Sunday, July 28, 2013

Dressing On The Side

Welcome to day forty-something of wearing shorts and sandals. That's right, I'm on summer vacation and I'm doing everything I can to work through my vast and considerable T-shirt collection. What happens if I have to go somewhere that they require socks? I will avoid it, I expect. That's because I have earned it. One hundred and eighty days a year I show up in uniform, or what amounts to it. When I first started teaching, our school required students to show up every day in white shirts and blue or khaki pants. I say "required" because we probably had more than half the kids buying in, but the rest continued to wear whatever clothes their parents didn't stop them from going out of the house in. As a sign of solidarity, and being an eternally good sport, I decided to put together a closet full of "work clothes" that essentially mimicked the blue and khaki wardrobe that the school district requirements of the short people.
Over the years, I've added a few new colors to the palette, but mostly blue shirts and tan pants get me through the school year. Most of my colleagues follow suit, with a few exceptions. It's the professional thing to do, after all. But there is nobody telling the guy down the hall that the jeans and untucked shirt will get him any sort of demerits. Not when he's teaching a room full of first graders that will contain at least one minorly objectionable T-shirt slogan each day. And some of those women who show up at the end of the year in their sandals. Scandal. Ultimately, it was the priorities of education that made a dress code less important. What the kids were learning became the focus rather than what they were wearing, and the same could be said of those at the front of the classroom as well.
In West Virginia, if state senator Ed Bowman has his way, teacher's dress will need to be up to code.
“I know that from observation, and from others’ observation, that the dress of some of our school teachers throughout the schools in West Virginia, to say the least, is questionable,” Bowman said. “I really believe the teachers are someone that students really look up to and they model themselves after the teacher.” No more sweat pant. No more boots. I guess I'm hoping they are clever enough to stay away from requiring suits and ties on men or women, but I do wonder how this is going to help test scores. Then again, I pretty much fell in line without having anyone put a chalk-dust-filled eraser to my head. For now, however, I'm going to let my nominal freak flag fly. I'll be wearing socks come August 26. Have no fear.

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