Teachers and Flip Flops

86 posts / 0 new
Last post
boilermaker's picture
Joined: 08/21/02
Posts: 1984
Teachers and Flip Flops

As this school year comes to a close, I've been thinking about teachers and their attire. In our school district, it seems that the dress code is pretty laid back.

In our elementary school it is not uncommon for teachers to be wearing jeans, t-shirts and flip flops. Is this appropriate?

What level of dress do you expect from public school teachers? Does it matter what they wear? Does how they dress have any impact on their classrooms?

Joined: 08/05/06
Posts: 441

I have mixed feelings about this because I understand where you're coming from but I am in a professional job and I often wear jeans and flip flops (I'm wearing jeans, boots, and a blouse today because it's chilly here) to work. Now, if I have an important meeting or something, I wouldn't, and I don't interact with "customers" per se, but I don't think the way I dress is inappropriate or unprofessional. What kind of dress code do the children have? Are they allowed to wear jeans and sandals?

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

I think it depends on the culture of the school, the age of the children, and also the teacher themselves.

My DH is a teacher, and he is careful about the way he dresses (button down shirts, ties, slacks.) But part of this is because he's kind of young and kind of cool (those button down shirts hide some pretty rockin' tattoos) and he doesn't want the kids to think of him as a peer, if that makes sense. Like, he is aware of the fact that if he dressed at school the way he dressed at home in his jeans and skate shoes and ironic graphic Ts and tats of pinups girls, the kids might not see him so much as an adult and an authority figure, and that wouldn't be good for him or good for the kids. But that is also a partial recognition of the fact that when he's not in teacher mode, he's still kind of a big kid, so he needs that extra layer of professionalism. Does that make sense? I don't know that everyone would need that extra layer to command respect.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4099

In our school district the teachers must abide by the same dress code as the kids. Flip-flops aren't allowed since shoes must have a strap around the heel. Many of the teachers in our school wear jeans, especially on days when they have gardening or P.E. it's more appropriate than something nicer. One teacher often wears a Giants shirt on game days. The principal OTOH has such a boyish look that he could probably pass for a very tall 5th grader, so he almost always wears a suit, or at least slacks & a tie, to help give him the look of the authority figure he is.

Joined: 06/04/07
Posts: 1368

The only issue I would have with flip flops is if they were monitoring kids while playing outside. If their dress code is to have closed toe shoes for kids for gym or playing outside, the teachers who monitor the kids should be following suit. As for dress code in professionalism, I think it really depends on the job. I'm with Kate on this one where jeans and flip flops can be acceptable. They are for our office and I see many clients. I usually wear flip flops, capris, and blouses or knit shirts in the summer. What I've also found is that if I dress down to casual clothes, my clients are more receptive to me. I would also think that some kids may see teachers are more approachable if they were dressed more casually.

b525's picture
Joined: 06/06/07
Posts: 298

In our school system, we have to abide by the same dress code as the students, but that leaves a lot of leeway. Flip flops are out, but you can sometimes get away with dressier ones. Generally, in my particular school (elementary), it is accepted that we wear jeans on Fridays, that the computer teacher and the PE teachers kind of wear what they want because they're crawling around on the floor fixing computers or they need athletic wear. We have spirit days when everyone wears Ravens gear. For me, personally, I have a hard time taking myself seriously when I am not in my "school clothes," though they're not likely considered to be professional, compared to regular office attire. I totally agree with Alissa when she says it's about maintaining authority and not appearing to be a peer. I would say it probably depends a lot on what age range you teach, as well.

boilermaker's picture
Joined: 08/21/02
Posts: 1984

I have a problem with the flip flops. And they are just that, flip flops, not nice sandals or even athletic sandals-- they are cheap-o flip flops and I see them on at least a half dozen teachers or so. Kids are not supposed to wear flip flops, but many do. I don't let our kids wear them bc I think they aren't safe to run in on the playground....and they frequently say but Miss XYZ wears them. *sigh*

I think that if teachers want to be recognized as the professionals that they are, that they should step up the dress. I'm not saying that they need to wear full suits everyday, but I think it would be nice to see folks dressed more professionally that the attire I'm seeing.

I do think that how you dress affects how both students and parents percieve you, and that you'll up your credibility if you look more professional. Just seems the pendulum in my school district has squng very far the opposite way.....

RebeccaA'07's picture
Joined: 11/19/07
Posts: 1628

Teachers here are required to be dressier, no jeans/tshirts/flip flops. I agree with what Alissa is saying above - dressing in relaxed clothes might not be the right message as far as "who's in charge" when dealing with certain ages. Personally, if my child's teacher was wearing jeans or flip flops - it wouldn't make a difference as long as my child was learning what she was supposed to be.

elleon17's picture
Joined: 01/26/09
Posts: 1981

I'm fine with teachers simply having to obey the same rules the kids do. If the kids aren't allowed to wear flip flops, neither should the teachers.

I work a professional job and I wear open-toed, dress flip flops and its pretty much business casual here with jeans on Fridays. That seems fine for teachers.

Also, if a younger grade teacher needs to go out on the playground heels, skirts and nylons are not really a functionable outfit.

