Teachers, T-shirts, and Tattoos

It’s back to school, where the little monsters will be whipped into productive members of society by disciplined, professional, and self-respecting teachers. There is just one problem: some “hip” educators responsible for molding young minds resemble beach bums, bikers, or bimbos. Let’s take a look at what’s going on in our schools.

Modern teachers do not always resemble “the good ol’ days” of the clean, pressed, and buttoned up professional. Today “educators” show up for school in shorts, flip flops, un-tucked t-shirts, ripped jeans, yoga pants and “skimpy wear.”

Just when children need to learn the lessons of respect, discipline, and decorum for self and others, teacher “role models” are transmitting values of self-centeredness, disrespect, and slovenliness.

If this was not bad enough, the display by tattooed teachers is troublesome. In an outward expression of inner turmoil, inked educators are a billboard for bad choices. How can we expect children to accept themselves and grow when their mentors show an inability to define who they are and play the co-dependent role model?

Sure, times have changed. The coat, tie, and high neck dress generation rightfully morphed into a khakis, golf shirt, slacks, and blouse sensibility. But as Peggy Noonan articulated, “thanks to the person who invented casual Friday. Now it’s casual every day in America. [And] when you lower standards people don’t decide to give you more, they give you less.”

In school, standards are supposed to be higher than at the “strip” mall. But today, even a semblance of standards -- first for students, and now for teachers -- has been deconstructed into oblivion; the classroom just a hangout, the teacher just a pal.

Unfortunately we can’t afford for our children to “give us less” in a world where they face fierce competition from societies who still understand discipline, self-control, and respect for others.

How has this happened? For 50 years progressive school misguidance in the distorted values of freedom without costs, non-judgmentalism, self-esteem, and secular humanism has opened the door to an anything goes egocentrism. This narcissism is in contrast to the civilizing values of personal responsibility to respect others above and beyond self.

Expressing personal freedom is necessary and wonderful in a free society; doing so flippantly while ignoring that fact that there are, quite literally, other people on the bus is ignorant and self-important. It’s tough to ask kids to grow up when the adults in charge will not. Foolishly continuing to waste time on a “therapeutic” vision of learning is cultural suicide.

Look, not all teachers fit these descriptions, but for those who do, it’s time to get your act together and stop disrespecting yourself, your colleagues, and your students. Hippie college professors may have urged you to “find yourself” and live a life of personal expression free from the hassles of “the man,” but self-indulgence has no place in the classroom. The taxpayers who are footing the bill for your shallow adventures rightly expect a certain level of maturity and integrity when they send their precious children off into your care.

There is plenty of time outside the classroom for teachers to hit the beach, bike, or bimbo bar. Parents and education leaders must demand that teachers dress professionally and respect the powerful role they have in responsibly educating children. School is a vital component for civilizing a society; the dress and self-presentation educators embrace ought to acknowledge that reality.

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