Teachers' dress code (or lack of one)

(133 Posts)
ProudNeathGirl Fri 28-Sep-12 23:28:48

DD (17) was sent home from sixth form earlier this week to change, because the coloured jeans she was wearing didn't comply with the dress code for sixth form students, which is "business dress"..
Fair enough - but the teacher who sent her home was wearing a beach type dress and denim jacket. Said teacher was today wearing leggings (also against rules for students).
Any kind of piercings apart from plain studs in the ear are also not allowed, but there is a student support manager lower down the school with five piercings in his face.

I don't think this is fair. AIBU?

Extrospektiv Sat 29-Sep-12 03:58:25

Agree that it's normal for 6th formers to have a uniform and teachers not to have one as such, but there's usually more symmetry at this age.

6th form in school= uniform/business dress for students, staff expected to dress "professionally" i.e. smart pants/shirt/(mostly) tie for men and nothing showing off midriffs, deep cleavage or large areas of flesh overall for women. And no gaudy piercings/extreme hairstyles for anyone.

FE college=no uniform and far fewer restrictions for students, and staff significantly more informal.

There's nothing to stop an establishment having strict dress code for students and not adults, but I'd doubt the motivations. (i.e. "keep 'em down in their place by any means")

Remotecontrolduck Sat 29-Sep-12 05:01:47

Well, by the end of Sixth Form they ARE adults....seems a bit silly to me to be so strict! However, you must have known the rules when you signed up?

SaraBellumHertz Sat 29-Sep-12 05:32:47

For me it's two distinct issues and has little to do with the students and teachers being treated alike.

Students should follow the dress code and expect to be sent home if they dont.

Equally teachers should embody the professionalism that the organisation they work for is trying to convey through the existence of a student dress code by dressing appropriately themselves

Teachers should dress smartly and er on conservative - leggibgs, excessive cleavage, jeans and shoestring straps all inappropriate IMO. There is still plenty of room for flair and individualism without dressing like you're off to the beach/a club etc

BeeWi Sat 29-Sep-12 06:09:43

Suck it up. You know the rules when you sign up to attend a school. There are other schools your daughter can attend.

noblegiraffe Sat 29-Sep-12 07:54:21

Perhaps if your daughter works hard she can go to uni and get a degree then do another year at uni to get a PGCE and then she can apply for and hopefully get a job at her current school where she will finally be allowed to wear facial piercings. smile

That said, my school has a professional dress code for teachers and I always wear a suit, but I don't think teachers being held to different standards than the children is that much of a problem. I'm allowed to wear jewellery!

SilveryMoon Sat 29-Sep-12 08:06:58

At my school, staff aren't allowed to wear spaghetti straps or open toed shoes, but as far as iknow, they are the only dress code rules for staff.
Personally, I hate seeing staff wearing light coloured jean, or tracksuits, or cut-offs/3-quarter length stuff.

I wear black trousers and loose sensible tops to work at my school. I see parents at the end of the day and other professionals throughout my day, often visitors from other schools or organisations are visiting and I'm not sure jeans and tracksuits etc set a good image.
I wouldn't expect to be taken seriously if I was not dressed seriously iyswim.

Namely Sat 29-Sep-12 08:10:44

I work in a primary school. When asked by children why I am allowed to wear earrings and they are not the answer is simple. I am an adult and the teacher. When you are an adult and the teacher you may wear earrings too. Not too difficult to understand.

Rosebud05 Sat 29-Sep-12 08:14:02

But there are different relationships and expectations at primary.

LynetteScavo Sat 29-Sep-12 08:21:59

The last teacher I saw wearing "buisness dress" had a actually taken off her rather nice low healed shoes to teach in, and was walking around the classroom in stockinged feet.

OP, I don't think YABU, but the teacher who sent your DD home probably didn't make up the rules. You need to bring this up with someone more senior. If the school is saying no leggings/jeans what ever, then the staff should make a similar effort. I'm not keen on "business dress" in 6th form. Either let them wear their own clothes, or keep a uniform.

toptramp Sat 29-Sep-12 08:23:28

I am a teacher and I always wear business dress. I think teachers who dress casually look unprofessional. It is hypocrical to lecture the studenst then turn up to work wearing beach wear.

limitedperiodonly Sat 29-Sep-12 08:41:25

I agree with EvilTwins. The staff should wear business dress and then they would be more credible when quite rightly telling your DD off for flouting the uniform.

I'm driven potty by people in my office who dress inappropriately (customer-facing roles) and seem genuinely bewildered.

The worst one out of a long list was a woman who turned up in a pussy pelmet and skin-tight top. We were going to a memorial service. 'At least it's black,' she whined when we left her at her desk.

lecce Sat 29-Sep-12 08:41:36

I teach English in a secondary school and I don't like the idea of discussing love poetry dressed like a sodding bank manager. I have one quite tight, tailored dress and when I wear it I do find it difficult to crouch down next to students' desks - and I do that a lot. (Love my dress, btw, and it is very smart).

Of course staff should dress smartly but this talk of 'business dress' makes my skin crawl. Fwiw, I hate it for our 6th formers as well. Lovely, bright young kids going around in cheap, shiny suits and nasty shirts when they should be wearing, I don't know, more studenty stuff sad.

It does make me laugh when students ask why I don't wear a uniform and can wear jewelleryand make-up. It's because I'm an adult and I've done my time as a pupil. When today's pupils are adults, depending on the job they do, they may have more freedom about what they wear to work. I don't mind explaining that to 12 year olds but I'm shocked that some adults need it explaining too.

VikingVagine Sat 29-Sep-12 08:47:36

This is why I would hate being a teacher in England. I teach years 6 to 9 in France (in a collège). Most teachers wear jeans, only the head and deputy wear suits. I often wear knee high DMs and short skirts. I have tattoos and piercings. I sometimes dye my hair bright red.

