Test scores and rowdy students are always on a teacher's mind. Another concern of the day? What to wear.
Teacher attire has been a hot-button topic with reports of inappropriately dressed educators spilling out of their jeans and into the news.
A school district in West Virginia prohibits teachers from wearing faded jeans and shorts to work. Last month, an Alabama school superintendent proposed a dress code banning capri pants and scarves, plus restrictions on eye makeup and nail polish. The most surprising proposed change? Proper undergarments must be worn at all times.
Way to lower the bar, Alabama.
While midriff-baring and pajama-wearing teachers in other parts of the country are forcing new dress code policies, the teachers of Twin Cities seem to be making the grade.
Gold stars all around, Minnesota!
Most school districts say teachers are expected to follow the same dress code rules as students. Just as students are discouraged from wearing yoga pants at Minnetonka High School, so are their teachers.
“I learned the hard way last spring why flip-flops are frowned on,” said Nan Marie Zosel of Breck’s lower school. “I broke my toe trying to avoid fast-moving middle school traffic.”
Clothes don’t make the teacher, but some teachers say every bit counts when trying to educate a room full of their harshest critics.
“I love dressing like I do, because it makes me feel good and gives me an extra dose of confidence, which sometimes you need in a room full of 26 energetic fifth-graders,” said Emily York, a 33-year-old teacher at Eisenhower Elementary School in Hopkins.
The general idea among teachers is: Dress professionally and students will take you more seriously.
“When [teachers] look current, yet appropriate, it makes them look even more informed, it adds to their credibility as a role model,” said Amy Lindquist, a Twin Cities fashion and image consultant who helps teachers build their wardrobes.
Other teachers say dressing with personal style — as long as that style is sans yoga pants and halter tops — sets an example for students beyond reading and writing.
“How you dress is a reflection of yourself, but that doesn’t have to be a boring shirt and tie,” said Chuck Croatt, a math teacher at Burnsville High School.
Croatt wears trendy bow ties, colorful shirts and socks, and math-themed cuff links. He calls it “geek chic.” Clearly, the kids have taken notice.
Croatt is the teacher students come to when they need help with their ties for graduation.
Aimee Blanchette • 612-673-1715