Professionalism in the Classroom

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Can you imagine walking into your child’s classroom and his or her teacher looking more like a student than a teacher? Just as the rest of the world is becoming more laid back, so are the standards for the way teachers present themselves. Years ago, when you walked into a classroom, the teacher looked as if he or she were dressed in a professional manner and were neat and clean. Now, due to the fact that teachers are not presenting themselves in a professional manner with regard to clothing and hairstyles, and cell phone use students are not taking them as seriously. Not only as a teacher but also a role model for children a teacher is expected to present themselves in a professional manner. Juli Kwikkel (8/21/2003) stated that “you don’t want to have to guess who’s the teacher and who’s the student”. There are even some districts that are beginning to implement dress codes due to the issues worsening as new and younger teachers are entering the work place. This new trend is becoming more popular with schools and is going beyond just the students. Especially in districts where there is a dress code for students and not for employees this will lead to student rebelling against the dress codes that are in place. This is primarily due to the fact that many students will feel as if why should they have to dress a certain way when the staff can dress in street clothes. The rules that are implemented at Alleghany Highlands Public Schools (8/21/2003) state “dress should reflect the professional position of the employee.” Although opinions are different, the general consensus is that teachers should not be wearing things such as belly shirts, jeans, flip flops, and t-shirts to work. This should be left for the students. Rather they should be wearing a more professional and mature type of clothing, such as dress pants and a button up shirt or a skirt that is of an appropriate length. As described by Beth Lewis teachers should wear clothing that is loose fitting and well-tailored, not too much make-up, comfortable shoes, and not too much jewelry. This can still leave many options open for each individual to express their own styles while still looking as if they are in a position that they will be respected among staff and students alike.

The teacher is not only there to help children throughout their learning years, but they are also there to listen and be someone that children look up to. Children are always taking in everything around them. If their teacher is dressing in a manner that looks like they are going for a day out with their family, partying with friends, or even working at part time jobs that are less than upholding the professional statute of a teacher this can become very distracting for the students. It can also allow for the students to not see the teacher as a person that they have to take seriously. Parents also have certain expectations of the learning environment that their children will be in, whether it be public or private schooling. The teacher needs to be a person that a child can feel a sense of security when they are in their care; also the children must know the teacher is a person with authority. This allows for an environment that children will be able to learn more easily in. If the teacher is presenting themselves in the workplace in a manner that is not professional, then they are not setting a good example as to how adults should behave and what it is like to be a mature adult. Rather they are allowing the child to see them as someone who is caught in the middle of child and adulthood. As is the same in any profession a teacher’s presentation of themselves also goes above and beyond just clothing. A teacher is expecting to have good hygiene, and look “put together.” There is also the matter of make-up and hair styles. It is hard to take someone seriously if they walk into a professional environment with multicolored hair and makeup. Some teachers now are entering the...
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