Educational Editorial: Teacher Dress Code

By Dr. Bill Bosher, NBC12 Educational Specialist

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Henrico County School Board has recently spoken to an issue which few confront -- a dress code for teachers. Equally amazing is the list of attire and body art that they must address. It seems that the issue is not standards for common dress but standards for common sense.

A fashion consultant in Ohio, Kim Thomas, observes: "If you look better, you feel better, and you perform better. Somewhere down the line things started to get sloppy. These signals translate to the kids."

The first high school prom that I attended as a principal was an incredible lesson in the relationship between dress and behavior. A tall young man who typically greeted me day with, "Lay it on me Mr. B" came to the event in a tuxedo with a beautiful date. As he came in the door he seemed to be walking taller, he had a smile, and as he approached I heard, "Good evening Mr. B; you and Mrs. B look nice tonight."

After taking a breath, I said and you look great Walter...and where did you find that lovely young lady." "Thank you, Mr. B, this is Stephanie." As he walked away, I turned to my wife and said, "You would not believe this kid....I am constantly on his case about his dress and his language." Well, on Monday, he greeted me as he always had...but this time we stopped to talk about what he had taught me.

In an age of dress down Friday or "everyday causal" in the workplace, it is not surprising that we have gotten sloppy. As teachers we need to remember that the first lessons that we deliver come with walking in room. My appearance screams my expectations before I have ever said a word.

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