To strip, or not to strip? - a heated debate

18th June 2004 at 01:00
Summer term and the living is far from easy in the classroom when dress codes make it too hot to teach in comfort.

How to stay cool yet decently dressed has divided teachers in the TES online staffroom debating whether they should reveal their midriff in front of pupils. One contributor put the question thus: "What is appropriate? Are ladies allowed hipster trousers that allow people to see some skin?"

One teacher recommends avoiding beach tops and halternecks, but feels that vest tops fall on the pragmatic side of summer acceptability.

But such displays of flesh are not universally supported. Another contributor admits to discomfort "when a female teacher bends over, trousers ride down, and there's a lovely display of bare skin and thong".

Acceptable levels of exposure can also vary within schools. As one teacher said: "When I taught early primary, I felt quite relaxed in my floaty gingham dress or cropped trousers. Now, teaching upper primary, I wouldn't dream of anything less than a twinset."

Men, too, agonise over the conflict between heat and disapproving headteachers.

A male contributor writes: "Every day I go to work in shirt, tie and trousers. Feel hot all day long, which has a negative effect on my teaching. What do guys wear to keep themselves cool? Are three-quarter-length trousers passable?"

This is met by conspicuous silence. Only one braves the masses'

disapproval: "In New Zealand, men come to school in smart, longish shorts and polo shirts with sandals. It's not a problem."

But, for one contributor, there is a logical solution. "If we all wore academic gowns, no one would know what we were wearing underneath. Think of the laundry it would save."

Leader 22

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