Thursday, May 22, 2008

Dress the Part

In NYC, there's no dress code for teachers. I don't have a problem with that. But when I started, I used to wear a tie every day. One day, in a mad rush to get out the door, I forgot to put the tie on, and the security guards wouldn't let me in the building. That's how young I looked when I started (Sadly, I don't have that problem anymore).

Since then, though, I've worn a tie pretty much every day. Eventually, I acquired a bunch of jackets to go with it, and began to look even more serious. A few years back, I stopped eating white sugar, switched to whole carbs, and lost 40 lbs. When I tried to buy new jackets, I found that I could buy suits for the same price or less. What the hell, I figured, and upgraded.

So now, with a bunch of suits in my closet, I've discovered that a lot of cool-looking people wear long-sleeve Ts with suits, and figured after 20 years, I could finally ditch the tie.

The kids said nothing. My supervisors couldn't care less. My principal said not one word. My wife didn't even notice. But one of my colleagues found it completely unacceptable.

"You have to wear a tie," she told me.

"Hardly anyone else does," I countered.

It doesn't matter," she replied. "You have to."

"But I have to get up early, and I'm in a hurry, and..."

"No excuses," she said. "You can't dress like that without a tie. That's my final word on the matter."

Why should I listen to her, I asked myself. She's not my boss. There's no way she's gonna tell me what to do.

Today, one of my students asked me, "How come you're wearing a tie every day?"

"Ms. Bright made me do it," I said, and added, "I'm a little afraid of her."

"We're afraid of her too," he said.

She's a very successful teacher, I think.
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