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What Happened to the Teachers Dress Code?

I walked the halls of the kids school the other day and wondered how to tell the difference between the teacher, students and parents.

I’m sitting in the drop off line at the elementary school and see the group of adults helping kids out of the car and into the school. I’m seeing jean shorts, sandals, tank tops. I go into Shae’s orientation and the conversation goes into dress code. Her teacher actually said, “don’t mind that i’m wearing flipflops just don’t send your kids to school in them”, a do as I say not as I do mentality.  The woman at the front desk was wearing these wildly embellished faded and frayed jean shorts. Inappropriate was the first word that came to mind.

teachers dress code

what not to wear

In the halls of the high school Sabreena, Shae and I were leaving the guidance counselors office after a quick meeting. We were approaching Sabreena’s previous counselor and who I thought was student because they were wearing a football jersey and micro mini jean skirt. As we passed the duo their conversation didn’t hesitate and the counselor proceeded to talk about how she didn’t like how someone was acting and ending it with “She’s just a bitch“. I head spun to look at them both. The other person was a teacher and they both instantly realized what happened. It wasn’t a fine moment for either of them.  Sabreena rolled her eyes and shook her head, disappointed in who were supposed to be the leaders within the school walls.

Growing up I remember teachers in business attire. Men wore trousers, button down shirts and often ties. Women wore pant suits, dresses and sensible shoes. There was never a bedazzled tee in sight.

Teacher have a responsibility to do more than just educate. They are there to inspire and mentor and support. Teachers should be conveying a sense of authority and professionalism each day in front of students, staff and families . How seriously can I take a teacher when she’s wearing leopard print leggings.

My HS junior year history teacher was a ball buster. She was only 4’10” but she gave off a sense of power and confidence with her bold shoulder pads, crisply ironed slacks and no nonsense attitude. I don’t get that today from teachers. I wonder if teachers has lost their passion. I wonder if they are just going through the motions. Impressions are everything.

Attention teachers: Don’t be my kid’s friend. Don’t try to relate with a younger generation by wearing your ipod headphones around your neck. Don’t ask my kid where they got their sweater. Don’t think by keeping a copy of 50 Shades of Gray on your desk you’re suddenly cool.


  1. The Turnip Farmer says

    love, love, love, love, love this!

    did i mention that i love this?

    Some teachers want to blame the parents for the lack of focus, respect, and good conduct on the part of the students. But its a two-way street. Teachers get more hours with our kids than we do. We can’t expect them to parent as we would but we should expect them to uphold certain basic values….like not dressing like a whore and cursing in front of our kids.

  2. Great post and I completely agree! There should be a dress code for teachers. This problem seems to be getting worse and worse. Teachers wanting to be popular and be thought of as the cool one. They dress and talk like students, they don’t seem to notice that most students lose respect for them because of this.

    My daughter used to have a favorite teacher when she was in High School until one day, she saw the teacher’s red thongs panties sticking out her low-rider pants. She was upset about this for years. She asked me, Mami, why would she wear that to school? While this was the teacher’s personal choice that is not something you wear to work. Especially if you are a teacher…

  3. I kind of agree with the previous poster. In my opinion, basic values are a two way street but in my opinion parenting starts AT HOME and NOT in the classroom. I too remember the days when my teachers dressed appropriately at ALL times not just during the school day and had the respect of the students in the class. I also remember when kids had more respect for authority regardless of what a person wore.

    With this new generation of kids, there is way too much disease to please on both parents and educators part. To me if parents started parenting there kids at home and cutting down their bratty and disrespectful attitude from an early age, more educators would have more power in the classroom when it comes to setting an example for students. I’m not saying that educators should dress inappropriately but with violence in school and the workplace and bullying on the rise, I can see how some educators find it a bit easier to conform and in some cases for mere safety issues. . I know plenty of educators that dress conservatively and appropriately and were told that they were too “old-fashioned”for today’s standards and were sexually harassed by students because of their con formative ways. Even in HS I’ve seen kids go at it get into a fight and the principal and/or the assistant principal try to break them up and the enraged student(s) tried to strangle him by his neck tie.

    Not to mention the media in general also doesn’t help with teaching kids how dress appropriately or respect people regardless of how they are dressed. When I was a kid you didn’t dream of sending your 6 month out to the pool in a 2 piece bikini or had acrylic nails on your 5 year old–yes, I see kids like this ALL the time. Whenever you ask parents about why they let their 5 year old wear fake nails or their baby is in a bikini-its always She just looks so cute in it mentality.

    Lastly, as a society we NEED to remember that teachers aren’t just educators they ARE people with feelings as well. They aren’t perfect and neither are we as their students, co-workers or friends. Perfect people offer nothing to learn from and imperfect people have a lot to teach. Taking pride in one’s appearance should be effortful on both parts educators who are there to help students, and students dressed ready to learn. Some parents have no right judging teachers when they send their child to school looking a hot mess like they are ready to go to the club

    • i don’t understand you’re point. this article is about expecting a professional level of attire in our schools. I never said teachers don’t have feelings, i never mentioned toddlers in bikinis.

  4. Agreed. The teachers at Keegan’s school all dress appropriately, but there is a strict dress code for students and the teachers follow it as well.

    At Lochlan’s school the teachers have a “uniform” of a t-shirt which they pair with khakis, pants, or shorts. Shorts are usually knee length.

    I don’t even know what I’d do if a teacher used the word bitch in the hallway.

  5. I worked in the school system and they only time teachers wore shorts was summer school sessions- and even then they had to be hemmed and belted (dressier shorts) It amazes me what some where now days!

    • Good grief- the word is wear not where! I was gonna add anyway that to hear a teacher saying ‘bitch’ i is something that should not have occurred. Our school system was so strict we culdn’t even mention students first names in public.

    • sometimes it’s about pride too. When i worked and “real job” I had to dress the part. Why do school systems not see the same thing.

  6. Thank you!! I get very frustrated when I go in to volunteer in my kids classrooms and I’m dressed nicer than the teacher. It’s not because I have spent a lot of money but because I took the time to shower, iron a skirt and look decent for the time that I’m there. Casual Fridays have turned into just casual every day.

  7. Amen to that!

    And my son’s coaches seem to think they are in a different class altogether and that they can yell the F-bomb at the players simply because they are coaches. Really?!

  8. I read this post last week before my sons orientation and I admit I was a bit scared that I would run into the same thing but thankfully the teachers were dressed appropriately. The do as I say not as I do motto really bothers me because how do you expect a child to learn from a hypocrite.

  9. I’ve never seen the teachers at J’s school dress inappropriately. They do have t-shirts that are blingy, but they have the school’s name on them and they are only allowed to wear them on Fridays.

    However, if I went to a class where the teacher was wearing flip flops but then told me NOT to send my kid in them, I would call her out.

  10. I think there’s a fine line. Teachers, I think, should be kind and caring and even sometimes go to the student’s level of mentality to break up the thought the all teachers are horrible. However, teachers are the authority and will doubtedly be treated as such if they look and act like their students all the time.

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