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Sexism in dress policy?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by pinkflipflop, Jan 16, 2011.

  1. In our school we certainly can't wear whatever we like. There are certain rules.
    As for the men, I think I have only ever seen them in shirts and ties when it is parents evening.
     
  2. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I wore less "dressy" clothes in reception because most days saw me covered in paint, mud or something worse but overall staff dress "professionally" and small children are just as happy to wipe their nose on your best designer suit as on your Asda jeans.
     
  3. As a student teacher i always go into school dressed smartly as i believe it makes a better impression. Children look up to their teacher and so i feel we have a responsibility to show them how to dress appropriately. We expect children to look smart, so we should set the example no matter what sex.
     
  4. There is a dress code for women too...I certainly can't wear what I like! Jeans and hoodies are a certain no no no and would be my preferred dress :) We are expected to wear smart clothes, no low cut tops or low riding trousers etc etc. I always wear black trousers (Matalan Specials!) and a shirt from Dotties, New Look or the like. Men are expected to wear, trousers, shirt (with or without tie although in most cases its with) or smart polo shirt - which I think is completely reasonable.
     
  5. There is a dress code for women too...I certainly can't wear what I like! Jeans and hoodies are a certain no no no and would be my preferred dress :) We are expected to wear smart clothes, no low cut tops or low riding trousers etc etc. I always wear black trousers (Matalan Specials!) and a shirt from Dotties, New Look or the like. Men are expected to wear, trousers, shirt (with or without tie although in most cases its with) or smart polo shirt - which I think is completely reasonable. I agree with you Natalie28. As with any job, you should look smart, clean and fit for work!
     
  6. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I would say without a shadow of a doubt that the male classroom teachers in my school are far more scruffily dressed than the female ones.

    The head and deputy tend to wear suits (and don't appear to intimidate any age of child) but two of the other three could be off to the garden centre as much as to work. The third generally wears trousers and a shirt, but not always a tie.

    The women vary from the 'off to the garden centre' level of smartness to full blown 'off to court' suits.

    We do have a dress code that forbids things like jeans, leggings, low cut tops, etc. Which is far more restrictive for women than for men really.

    I suppose the only sexist thing about dress at our school is that both genders can wear trousers, but men would probably have some explaining to do if they wore a skirt! :)
     
  7. I did a research project on perceptions of dress in a working environment and what emerged was that although people have clear ideas about what impression is given by what clothing, they tend to have different ideas about what impression is given by what clothing.
    When I started teaching, most schools wouldn't allow women teachers to wear trousers, which seemed really stupid in light of the fact that we spent a considerable amount of our time standing on chairs (displays), sitting on the floor and crawling under cupboards to retrieve missing items etc.
    I have no problem with dress codes, but it seems reasonable to expect some sort of rationale to it, preferably one agreed to by the staff. It's not really very helpful to expect 'smart' or 'professional' if staff have different ideas as to what constitutes smart or professional and conflicting ideas about what the children think of it.
    Since there seems to be little evidence about the effects of school uniform on behaviour, perhaps staff could wear school uniform too. [​IMG]
     
  8. I wear smart trousers and a smart shirt with a white tee underneath, no tie. On PE day I wear tracksuit bottoms and a polo-shirt. I've never had anything said to me about what I wear, it doesn't affect my ability.
     
  9. Milgod

    Milgod Established commenter

    There will usually be a lot of women that react badly to the OP.

    'We can't wear what we like'
    'Our dress code is just as strict as men's'

    etc.
    The fact is although women can't wear anything they like they have a much wider range to choose from. Our school isn't too bad compared to some - we don't have to wear a tie and we can wear PE kit some days. It still isn't great though. I hate wearing shirt and trousers and wish I had a wider choice (or women had a smaller one [​IMG]) but it won't happen. We aren't allowed to wear jeans on a mufti day which I think is a bit extreme.
    Women can wear trousers (of varying styles), skirts (of varying styles), a huge range in the type of tops they wear.
    I would be happy with a school uniform. An easy polo shirt would feel a lot better than a buttoned shirt to me.
     
  10. paulie86

    paulie86 New commenter

    I wear a shirt adn smart trouser usually with some form of jumper in the winter as my school can be *** cold. I have not worn a tie for 2 years now. All of the other men at my school do. I work in a middle school and staff in general tend to look smarter than our frist school counter parts. (The men in our first schools always look very casual) After the initail shock and comments, no one has mentioned it again. I did have a bit of argument with one female menber of stass :she argued that men must wear ties I disagreed! Upon asking how she would feel if she was made to wear a cravat (sp?) every day my argument was won!
     
  11. Milgod

    Milgod Established commenter

    Agreed. How is wearing a suit to teach Primary education (or secondary for that matter) appropriate? I'm not trying to create an image to win a court case here. I want to teach. We can look smart without having to dress the way many do now.
     
