Should teachers wear a school uniform?
You might think that sounds like a ridiculous idea.
Teachers dressing the same as their pupils surely takes things too far….or does it? PE staff have an unofficial ‘uniform’ of their own but what about other staff.
Most teachers don’t have a recognisable uniform like some other professions but all schools will have a dress code and some sort of expectation about what constitutes looking ‘professional’.
In some schools this can be more professional than others. Some say that teaching isn’t a job where you need to be immediately identifiable unlike a police officer or a nurse but it’s always easy to spot a teacher anyway!
If your pupils have a uniform to wear to school then surely teachers should have one too? In fact, what about the idea of teachers wearing the same uniform as their pupils. Won’t pupils mistake you for ‘one of them’? But isn’t that the issue? If we are a school community we are ‘one’ and there shouldn’t be a ‘them’ and ‘us’.
The BBC recently showed us what this might look like. Their Africa’s One Minute Stories went to meet Alex Maina Kariuki, a school principal in Kenya who insists on wearing the same school uniform as his students. See the video here.
Alex Maina Kariuki works at the Friends School Kamusinga in Bungoma county and wears a school uniform. It’s a different style of leadership that has wrong-footed many people because they see it as a bit strange but then anything that isn’t the norm will ruffle feathers. In fact, it sent the local community into a frenzy.
To Mr Maina, wearing a uniform is ‘normal’ because in his last position he did the same thing.
The expectation from the outside world is that teachers should dress to impress, wear sharp suits and act as a role models. Well, being a role model can be done other ways too and Mr Maina believes that his way of doing things is good for his students. He says,
I have very basic reasons why I put on school uniform. One of them is to identify me with the students, get to their level and be reachable in case they have a need because the uniform puts people on the same bar.
Interestingly, the school’s motto is ‘Use Common Sense’ and in many respects wearing a school uniform makes a lot of sense.
How do you feel about wearing a uniform? Should we wear the same clothes as pupils in order to identify with them?
We can get into whether or not a uniform is even necessary in another blog.
We are witnessing the rise of a national uniform at the moment as everyone seems to want to dress like England Manager, Gareth Southgate! A navy blue waistcoat has become the England manager’s signature style. Waistcoats in schools might just be making a comeback!