When my Head started at our school three years ago, he did have a talk with me about toning down my appearance. I told him to stop worrying about it and focus on what was going on in the classrooms.

Since then I've become one of his favourites. I have no trouble with discipline, my pupils get excellent results and he gets good feedback from the parents about me.

Last year I had a 14 year old come up to me and ask for advice about getting a tattoo done. I told him to talk to his parents about it, and that he should chose a design, wait a year and see if he still liked it as much. I saw his mum recently, she thanked me because he had listened, and decided after about 6 months that he didn't really want that particular picture on his skin forever (he's chosen another one, and is apparently going to wait a year again, at this rate he'll probably never get a tattoo).

We actually have a relatively strict dress code by French standards. No spaghetti straps, no flip flops, no underwear on show, no leggings without anything over them, no micro shorts. Also school bags have to be rucksacks (two straps). It's applies to both pupils and teachers (well, apart from the bags).

Quite a few children have piercings, dyed hair etc. but they stick to the dress code so that's fine.

I quite often come across adults in serious, responsible jobs, who have tattoos, piercings, unusual hair and cloths. It's socially acceptable. So much for the English being tolerant.

limitedperiodonly Sat 29-Sep-12 08:50:02

lecce ISWYM I understand a teacher might need something they can move easily in or get messy so jeans and trainers might be right for them. But clean, tidy, non-sexy.

ISingSoprano Sat 29-Sep-12 08:53:03

FutreNannyOgg hits the nail on the head. It is perfectly possible for teachers to dress appropriately for their job whilst retaining individuality. I'm not personally a fan of piercings but I applaud the attitude.

lecce Sat 29-Sep-12 09:00:16

envy at the French attitude described above. It is sad how lacking in imagination and insight some people are that they believe the degree of a person's professionalism can be gleaned from their appearance. Schools are not businesses, pupils are not our customers (and neither are their parents) and we should not all have to go around like clones in a misguided, and what should be unnecessary, attempt to prove how professional we are.

ithaka Sat 29-Sep-12 09:00:20

YANBU, I would speak to the Head. Secondary school teachers are professionals and should dress professionally - model the behaviour they wish to see in their pupils.

My DH is a secondary school teacher and would never go to school in leggings or a beach dress smile

roughtyping Sat 29-Sep-12 09:01:07

YABVU. Teachers are adults.

FWIW I'm a primary teacher and live in leggings/coloured soft skinnies/dresses etc. I teach P1 (R) and P7 (Y6). With the older group this week I was outside with them, on the ground, measuring (learning about area). With the little ones I am on the floor a lot of the time.

I would not be at all comfortable in 'business dress'. I have problems with my joints which makes it hard enough to get down to/up off the floor, trying to do so in uncomfortable clothes would be hellish.

Don't see why secondary teachers need to wear 'business dress'. I just don't get it. But then I'm not a big fan of school uniform either.

amck5700 Sat 29-Sep-12 09:05:56

My sons high school has a strict uniform which has been introduced over the last couple of years. We get told that it enforces the sense of community etc. My son pointed out that some teachers are really casually dressed so are they not part of the community? I said he should raise it at the pupil council. The primary he went to was polo shirts and sweat shirts and the majority of staff wore it too.....including the headmistress!

Derceto Sat 29-Sep-12 09:06:21

YANBU, I am a seoncondary teacher who wears "business dress" even though I crouch down, put up displays, cheer on teams from the sidelines etc.

I sometimes take my jacket off or i may wear a dress with no jacket for the day. I have flat shoes in my office for when I am on the field.

This thread makes me very glad I work in a school where the children don't have to wear a uniform or comply with a dress code and where the adults don't have to either.

We only have two rules (for the children): no open toe shoes and no strappy tops if it is sunny and they're outside. hey can wear strappy tops in the classroom but during lunch break they need to cover their shoulders so they don't get burnt.

We're professional adults, we can manage to dress ourselves appropriately wihtout a dress code. No one wears too short or too tight stuff, or leggings with nothing over them. But on a day when I teach P.E and D.T I am going to be in trainers.

roughtyping Sat 29-Sep-12 09:08:22

viking love your school's attitude!

zlist Sat 29-Sep-12 09:08:43

I'm a secondary teacher. The staff do have a dress code, so do the sixth formers. Individual schools obviously have a different take on it. Staff aren't allowed to wear legging or denim at my school and sixth formers are not expected to wear business dress. Your daughters school clearly has different rules - support her to adhere to the rules of the school she has chosen to attend.

ByTheWay1 Sat 29-Sep-12 09:10:04

I think teachers should wear something approximating what the kids wear - when, in summer, you have the teachers wandering round in a lightweight skirt and vest top, telling kids to keep their blazer and tie on, I could explode!

And as for telling the kids they look scruffy and need to smarten up to make their way in the world - sorry, but it is just laughable. I refused to take my child's teacher seriously at parent's evening when she turned up in a Minnie mouse hoody and rara skirt - I kid you not!! Public face of the school..... ha - if you want to be treated like you are an adult - dress like one...

Born2bemild Sat 29-Sep-12 09:17:03

I get frustrated at the few colleagues who look too casual, but it is just a few. Business dress woukd not work for me though(secondary). I had two suits ruined by chewing gum, so no more! I'm on my feet all day, and up and down flights of stairs every hour, with piles of books. I need comfort!
We changed to stricter guidelines three years ago for sixth form, because too many of them had see through leggings with knickers on show, and blinding cleavage. They ignored the warnings so got more rules. Fortunately none of the staff do those things. Dress and cardi with flats is my sensible compromise. If pupils do like your dress or hair or nails, it can ease your relationship with them. Shallow but true!

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