Joined: 11/28/06
Posts: 848

"elleon17" wrote:

I'm fine with teachers simply having to obey the same rules the kids do. If the kids aren't allowed to wear flip flops, neither should the teachers.

I work a professional job and I wear open-toed, dress flip flops and its pretty much business casual here with jeans on Fridays. That seems fine for teachers.

Also, if a younger grade teacher needs to go out on the playground heels, skirts and nylons are not really a functionable outfit.

I'll tell you what I tell my students......when you can show me your teaching certificate then you can do what I do. Why in the world would I be expected to follow the same rules as my students? Simply because we are in the same building together?

Look, I don't dress like a slob but capris, short sleeved shirts, and sandals are my every day attire. There isn't a need to require me to wear tennis shoes because I don't go out to PE or play on the playground.

daniellevmt's picture
Joined: 07/25/06
Posts: 213

I don't really care about flip flops, but I will say this: I think saying that teachers should be held to the exact same dress code as students is wrong. I mean, just so kids can't say "but Mrs. X wears them!!"? No. That's whiny and encourages that sense of entitlement that I dread so much.

That said, the teachers around here have their own dress codes and always seem to look professional. Maybe if they didn't I'd have a different opinion.

HeatherAnn817's picture
Joined: 05/28/04
Posts: 139

We recently received a reminder in our weekly letter from the principal about the schools uniform dress code. Mrs. D was reminding parents that at our school we "dress up to learn" as learning is important, and how the children feel about themselves effects their learning. I would say the same about the teachers....how they feel, their attitude, etc. can effect their teaching! I don't think they should have to follow the same dress code as the children (uniforms), but I do think they should look professional, wearing nice clothing...no jeans, flip flops, etc.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

"Alana*sMommy" wrote:

I'll tell you what I tell my students......when you can show me your teaching certificate then you can do what I do. Why in the world would I be expected to follow the same rules as my students? Simply because we are in the same building together?

Look, I don't dress like a slob but capris, short sleeved shirts, and sandals are my every day attire. There isn't a need to require me to wear tennis shoes because I don't go out to PE or play on the playground.

I think it depends on the reason behind the rule. Like, if your dress code states no sandals because it is safer to play on the playground in tennis shoes, and you, as a teacher, do not play on the playground, then it makes sense that you shouldn't have to follow that rule. But if the rule were no jeans because they are trying to instill the idea that learning is serious business that requires respect, then it wouldn't make sense that that applies to the students but not the teachers. Like, if the students need to be respectful, the teachers should be leading the way. Does that make sense?

daniellevmt's picture
Joined: 07/25/06
Posts: 213

"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

I think it depends on the reason behind the rule. Like, if your dress code states no sandals because it is safer to play on the playground in tennis shoes, and you, as a teacher, do not play on the playground, then it makes sense that you shouldn't have to follow that rule. But if the rule were no jeans because they are trying to instill the idea that learning is serious business that requires respect, then it wouldn't make sense that that applies to the students but not the teachers. Like, if the students need to be respectful, the teachers should be leading the way. Does that make sense?

I know this wasn't addressed to me, but I agree with you. Of course most rules like the respect thing should be followed by teachers. Lead by example and all that. However, things like sandals, or having a drink in the classroom (that's the only thing I can think of right now...I've got a nasty cold, LOL), those are things that I don't think HAVE to be observed by the teacher as well. Especially for the reason of "just so the kids can't say 'well Mrs. K has a drink on her desk in class!'".

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3309

"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

I think it depends on the reason behind the rule. Like, if your dress code states no sandals because it is safer to play on the playground in tennis shoes, and you, as a teacher, do not play on the playground, then it makes sense that you shouldn't have to follow that rule. But if the rule were no jeans because they are trying to instill the idea that learning is serious business that requires respect, then it wouldn't make sense that that applies to the students but not the teachers. Like, if the students need to be respectful, the teachers should be leading the way. Does that make sense?

I agree with this.

I'm slightly torn on this issue. I work in a ridiculously casual environment....always have, in each job I've been in. I work in an industry that takes pride in its casual environments and i personally love it. But i do sometimes think it actually might be at the cost of some productivity...the culture that exists in my office is very conducive to....not focusing on your work a lot of the time. Its hard to tell how much the lack of dress code plays into that. Plus now being a remote employee....i'm a believer in the "get dressed and don't stay in your pajamas" rule (even though i still don't do it a lot of the time!). So i do think how you are dressed has an impact on how you behave to an extent.

But then on the flip side there is the argument that a less stiff environment makes for happier employees...and happier employees = better employees/productivity. That makes sense to me too, so i can't decide!

I could apply all of this to the school environment too. But do agree that depending on the *reasons* behind dress codes....it could make sense for the teacher and the students to follow similar guidelines.

In regards to the most original question....flip flops are these weird things that have become dressy when they really are not so its a real grey area.

My answer to everything on this is "i dont' know"

Maybe if it seems to be causing problems...or there are problems in a school it might be worth a shot to try and make the dress code more...otherwise i'd say i don't know if i care all that much.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1683

A co-worker at my new site showed up training wearing feather flip-flops.

