Like every profession, the teaching profession has its rules. And while some educational institutions have lax regulations governing their teachers’ appearances compared to other professions, there’s a limit to what is tolerated.
For instance, teachers are expected to wear business-casual to present a professional image of the profession. Clothes like Jeans are prohibited and only allowed on casual Fridays.
Short dresses on the other hand are prohibited by most educational institutions as they’re considered unprofessional and inappropriate since they could distract students, leading to complaints from parents.
While most educational institutions and districts prohibit teachers from wearing short dresses, some schools have no such restrictions. Let’s take a look at why the majority of educational institutions forbid this and why some do not.
Why Teachers Shouldn’t Wear Short Dress
People wear short dresses in their everyday lives, which doesn’t harm anyone. So why shouldn’t teachers be allowed to wear them?
Any clothing of choice that is considered revealing or suggestive is prohibited by most educational institutions and districts.
And while teachers aren’t expected to come to work daily in suit and tie, the recommended dress code is business-casual.
Female Dominated Profession
Did you know that 97 percent of early childhood educators and 3 out of 4 teachers in public schools in the US are women?
Since our civilizations have traditionally had rigorous clothing requirements for women, these rules have been incorporated into the profession of teaching, which is largely comprised of women.
Unlike professions like firefighters, military, nurses, or pilots who’re mandated to wear uniforms, teachers have the flexibility of choosing their clothing. The sole criterion controlling this flexibility is that teachers maintain a professional appearance.
This is because teachers have to interact with students, parents, and other authorities daily. People have a habit of taking people dressed professionally more seriously during discussions.
Schools are workplaces for teachers and those looking to be treated as professionals should endeavor to look the part.
In schools where students aren’t mandated to wear uniforms, it may be difficult for visitors to differentiate between teachers and students. This is especially true when teachers are dressed informally, making them indistinguishable from students.
Educational institutions want to present a good image of their institution to the general public and this starts with the appearance of their students and teachers.
While students may be expected to wear school uniforms, teachers are expected to dress to impress parents and the general public. Teachers presenting a casual look to the outside world could reflect negatively on the institution.
Role Models/Workplace Preparation
It’s no secret that teachers are seen as role models to their students and are expected to show this even in their appearance. Showing up to class dressed in a short dress would negatively impact their impressions of professional appearance and workplace conduct.
If their mentors are dressing informally to the workplace, students develop the impression that grown-ups can dress whichever way they want at the workplace. After all, schools are training grounds to prepare the upcoming generation for work.
Consider a student yelling at someone without realizing the individual is a teacher at the school. Teachers wearing short and revealing dresses may be mistaken for students, resulting in awkward situations at school.
Parents and other visitors to the school could also mistake a teacher for a student in a school where students don’t wear uniforms.
A teacher’s day could be filled with movement from one place to another as they’re responsible for a broad range of students. From helping pick a student who has fallen up, and moving from class to class for lessons, to bending down to check what a student is writing, mobility is key.
Short dresses make it difficult for them to perform basic tasks that would be easy to accomplish without worrying about someone easily seeing under your dress or skirt. A simple task like sitting would lead to concerns of mistakenly exposing yourself in the presence of your students.
In this age of smart devices and social media, it would be easy for such a teacher to have their dirty laundry exposed in public. Keep in mind that teaching is a profession and whatever actions that negatively impact a teacher could also bring disrepute to the profession as a whole.
Students come to school to learn from their teachers and socialize with their friends. This can become a problem when they’re focusing more on trying to see under their teacher’s short dress.
It’s easy to believe that students should be focusing on their studies instead of focusing on the teacher. But it’s worth keeping in mind that the teacher is expected to play the role of a mature person in the classroom.
Instead of wearing a short dress that would distract their students, you’d be doing everyone a favor by wearing something unrevealing or longer.
Why Some Schools Allow Teachers To Wear Short Dresses
Now that we’ve taken a look at why most educational institutions prohibit teachers from wearing short dresses, let’s take a look at the reasons why a few do.
We all love to wear what makes us feel the most comfortable and confident in our activities. If a short dress would make a teacher feel more confident in the administration of their duties, prohibiting them from wearing this could impact their confidence.
Better Teacher-Students Relationships
Authority figures can be intimidating to approach and the same goes for teachers in our institutions. A teacher’s formal appearance could intimidate students in school making it difficult for them to approach the teacher.
This is especially bad when the student in question could benefit from the teacher’s advice on an issue affecting their education. Students would feel more comfortable approaching and sharing their grievances with a teacher who dresses informally or dresses like them.
Dress Code For Female Teachers
Teachers are expected to wear business-casual in school. A formal pair of pants with a semi-formal shirt or tunic for either male or female teachers is appropriate. Female teachers especially should avoid wearing any forms of revealing clothing.
A formal suit or dress with a blazer would also be great for both male and female teachers. Female teachers can also pair leggings with a long dress or tunic or wear a knee-length skirt with a long sleeve top.
Can Teachers Wear Dresses
Yes, teachers are allowed to wear dresses so long as they aren’t short. Dresses are considered business-casual when they are styled appropriately for a workplace environment.
That said, you should keep in mind that most educational institutions and districts prohibit their teachers from wearing short dresses.
Can You Wear Shorts As A Teacher
Yes, but only on casual Fridays in most educational institutions. Except on casual Fridays, most districts and educational institutions recommend that their teachers dress professionally by donning business-casual attire.
Shorts and other casual clothing are considered inappropriate for professional environments including education. Most districts and educational institutions expect their teachers to adhere to their prescribed business-casual clothing at school.
That said, there may be an exception in the case of Physical Education teachers who may be permitted to wear casual clothing depending on the educational institution.