Friday, April 09, 2010

My skirt experiment

At my last school, our administrator tried to enforce a 'dress code' for teachers.  It met with a universal THUD, but the arguments FOR asking the teachers to dress more professionally sounded legitimate. 

At my current school, I will say the teachers' attire leaves quite a bit to be desired.  Tank tops, flip flops, and sweat pants are seen daily, and not just on the students.  Most seem to dress as if it were the weekend, and with a very few exceptions, this seems to be the norm.  Does the quality of teaching see a negative effect because of how the teachers dress?  The teachers would say NO.

I realize that we are sort of lucky.  In what other profession, save for some engineering gigs where the preferred dress is shorts and flip-flops, can a professional get away with wearing jeans or sandals every day? I also realize that, if I am to change jobs or careers, I might have to learn how to dress like a grown up, again.  Painful, I know!

This week was my experiment.  I understand that it is way short of scientifically or statistically significant, but I thought I'd give it a go anyway and see what happens.  For an entire week, I wore a skirt to work.  This is HUGE for me.  Every day, I wore a nice, long, pretty skirt of one sort or another, a nice top, did my hair and tried my  best to look "professional". 

My expectations were low, but I was very curious: would student behavior change as a result of my wardrobe?  Would my students take me more seriously if I am dressed more professionally?  Would they seem more engaged in learning if I 'looked the part of a teacher'?

It was a short lived experiment, I get that.  One week, toward the end of the year is admitedly probably not the best time to see if I can change  student behavior, but given what I have been seeing lately in my classroom, I thought it couldn't hurt to try.

The next question would be, did it make me feel any more professional? Maybe.  A little.  Not much.

But I did come to realize something.  Wearing a skirt and a cute pair of patent-leather sandals is nearly as comfortable as track pants and sneakers. Nearly...

The result?  Nothing.  No change at all.  It makes me wonder, maybe if

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