No Jeans for Teachers? Seriously?

Teacher dress code means banning jeans.

Are you one of those people who thinks that these dress codes will “restore professionalism” and “instill respect” into teaching? I can’t remember the last time I saw a doctor who wasn’t in jeans or dockers. My dentist is an overdresser, it’s true, but her receptionist never moves beyond jeans. Casual Friday died the death in corporate America a decade or more ago; we dressed down every day of the week. Hell, lawyers don’t even wear suit and ties routinely unless they’re at court.

So spare me the pieties about teachers’ clothes. Many of us want to wear jeans, or shorts, or sweat pants. Unless there’s research proving that kids achieve better when their male teachers wear ties and the female ones wear dresses, then take a big cup of shut up. Curb the excesses, fine. No holes, no spaghetti straps, no tattoos, sure. But jeans? Please. The era of suit and ties is over—not just for teaching, but for the country. You want to bring it back, start with an occupation that pays in the six figures first.

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6 responses to “No Jeans for Teachers? Seriously?

  • Bostonian

    Most white collar professionals I know do not wear jeans to the office. Why can’t male teachers wear slacks? If teachers want to be paid like professionals, they should dress like them.

  • simontmn

    Hm, I would certainly put sweat pants & shorts in the ‘not acceptable’ category. Shorts would be ok for a field trip on a hot summer day. Sweat pants just say ‘slob’ and should only be worn for physical exercise. Jeans are marginal; I wear jeans to work maybe twice a year, but certainly not if I am going to have any student contact or staff meetings etc. But I teach in a UK law school; law encourages a bit more formality. I don’t really mind seeing my 7 yr old son’s teachers in smart jeans. I would expect senior school staff to dress more formally though.

  • Justin Mc Donald

    When I first started, I wore a shirt and tie and some casual pants. Over the years, I would move to casual friday, jeans and a polo. Then later, I would wear jeans and a shirt almost everyday. Really, to me it depends on the environment you are in. Teachers react to peer pressure too. If everyone else is wearing jeans, yeah, you can still wear a shirt and tie, but you don’t have to. However, if everyone is dressing nice, you likely should dress nice as well. At the end, does it really matter? I have yet to see a study done correlating student achievement and teacher attire. Just make sure outfit coincides with the culture of the school.

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