Professional Dress - What's it mean?

Avatar for coloradomom2b
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Professional Dress - What's it mean?
15
Fri, 08-18-2006 - 10:48pm

I work at a Private Catholic School. (k-9) Students have a strict dress code. One parent in our school is throwing a fit about teachers not having to wear the strict dress code also. So, our principal is asking us to "define" our teacher professional dress code. What is acceptable or not acceptable, do you think, for teachers? Dresses? Skirts? Shorts? Long pants? Flip Flops? Open toed shoes? Short pants/capris/cropped pants? Denim anything? Sleeveless shirts? Bra straps showing? Tucked in shirts or not?

Oh, one more question. All of the girls at the school are required to wear skirts or dresses on Friday for Church. Should the female teachers be held to this rule too?

Thanks! I'm interested to hear what everyone has to say on this topic!
Tamie

Feb 09 Siggy

Pages

Avatar for luvmyevan
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2003
Sat, 08-19-2006 - 9:13am

I've taught in both Catholic and public schools. Definitely things were more formal in the Catholic school as far as dress, but we had no "code". I just did what everyone else was doing. Definitely no sleeveless tops (no matter how wide the shoulders are), no open-toed sandals, and follow what the girls are doing -- if they're wearing skirts on Friday, women teachers should do the same.

It's a whole different atmosphere than public schools.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-24-2003
Sat, 08-19-2006 - 11:33am

Interesting topic! In one of my past schools, a HS,

Sherry

 

Avatar for caraleas
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-06-1997
Sat, 08-19-2006 - 8:26pm

I teach at a public middle school that went to "uniforms" for students last school year. It is not actually a uniform so much as a very specific dress code. Students wear khaki (Docker-style) pants, skirts or walking shorts, with navy, white or black polos. They can wear 1/4 zip or crew-neck school sweatshirts, but must have a collared polo or turtleneck on underneath.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-03-2004
Sun, 08-20-2006 - 12:20am

I'd say jeans, shorts,


crazy

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Sun, 08-20-2006 - 9:53am

I think that if the girls are required to wear skirts/dresses for church on Friday, female teachers should, too. But, I do also believe that there are some things teachers CAN do that students shouldn't be able to, as well.

Our school just relaxed our dress code and I really can't say that I think it's a positive move. No sleeveless, but we can now wear capris/crops and backless/toeless shoes as long as they are not thong-style.

We have been allowed to wear sneakers, which I went out and bought a pair of all black sneakers to look more like work shoes, but still have the support and comfort that I need. I have several pairs of "dressier" work shoes, but they are all so uncomfortable for my arches and back.

The students have uniforms parish-wide (khaki bottoms, navy or white tops). At our school, teachers have "uniforms" as well, but they are optional. Each year, they choose 5 colors and have polos embroidered in each color which coincides with a different day each week. This year, we have pink for Monday, maroon (school color) for Tuesday, black for Wed, turquoise for Thurs, and navy for Friday. We can wear other clothes, but it looks really nice to see a bunch of teachers with the same colors on (some teachers even opt to just wear a different type of shirt in the suggested color). Of course, last year when we had RED, that was pretty scary to see a bunch of red coming at you.

This is a little off the topic, but I didn't spend the $10 in gas to drive up on ordering day, so I found out the colors and bought my own and took them to a local embroidery shop that was suggested by another teacher who had used them in the past. Found out later that another teacher ONLY gets hers from there. I spent $70 on the 4 shirts I bought and had the maroon from last year that I paid $20 for. The shirts ordered from the company the school used ranged from $27.99 to $34.99 EACH.

Now to answer your questions. I think if you are comfortable in dresses and skirts for teaching, I feel those are usually professional, depending on the style (I'm not comfortable in dresses/skirts, but wouldn't be able to handle the shoes...same reason I won't wear capris/crops). Shorts and flip flops, absolutely not. (Shorts for PE teachers are acceptable at our schools, though.) Open-toed/open-heeled are dangerous, but many do look professional. Denim depends on the style-I've seen lots of professional-looking denim. Sleeveless shirts/undergarments showing--absolutely not professional. Shirts tucked in or not depends. Some people look better with them tucked in, some not. Had this issue when pregnant not working at a school. I was EXPECTED to tuck my shirt in and have a vest that didn't even reach the pants. I looked like Tweedledum, so I refused and told my boss (male) why.

Now going to the drinks/food issue. I guess I am hypocritical because I do drink water in class (I would lose my voice if I didn't) and I also suck on sugar-free candies also for my throat, but also my breath (who wants stinky teacher breath when working closely with students). On Tuesdays, during my planning period, I have a snack at my desk because it's my duty day. There's another class in my classroom at that time, so I feel bad about it, but if they weren't in my class, I'd be doing it anyway. I think I might take it to the lounge from now on, though (we've only had one Tues so far). Some teachers drink canned drinks in class. But the school has a "no food or drinks" rule for the students, so I make them follow that rule. But, they do have the opportunity to get water between classes, teachers CANNOT leave their doorways.

Alysha


Avatar for coloradomom2b
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Sun, 08-20-2006 - 10:59am

Alysha - I've always had trouble with my feet too. It's one of the reasons that I also don't wear dresses. At the recommendation of a friend, I finally broke down and bought a pair of Danskos. They have great arch support, and my feet feel GREAT all the time now. They are expensive, but they are well worth it. I've been told that the clog styles will last you *years*, so they are worth the $120 you will spend. You can see all of their styles on Dansko dot com. Not all of the styles fit the same, though, so I would definitely try them on in a store before going online to purchase. For instance, the clog style heel will fit differently than the bay side heel (click on the tech and materials link to see). I just bought two pairs over the internet this summer for the price I would have paid for one. (sierratradingpost.com). They have great prices if you aren't picky about what you are looking for.

