Friday, May 17, 2013

No jeans, tees, mobiles for teachers

No jeans, tees, mobiles for teachers

05th April 2013 08:22 AM
Clothes make the man and more so, when the commissionerate of school education believes in the idiom. In a move to teach teachers the nuances of formal behaviour, the commissioner and director of school education issued instructions on how teachers should be dressed at a workplace and barred the use of cell phones during class hours. The instructions apply to teachers working in schools affiliated to the state government and mandates that the teachers attend the school ‘appropriate to the profession.’ It bars the teachers from being dressed in “jean pants, 8 pocket/4pocket pants, ‘T’ shorts, round neck ‘T’ shirts, flip-flop shoes etc.
On an inspection to some of the schools, Minister for Primary Education and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan Shailajanath observed that teachers were dressed in jeans and round-neck T shirts which do not look professional and hence, the new set of guidelines.
“As students learn from the teacher, they need to be cautious about how they project themselves. A large number of parents have complained that teachers attend to calls in the middle of a class. Teachers act as disciplinarians but who is to discipline a teacher?” questions V Usha Rani, commissioner and director of school education and state project director of SSA. Surprisingly, the very section the rule is directed at finds it necessary to maintain certain norms of dressing.
Citing the need to look a certain way due to the role they are entrusted with, teachers believe that it is necessary to be an ideal role model for the students.
“When corporate employees and doctors have a dress code for workplace, why not teachers? Though our profession does not say so specifically, there is a need to reflect discipline and professionalism through formal dressing,” opines Sangeetha Verma, principal of Richmond high School at Kamlapuri.  “It is a question of our culture and social values. The sense of casual dressing is not about young or old teachers. In fact, a colleague of mine who has been in the profession for 20 years, comes dressed in low waist jeans which does not look flattering while he sits in the class or bends down. However, the percentage of such people is much lower,” says P. Ananth Reddy, headmaster of Kondapur Mandal Upper Primary School.
He adds that the loud ringtones of the mobiles are a major distraction in the class and there should be a GO making it mandatory for teachers to deposit their phones in the principal or headmaster’s office during class hours. However, some teachers believe dressing casually is a phenomenon with new recruits.
“Nearly a third of the new recruits wear casual clothes to school and waste precious hours on the phone,” observes Syed Shaukat, president of AP Primary Teachers’ Association. The catch in the process is that the guidelines are self-regulatory and it is for the schools to enforce the provisions.  The incidence of multiple teachers neglecting invigilation duties and smuggling in cell phones at the ongoing SSC examinations also make it an issue to reckon with.

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