I thought they were a bit much.

Joined: 05/13/02
Posts: 414

The teachers at my sons' school can and do wear jeans and some will wear flip flops, and it's honestly never been an issue with my boys not respecting them. Could be because I have boys, and the probably just don't care Smile . The teachers always look really nice, even if they aren't totally dressed up.

On the cute side - Matt's teacher is a man, and on the young side. Every day except Fridays he'll wear slacks, a button down shirt, and a tie. Matt thinks that's pretty cool, and now he wants to dress up like Mr. Schilb Smile .

ange84's picture
Joined: 12/28/09
Posts: 6564

When I was student teaching I would wear open shoes, but never flip flops. I would also wear jeans, but with a dressier top. In my current job we can't wear open shoes if we are leaving the office, but if we are in the office we can. We can also only wear jeans on Friday's, but even then they aren't keen on it.

Joined: 11/28/06
Posts: 848

"HeatherAnn817" wrote:

We recently received a reminder in our weekly letter from the principal about the schools uniform dress code. Mrs. D was reminding parents that at our school we "dress up to learn" as learning is important, and how the children feel about themselves effects their learning. I would say the same about the teachers....how they feel, their attitude, etc. can effect their teaching! I don't think they should have to follow the same dress code as the children (uniforms), but I do think they should look professional, wearing nice clothing...no jeans, flip flops, etc.

I can teach in jeans and sandals just as well (if not better) than I can teach in a skirt and heels. What I'm wearing doesn't affect my ability to teach, just my comfort level.

b525's picture
Joined: 06/06/07
Posts: 298

I've considered and re-considered on whether or not to ask this question, but I decided it has to be asked. Are there other professions that get questioned about every single aspect of what they do? Since I've been on the debate board, there have been debates about so many teacher-related things - pay, vacation, clothing, discipline, classroom management, role of teacher, should there be more/less scrutiny, etc.

Of course, I realize I will remember those more clearly than I would remember threads about other professions because I'm a teacher. I've been trying hard to remember threads about other professions and I just can't come up with them. I remember one about a Caucasian police officer being required to remove dreadlocks (sp?), but I think that was more of a race debate than a dress code debate. I do know there have been several about clergy, but I think I remember them being more about specific people than about the role of clergy, in general. I certainly can't think of any that discuss the pay scales or vacation schedules and the only one I can think of that discussed clothing was the Hooters one, but again, I think that was more about Hooters' policy than about the role of Hooters' waitresses.

I think it shows a profound disrespect for the profession to have it be constantly under scrutiny. I get questioning the curriculum, the openings/closings, and the general interaction of school employees with students. But, regarding this debate, I suppose that it's the business of the school system, the administration of the school, and the teachers and students of the school to know what's appropriate. I'm sure someone could look at my attire, which is pretty casual, and assume that I'm not professional. But, they likely have no idea how my classroom is run or how well or poorly the students learn from me, nor do they know that I dress more casually because we sing, dance, sit on the floor, play instruments and games, etc. I dress in the way that works for my job. Why should that be questioned by someone who is not in my classroom? I wouldn't question the dress of all lawyers based on what I saw on Ally McBeal. I wouldn't question the pay of all mayors because Baltimore's former mayor embezzled. I just don't get it. I really don't.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

"b525" wrote:

I've considered and re-considered on whether or not to ask this question, but I decided it has to be asked. Are there other professions that get questioned about every single aspect of what they do? Since I've been on the debate board, there have been debates about so many teacher-related things - pay, vacation, clothing, discipline, classroom management, role of teacher, should there be more/less scrutiny, etc.

Of course, I realize I will remember those more clearly than I would remember threads about other professions because I'm a teacher. I've been trying hard to remember threads about other professions and I just can't come up with them. I remember one about a Caucasian police officer being required to remove dreadlocks (sp?), but I think that was more of a race debate than a dress code debate. I do know there have been several about clergy, but I think I remember them being more about specific people than about the role of clergy, in general. I certainly can't think of any that discuss the pay scales or vacation schedules and the only one I can think of that discussed clothing was the Hooters one, but again, I think that was more about Hooters' policy than about the role of Hooters' waitresses.

I think it shows a profound disrespect for the profession to have it be constantly under scrutiny. I get questioning the curriculum, the openings/closings, and the general interaction of school employees with students. But, regarding this debate, I suppose that it's the business of the school system, the administration of the school, and the teachers and students of the school to know what's appropriate. I'm sure someone could look at my attire, which is pretty casual, and assume that I'm not professional. But, they likely have no idea how my classroom is run or how well or poorly the students learn from me, nor do they know that I dress more casually because we sing, dance, sit on the floor, play instruments and games, etc. I dress in the way that works for my job. Why should that be questioned by someone who is not in my classroom? I wouldn't question the dress of all lawyers based on what I saw on Ally McBeal. I wouldn't question the pay of all mayors because Baltimore's former mayor embezzled. I just don't get it. I really don't.

Amen.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3309

Did someone actually complain to the school though?

I see a big difference between literally questioning the school and bringing it up as an issue...

and bringing it here to casually talk about it and see what other people's opinions on professional attire are.

