before Nike.
Back when tennis was the next great sport (we are talking the 70’s here… tennis was soccer before soccer), Puma athletic clothes were considered hip.
And not rapper hip, mainstream hip.
The problem with my college professor wearing this dapper outfit (he thought) was the year; it was in the late 90’s.
He looked like Jimmy Connors in his prime (actually, he didn’t look like Connors in his physical prime… just the outfit).
He wanted me to be appropriately dressed, but his best advice was given wearing a 20 year old sweat suit?
How was this a good idea? Why do people think rules are for everyone else?
I often think about that meeting when I hear or read about school dress codes.
If we want others (students) to present themselves in a certain way, shouldn’t we (teachers and administrators) lead by example?
Haven’t student dress codes become an issue just in the last 30 years? Isn’t that about the same time that teachers and administrators began to think that golf shirts, khakis, shorts, and tennis shoes are okay to wear to school?
And please, don’t get me started on wearing jeans on Friday. How did Fridays become less important than a Tuesday or a Thursday? Isn’t it still 20% of the educational week?
Unless, of course it is a shortened week but that is also another blog.
I could go on and on, but I have to go iron my dress clothes. Maybe I should rethink my thoughts on this topic.