Mufti day, dress-down day, wear-your-own-clothes day... Whatever your school calls them, they’re a sure-fire way of making a lot of money for any worthy cause. But being free from the shackles of your normal work wardrobe can end up being more hassle than it’s worth. Here are five reasons non-uniform days might strike fear into the hearts of teachers:
- Deciding what to wear
In order to avoid being a laughing stock, you’ve spent time thinking about what you’re going to wear. Except that what you were going to wear is not clean. And you need to leave the house in five minutes. Bugger. You frantically search your wardrobe and find... a pair of stonewashed denim turn-ups. They’re cool, right? Well, they are now.
- Not knowing if you'll be the only one
You’re nearly at work when you realise you never checked whether other staff were dressing down. You’re pretty sure you won’t be able to pass off your battered leather jacket, retro N-Sync t-shirt and filthy sneakers as business dress, so you start considering your excuses. Just as you decide on “robbed of everything but these clothes”, you spot the head getting out of his car in a tank top...
- Not recognising anybody
You walk into your classroom and are instantly glad you have a seating plan. What with the excessive amounts of make-up and hair product that have been used, each and every one of your class have become unrecognisable. You go to make a comment but stop yourself as you recall how you accidentally mistook the student teacher for a sixth former. Maybe it’s just you after all.
- Tolerating the interruptions
You’ve only got as far as morning break and you’re already exhausted. The lack of uniform seems to have made the kids a bit loopy. That and the constant interruptions from older students who want to let everybody know about the other amazing fundraising opportunities at lunchtime. Mr Smith’s getting his legs waxed, apparently. You wonder if he knows about this...
- Wondering whether it was worthwhile
While you may have discovered that stonewashed jeans are, in fact, not cool – “Sir, what the bloody hell are you wearing?!” – you know that all this mayhem will be worth it. After all, it is for charity.
Chris Powell was talking to Nicola Davison. He is a geography teacher and ITT lead professional at Parmiter's School in Hertfordshire