ETA: I don't think teachers are alone in their excessive scrutiny. I think doctors get their fair share for example.

I think any individual that we as society see being responsible for other people in a pretty serious way are often subject to a lot of criticism and put under a magnifying glass. It seems mostly true for the type of position that the majority people come into contact with on a regular basis. (For example, some people will never have a personal encounter with a cop...but everyone sees doctors and has teachers) I think its a good thing for the most part, but do agree that people get carried away often.

b525's picture
Joined: 06/06/07
Posts: 298

Yup, Kim, I did think about the idea that discussing it on the debate board is definitely different than bringing it up to the school and that's why I questioned even bringing it up. To me, though, it's a pervasive attitude and things like this DO get brought up to and about teachers all the time. I do think your comparison to doctors is an apt one and does give a good explanation for why it might be different. I certainly don't think we should be above scrutiny, but I think you're right that it's excessive sometimes.

culturedmom's picture
Joined: 09/30/06
Posts: 1131

"KimPossible" wrote:

Did someone actually complain to the school though?

I see a big difference between literally questioning the school and bringing it up as an issue...

and bringing it here to casually talk about it and see what other people's opinions on professional attire are.

ETA: I don't think teachers are alone in their excessive scrutiny. I think doctors get their fair share for example.

I think any individual that we as society see being responsible for other people in a pretty serious way are often subject to a lot of criticism and put under a magnifying glass. It seems mostly true for the type of position that the majority people come into contact with on a regular basis. (For example, some people will never have a personal encounter with a cop...but everyone sees doctors and has teachers) I think its a good thing for the most part, but do agree that people get carried away often.

ITA 100%. I think it is understandable why teacher's and doctors come up more in debate on a Parenting website. I see nothing wrong with that. That doesn't mean I don't think teacher'sget a bad wrap and have way too much placed on their shoulders, but that to me is a seperate issue.

As to the flip-flop debate, I don't think it is appropriate. I think teacher's should be leaders and part of leading, especially when it comes to chidlren, is leading by example. I think a teacher should definitely abide by the rules of the classroom and the school. And if the rule is no flip flops, then they should not wear them.

That said, I also think that teacher's are not just there to teach but also there to protect the children in their classroom. I can think of tons of safety scenarios were the adult in charge would be hindered in their duty by wearing flip flops. Also, adults in the school should be illustrating the importance of school being a place of importance and respect and priviledge and reverence. Flip flops in my opinion are not appropriate attire for almost any work unless you work on the beach or at the pool. Just my opinion.

boilermaker's picture
Joined: 08/21/02
Posts: 1984

Honestly, I was trying to get a gut check on my reaction to teachers and flip flops. That's all. I've never complained to the school., my kids are learning just fine. I think it is a sign and I'm getting old and crabby. Wink

I was a teacher. So was my dh. There is a difference between dressing to be comfortable enough to do your job well in a classroom (and I by no means expect a suit and heels) and dressing like I would on a Saturday morning IMO.

As for the teacher can do it but kids can't? I agree, not all of the same rules should apply for kids and teachers-- which is exactly what I tell my girls and then enforce the rule of no flip flops for the kids.

I can distinctly remember the teachers from my childhood that dressed up. They set high expectations for themselves and their classrooms. And each one of them dressed to a higher standard than their peers. Some of the most valuable things that I learned in their classrooms wasn't the subject matter, but general life skills. I can't wrap my head around being okay with the idea of somebody looking at me doing my profession and thinking "they aren't professional" bc of the way I'm dressed. I wouldn't do it. Ever. If there was that possibility, I would dress so that I looked professional. Every single day that I'm at work.

I'm not sure if we examine teachers more closely than other professions, but like Kim, I think we all have experiences with teachers-- either as a student or a parent. And while that doesn't make us experts by any means, our experiences are valid.

Whether it is right or not, how you dress DOES impact how others perceive you. And I just think kids pick up on this, too.

b525's picture
Joined: 06/06/07
Posts: 298

Audra, my thought was partly about your OP, but also a reaction to a school year's worth of critiques, many of which I'm sure we don't hear. Ah, June...

I agree with maintaining a level of professionalism and don't think flip-flops really fit the bill. I'm one who can't wear the football jersey to school, even when it's Ravens Day, because I can't take myself seriously as a teacher. However, the term "professional" related to clothing is pretty subjective. I'm sure there are people who would deem my clothing unprofessional and hopefully there are some who would realize that it works perfectly well for what I have to do. The thought of having to wear dressier clothes while I maneuver instruments and sit on the floor and get chalk dust all over me and dance around the room, just to please someone who thinks I don't look professional, kind of irks me. I just can't allow someone who is outside of my profession to make that decision for me. Yes, I agree with looking professional. But, I also recognize that circumstances and definitions are varied.

Joined: 06/04/07
Posts: 1368

"boilermaker" wrote:

Honestly, I was trying to get a gut check on my reaction to teachers and flip flops. That's all. I've never complained to the school., my kids are learning just fine. I think it is a sign and I'm getting old and crabby. Wink

I was a teacher. So was my dh. There is a difference between dressing to be comfortable enough to do your job well in a classroom (and I by no means expect a suit and heels) and dressing like I would on a Saturday morning IMO.

