We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
...consider a student who arrives for the first day of class and sees a professor who resembles a 1960s hippy-like graduate student (Levis, rumpled un-tucked shirt etc.) and if male, scraggly facial hair wearing a baseball cap and if female, tacky “folk” jewelry and a permanent bad hair day? It could be worse—the political billboard tee-shirt to remind today’s uninformed youngsters that “Bush Lied and People Died.” It makes no difference that this instructor may have a doctorate from Harvard and is being fast tracked to an endowed chair. Cultural conditioning is inescapable and ubiquitous: respect is given to those who dress the part and when they refuse, deference is not forthcoming. Professors should not look like janitors or stand-up comics. A sky-high tuition bill only adds insult to injury—$40,000 or more in tuition to hear superannuated hippies?
Agreed Barrister. I have a dept head boss who daily wears printed Harley Tee shirts. He.....and by extension, our department sometimes loses a degree of respect for it. Neverminding that the man is a good teacher, he gives away a little something by insisting on wearing his Harley persona in school.
Basically, what you wear determines how you will be treated, even by the unspeakably annoying airport security people. My sweet husband, who has traveled to more than twenty countries during his long stint as a writer and editor, has always worn respectable clothes when traveling, and usually gets treated with respect by the 'authorities'. No Levis, no tee shirts with pictures of Che Guevara, no scruffy beard or long hair on him when he travels. Instead, he wears the classic khaki trousers, a dress shirt open at the neck, a nice jacket if it's warm, or a neat barn coat if it's cool, and a decent, neat pair of shoes [not wild-looking running shoes]. Even if he was traveling to northern Alaska or Ellesmere Island in the Arctic, or Azerbaijan, his travel clothes silently stated his status as a responsible adult with money to pay for his tickets.
Young men today don't dress this way unless they've learned how silently effective it is in saying to the world, "I'm a grown-up man who pays his bills and knows what he's doing."
P.S. And his son doesn't yet understand this and he turned 60 this year. It's an age thing, I guess.
My chemistry professor was um...crazy. Whatever knowledge she acquired of chemistry seemed to push out basic fashion sense. Wild, frizzy hair that went everywhere, a drab shapeless blouse, crazy skirt, clashing tights and turquoise cowboy boots is how I remember her. Yikes.
Before I got this professor gig, I had an honest job as a working engineer. At the lab where I worked for decades, the standard dress was business casual except for the people who went into the experimental units. There the attire was more scruffy – either jeans or PPE (Personal Protective Equipment, meaning flame resistant clothing, hard hats, steel toe shoes, etc.)
On campus there is a difference in dress depending on how close you are to the dean’s suite. In his office and in the offices of his staff, ties are the custom. Out in the department offices, business casual is the norm. Some profs dress down from business casual, but most don’t.
Of course, this being a rural Texas campus, boots and hats are always acceptable.
I am a history/government prof at a small college in Central Texas. When my original boss hired me over 15 years ago, he told me that I had to wear either a suit or a very nice dress shirt with a tie every day. I asked "why? my PhD teachers sometimes came to class in shorts and flipflops!" He told me that wasn't how we did things here, and if I didn't like the rules, I could look for a job somewhere else.
I didn't mind too much once I had bought the clothes. I was very young then (mid 20s) and looked younger still. So having serious clothes marked me as the authority figure in the classroom.
Now I am as old as their parents, so I don't need to be as well dressed. The clothing requirements have been eased up and my original boss has since passed away (God rest his soul). I still wear business casual every day, though, and can't imagine ever coming to class in the kind or ratty clothes some of my profs wore.
Barrister, I would recommend that parents who are paying the bills should write letters to the deans of those departments telling them how you feel about their teachers being so sloppily dressed. If that doesn't get results, then move up the chain to the college presidents and the governing board (like a Board of Regents). They might tell you to get lost, but I think if lots of parents complain, you will start to see results.
My calculus professor walked in on the first day (sophomore year in college), dressed as described complete with having forgotten to zip his pants. He greeted us with, "hey, my name is Steve." Thankfully, I was able to learn calculus well enough by doing my homework and studying and tutoring those for whom it did not click.
Funny, I never quite had the respect for Steve as I did Drs. X, Y, or Z. Neither did he help me nearly as much as the ones dressed decently and setting a tone of respect for themselves and learning. From the latter, I learned to take my education experience seriously, which I needed to learn to do in order to become a functioning productive member of our society. I doubt Steve could have held (obtained?) a job at any place I have worked to date, including an amusement park, which required uniforms.
What does it say about our collective psyche to be impressed by clothing and the trappings of office?
I am told that people behave differently when wearing different types of clothes. In addition, I have been told people will act more professional in an office setting wearing good clothes as opposed to dressing casually. I wonder why that is?
They add nothing to the character of the person and we can be easily fooled by well-dressed charlatans.
I don't understand it. Just too feeble minded I guess.
I bought the hippie myth in college in the 70's, and refused to "sell out" for decades after. I can't say I have proven a damn thing by it, though there is some chance that I improved my character by learning humility. Which I did need, and still do.
Yet in perverse ways, such rebellions sometimes reinforce as much conceit as they undermine. Seems to be a lot of energy either way. I would say if you are uncomfortable with the encouragement of that value, feeblemind, take as nondescript and middle-of-the-road approach as possible. Insofar as is possible, neither play nor don't play.
Assistant Village Idiot
Best teachers I ever had wore suits.
Worst teachers I ever had wore suits.
Best colleagues I ever had wore jeans and T-shirts.
Worst colleagues I ever had wore jeans and T-shirts.
Proves to me that clothes don't say a thing about the person wearing them (mind, not talking about political or other propaganda on them).