I Admit to Being a Badly Dressed Teacher


teacher dress

I tried to dress formally in the beginning stages of my career. I would front up to school in a shirt and tie and black leather shoes, but I just couldn’t keep it up. It felt awkward and uncomfortable and it was starting to effect my teaching.

Yes, I often teach in a pair of black casual pants, polo shirt and runners, but I feel comfortable doing so. I am not one of those teachers who sits at his desk all day and only tends to students who are prepared to trek to the teacher’s desk. I am constantly on my feet and shifting from desk to desk. Those black leather shoes were causing me to sit down too often because of the strain on my feet, and the tie simply got in the kids’ faces when I bent over to read their work.

When I made the change I felt less presentable, but rejuvenated all the same.

A report has recently condemned teachers for being too scruffy. I suppose they are in effect criticising me:

Teachers at a secondary school have been criticised in an Ofsted report for dressing too scruffily, the first in Britain to be reprimanded in a drive to raise dress standards in the classroom.

Some teachers at Acland Burghley School in Camden, North London were singled out for wearing clothes that were “too casual” and risked undermining standards, the inspectors said.

After a visit to the comprehensive, which specialises in the arts, they warned that the teachers’ failure to dress smartly could have a negative effect upon pupils’ work.

The school, which does not require pupils to wear a uniform, has been classed as “requiring improvement” and been under extra scrutiny since a full inspection in September.

In a letter to head teacher Jo Armitage, inspector Mark Phillips wrote that he was particularly disappointed by the failure of many staff to dress smartly in order to inspire pupils.

Mr Phillips, whose letter appeared after a follow-up monitoring visit, said: “Students are not required to wear school uniform. Some staff take your lead and dress in a business-like fashion.

“However, in other cases, teachers’ attire is too casual and does not promote high professional standards or expectations.”

Ofsted’s first move to improve dress standards was launched last month.

It plans to overhaul inspections of teacher training to include focussing on teachers’ clothes, conduct in the classroom and ability to control badly behaved pupils. Ofsted said it wants “professional dress and conduct” in the classroom.

The report on Acland Burghley School also criticised the way that students answer back and use bad language.

Ms Armitage has already announced she is standing down in August and governors are currently recruiting for a new head teacher.


Click on the link to read How Should Teachers Dress?

Click on the link to read Teachers in Uniform?

Click on the link to read If Schools Care Then They Must Prove It

Click on the link to read Kids as Young as 3 are Getting Tutors



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One Response to “I Admit to Being a Badly Dressed Teacher”

  1. kedavis99 Says:

    I was just thinking about teacher dress today as it’s parent teacher conferences in my building. It seems if you go to a building on an ordinary day you see teachers in comfortable but nice clothes. Lots of khakis or colored denim but on conference days they dress up a lot more. I know the idea is to look professional but I wonder if it’s necessary and I wonder if it doesn’t intimidate some parents. I do believe there should be standards but as long as the clothing is appropriate length and coverage it should be ok.

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