As for the teacher can do it but kids can't? I agree, not all of the same rules should apply for kids and teachers-- which is exactly what I tell my girls and then enforce the rule of no flip flops for the kids.

I can distinctly remember the teachers from my childhood that dressed up. They set high expectations for themselves and their classrooms. And each one of them dressed to a higher standard than their peers. Some of the most valuable things that I learned in their classrooms wasn't the subject matter, but general life skills. I can't wrap my head around being okay with the idea of somebody looking at me doing my profession and thinking "they aren't professional" bc of the way I'm dressed. I wouldn't do it. Ever. If there was that possibility, I would dress so that I looked professional. Every single day that I'm at work.

I'm not sure if we examine teachers more closely than other professions, but like Kim, I think we all have experiences with teachers-- either as a student or a parent. And while that doesn't make us experts by any means, our experiences are valid.

Whether it is right or not, how you dress DOES impact how others perceive you. And I just think kids pick up on this, too.

What is your idea of professional dressing and for you, does this perception apply for all white collar jobs? I also wonder about what outfits in particular teaches general life skills. Or is it more from the behaviors, body language, or demeanor a professional exhibits to command respect and be seen as an authority figure?

My idea of professional dressing is suits with ties & dress shirts, dress slacks or skirts, blouses, & blazers with closed-toe shoes to match the attire. Like I said in an earlier post, we have found that dressing casually in our profession actually helps our clients feel like we're more approachable. I used to dress up to go to work when I first started, but soon learned that clients had the perception that I could never relate to them because they made assumptions about me based on the way I dressed. I don't think this would be very different for many professions working with clients, students, customers of any age. I believe that it really depends on what the target audience is and what their goal is as to how a person should dress.

Salespeople should dress up as it gives the perception that people invest through them gaining trust to believe their sales pitch. Same goes for attorneys in court. But in their office, some attorneys (defense attorneys come to mind) may be better off wearing more casual clothes when meeting with clients because they may be able to draw out more information from their clients if the client can relate with them better based on how approachable they appear. Undercover cops give a great example as well. They typically dress down and very casual to get information as they appear more approachable. Some teachers, may be purposefully dressing casually for this very reason as well.

I personally don't recall any teachers, when growing up, who dressed up as being my favorites. Actually, I found a couple to be the reverse. I warmed up more with those that appeared more relaxed and receptive.

daniellevmt's picture
Joined: 07/25/06
Posts: 213

"b525" wrote:

I've considered and re-considered on whether or not to ask this question, but I decided it has to be asked. Are there other professions that get questioned about every single aspect of what they do? Since I've been on the debate board, there have been debates about so many teacher-related things - pay, vacation, clothing, discipline, classroom management, role of teacher, should there be more/less scrutiny, etc.

Of course, I realize I will remember those more clearly than I would remember threads about other professions because I'm a teacher. I've been trying hard to remember threads about other professions and I just can't come up with them. I remember one about a Caucasian police officer being required to remove dreadlocks (sp?), but I think that was more of a race debate than a dress code debate. I do know there have been several about clergy, but I think I remember them being more about specific people than about the role of clergy, in general. I certainly can't think of any that discuss the pay scales or vacation schedules and the only one I can think of that discussed clothing was the Hooters one, but again, I think that was more about Hooters' policy than about the role of Hooters' waitresses.

I think it shows a profound disrespect for the profession to have it be constantly under scrutiny. I get questioning the curriculum, the openings/closings, and the general interaction of school employees with students. But, regarding this debate, I suppose that it's the business of the school system, the administration of the school, and the teachers and students of the school to know what's appropriate. I'm sure someone could look at my attire, which is pretty casual, and assume that I'm not professional. But, they likely have no idea how my classroom is run or how well or poorly the students learn from me, nor do they know that I dress more casually because we sing, dance, sit on the floor, play instruments and games, etc. I dress in the way that works for my job. Why should that be questioned by someone who is not in my classroom? I wouldn't question the dress of all lawyers based on what I saw on Ally McBeal. I wouldn't question the pay of all mayors because Baltimore's former mayor embezzled. I just don't get it. I really don't.

Yes, yes, yes!

b525's picture
Joined: 06/06/07
Posts: 298

"Beertje" wrote:

[...] I believe that it really depends on what the target audience is and what their goal is as to how a person should dress.

[...] Undercover cops [...] typically dress down and very casual to get information as they appear more approachable. Some teachers, may be purposefully dressing casually for this very reason as well.

Yes, I agree with this.

HeatherAnn817's picture
Joined: 05/28/04
Posts: 139

[HTML][/HTML]

"Alana*sMommy" wrote:

I can teach in jeans and sandals just as well (if not better) than I can teach in a skirt and heels. What I'm wearing doesn't affect my ability to teach, just my comfort level.

