‘Trying to Teach’ Tuesday

This may not appear to be relevant but I’ve been thinking about school uniform requirements and if it would be a good idea to have a dress code at the college level. There is a precedent that leads me to raise the issue: male students are asked to remove their head gear when entering HWC.

I suppose we (an institution of higher learning) are trying to mold our students to be good citizens, right? Maybe we believe this requirement is in keeping with our college mission, right? If this is the case, why not institute a policy requiring students to meet certain dress standards from head to toe. The argument could be made that they are individuals and what they do is their business, not the business of the college or the district; but, isn’t it our business to make sure that our students are prepared to meet the challenges of academic and professional life?

Are we sending mixed signals to our students when we require them to write proper sentences and neglect to require proper attire even though both will compliment their future professional endeavors?

6 thoughts on “‘Trying to Teach’ Tuesday

  1. What were you wearing at the age of 21? Did your attire hinder your productivity?

    All I can say is that my 21 credit hours and 4.0 GPA didn’t seem to be affected by 3 safety pins in one earlobe, leather jacket, and burgundy hair teased 7 inches high above my head. Furthermore, most people I knew at that time are now highly accomplished professionals in their fields, most in social services helping the oppressed including school children in traditionally under served neighborhoods, the mentally ill, the hungry, and the homeless.

    People are not about what they wear. It’s about what they think.

    Are we giving students the ability to develop values and ethics by enforcing uniforms? or are we depriving them of the chance to explore their individuality and discover their own ethical and moral meaning?

    My policy is this. When in doubt I merely ask:

    “What message are you trying to express with your freedom of speech?”

    Maybe I just don’t get it.

    I mean….The Kids’re all right!

    • Well stated hellokitty.
      The reason I raised the concern is because our college is asking male students to remove hats and I wanted to get at the WHY of the matter.

      I’m just keeping my eyes open and wondering what we, as an institution, are doing to promote or possibly hinder “freedom of speech.”

      Thanks for your comment. Yes, our students are all right.

      • Hi,

        I had a hard time with the hat rule for a long time. It really bothered me that students were expected to remove their hats.

        To stomach it, I have had to frame it in the cultural context that I can only assume the composer of this rule intended. In a traditional family, there would be certain places where one would be expected to remove one’s hat, as a social courtesy and sign of respect. These places include at this point in time, mostly churches. In the past this was all public buildings. I think the rule as intended by the framer was an effort to return to the traditional norms regardless of how old fashioned they might seem to the youth of today.

        I certainly do remember being kicked out of algebra classes in high school repeatedly because of my insistence that a beret is not a ‘hat’ and refusing to remove it.

        I’m not fond of the rule, but I’ve tried to understand it, and explain it to my students as a traditional sign of respect for the institution to remove the hat. And making the funeral, wedding, church connection makes it more palatable to them, though they dislike it as much as I always have for the issue of freedom of speech.

        The problem for these kids is in their experience, they have been told to remove hats and colors because of fear of gang identification, so asking them to remove a hat implies that the asker believes they are in a gang, and that is an offensive, though very incorrect assumption for our youth to have.



  2. Alrighty then,
    Y’all mentioned the word ‘oppressed’ and now I gots to jump in and give you my two cents.

    I think the question remains:
    “Are we sending mixed signals to our students when we require them to write proper sentences and neglect to require proper attire even though both will compliment their future professional endeavors?”

    Then it was stated:
    “People are not about what they wear. It’s about what they think.”

    If I combine the meaning of these two sentences, I’ve gots to wonder: Are our good students being challenged to think about what they are wearing and how that may directly affect them in future?

    For example, if one of our students wants to be an RN, they will need to dress the part. No uniform, no yob, I mean job. They may even be required to remove the safety pins in their earlobe as part of the dress code. Whose responsibility is it to teach or mention the need to adhere to a dress code? Ours? Are we being irresponsible in our profession by NOT preparing them FULLY to be successful? Aren’t we ‘pose to churn out well’-rounded individuals?

    It could also argue that by not providing a well-rounded education, aren’t we reinforcing the oppression (social and economic status) from which they come and may never leave? In other words, if we let our students wear what they want, and allow them to keep thinking what they want to think, aren’t we hiding the key to success and being selfish by knowing that their chances of succeeding have now diminished if they don’t get with the dress program that opens the doors to a better salary? Sounds like oppression to me.

    Keep in mind that I say this with all due respect to those who have read and posted. Y’all are the best.
    Consider this our form of on-going professional development.

  3. Oh……I mean totally discuss what they’re wearing and what it means. I mean you wouldn’t walk in with a fro or a mohawk and not get that it’s a political statement, and believe me I’ve asked a few guys what kind of politics they’re preachin with their drawers hangin out.

    What I’m sayin ‘man’ is it’s cool to make a statement with your clothing, but know what statement you are making and think about if you want to make that statement to those people. Dig it?

    However, in school I just don’t see why we should enforce a uniform. The world does that for us and our students know that too. If they don’t and you know they don’t then clue them in on the system, but don’t hold them back during the time they need to explore their identity even if it’s a bit over the top, and get it out of their systems.

    Thanks for not correcting my grammar. Peace.

    • Not only the kids, but hellokitty is alright. Agreed.
      Good talkin’, I mean, writing to you.
      Thanks for readin’.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s