Sunday 11 December 2016

Diary of a Schoolteacher: Why teachers are rarely the sharpest tools in the closet

Published 24/11/2011 | 06:00

One of the things that put me off becoming a teacher was teachers' dress sense. Terrible beards, shirt and tie stuffed into a crewneck with a sports jacket thrown over it, soup-stained trousers -- yuck!

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I'll never forget my French teacher's hideous yellow skirt with her initials embroidered in huge pink letters on the front, and then there was that young sub in her early twenties whose tight v-neck top was distracting for a different reason.

Mind you, I have a lot of sympathy for the female teachers as they struggle to avoid wearing anything that could be considered tarty or provocative. The only advice I can give my lady colleagues would be that, when teaching in a boys' school, best stick to a boiler suit.

Interestingly, a recent survey in the UK revealed that 11pc of parents had complained to school principals about low standards of dress in the teaching profession. Teachers engaging in an online discussion mention 'scuffed shoes' and avoiding 'tarty tops' but then predictably descend into a vicious argument over apostrophes.

Still, a quick look around our staff room gives plenty of scope for criticism on the style front, but it's not in the Irish character to complain to people's faces as we're afraid of confrontation.

This being Movember, things are looking particularly grim with all that gratuitous sub-nasal bristle -- there's enough to keep the Varian brush factory in business for the next decade.

Disturbingly, Kurt Moobs's innate pervert is making itself visual through a creepy little black Ronnie that looks just like one of those dried up slugs you find in the garden after you've spread pellets.

Róin Shine, that all-round sportsman, accomplished musician and doyen of the Irish-speaking elite, has been transformed into a cheesy villain from a silent movie.

But it's Moobs, as usual, hitting all the lows -- and he seems to possess no more than three check shirts that he rotates on a day-to-day basis. Biting into an unfeasibly greasy breakfast roll, he assures me that sauce and grease blend in better on some kind of a pattern.

I tell him he's a disgrace to this noble profession and threaten to report him to the Teaching Council but then he makes a few valid points claiming that, as a science teacher, he has to contend with spilt chemicals, frog guts and a daily dose of chewing gum on the teacher's chair.

Added to that, he has to cross the muddy boundaries of the sports fields every Tuesday and Friday lunchtime to catch the smokers.

"What's the point in me looking like Dermot O'Leary when I'm operating in a war zone?" he splutters.

If we ever adopt an official dress code for teachers, then we should start by banning jeans. It's time to outlaw the self-defeating practice of 'getting down with the kids' and comments on bum shapes and designer labels.

Clean clothes not more than 20 years old would be good too.

E GRADE

Irish Independent

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