What’s hot and what’s not? Sticky Britain!

What’s hot and what’s not? Sticky Britain!

So we have finally reached the good old English summertime. The season whereby it is overcast and horrendously humid both at the same time. The time of the year where you can get sunburn and soaked within the same week!

Us as Brits are forever caught in the conflict of jumper or coat, T-shirt or mac?

The weather never gives us a clear indication and relying on weather reports is like relying on a chocolate teapot!! Fact of the matter is… we just don’t know what to wear!! Let’s now add into the balance (and I am talking from a teacher’s perspective) what to wear at work. Those classrooms get awfully warm during the summer period, and classrooms with the correct ventilation, which there are a lot of, can be a human furnace!!! Where am I going with this?

Dress codes… naturally! Teachers, mostly, have to follow strict dress codes in order to keep in compliance with a school’s dress smart policy. For men, it’s usually still trousers, a tie, and you can ditch the jacket and wear a short sleeve shirt in the summer. For women, I think as long as they are respectable, nice dress, smart skirt, nothing too outlandish, and then it’s plausible. With smart shoes required for both sexes.

I have taught in shirt and tie in the summer months and have got to be honest… it is incredibly hampering. Music is a subject where you are always on the go. From the moment you set up instrument, to the moment you pack them away at the end of a lesson, you are constantly on the move. A strangulating tie around your neck is the last thing you need on a boiling hot day, especially when addressing the children.

Schools generally have two uniforms for their children… a summer uniform and an autumn/ winter uniform. Realistic when catering for a child’s needs and hoping to improve their learning by being dressed in clothing that is not going to cook them in the summer or give them pneumonia in the winter.

Polo shirts are very popular in the summer for both boys and girls, with trouser shorts for boys and skirts for girls. Pinafores also are in the wardrobe for girls as summer school clothing. But how do teachers dress? How should teachers dress?

Here is an article from ‘The Independent’ that highlights what might be, or should be suitable teacher wear, in what is turning out to be a baking hot summer.

What not to bare: Hot weather examines teachers’ dress code

Friday 18 June 2004

Summer the and the living is easy – but not for teachers. They, it seems, have spent the past two weeks debating appropriate wear during a heatwave on an internet chatroom.

Summer the and the living is easy – but not for teachers. They, it seems, have spent the past two weeks debating appropriate wear during a heatwave on an internet chatroom.

Should women teachers bare their midriffs in front of the pupils? And should men be allowed to don shorts and sandals? One contributor asked: “Are ladies allowed hipster trousers that allow people to see some skin?” Another admits to discomfort “when a female teacher bends over, trousers ride down and there’s a lovely display of bare skin and thong”.

Perhaps the suggestion of one primary school teacher that dress code should vary according to the age of the pupil is the right approach. She said: “When I taught early primary, I felt quite relaxed in my floaty gingham dress of cropped trousers. Now, teaching upper primary, I wouldn’t dream of anything less than a twinset.”

Men, too, are agonising over what to wear. One told the website, run by the Times Educational Supplement: “Every day I go to work in a shirt, tie and trousers. Feel hot all day long, which has a negative effect on my teaching. What do guys wear to keep themselves cool? Are three-quarter length trousers passable?”

According to another contributor, schools in New Zealand allow men to come into school in smart longish shorts and polo shirts with sandals. “It’s not a problem,” he added.

Officially, there are no rules governing dress code for teachers – although ministers do favour uniform for pupils. The initial response of the Department for Education and Skills to the debate was: “I don’t think there’s anything sensible we could say.” Later, in an official response, a spokeswoman said: “It’s up to the individual school. We don’t issue guidelines.”

David Hart, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, was relaxed about the question of dress. “If New Zealand allows sandals, why shouldn’t we?” he said.

“I think we should take a relaxed approach to dress – although I can concede that if they’re too relaxed you could get a pupil revolt. They may say ‘Why are you allowed to wear that if we’ve still got to come to school in uniform?’.”

Nick Seaton, of the Campaign for Real Education, a parents’ pressure group in favour of a traditional approach to education, was more strict in his attitude. “I think schools should be treated as a business environment and that teachers should dress in a reasonably respectable fashion,” he said.

“I do think it is up to the head and the individuals concerned but they should realise that it is not the summer holidays.”

One teacher contributing to the website reckoned that a return to the more traditional garb of the gown might be the way forward. “If we all wore academic gowns, no one would know what we were wearing underneath,” he said. “Think of the laundry that would save.”

Happily, nature may have provided its own solution to the dilemma. Temperatures plummeted yesterday and lashings of rain brought an end to the heatwave.

Education Editor, Richard Garner

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/what-not-to-bare-hot-weather-examines-teachers-dress-code-732728.html

Are you a teacher affected by unpractical clothing, or maybe you have a lenient school?

Share you views with us at 1st Note Education

Andy T

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