Keeping class wear where it duly belongs

Quite recently, our teachers have been in the news –– their merits and demerits; their position (on matters like the SBAs) against the positions of others. Some views expressed have called for greater “respect” for teachers; others, like MP Cynthia Forde’s, have suggested teachers respect themselves even more –– as it pertains to dress at school.

Let it be said upfront that there are teachers in Barbados who have earned and deserve our utmost admiration, and whose dignity and diligence have made them exemplars for fellow Barbadians and the nation’s young children in particular. Unfortunately –– and factually –– there will be bad apples in the barrel.

In this symbolic Month Of The Child, teachers –– as much as parents –– have a responsibility to emphasize the exemplary traits of good conduct, mannerliness and appropriate dress, particularly at school. Sadly, some of our female teachers –– and males, to boot –– are dressed in the classroom as though they were leaving school aftwerwards to go directly to a “dibby-dibby” Crop Over fete.

Then, some of us wonder about these short skirts of our schoolgirls, apparently unaware they are following suit –– every pun intended! Teachers’ attempt to be “cool for school” really doesn’t cut it; and it only inspires our children to despise their school uniform which in fact could be a pattern for discipline and tidiness.

If we can see down it, up it, and through it, then our female teachers should not be wearing it. What may be the pleasurable look for bed is hardly acceptable for the classroom.

Assuredly, those teachers who are appropriately attired are going by some staff dress code that has been formally instituted, or they have been infuenced by their very own self-respect, decency and common sense –– which ought
to inform others.   

In these days of much touted “rights”, some teachers might find the idea of the dress code insulting, but our educational administrators will have to take up the challenge of implementing such where inappropriate wear continues to rear its nigh bald head.

Ironically, it is not unknown for adults to have their old school uniforms disrespected and defiled at raunchy fetes –– a matter with which Minister of Education Ronald Jones has not hidden his disgust. School uniforms ought not to be turning up at any fete. School uniforms belong in the classroom. Naturally, senior students who go partying would again follow suit!

The wearing of the school uniform ought to be an indication the student is going to particpate in some serious course of instruction or appropriate school matter –– much like Dad and Mum dressing properly for their full day’s work.

Students in school uniform are pleasantly more impressive, their deportment ensuring appropriate clothing in class, and obviating the overly revealing and other outlandish fads and distractions that might even astound Father Clement Paul. Our school corridors ought not to be catwalks or part-routes of Grand Kadooment with all of its exposure.

When you give it deep thought, inappropriate dress by teacher and/or student will detract from learning and being taught with the two spending more time on their styles of clothing than having any thirst for coursework and assessment.

Incongruous too we find is the school uniform at the Crop Over fete that begins at nigh midnight. Our school uniforms, so altered, ought not to be associated with the barely dressed, nor the twerking, nor the “go dung, go dung . . . doan stop dung dey” instruction. And surely we must get out of this disturbing craze of oversized adult “students” bursting from uniforms of all colour, school and creed –– in deportment and posture unrelated to any classroom standard.

There is a sacredness of a school’s colour-coded wear, its socks, its epaulettes, its tie, its blouse –– its uniform! Past students and parents – and, worse of all, the promoters of these school class aberrations – are doing grave injustice to the image and integrity of the school uniform sanctioning this revelry.

The uniform helps maintain school discipline by the conditioning of the mind to deep application of classwork. Amidst the argument that today’s children are to too much of an extent lacking in self-discipline, it cannot help that grown “hardback” people are playing to the sensual and half-naked uniformed student.

Minister Jones has already reminded us that more than ever we need to
respect and secure the school uniform: that characteristic and tone of Barbadian school life.

There has been much negativity infiltrating our school culture in recent times, plucking at its very soul: illicit drug introduction, the sexual offence, cellphone abuse, inappropriate teacher dressing. We need not continue to prostitute its uniform once Child Month is gone.

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