Disadvantages Of Teachers Wearing Uniforms
Firefighters, police officers, flight attendants, prosecutors, soldiers, security guards and more have one thing in common. What do all of these professionals have in common?
The answer is simple, they all wear specific uniforms in the line of duty. Can their various duties be administered without a uniform? Possibly yes.
Although some professions mandate the use of a specific uniform, professions like teaching have successfully argued and steered away from using a uniform in their line of duty.
This is still quite debated to some degree in the educational field especially since uniforms have their pros and cons, and students already wear uniforms at some levels of education.
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Why Some Professions Wear Uniforms
Some of the above-listed professionals wear uniforms prescribed by their professional bodies in their line duty. Reasons may vary based on the specific field.
In most of these cases, there exist some unique reasons why some form of uniform is mandated by the organization.
• Employee Safety
Ensuring the safety of employees is one major benefit of wearing uniforms in some fields. Some uniforms are not prescribed in some professions for their aesthetic appeal.
Professions where employees come into contact with toxic or harmful substances mandate employees to wear specially designed and validated uniforms.
This not only protects the employees but others around them. A typical example is the uniforms used by firefighters, which are purposefully designed to protect them from excessive heat.
Working in a chemical plant is also another job that mandates the wearing of a uniform to protect workers from toxic chemicals they may be exposed to.
• Employee Benefits
Mandating a specific uniform provides some form of benefit for employees, as work clothing expenses will be incurred by the organization in such a case.
To meet specific requirements, employees are not allowed to purchase these clothes but to leverage the professional organization’s already outlined procedure to successfully acquire these.
This means that employees can focus on doing their jobs without the need to worry about what to wear, how much to spend on it or it’ll cost, the quality of the material or footwear, and other factors.
But instead, they can focus on administering their duties without worrying about budgeting for their uniforms or how functional the uniforms need to be.
• Easy Identification And Confidence
Let’s say you’re going down the street and someone grabs your bag and starts running.
There’s someone there who you would like to ask for help to chase this thief but you’re not sure how to approach a total stranger, whether it’s wise to or whether you have the time to approach them.
You approach this person who ends up being a police officer, but it’s too late. The thief has made away with your bag.
If the police officer had been wearing a uniform, you would have had the confidence to approach them easily.
The thief would also have hesitated before committing this crime in front of an officer. Uniforms ensure easier identification and instill confidence.
Someone wearing a firefighter uniform on the scene of a fire outbreak would immediately instill confidence that the situation would be handled.
The same way someone wearing a doctor’s uniform instills confidence and patients can be vulnerable in their presence without fear.
• Brand Identity
Organizations like some financial institutions have some form of mandated uniform for their employees.
This, in most cases, aims at promoting brand identity in the market. Uniforms strategically designed to convey brand logos, colors, and others provide some form of free publicity for the company.
The employees themselves become some form of advertisement for the company simply by being present.
Companies like financial institutions that deal face-to-face with customers need to convey a favorable company image to their customers and the public at large.
Appearance, therefore, plays a major role in how potential clients perceive the company.
An appropriate employee uniform immediately conveys a good impression of the company to their clients and the public.
Why Teachers Don’t Have To Wear Uniforms While Students Do?
This wasn’t always the case and still isn’t in some parts of the world. In the past, teachers or lecturers came to class dressed in their academic robes over their normal clothes.
The practice was meant to put a distinction between teachers and students and the formal academic robe also presented an air of professionalism around the teacher.
This practice has phased out slowly and in modern days, teachers choose what they want to wear and only don the academic robe on special occasions.
Some have argued that teachings having the freedom to wear whatever they choose while students were mandated to wear the prescribed uniform was not fair but to understand this and make a conclusion, we’re going to look at some of the reasons why students wear uniforms.
Why Students Wear Uniforms In School
Unlike some professional settings, schools are usually not seen as dangerous environments. That is until the recently increasing school shootings.
Therefore, it is not necessary to put on specially designed uniforms, like the ones some professional institutions wear.
Irrespective of that, students are still mandated to wear the prescribed school uniforms in school.
• School Uniforms Create Equality Among Learners
Students need to understand that irrespective of their status, every student appears the same to their teachers.
Rich or poor, a mandated uniform will ensure that all students appear the same to teachers and each other, reducing or avoid any inferiority complex among some learners.
Imagine allowing students to wear whatever they wanted to class? Social standing is quite important to students and allowing them to choose their outfits would lead to some inappropriate attire in school.
Students can then focus on their education as opposed to turning schooling into a fashion show or competition.
For this reason, a mandated uniform will ensure that students appear equal, at least physically to each other and to their teachers.
• Easier Intruder Detection And Student Identification
School uniforms make it easier for educational institutions to detect outsiders on school premises and to easily identify their students on field trips and outside the campus.
Identifying any suspicious characters on campus becomes easier when all students on campus dress in the school’s uniform.
This helps learners who interact with such individuals better relate with them and also take precautions knowing full well that this person is not a student.
