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Uniform Management

Gareth is a Secondary Teacher from Australia who is working in West London schools through Protocol Education. Gareth's students have picked up on what he wears and they have noticed a trend. 

“Why do you always wear the same shirt? Don’t you wash?”

Well first of all, my dear fashion-policing-fifteen-year-old friend slash student, I am not wearing the same shirt. They all just happen to be similar-looking white pencil-striped poplin shirts. But you will notice that I have been wearing the same pair of trousers and necktie for the past eight weeks.

“Hmm. Did you brush your hair this morning?”

That’s none of your business, get back to work!

Keep your muddy boots at the door

The above exchange was due to my misplaced belief that I should follow the great Sir David Attenborough’s style advice:

“People say, ‘Why do you always wear the same thing?’. The important thing I’m concerned about is, it seems to me if you change your costume and say wear some kind of…I don’t know…fashionable thing people say, ‘Why has he done that? Is he trying to tell us something? Has the climate changed? What’s he trying to do?’ So you are asking for attention away from what it is you’re trying to talk about”.

This is something Attenborough said back in 2002 when reflecting on his 50 year long career (at that point) of wearing blue shirts with beige trousers.

In hindsight it is clear I had confused presenting nature documentaries with teaching straight-talking teenagers; I had confused talking about Venus flytraps with discussing imperative verbs; I had confused stylish beige trousers with 30 dollar (18 pound) Target trousers.

In a convenient turn Ofsted plan to take all the confusion out of this attire selection process for new trainee teachers. Thank goodness for that. Or is it? (Clearly it is not ‘thank goodness’. I am being sarcastic.)

Ofsted’s next top model

The exact wording of Ofsted’s still unapproved amendment is that the handbook will:

“…include reference to the standard of professional dress and conduct adopted by trainees, NQTs (schools) and former trainees (further education).” Read more here

Surely this dictatorial approach to uniformity by the inspection body has come about from the fact that men who dress like hobos must be brain dead and likewise women in miniskirts must be imbecilic hussies; A truth that has been disproved by both Albert Einstein and Marie Curie respectively (or, in absence of Curie’s exposed knees, perhaps Kate Beckinsale).

If this proposal is approved it will be another attempt by Ofsted to treat the teaching populous of England as though they had never been to a job interview or garnered a university qualification. Or are schools so desperate for teachers that they are letting a bunch of shabby odorous educators through their doors and letting Ofsted bring them up to speed with standards of human decency after the fact.

Other industries don’t have this problem. They either embrace those emulating the homeless look or they don’t let them through the door in the first instance - here’s looking at the legal world, if we are to believe this Berwin Leighton Paisner city lawyer’s infamous blog advising “You don’t want your first impression to be ‘Does he understand how to use an iron?’ or ‘Nice to know she likes red bras’.”: Read more here.

Plus, I don’t have time to be told what to wear. I’m too busy myself telling puerile punk rockers to tuck in their shirts, for Ofsted to charge me with committing “thoughtcrimes” with my wardrobe choices.

And in reference to my attempts to channel David Attenborough in the classroom, I have decided to start mixing things up a bit by wearing a different tie on Fridays.

Have you had your class comment your what you are wearing? Send in your comment to Megan or share with us on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn or Google+

Lyn addresses uniforms in her blog. Click here to read



Tags: Gareth, LondonSecondary, behaviour, uniforms, appearance, Ofsted, trends, changes

Category: Australian Teachers

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