Absolutely, I think that can be true for some people! Others, maybe not. In reading the debate board for a while, you strike me as the kind of person who takes pride and time with her appearance whether wearing jeans or something else, so I don't doubt you at all. For some though, I can see starting the jeans and sandals as becoming a slippery slope to just not caring what they end up wearing, how they look, etc., which is a bad example for the kids in IMO and could (not always will) effect the quality of their teaching.

I know there are days when I just don't feel like getting dresses as soon as I get up, and I can honestly say, those days don't end up being very productive. For me, days when I just through on jeans and flip flops, I certainly don't feel as good as days when I put a little effort into dressing (even when jeans is the choice)! We try to get up and dressed first thing if possible.

My kids are in Kindergarten. I definitely don't think their teacher should have to be in skirts and heels all the time! She is on the floor many times throughout the day. I do like that she always looks like she put effort into her appearance.

boilermaker's picture
Joined: 08/21/02
Posts: 1984

"Beertje" wrote:

What is your idea of professional dressing and for you, does this perception apply for all white collar jobs? I also wonder about what outfits in particular teaches general life skills. Or is it more from the behaviors, body language, or demeanor a professional exhibits to command respect and be seen as an authority figure?

I think that professional dress varies widely by profession. I certainly don't think everyone should dress the same way for everything that they do. In terms of general life skills, I think that one can only benefit in their day to day life by being clean, wearing appropriate clothes, and taking a few minutes to focus on how they are presenting themselves. Whether it should matter or not, how you present yourself and how you are dressed matters to people. I think we help our students to understand that they will be judged by potential employers and adults based upon how they present themselves, and that teachers can help reinforce this message by dressing like professionals. Attire can command respect.

I think teaching is a profession and that it isn't unreasonable to expect teachers to dress the part (with clear exceptions for P.E. teachers and shop teachers, etc....) I don't expect much more than khakis and a tucked in polo- I really don't think that is too much to ask. Do you?

b525's picture
Joined: 06/06/07
Posts: 298

See, it's hard to quantify it. Khakis and a tucked-in polo might work for some. Most of my polos aren't meant to be tucked in and I'd look like a doofus if they were (my belly and butt hide a lot better when shirts aren't tucked in!). I know you were just giving an example of something more appropriate, but that's just it. You can't specify because times change, concepts of "appropriate" dress change, styles change. I don't think you can create a specific rule and then rule out some teachers. PE, obviously. Shop, obviously. I'd vote for elementary vocal/general music teachers to be exempted, too, but not the ones who have their kids sitting in chairs only singing for the entire period... Smile

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1683

When I think back over the years I was in K-12, I can only picture the way 3 teachers dressed. Seeing the same people day-in and day-out for that long really made them memorable for who they were, not what they wore.

As for the 3 or 4 teachers I can remember, one was straight out of college. She was a cheerleader for MSU and only 22 YO. She was quite a fashion plate. Another one wore Polo shirts almost daily. The other one wore a white, long-sleeved, button-down shirt, black pants, and a tie.

Other than that, I can remember random outfits here and there, but not in any great detail.

ftmom's picture
Joined: 09/04/06
Posts: 1538

"Beertje" wrote:

Undercover cops give a great example as well. They typically dress down and very casual to get information as they appear more approachable.

Just a note on this, undercover cops dress as whatever they are undercover as, a business man or a hooker, I dint think this is a good example. However, if you mean a plain clothes police man, here they do have a dress code. My husband has to dress in nicer clothes (ie. khakis and a button down shirt).

As to the original question, I think that on the playground and in the gym flip flops can be a safety concern, however, I dont see the harm the rest of the time.

SoxyToo's picture
Joined: 03/19/10
Posts: 44

"b525" wrote:

Are there other professions that get questioned about every single aspect of what they do? Since I've been on the debate board, there have been debates about so many teacher-related things - pay, vacation, clothing, discipline, classroom management, role of teacher, should there be more/less scrutiny, etc.

...I think it shows a profound disrespect for the profession to have it be constantly under scrutiny...Why should that be questioned by someone who is not in my classroom? I just don't get it. I really don't.

AMEN!!!!!! My favorite quote: "Those who can teach. Those who cannot pass laws about teaching."

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1533

I think that the socio-economic environment plays a huge role in how a teacher dresses. My Dh used to wear khakis and button down shirts everyday. He changed over to a school in a very poor community with a large population of migrant workers kids and he seemed very unapproachable in that attire. Now he wears jeans and polos and the kids feel more comfortable with him. I think most of the kids had never encountered anyone that dressed liked him before.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3183

I agree that this board has a LOT of rules for teachers!!!

I am not a formal person and I don't think there should be rules for it. A smart teacher knows how his/her dress affects the students and a smart principal steps in if necessary. I hate flip flops on everyone so I think they should be banned across the board anyway, but I wear jeans & sneakers to my job every day (and I'm a Senior Director) and wouldn't find that inappropriate at all for teachers.

Joined: 11/28/06
Posts: 848

"ftmom" wrote:

Just a note on this, undercover cops dress as whatever they are undercover as, a business man or a hooker, I dint think this is a good example. However, if you mean a plain clothes police man, here they do have a dress code. My husband has to dress in nicer clothes (ie. khakis and a button down shirt).

