Why Can’t Teachers Wear Jeans?

Anyone involved in the career of human education feels this path does not seem easy.

There are many things that will dictate the way you behave, one of which is how the teacher wears something at school.

I have a strict father and he has been a teacher for 40 years of his life. Throughout his educational career, he always wore a suit, even when he wasn’t at work. His shirt buttons have never taken off even once until he got to bed.

My dad is always super serious and bitter (I’m kidding but my friends get scared every time they see my dad).

I was infected with that serious dressing style from my father, but when I became a high school math teacher, I realized that the way teachers dress up has a huge impact on students’ perceptions.

In my time 20 years ago, students became more serious and obedient when they saw the teacher dressed as my father, and vice versa.

This leads me to the question, should teachers start changing the way they wear to stimulate students’ creativity and autonomy while learning?

I experimented with this by wearing jeans two days a week alternating with the usual serious suits.

No surprise, my students seem to perform better and their moods are brighter on days when I wear jeans.

So why can’t teachers wear jeans?

There’s still downsides in one way or another in this case. But let’s figure it out now!

Why can’t teachers wear jeans?

Even if jeans are not something bad at all, many schools (at any level and system) generally do not accept jeans as a teaching fashion.

Informal dress code/ uniformity

I know that a lot of schools all over the USA do not accept jeans as part of their work uniform. The more expensive and flashy schools are, the more demanding they are about how their teachers dress.

Because they are not only telling the students about their professionalism, but they are also spreading the word to the parents that their children are being educated by the most serious and trustworthy people.

Obviously, no one wants to send their kids to people who wear jeans to teach them since they look no more than manual workers (I actually have no offense but most people really perceive it that way). That’s why jeans have never been on their acceptable outfit list.

teacher wearing light blue shirt, cravat and khakis pants in an IT class

Some schools put the wearing of suits into strict regulations for teachers. In some of the mildest cases, teachers can wear khaki or linen pants, but jeans are often not appreciated. You may even be forced to quit your job for wearing jeans to teach.

What about extracurricular days? Well, teachers might not wear suits but polo shirts instead. But jeans are unsuccessful in all cases.

I also know some elite schools in Hong Kong that even forbid their teachers from wearing jeans or something that looks pretty much casual outside of class.

They believe that this professionalism should be practiced wherever and whenever students may encounter their teacher in the middle of the street. Come on!

Bring up different core values

Sometimes jeans don’t help send the right educational message that schools want to their students. People value an educational environment because it produces a person like a copy of the style and personality (part of) of the place where they were educated.

female teacher holding a book teaching six kids

Undeniably, jeans with the symbol of comfort and dynamism may not be appropriate in some educational settings, for example, military, religious or anywhere it is supposed to be serious.

These educational settings do not consider creativity and autonomy as core values ​​that they want their students to receive. Instead, discipline, seriousness, and compliance are what students need to achieve in these environments.

Teachers here will wear costumes that show professionalism, power and bring a bit of oppression (in spirit) to students when teaching.

No surprise, students who can graduate well from these environments will perfectly inherit these core values ​​in their way of life and work.

Higher ranks

Even when allowed, many teachers are actually not willing to wear jeans to school. This is because they themselves feel that jeans make them “way more similar” to their students to some extent – which they do not want.

Teachers are often perceived at a markedly higher level than students. Because they are primarily responsible for teaching and training students and it is important to feel empowered.

Since jeans are worn by most students aged 12 to 22 at all schools, teachers are supposed to wear something different to look more powerful and superior, for example, a piece of a suit.

female teacher wearing suit for teaching in class

This can help control how students perceive, think and react to the teacher right from the first impression.

This somewhat helps the training and teaching going smoothie.

Fabric and colors matter

Fabrics required for teachers’ uniforms, such as khaki or linen, are often inelastic. This prevents a teacher’s style from being affected when their jeans are deformed in too much sitting all day long for up to 8 hours a day.

Any jean fabrics including 100% cotton jeans or stretchy jeans often stretch at the crotch, back seams when sitting all day long. This can affect the professionalism that a teacher is required to show. No one knows what will come to mind when students look at their teacher’s wrinkled, sagging jeans.

Khaki, dark gray or black are the main color tones that show professionalism in style. They also make the outfits elegant and elegant when paired with white shirts or a delight tie.

a teacher wearing light blue shirt, a checked tie and khakis pant sitting in a table at his class

But indigo blue jeans are on the opposite side since even blue indigo colors can be too old-school and interesting faded blue and silver colors are too casual, unprofessional and unattractive.

Is it appropriate for teachers to wear jeans?

My answer is Yes, in some certain cases and to a certain extent.

This is not because I like to wear jeans but because in fact, some places in the USA still allow their teachers to wear jeans when teaching, as long as the wearer remains serious and professional in their style.

