Power dressing in school?(124 Posts)
I'm a teacher. We've recently had a change in leadership and the head has made a lot of changes including a strict dress code.
I've always dressed smartly in dresses and skirts but teamed with cardigans. My outfits are always pressed and clean and I wear minimal jewellery.
A middle leadership role has recently come up and I am keen to apply for it. After a meeting this week the head asked to speak to me. She said that she would welcome my application but I should consider changing my outfits to include blazers and tailored jackets and trousers. That she felt cardigans and flat shoes (!) aren't appropriate in senior roles and I would be taken more seriously.
She often says odd things (don't get me started, whole other thread) but as this new role doesn't include an increase in pay and still includes a full teaching schedule, I am reluctant to invest in clothes that I won't suit or enjoy wearing. I've never been told I've been dressing inappropriately before.
This is all coming from the head that wears fishnets and leather tunics.
Advice please, thank you!
@teateaandmoretea they are interviewing 4 of us so I think there has been a fair bit of interest.
Whilst I will play the game, it bothered me that wearing a blazer and heels was deemed appropriate attire to teach children and still seem approchable.
About the the fishnets and leather tunic. She wears it artfully but I do raise an eyebrow when I see that outfit. It doesn't break the staff dress code (but she breaks it anyway when she adds a scarf!)
My sons teacher is the only man at school. He's always in a tracksuit and trainers. He looks like he's off to five a side. He's not a pe teacher either.
We parents couldn't give a shit. He's a nice guy, approachable and the kids love him. What he wears is irrelevant.
I like a jersey blazer, just as comfortable as a cardi. And I got two fab cropped jackets at the charity shop which smarten up dresses.
I have a colleague who is being promoted and is very much a jeans jumper and trainers style currently. I was questioning my feelings that as a manager he would need to dress smarter or I wouldn't feel he could do the job. But then if I am delivering training or going to a big meeting I 'power dress' I guess, so it is convention. He has now been told to wear a suit every day.
I'm a governor at a primary school and a query has been raised by a parent of a child with sn about the shirt/tie rule asking had we considered a polo shirt instead. Its the teachers (SLT) who have vetoed the gvrs even considering it because apparently the uncomfortable but smart uniform (that not even business people really wear these days and you certainly don't think you should have to wear) promotes good behaviour.
This is so interesting. When I worked in secondary (up to 2014) every so often there used to be noises made about changing the very traditional uniform. The governors would then do a parental survey and without exception those parents who bothered to respond were all in favour of the blazer/tie/shirt combo - every time (I think it happened 2 or 2 times - I was there for a long time). So the governors kept the uniform as it was.
Personally I was hoping for a change to polo shirts/sweat shirts and getting rid of the tie as I was sick to the back teeth of arguments.
Get to Asda op. If they still have them with their work wear they do a black blazer type jacket that's unlined and in a soft material.
Feels like a more tailored cardi but looks a lot smarter.
I’m horrified that anyone is suggesting that heels should be worn. How insane! Especially in an SEN school where you might have to run to grab a child who’s running away, hurting themselves etc. It’s outrageous, particularly from a female head.
I’ve been a head of department for a long time: Bar one new head who swapped the (secondary) uniform from sweatshirts to tie and blazer-quite rightly, we looked like scruffs compared to all other surrounding schools-I’ve never been told to change out of my Doc Martens! We were asked to wear jackets, but obviously they came straight off in class and were worn en route to the staffroom only.
For the lack of TLR alone, I’d refuse to apply for the role and be looking elsewhere for somewhere sensible with TLRs for the extra work.
My kids uniform is polo shirts and sweatshirts. We’ve just had 15 Oxbridge offers. I don’t think the uniform is causing any problems. They asked us a couple of years ago if the uniform should change to shirts, ties and blazers and it was an overwhelming No.
I never wear trousers! I don't own a pair as I don't feel comfortable in them. I need to trim down my middle and I have plump thighs; I think I look obscene in trousers because of how they fit. I wear shift dresses because they hide sins and are the least fussy option. Power dressing is about attitude as well as style. I'd be rubbish in trousers. I'd feel far more comfortable as myself. Far more able to show off my personality, too.
Plenty been said about clothes but why on earth would you even consider taking on a middle leader role without even a small TLR and/or some management time? Are your smart clothes going to come with an extra hour in the day to get stuff done (unpaid) to avoid getting hammered for not meeting the requirements of the role?
I'd be buying that blazer but it would be for interviews not to please what sounds like the worst kind of headteacher. You deserve better than that OP, don't get taken for a mug. My friend works in special and the middle leaders get TLRs as well as their SEN point. They just get smaller TLRs than you would in a mainstream due to proportionally less staff and students to look after.
What a twatty comment, it’s not power dressing though, it’s jumped up and bossy.
If you really want it, I’d do it until I got the job, then revert to form and tell her how illegal her advice actually was if she brought it up again. Meanwhile, wedges & block heels are more comfy & stable than stilettos..... (Although all are the work of satan)
I remain amazed that people believe cardigans are not smart enough for work wear
I'm a big fan of cardigans for work, I wear them most days (long ones/cropped ones/batwing/slouchy!) But on days I want to project an assertive, ultra professional image (like a meeting where I need to argue my case or fight for an outcome) I power dress. Tailored trousers, blouse, sharp jacket, make up, small heels. It works for me! And is actually just as comfortable. When I walk into a room in smart business dress people look at me with more respect, it gives me an air of authority.
OP I see where you're coming from, but if you really want the job why not just adopt the business dress image until you're secured it? It clearly matters to the head. You can always regress back to cardigans once you've got it!
Also, trousers mean you can adopt a power stance (sitting with knees slightly apart or calf up on knee) instead of keeping your legs pressed together!
I wonder what the head’s perspective on behaviour is. I work with students with extreme challenging behaviour in a SEN school and wear school uniform! The same as the kids. I don’t have to, by the way, it’s my choice, but there is no way I could do any part of my job effectively in ‘smart clothes’, especially heels. My own comfort and well being is important for me to do my job well. I also couldn’t give a flying fig what I look like.
She should visit my school,especially in winter. More than half the staff(including SLT) wear a uniform of leggings,tunics and uggs.
In the summer the flip flops come out.
At my primary school, the female teachers have a very White Stuff heavy look! Lots of patterned dresses and skirts and scarves.
About the pay, I am hoping to negotiate a pay rise in the interview. I spoke to a colleague who is a middle leader and they don't have a TLR but has had an increase in pay each year for hitting targets etc.
Found a nice blazer/jacket thing in a charity shop. It's pink but looks professional, felt comfortable and I think I look half decent.
You should be getting a payrise each year for hitting your performance management targets anyway certainly at least til you're on M6 (then you have to justify your existence to go through threshold and get the increments on that).
I hesitate to ask but is this an independent or state school? LA or academy? Sounds like the Burgundy book in your head's office might be a little dusty....
Thanks @Heyha It's a LA school. Starting to feel like applying for this is a bad idea...
Unfortunately annual main scale pay rises are not guaranteed if your school is an academy any more.
Very true @myotherprofile and even if an academy chain says they'll honour the STPCD they seem to find a way to make it impossible for people to progress...our LA is crap for most things but at least they do things the 'old' way still.
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