There is nothing more pleasing or motivating to a teacher than a Jean Day.
As a former educator, I can now tell you the absolutely worst part of my job was dressing up…professionally. Even typing the word gives me the chills as I relive every collared shirt, khaki or dress pants and uncomfortable pair of shoes.
Those were awful times.
After my first year of teaching, back-to-school shopping for me meant finding comfortable pants, shirts and shoes that looked nice and gave off the appearance of professional dress.
Anything I could do to keep the appearance of professionalism in front of my administrators, I would do and, I would venture to say, about 80% of educators feel the same way when it comes to clothing in the workplace.
It’s a pretty commonly held belief that teachers will do whatever is necessary to get those coveted jean days and school administrations have learned to use this to their advantage big time.
In lieu of a pay raise or other financially based incentive, teachers are offered “jean day coupons”.
Don’t take off a single day during a six-week period…jean day coupon.
All the kids in your class pass the standardized test…break out those jeans.
Eat lunch in your class all year because you are tutoring…thanks so much…have a jean day on us.
It’s brilliant for the district because it costs nothing to give teachers this freedom and yet saves the schools loads of money in the process.
And if you were not basically wearing a pair of jeans in the first place (which I often was), you would have been really happy about these rewards.
But, no matter how many times I was blessed with another “free” pass on my wardrobe, I couldn’t help but think how nice it was going to be when I finally had a job that did not require standard, professional attire as the motivation for many things in my life continues to be comfort.
So, I am offering a sincere applause for all the teachers who have managed to make their work attire something that would not lead to excelled performance in the name of jeans and giving a very drawn out slow clap to all the schools out there that have so cleverly played upon the educators’ sense of comfort.
Well done to you all.