As to the original question, I think that on the playground and in the gym flip flops can be a safety concern, however, I dont see the harm the rest of the time.

A safety concern for the teachers? How so? When I take my kiddos to the playground I typically sit on a bench in the shade and watch them run around and interact with each other. I'm not up playing hopscotch or tag so my sandals aren't an issue.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

"Alana*sMommy" wrote:

A safety concern for the teachers? How so? When I take my kiddos to the playground I typically sit on a bench in the shade and watch them run around and interact with each other. I'm not up playing hopscotch or tag so my sandals aren't an issue.

Not to mention ~ It isn't like the school mandates wearing flip flops. I would think that any teacher who was injured in a flip flop wearing incident would be solely to blame and would accept the responsibility for choosing to wear flip flops. I can't see how the school would be liable for something that the teacher chose to wear.

I think that every workplace has the right to determine appropriate dress for its employees. Teachers are employees, just like everyone else. I don't care what my kids teachers wear, as long as they are good teachers. This year my sons preschool teachers were about 40, gorgeous, and I was jealous of their wardrobe. Very fashionable. They frequently wore flip flop/sandal style shoes. I wear them all day every day in spring summer and fall and manage to not harm myself while taking care of my three children........can't see why teachers can't be trusted to do the same?

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1683

You don't realize how much time you spend on your feet walking around until you wear the wrong shoes. I have seen teachers wear heels only to think how much their feet must hate them. But I don't know of anyone who would say heels are unprofessional. They do look professional and nice, but aren't very functional in teaching.

Most of the teacher's footwear that I notice are tennis shoes/gym shoes (not sure what you call them). Even some of the female principals wear tennis shoes with stockings and a nice suit or skirt & blouse. It looks funny to me but function before fashion.

ftmom's picture
Joined: 09/04/06
Posts: 1538

"Alana*sMommy" wrote:

A safety concern for the teachers? How so? When I take my kiddos to the playground I typically sit on a bench in the shade and watch them run around and interact with each other. I'm not up playing hopscotch or tag so my sandals aren't an issue.

"Potter75" wrote:

Not to mention ~ It isn't like the school mandates wearing flip flops. I would think that any teacher who was injured in a flip flop wearing incident would be solely to blame and would accept the responsibility for choosing to wear flip flops. I can't see how the school would be liable for something that the teacher chose to wear.

I think that every workplace has the right to determine appropriate dress for its employees. Teachers are employees, just like everyone else. I don't care what my kids teachers wear, as long as they are good teachers. This year my sons preschool teachers were about 40, gorgeous, and I was jealous of their wardrobe. Very fashionable. They frequently wore flip flop/sandal style shoes. I wear them all day every day in spring summer and fall and manage to not harm myself while taking care of my three children........can't see why teachers can't be trusted to do the same?

I dont mean a safety concern just for the teacher. I was at a playground the other day and a parent had left her older child on the other side of the playground (a good distance away) and was supervising the youngers closer. The older child slipped on the monkey bars and was hanging upside down without a good grip and mom had to run all the way over to grab her. Due to wearing flip flops she commented afterwards that she sure couldnt run very fast in them. Not to mention that mom could have twisted her ankle on the way and everybody would have been screwed.

Here teachers supervise the playgrounds during recess and before and after school. During those times I think it is important that teachers be able to move quickly and flip flops dont support that.

And I am not worried about liability, I am worried about the childrens welfare.

Joined: 11/28/06
Posts: 848

"ftmom" wrote:

I dont mean a safety concern just for the teacher. I was at a playground the other day and a parent had left her older child on the other side of the playground (a good distance away) and was supervising the youngers closer. The older child slipped on the monkey bars and was hanging upside down without a good grip and mom had to run all the way over to grab her. Due to wearing flip flops she commented afterwards that she sure couldnt run very fast in them. Not to mention that mom could have twisted her ankle on the way and everybody would have been screwed.

Here teachers supervise the playgrounds during recess and before and after school. During those times I think it is important that teachers be able to move quickly and flip flops dont support that.

And I am not worried about liability, I am worried about the childrens welfare.

Do you wear tennis shoes when your children are in your care? I mean, all the time because you never know when one of them might need you and you'll have to run to their aid.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

Right. I wear flip flops or sandals every day all day in the summer. I don't think that that is negligent or unsafe.

culturedmom's picture
Joined: 09/30/06
Posts: 1131

"Alana*sMommy" wrote:

Do you wear tennis shoes when your children are in your care? I mean, all the time because you never know when one of them might need you and you'll have to run to their aid.

Yeah, there is a big difference between the likelyhood of your 2 kids needing you to run to their aid while your at the store or around the house adn the likelyhood of a teacher having to run to the aid of a class of 22 kids that are in her care for 6 hours at a time. if I was taking my kids to the park, I probably would wear tennis shoes (and I make my children wear them as well) because that would be appropriate attire for that scenario.