• Appropriate Dressing For All Activities
Picking out the appropriate attire daily for your child’s school can be troublesome for parents.
To top it off, identifying what they should wear for some other activities like sports in school adds to that challenge.
The outline school uniform for such activities takes away this inconvenience and ensures that students have the recommended uniform for school and other activities.
Therefore, parents are spared the trouble of searching daily for new dresses for their children to keep up with their peers.
• Discipline And Cleanliness
Wearing a school uniform helps foster discipline in students. Wearing a school uniform means that every student is responsible for the cleanliness of their clothes.
Students are therefore motivated to keep their clothes clean in an unconscious effort to compete with their fellow neat students.
This, therefore, breeds discipline even in their various activities and subsequently their lives outside school.
Why Teachers Don’t Wear Uniforms
The points listed above are reasons why students need to wear uniforms but these same points do not apply to teachers.
Teachers are adults and are able to adhere to the school’s regulations on the proper attire for a class while on campus or administering their duties.
Unlike students, teachers are given a dress code for work instead of a uniform. This dress code enables them to choose their own attire so long as it meets the outlined formal, semi-formal, or informal dress code specified by the institution.
Some teachers are also able to wear clothes that enable them to express themselves as well as their academic specialties.
For instance, an art teacher may choose to wear something artistic to class while a mathematics teacher may either choose a formal or semi-formal look.
Teachers don’t need uniforms to also brand their schools as they carry badges on their persons as well as stickers even on the windshields of their vehicles.
This means that even on an off-duty day, a teacher’s vehicle always shows their pride in their school, wherever they go, 24 hours each day.
All this makes it easy for them to show their pride in their respective institutions without the need to physically wear their school colors like their students.
Disadvantages Of Teachers Wearing Uniforms
Unlike other professionals like firefighters and police officers, a uniform is not mandatory for teachers in most schools.
Some educational institutions across the globe have some unique reasons why their teachers are mandated to wear uniforms but that isn’t the case for most educational institutions worldwide.
Emergency service and other professional bodies wear uniforms for protection, branding, and per health and safety requirements.
Teachers in military academies and catholic schools wear uniforms in most cases.
This is especially necessary since some of these institutions demand a high level of discipline from their students and therefore wear uniforms to exemplify the appropriate discipline and dress code.
• Restricts Teacher Self-Expression
Wearing a dress code restricts the teacher’s ability to express themselves. Imagine an art teacher coming to class each time in a stylish and uniquely designed dress.
This form of expression conveys some message to students who observe a teacher daily. What message you might ask? It shows them the beauty and how art can be expressed even in their daily lives and dressing.
• Student Disrespect
Some students consider teachers who wear uniforms to be their equals and therefore end up disrespecting them.
Unlike in times past where teachers could simply wear their academic robes in school, putting on your robe daily in class will have a very negative effect on your popularity as a teacher in our modern-day.
• Decreases Teacher’s Authority
In a military academy where teachers and students both wear uniforms, a decrease or reduction in the teacher’s authority is minimal.
This is because these students are mostly adults and understand the meaning of authority, irrespective of the person’s uniform.
These uniforms and badges also show the difference in ranks between the students and the instructor.
Unfortunately, this is not the same with teachers in schools, as these students are young and have little to no understanding of professional authority.
Teachers who are confined to wearing the same uniform or any other uniform may appear weak to students especially since these students see them as being under the same or similar restrictions.
• Lack Of Individuality
Although uniformity is a major reason why students wear uniforms, the same concept doesn’t apply when it comes to teachers.
Teachers should be able to express their uniqueness and individuality in the administration of their duties.
Based on a teacher’s course, his or her personality plays a key role in how knowledge is conveyed to students. Uniformity and sameness take away part of what makes a particular teacher unique in his or her approach to teaching.
• Untrustworthy Teachers
No mandated uniform means that the educational institution trusts teachers to wear the appropriate attire based on the school’s outline dress code.
Students are mandated to wear the specified dress code to avoid students wearing inappropriate dresses to school.
Imposing this same restriction on teachers simply means the educational institutions have little to no trust in teachers and their ability to appropriately follow the school’s guidelines.
• Added Cost To Institution
Normally, teachers provide their own clothing and in some cases, receive clothing allowances from their institutions.
When teachers are allowed to choose their own attires, they can choose to purchase their preference, whether expensive or affordable.
The costs for this falls on the teacher in this case but if teachers are mandated to wear school uniforms, educational institutions need to invest some additional funds into providing these uniforms for their respective teachers.
• Teacher Comfort
The debate about whether teachers need a uniform has been ongoing for a while but one very clear thing is that the majority of teachers are against wearing uniforms.
They enjoy the flexibility and the comfort that comes with making their own decisions on clothing choices for classes.
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The Bottom Line
As a teacher myself, I don’t believe making wearing uniforms mandatory for teachers is a necessity.
Teaching is a very safe profession and doesn’t require the use of protective covering in most cases.
Wearing a uniform simply takes away the teacher’s uniqueness and conveys a picture of powerlessness to their students in some cases.