Back to School

Closeup of a copper rivet on blue jeans.Image via Wikipedia
Summer holidays have finally come to an end and I am teaching again. The difference in atmosphere between Australian schools and English schools hit me straight away. First of all was the lax dress standards. On my first day teaching in England I wanted to make a good impression on the new school and therefore came in a collared shirt - so much for my standards of looking presentable, I was “busted” for wearing jeans. Dress standards at my Hertfordshire school were strictly slacks and collared shirt, on top of that I noticed ties were more or less obligatory as well, judging by what all other male teachers were wearing.

I told a this story of my surprise to other members of staff when in England. Explaining that the only time I ever felt out of place for wearing jeans in an Australian school was when every other male member of staff were lounging around in t-shirts and shorts. Of course, I got the impression that English teachers just considered this a wild exaggeration of the notorious “she’ll be right”, “no worries” attitude of Australians. In fact, by the end of my year in Hertfordshire, I’d even begun to doubt the veracity of the story myself.

But sure enough, walking into the staffroom this morning, on a 36 degree day, what sight do you imagine met my eyes? Yes, shorts and t-shirts!

“Mate, you’re gonna have to lose the tie.”

Was the reception I got entering the staffroom. On the other hand, female members of staff complimented me on the collared shirt and tie and took jabs at the other men to follow suit. But the banter was playful and self deprecating throughout. I’m not sure whether to continue trying to maintain a good standard of dress code or to just cave in and go back to jeans and a polo (I was never really t-shirt and shorts material).
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13 comments:

roxy said...

Very funny post. I'd say hold out with the collared shirts and ties for the first month at least. Your dress code served as a ready conversation starter with the other teachers. Good luck on the new school year!

JJ said...

Tie = Quit. I just can't do it!

Akseli Koskela said...

Haha! I never really pictured you as the tie-wearing type JJ!

Roxy, that's exactly what I was thinking. Thanks for the encouragement.

Serkan Ozturk said...

Do a Mr. Sodan and go for the trackie-dacks all year round!

Judie said...

When my son, Joey, taught school here in Tucson, he always wore a bow tie! The kids loved it. Sometimes he wore it with a tee shirt, but he still wore it.

I hope the cyclone is not making landfall anywhere near you.

Akseli Koskela said...

Serkan, I don't think anyone but PE teachers can get away with tracksuit pants.

Bow tie and t-shirt! That's an interesting combination Judie, I can well imagine the kids loving it!

As for the cyclone - it's a whole lot further North. Sydney doesn't really get interesting weather phenomena - except maybe stifling heat and hordes of cockroaches.

JJ said...

I just dropped in to say hello. Have a great weekend!

#167 Dad said...

Thanks for the chuckle.
That was quite a vacation.
I say you you wear what feels right for you - dammit.
Oh, and I always enjoy your blog...

Akseli Koskela said...

Yeah, that was quite a long vacation. Between the beginning of the English summer holiday over in the northern hemisphere and the end of the Aussie summer holiday down here, I'd been mostly on vacation with only a little teaching in between.

Vanessa Correia Pinto said...

Never seen a teacher in Western Australia being allowed to wear anything other than a shirt and tie with dress pants! x V

PAMO said...

I'm glad I get to enjoy vacationing through your blog.
I think the tie is a nice touch. You certainly created some friendly conversation with the other teachers. You'll have to let us know what you're wearing in another month.

Natasha said...

Please stay in the shirt and tie! I wish more male teachers would dress appropriately. I am assuming you are in the public system? Collared shirts and ties are the requirement in the two private schools I have worked in.

Best wishes and good luck this year!

Natasha.

PS Visiting via Roxy from A woman's write

Akseli Koskela said...

Haha Natasha! Yes, it's definitely a public school (British readers read: Government school not super-posh school). I think Vanessa, that you also taught at a Private School in W.A.?