Friday, December 07, 2007


I wore jeans to work today.

Got your jaw back in your head?

O.k., I know that most of you do not realize that it has been YEARS since I have worn jeans to work. I think the last time I did it was before Squidette was born.

Over the years, my working wardrobe has slowly gotten more and more formal to the point where I almost wish I had enough suits to wear one every day. The older I get, the less I want to be casual in my work place. There is a certain distance I want to have between me and the kids, and me and my staff.

Why? Because I find that when students get too comfortable with a teacher, they assume that they can do things that are not allowed, like whip out a cell phone or assume privileges to which they are not entitled. Yes, even my knitters eventually reach this point. That said, it only takes a look to return things, with a smile, to their proper order.

When I first became an Assistant Principal, it bothered me that teachers and support staff would call me Mrs. Squid. While we are a "traditional" school and use Mr and Ms with the students, we do call each other by our first names if not in the presence of kids. Over the years, though, it has become normal to just call everyone Mr and Ms and only use first names occasionally. While I miss the camaraderie that first names imply, I only rarely mind the formality that Mr and Ms imply. After 16 years I have very few personal friends in the school and with those I use Mr and Ms almost teasingly.

Interesting, I meant this to be an explanation of why I wore jeans and instead wound up reflecting on the place of formality in a school setting. Hm ...

So what are your feelings regarding how dress governs attitude? (Oh, and I did were full "work" make up and a school T shirt over a turtleneck to make a "uniform"despite the jeans. And shiney earrings that Squidette gave me, for a little "bling.")


michaele said...

I dress up when I teach for two reasons: 1) to get into character (I take it mre seriously when it feel like it is special), and 2) because I like dressing up. After years of trying to wear suits to impress students with my authority, I dropped that. I get carded regularly at age 34 - there's nothing I can do with mere clothes to convince students that I belong at the front of the class - all that has to come from my personality and my way of handling the class. I would find it insulting if colleagues of mine taught in jeans and beer t-shirts - it would make me feel that they aren't taking their jobs seriously. But I teach in a nice pair of jeans, heels, and a dressy top/jacket. There are sloppy jeans and dressy jeans.

Dave Daniels of Cabin Cove said...

Yes, it's true that how you dress dictates the relationship you have with those around you. And not just children/adults, but coworkers. If you dress "nicely", you tend to get more respect. Casual=casual attitudes.

Paul said...

I CANNOT go to school dressed casually. I MUST starch and iron the shirt, match the tie, and the socks have to match the pants (there are rules, you know!). It's not only healthy, it's the law! I just feel more presentable when I'm dressed up thn when I'm in jeans and a sweater or sweatshirt. I think I'm one of 3 men who wear a tie on a daily basis (not counting administrators).

Anonymous said...

I taught kindergarten. I wore things that washed easily and I could get down on the floor with the kids --- usually khakis and a school logo polo shirt.

When I moved into the business world I was in a "typically male" job -- I was teaching men how not to get re-injured on the job. It was a burly-guy factory making insulation, so I took great pains NOT to look feminine. I needed to look like I could handle my job AND the men who didn't want to listen. It was the khaki pants, a company logo polo shirt, but with the addition of steel toe shoes. The steel toe shoes MADE the outfit.