Can our appearance impact on our ability to teach?
Now I’ve never heard of a teacher being dismissed for ‘obesity’ but I guess it begs the question: is there a point at which some personal matter in our lives – our weight for example – might have a bearing on our professional position?
It is of course conceivable that becoming obese might inhibit or prevent us from carrying out the roles and responsibilities of our job – if we were PE teachers for example – where the physical demands of the job are particularly acute – or nursery teachers, where our responsibility to (let’s say) quickly evacuate young children from a building in an emergency is crucial.
So is there a point (and where is it) that others might legitimately question confidence in our ability to do our jobs effectively – like the employers of the hapless airline steward clearly did?
And where does it all stop? What about other personal matters?
I met a student recently doing a maths degree at a top university who wanted to go on to train as a teacher. She was bright, articulate, sociable, worldly and wanted to work in an inner-city school – gold dust for the teaching profession.
She also had body piercings in her nose, lips and ears and tattoos covering her neck and arms.
Does it matter?
Does that matter? It certainly wouldn’t stop her becoming an excellent maths teacher if she had the aptitude and talent.
But is there a point at which others, parents for example, might not want their children taught by such a person? Are there issues for her colleagues too? Do either of them have a right to say so?
What if you’re a chain smoking teacher?
And what if you are a chain-smoking teacher? Is that the business of anyone else but you and your tobacconist?
I was at school in the 1970’s. In those days, staff room doors opened and clouds of cigarette smoke billowed out. I don’t remember thinking any the worse of my teachers for being chain smokers – as some of them clearly were.
These ‘boundaries’ between personal and professional lives… where does it all end?
Do tattoos / piercings have any relevance to someone’s ability to teach?
Should our personal preferences be up for scrutiny if we’re teachers?
Do you or a colleague have piercings / tattoos? What do the kids / parents think?