If your classes are 55 minutes as were mine when I taught, I suggest you use the last 5 minutes to teach Life Lessons. I know you are evaluated on state or national test score results, but our kids need more. (I often wonder what was Bernard Madoff's (he stole millions from his friends) test score or Marshall Applewhite’s ( Heaven’s Gate Suicide cult leader) test score.
I would like to suggest that you teach “Dress for Success”
Students since the beginning have seemed to enjoy wearing whatever upset adults (their parents and/or their teachers). I think that is not the case today. I think they are influence by entertainers dress. I think the proliferation of the media spreads these “styles” so quickly adults are caught by surprise. There seems to be no concern about whether or not your body will permit a certain style to be worn comfortably. Female students that are overweight with extra large thighs will wear short skirts.
More importantly dress that inhibits your success getting jobs, promotions, scholarships and other positive benefits is what concerns me.
I remember when large Afros were in style I wore one. I just wanted to be in style. I went to sears to get a customer service job. I didn’t get. I wondered why my female interviewer had such a look on her face. (Frightened look, this was the time of racial unrest.) I never thought my hair keep me from getting the job. It was years later before I became aware. If someone had only told me (I didn’t need much convincing, I wanted a job badly) I would have cut it. (It will grow back)
I have a neighbor that graduated from college three years ago and has not found a job. He has dreadlocks, moustache and a beard. He looks intimidating, but is really a sweet person. He knows it stops him from being employed but he has decided, he would rather be unemployed rather than clean shaven. He lives with his mother and father and they feed him.
If one knows that dress makes the difference and chooses to not participate in the concept, I have no problem with that! (But how does one eat?)
SO WHAT CAN TEACHERS (or Parents) DO? WHAT ARE THE ACTION STEPS? Encourage your students to do the following;
1. Explain the concept of “Dress for Success”. More importantly, enlist others, family and friends to rubber stamp what you have explained. The more people that say same thing the more likely he or she is likely to believe it.
2. I have queried three neighbors who are Human Resources professionals that have confided that they do not hire those seeking jobs with visible tattoos. This of course is illegal and they would never admit it in public. Teach that tattoos are a part of the “dress for success concept’. I saw a young lady with “Rickey” tattooed on her neck. I asked “who is Rickey”. She replied “my boyfriend”. I asked “what will you do if Rickey leaves you”? She said “ Rickey would never leave me. Because I got this tattoo”. I asked” what if Rickey dies”. She replied “Rickey won’t die”. Many cultures honor and respect tattoos. Sadly these are not the cultures that are hiring people.
3. Cleavage. Teach your students the difference between sexy and classy. Show them photographs of people who are classy (Michelle Obama comes to mind). Explain to them that if you attract people who think you are sexy, what they are likely to want from you.
4. Explain that dress for success actually includes “how you smell”. Too much perfume or cologne is just as bad as to little deodorant. Explain the concept is to look clean and smell CLEAN.
5. The AfroCentric look is culturally OK. But if inhibits you from getting the job you want REMEMBER, it will grow back. Get the job FIRST, grow the hair SECOND. OR, be and entrepreneur. Even if you are an entrepreneur, your clients will have to be just like you.
6. I am going to include cell phones as a part of the Dress for Success concept. My HR neighbors confided that they have on numerous occasions had people seeking jobs answer their cell phones during the interview. One interviewer said when the young lady answer the cell phone she ended the interview and walked out of the room.
7. Shoes. I have been told that the key to evaluating a person is to watch his shoes. I have noticed that for some men their most expensive shoes are tennis shoes. No GOOD
8. Conclude with an ancient expression, “When in Rome do as the Romans do”. Dress for Success really means that you should think, “How bad do I want to be gainfully employed? How bad do I want to get out of my parents house? How bad do I want to have a car, or a house? Am I willing to dress like my potential employer? Do I want to wear my pants below my rear end so badly that I will not work in Corporate America?