Thanks to Education World for use of my Mrs. Waffenschmidt illustration.

Thanks to Education World for use of my Mrs. Waffenschmidt illustration.
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Monday, September 9, 2013

Dusting off my soap box....
On the first day of every school year, my husband would don what he called his teacher uniform. He wore a suit and tie and his dress shoes. He always felt it was important to start the school year dressing accordingly.  From that day forward, he'd always wear a pair of slacks, dress shirt and tie and sport's jacket.

I also felt the need to dress what I felt was professionally for the my students,wearing one of my skirt sets or dresses. I never would think to come to school in jeans(unless it was a special dress down day or field day activity), wear a dress showing cleavage or a top that was especially formfitting. Thus, I was amazed by a headline that stated a school district in Little Rock, Arkansas, is requiring its teachers to wear... underwear!

Just where have we come when a teacher needs to be reminded that see-through tops, showing their midriff or wearing form fitting clothing(especially in middle school), might not be appropriate?
For many young people, teachers are about the only role model they may have. It is important that in addition to teaching about social studies and grammar,that we model behavior that our students can emulate. Note: I understand that primary teachers may need to alter their dress code for the different activities they will be doing with their students, however, to me, spaghetti-straps, cut off shorts, form fitting clothing, still isn't proper to this "veteran" teacher, at any level.

The article about the Arkansas School district's dress code also caused me pause when I read that the teacher's union was voicing opposition to the dress code(to include wearing underwear),stating it was  a violation of the teachers' rights and that the policy was condescending.  Such comments are just fuel to the fire for television networks like Fox News that see little value in what a teacher does(based on their many previous story topics). This news story is just what they want to share with their viewers to give validation to the quality ,or in their minds, lack there of, of the teaching profession today!

So, in my opinion, don your underwear when you are heading off to school this year. As I used to say to my student teachers. Dress professionally. What does this mean? I guess the best way to answer this is the following: Are you wearing what you’d wear to go with your friends to the movies or hang out on the weekend?  Or, are you wearing what you’d wear to a job interview? The latter should be what you’d wear as you enter the classroom  each day.

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