Yes, Teachers Wear Ties

Yesterday I went to see a new doctor about a stress fracture I got while training for the Go! St. Louis Half Marathon.  I am proud to say that while my time wasn't record breaking by any means, I accomplished a goal that I had set for myself several years ago, to run a half marathon before turning 30.  This doctor wanted to get another x-ray of my leg, so I followed the technician down a long hallway to the x-ray room.  While we walked, well, she walked and I crutched, the technician made small talk.  As we were entering the x-ray room, she complimented me on my watch, noticed my shirt and tie, and said, "you must work in business, huh."  It was more of a statement than a question.  She was more than a little surprised to learn that I am actually not a businessman or investment banker but a high school English teacher.

After seeing the surprise on the technician's face I felt the need to explain why I dress the way I do for my job as a high school English teacher.  Here is how I responded:

Just like businessmen, teachers are professionals.  While it seems that we don't always get the same amount of respect as people who work in other professions, we are professional educators and I think we need to dress the part.  I wear a shirt and tie every day so that my students, parents,  administrators, and community members can see that I am a professional who cares about his job, his students, and his image.  I tie my tie every morning hoping that at some point in the future when one of my students is getting ready for a job interview they will remember my professionalism and choose to act with that same professionalism as they enter the work force.  

The x-ray technician was surprised by my statement; I'm not sure if she was surprised that I feel so strongly about my profession or that I  have a legitimate reason to dress professionally every day when I don't work in an office.

Please don't misunderstand my statement.  By no means do I believe that in order to be a good teacher or to be well-respected that you must wear a suit, a tie, or a dress to work every day.  This is just one way that I choose to display my professionalism.  Each of us displays our professionalism in a different way.  

I am very interested to hear other ways educators display their professionalism.  Please leave a comment sharing how you share your professionalism with your students, colleagues, administrators and community. 

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