The fact is that flip flops are not meant for running and wearing for long lengths of time. They are not constructed in a durable way to be used as walking/running/long term shoes. period. Not to mention if you ask any foot doctor around they will tell you that long term use of flip flops cause knee, foot, and back pain and are actually health hazards.

http://www.cbsatlanta.com/health/20041814/detail.html

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/SummerSizzle/story?id=3505928&page=1

http://www.hss.edu/newsroom_flip-flops-long-term-health-problems.asp

Also, the fact that they are not for use other then lounging at the pool or beach or the quick errand run, I think is another reason teacher's should be modelling healthy habits for kids.

I really don't get why you are so adamant about not realizing that flip flops were made for a specific purpose. If you choose to wear them inappropriately, then so be it, but atleast admit it and not argue against facts. They are not appropriate attire for work when your work day is 7 to 8 hours long and you are incahrge of the safety of a large group of kids and you need to be mobile and active. Just like you wouldn't wear a ball gown or 6 inch heels, I hope.

culturedmom's picture
Joined: 09/30/06
Posts: 1131

"Potter75" wrote:

Right. I wear flip flops or sandals every day all day in the summer. I don't think that that is negligent or unsafe.

Melis, the point isn't about wearing them all day during the summer but wearing them to work all day when you are on your feet indoors and outdoors taking care of a group of kids in various situations. You really think flip flops are appropriate for that?

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

"culturedmom" wrote:

Melis, the point isn't about wearing them all day during the summer but wearing them to work all day when you are on your feet indoors and outdoors taking care of a group of kids in various situations. You really think flip flops are appropriate for that?

Would I wear them if I was on my feet all day every day? Maybe. My Mephistos or Chacos or the like. Sure. I love them and don't believe for a hot second that they pose a health hazard to me. I'm wearing them right now in fact (My chacos). My children seem pretty safe to me.

I think that the whole "flip flops are WAYYYY to dangerous to ones health and we need to protect teachers from themselves" argument is just silly.

ftmom's picture
Joined: 09/04/06
Posts: 1538

"Alana*sMommy" wrote:

Do you wear tennis shoes when your children are in your care? I mean, all the time because you never know when one of them might need you and you'll have to run to their aid.

Of course not. I actually hate wearing any type of shoes so am frequently barefoot:p

However, I think there is a huge difference between being out with my two children who I can stay close to and being out supervising 200+ children who are spread out over the entire school grounds with only one other teacher. I can think of many reasons you would need to run in that situation, and in fact have.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1683

"ftmom" wrote:

Of course not. I actually hate wearing any type of shoes so am frequently barefoot:p

However, I think there is a huge difference between being out with my two children who I can stay close to and being out supervising 200+ children who are spread out over the entire school grounds with only one other teacher. I can think of many reasons you would need to run in that situation, and in fact have.

Would you also be against teachers wearing heels or other dress shoes? How about skirts/dresses because that could pose a hazard trying to run after 200 students?

culturedmom's picture
Joined: 09/30/06
Posts: 1131

"Potter75" wrote:

Would I wear them if I was on my feet all day every day? Maybe. My Mephistos or Chacos or the like. Sure. I love them and don't believe for a hot second that they pose a health hazard to me. I'm wearing them right now in fact (My chacos). My children seem pretty safe to me.

I think that the whole "flip flops are WAYYYY to dangerous to ones health and we need to protect teachers from themselves" argument is just silly.

Really is that my arguement? I think my arguement has been that flip flops have a time and place just like most clothing and IMO teaching in a school is not one of them for various reasons. My health argument was just one part, and at no time did I say any of the bolded.

I don't know what a Chacos or a Mephistos is but I wore Birks for years. I see a big difference between a sandal (usually costs more and meant for long term wear) and a flip flop (made of plastic and used for the pool).

Sandal.....

Flip Flop....

Just like there is a difference between a dress and a beach cover up or shorts and boxers.

culturedmom's picture
Joined: 09/30/06
Posts: 1131

"ethanwinfield" wrote:

Would you also be against teachers wearing heels or other dress shoes? How about skirts/dresses because that could pose a hazard trying to run after 200 students?

I guess it would depend on thekind of heel adn the kind of skirt. I mean why are y'all not realizing that there are different types of clothing and some are appropriate for certain things and some are not? I really don't get it.

Let's see....

OK for school....

Not OK for school...

If an adult can't tell the difference then they shoudl not be teaching children.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

http://www.google.com/#q=mephisto+flip+flop&hl=en&prmd=ivns&source=univ&tbm=shop&tbo=u&sa=X&ei=EPbrTYSQBcX40gHcwvWqAQ&ved=0CIcBEK0E&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=cf1feeb1c9998749&biw=1280&bih=615

Mephisto flip flop

Chaco flip flop

http://www.google.com/#q=chaco+flip+flop&hl=en&prmd=ivns&source=univ&tbm=shop&tbo=u&sa=X&ei=UPbrTZ--POHq0QGQ45ycAQ&ved=0CIIBEK0E&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=cf1feeb1c9998749&biw=1280&bih=615

And I apologize, I must have misunderstood your argument. I thought that when you posted those articles on the health dangers of flip flops you were saying that they were too unsafe for teachers health to wear. I mean, by that argument we should ban teachers from eating french fries or from smoking on their off hours. Glad that that isn't what you were saying.

Pages

Log in or register to post comments