Sunday, May 17, 2015

The superintendent of our district visited my classroom the other day.  He is a very positive person who has made a significant difference in our district over the last eighteen or so years.   He quietly watched the lesson, asked a couple of questions, paid a compliment and then moved on to visit another classroom.  He has, for the past few years, visited the classrooms of teachers in their first three years of teaching.  This year he decided to spend an entire day at each school.  So, after visiting with beginning teachers, he rounded out his day by scheduling visits with veteran teachers.  That's how I got on the schedule.  I enjoyed his visit, though observations by anyone always make me nervous, even after 37 years.  At the end of the day, we had a staff meeting with him.  One thing he complimented the entire staff on, was being dressed professionally.  He said he recently visited with the education department at the state university in our community and asked them to stress the importance of dressing appropriately with college students preparing to become teachers.  He said he was so frustrated, during interviews with potential teachers, with the impression they projected, that he finally took action and requested that the university address the issue.  My personal opinion is that this is a reflection of prevalent attitudes in our society.  Perhaps we have become a little too casual overall.  Perhaps the way we present ourselves adds to the lack of respect for our profession.  I think that, as professionals, who represent the district that employees us, we need to give this some thought.  We don't need to spend a lot of money for clothes, and we can wear jeans occasionally and still present a professional image.  It has as much to do with grooming and attitude, I think, as it does with the way we are dressed. When we respect ourselves and our profession, it will show.

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