From my experience’s perspectives, jeans should be worn by middle and high school teachers. My students in this period already have certain perceptions about life and how they solve their problems.

However, they may be going through the teen crises that are common at this age. Teachers wearing jeans will give them a sense of comfort to share and talk.

This allows teachers to better understand their students and helps guide how they learn and deal with life crises. American students drop out the most in middle and high schools. It shows that teaching science is not enough in our education system.

I believe that being open to allowing teachers to wear jeans will create a better bond between teachers and students.

a teacher wear long sleeve shirt and jeans in her class

Besides, when teachers are about to join some physical activities with their students, jeans help them move faster with great flexibility.

Secondly, jeans should be worn by male teachers rather than female teachers since most jeans for women aim at promoting the beauty of the body’s curves which seems to be inappropriate in school.

Men’s jeans are different. They fit the body the same way office pants fit. This does not reveal unnecessary sensitivities in the teacher’s style of wearing that may stimulate bad curiosity from students when looking at their teacher’s gait.

Lastly, some teaching centers that train creative thinking, life skills, or technical skills (such as programming, machinery, construction) may allow their teachers to wear jeans while teaching.

These environments encourage the core values ​​of creativity, dynamism, openness and connection and wearing jeans will help convey these messages more vividly to students. No wonder why the group of employees who wear jeans the most are IT and engineer workers.

What jeans can be worn for teachers?

People will immediately think of jeans with the iconic blue indigo color and the stiffness of the fabric. These were stories of the past decades ago.

This does not mean that these jeans no longer exist today. You will still find millions of such pants on the market.

But what I mean is that with today’s developing textile and dyeing technology, wearers have more than a choice of classic indigo rigid jeans.

Jeans fabrics

You can choose from a number of high-quality stretchy jeans in khaki, tan or black that look no different than khaki pants or linen pants apart from the jeans’ unmistakable 5-pocket construction.

This also means that if stretchy jeans are sewn to the shape of office pants with a regular fit and 4-pocket styles, people may not realize you are wearing jeans when it is true.

man wearing khakis jeans teaching in his class

However, stay away from skinny jeans fabrics since the fibers are super elastic and moldy and their designs are more of presenting lust and eroticism, especially if you are teaching 12 to 18 year olds.

However, what is a surprise is that the art teacher in my sister’s university class is a fan of skinny jeans when teaching. My sister tells me about him every week with admiration for his creative abilities. I have no objection in this case!

Regular fit forms

Men are required to wear a regular fit or loose fit in a professional work environment, and jeans are no exception. These designs create enough space in the hips, legs and buttocks for the wearer to feel comfortable while contributing to a masculine, mature and polite style.

If you have thick and muscular calves, you should choose loose fit jeans since regular fit jeans look no different from skinny jeans in your body.

Also, straight legs are way better than bootcut jeans since you are not about to include cowboy boots with mid-calf shafts in your lower style.

Keep in mind that jeans are only acceptable as a part of teaching fashion only if you look neat, polite and professional in your overall outfit.

Colors matter

This has never been wrong and it always matters.

Aside from khaki, tan or black colors which are perceived as the most professional colors while at work, some jeans with dark gray, dark ash, dark brown with fine texture and medium thickness are also acceptable.

teacher wearing brown khakhis walking with his students

The technique of weaving jeans has progressed to the point where I used to not believe what I have touched was a pair of jeans instead of linen pants since they look just a little bit dissimilar.

This allows the wearer to have more color choices but keep in mind to make friends with dark colors only when it comes to teaching fashion.

Go with high rise

Low rise jeans are never a good choice, even if you wear them in everyday life outside of work hours.

Men’s buttocks and hips are not as pronounced as women’s, but they prefer belting their pants to look more masculine and mature.

teacher wearing white shirt and jeans with belt teaching a small group of students

Low-rise jeans often don’t give you the professional and neat look you want when wearing a belt, but high rise jeans do.

Besides, wearing jeans when teaching may require you to tuck your shirt inside the pants, high rise jeans will not cause any problems for you in these cases that trigger your professionalism.

Proper length

The length of jean’s legs should touch the ground when you are standing upright and not wearing any footwear.

This allows for a nice bulge right on the shoes’ vamp when you dress up completely.

teacher wearing skinny jeans with sneaker

I know these days young teachers are following rather weird fashion styles, their jeans usually stay just around the ankles when worn with dress shoes.

I believe that aside from looking arrogant in this style, the teacher may have some problems when he needs to walk continuously in class, for example, the leg of his pants can be pulled up to half a calf when he is sitting.

This really looks unprofessional and polite even if his style is quite a bit up to date.

Before you leave

I think it can be pretty biased if saying teachers can’t wear jeans in their class.

My people in California have been comfortable wearing jeans to teach for a few decades and we found no problem that may affect our student’s perceptions and behaviors.

However, if not wearing jeans is a must for you to keep your job, I encourage you to not risk your career.

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