Just thought I'd share the tip. (I still am not comfortable in dresses, though! LOL!)

Tamie

Feb 09 Siggy

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Sun, 08-20-2006 - 11:10am

Thanks Tamie. I'll look into that. I still have another good year in the shoes I bought last year, so I probably won't buy again until next year.

I'm the same way with dresses...it's not just the shoes, but just the dress itself...especially for those who like to get on the floor with the students (not much of an issue in the middle schools...lol).

Alysha


iVillage Member
Registered: 07-14-2005
Sun, 08-20-2006 - 2:21pm

I guess I'm more of the "old school" where dresses/suits were the more professional attire. I generally feel more uncomfortable in pants at work - & I'm a jeans & Tee/cut-offs & tank, & Birkenstock gal at home - still...

Of course I graduated HS 35 yrs ago where girls were not even allowed to wear pants (think tailored & cords here) to school, plus we went to church fairly regularly growing up & back then that meant we dressed up in dresses to go - not todays just show up in whatever... I also spent many years working in the office environment starting in the early 70's when pantsuits were just becoming acceptable - but always w/nylons - no bare legs or toes.

Our kids are all uniforms now. Elementary thru jr hi all require the khakis - pants, shorts or skorts - above the knee, "fingertip" length, that are tailored to the normal waistline, as well as the collared polo-style school shirt & have even gone to the required school sweatshirt or windbreaker for over-wear in the buildings. The HS's require the school Tees or polos & over-wear, but the students still have control over their pants, shorts, skirts as far as denim, cord, color etc. - other than the regs for not over one size larger, the length thing (basically for the girls who think short-shorts w/what used to be the waistline now hitting their hipbones & exposing a thong underneath is OK - etc...no sagging waistlines, belts, chains, etc... They don't necessarily enforce the tuck in the shirt - but don't allow undershirts to hang below the shirt line (& color of undershirts is also controlled). That's just a quick breakdown as someone else mentioned - they do get pretty nit-picky w/the details...

Anyway - teachers are left w/a pretty open definition of professional, & no denim jeans w/the exception of payday Friday where they are OK w/the school polo only. Shoe policy is no flip flops or open backed. I'm not a polo shirt wearer ever, so I don't partake of jeans day at school, but several of our teachers don't seem to take to the polo school shirt part of that equation either - & it appears haven't been called on it too harshly sooo far - tho it has been addressed more than a couple times... A few of our women teachers at the jr hi wear shorts regularly. Personally I don't think shorts look at all "professional" even if they're the walking short (fingertip) length - but then those women look far more professional in their shorts & tennis shoes than another teacher who has been there for years & regularly looks like she's dressing from a teen magazine - body-hugging, too low cut, too short, platforms & high-heeled shoes, lots of jewelry, etc... & doesn't necessarily look "professional" in her style of dress either. Nothing has been put in writing about no sleeveless - (of course we live where it remains in the triple digits a good 4 months out of the year so I do believe common sense prevails w/that one - other than no showing of cleavage or undergarments. Many sleeveless tops & dresses have appropriately cut modest necklines & armholes that work very well for professional looking tops & dresses. And, even many w/not so modestly cut necklines or armholes come w/cap sleeved jackets or shrugs to be worn over so you don't see those parts of the garment or what's under it.

What it boils down to for me is professional for teachers is what sets a good example for the kids - be it how to wear shorts, capris, pants, or dresses or skirts in a "conservative" style. Not overly provocative, suggestive of going to dinner or the cocktail party, or adult social gathering, but looks to show some respect (as in dressing up a notch) for yourself & those around you - neat, clean, & "respectable". I mostly wear dresses or skirts for work - & generally those that hit mid-calf length, tho I do have a few that hit just above the knee also. I do wear denim skirts, jumpers, or dresses occasionally also. Most are sleeveless or short sleeved & in the winter I add a short jacket or light shrug/short sweater over. For me there's also a bit of comfort factor in being able to move freely amongst seated adolescents moreso in a dress/skirt than in pants - I'm not really sure where that came from (maybe I just feel more covered), but anyway.... I have gotten over the need to wear nylons as it's just too hot here. In the summer I do wear open toed flat sandals & in the Winter I wear black closed flats. Not much of a fashion statement, but I really wish I could wear my Birkenstocks as my legs tend to ache at the end of the day from the standing & walking around the room. When I do wear pants or capris they generally tend to the tailored, fitted styles, w/sweaters or tunic style blouses. I sometimes wear clogs - but then they don't have a strap on the back either - tho they look like boots from the part that is visible. Some our our teachers are regularly in tennis shoes - for their foot & leg support. We usually have at least one male teacher who regularly sports button down shirts & a tie, but most are regularly in dockers or khakis & a polo or casual short-sleeved button-up.

Yes there does need to be a dress code for teachers as there always has been for people who work w/people - but we also need to be respected to be responsible adults & it shouldn't come down to requiring us to look like our students in the same uniforms, etc...kind of thing. Kin dof rambly I know but hope it makes sense.

Photobucket
Avatar for luvmyevan
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2003
Mon, 08-21-2006 - 9:30am
Much of the dress you describe for elementary would have never been permissable in the elementary Catholic school I taught in. SHe really needs to get in there and see what the other teachers wear, ask them. It's really very different than public school.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-24-2003
Mon, 08-21-2006 - 4:21pm

I was describing both public and private schools. One of my friends teaches in a Catholic school and can wear anything I described as acceptable. I've had several grad students who taught in Catholic schools. They

Sherry

 

Pages