  12. paulie86

    paulie86 New commenter

    I think that is exactly the point many of our female teachers wear t-shirt tops, which I know I woudln't get away with. A female head of Key Stage (non teaching, not that, that should make a difference) wears polo tshirt regularly.
     
  13. It's definitely my case that there is an issue with the perception of appropriate in schools. I consider shirt tie and trousers to be restrictive and a hindrance to the job.

    By no means would jeans be suitable. I think the general observation is that women can have a large range of appropriate clothes to wear in relation to that of men.
     
  14. NQT1986

    NQT1986 Occasional commenter

    Absolutely, although this is true outside of work, too.
    Male teachers in my primary only really wear shirts on special occasions or parent consultations. They usually wear polo shirts and chino type trousers.
     
  15. I would take issue with the "more restrictive for men than women" idea because I have worked in schools where women may NOT wear trousers; and in fact, there is a group of schools in Calgary, AB where women may not wear shorts or capris, or shoes without nylons or socks, but long pants or knee-length or longer skirts. Nylons are practically torture! As well, I teach in a school where the students wear uniforms (which is quite unusual for Canada) and there was some discussion among our board to a) make the teachers wear the uniform too, and b) make the female teachers wear skirts with nylons, and no trousers. They were told in no uncertain terms that if this became so, every single one of us would refuse to supervise outside ever again. (It's been hovering between -15 to -35celsius here every day since the New Year.) The idea was then abandoned...
     
  16. In a previous school I turned up one day in a designer roll neck/jumper combo and was admonished by the head for not wearing a tie - rather he sent his deputy as he was too cowardly. I complained that there was no dress code for female staff who appeared to range from smart formal to leopard print jeans! Most staff, including females, agreed with me; one said the reason she dressed like she did i.e. jeans etc. was becuse she could get away with it! Mind you, the standard of some male staff's attire, despite being in 'code', was deplorable - scruffy beyond belief; they looked worse than any of the female staff at the school. Personally, I believe in setting a minimum standard as it sets a good example i.e. polo shirt/chinos combo is acceptable particularly in hotter climes!
     
  17. I wear a shirt and trousers (although lately I have been wearing black canvas trousers which are a bit more hard wearing). I don't have to wear a tie, in summer it gets quite hot in the ICT suite where I am based. I even thought about arriving in a summer dress one hot day just to prove a point! But women do have a much wider choice. They always look tidy but summer dresses/skirts & blouses etc are (I'm sure), much nicer to wear than shirts and trousers.
    Some of the women look as though they are going for an evening stroll by the beach and that's fine but there isn't much choice for men, just shirts and tidy trousers.
     
  18. I don't think you're being frivolous at all. Schools vary and the best advice is to check with each school ahead of time so you know what's expected. As a headteacher in Northern Ireland, my only stipulation is that teachers look professional. You say that pupils 'recoil and are wary' of teachers who dress formally, but that isn't my experience - it's more about your personality - now that can really make children recoil! Also, if children aren't used to people dressing formally, it's great that they see someone dressed more formally isn't scary. After all, they'll meet many people like that in their school career and beyond.
    You seem to imply that women have no dress code at all. We do indeed have more freedom but an informal code still applies - I certainly don't dress at school the way I do at home. Really it's down to whether you want to be seen as a professional or not. In my experience parents expect that (rightly) of teachers, just as they would their GP, no matter how they themselves are dressed. And in the end, you are showing the children that you respect them and the job you do enough to look the part. But I take your point about teaching early years children - you need to try to strike a balance between comfort and style. Good luck!
     
  19. You do not need to wear a tie, there was a landmark case a few years ago where a man won a court battle as he was forced to wear a tie in work. His argument was that women do not need to wear a tie, so why should a man?
    I hate it when people use the words 'professional' or 'smart' words when talking about dress, as if that had any effect on how well you could do a job - they are such subjective terms. Some people need to wear clothing like that to feel professional, but to be honest I always felt that I performed better when I was comfortable in my clothing. I especially don't like ties as a science teacher.
    Yes we are there to 'set a standard' to the kids, but as a professional adult I find it quite patronising that I should be treated exactly the same way as a student when it comes to making decsions about clothing. School uniforms are not just there to make the kids look 'smart', they serve other purposes as well. Considering a lot of offices and workplaces allow 'smart-casual' clothing, I think it's about time schools reflected reality. So many teachers who get upset by 'scruffy' colleagues have obviously never worked in the real world.
     
  20. Dear pilesofstones,
    here in Spain we do not have written rules of the dress code, just common sense or dressing decorum. But some people do not know what this means and dress improperly. I do not think your are more inviting and trustworthy. Kids misunderstand it and they think they can talk as if you were their parents or friends. Dear friend, I think it is negative, there is more respect in England. You have to establish differences and mark them. However, this is sexist, I agree.
     

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