They call it changing fashion. There were days when high school students copped a bamboo cane for not wearing a tie properly, and now for many years haven’t worn one at all because of a clash with the jeans. And the teachers also went from wearing a tie to the same abysmal decline in dress standards.
Okay, some people may see this trivial and suggest “get with the times”, but try and get a professional job if you don’t dress well, and how can you learn that if the teachers have no dress sense either?
Well, a funny thing happened. There was a group of gentlemen in town all wearing ties, and the first thought was a doctors and lawyers convention – and these days even a lot of them don’t wear a tie. In fact, they were teachers from Investigator College.
It seems the teachers themselves thought that, if they were asking students to look neat and wear a school uniform, then what right did they have as teachers not look appropriate either?
Andrew Panozzo, deputy principal at Investigator College, Victor Harbor, said most of the male staff wore a tie and suit anyway, but it actually got moved as a staff issue.
“We saw that as a point of difference between ourselves and other schools and institutions,” Andrew said. “We had fairly strong input from the association of independent schools, of which we are part of, that this was one of the big differentials for parents, to actually see professionally-dressed persons.
“If I went to a bank manager or a doctor who was wearing thongs and shorts, or jeans, it would not be seen as appropriate professional dress, so why should it not be the same for teachers?”
“If we are asking students to dress appropriately – and seeking the cooperation of parents – then we as teachers need to set an example. The kids are in an environment that gets them ready for emersion in the outside world. It teaches them standards including appropriate dress and behavior.”
Again, some may think we’re getting old thinking about ‘how things used to be’, but it’s nice to hear some standards have remained. Many employers think so, anyway.