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ERIC Number: EJ788765
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0009-4056
Teacher Candidate Fashion, Tattoos, and Piercings: Finding Balance and Common Sense
Colbert, Ron
Childhood Education, v84 n3 p158-C Spr 2008
The season of new buds and blossoms also signals fashion changes in the college classroom. Shorts, short skirts, tees, muscle tops, underwear exposed by low-rise pants, hospital scrubs, and flip-flops appear. With the advent of warm weather, women's clothing style can be tight and/or revealing. Jewelry and accessories become more visible. Today, multiple body-piercing jewelry and tattoos are prevalent among the youth. It is estimated that 20 million Americans have tattoos. It is also estimated that up to 51 percent of college-age individuals in the United States have multiple ear piercing or other forms of body piercing or tattoos. Teacher education faculty report that they speak regularly with candidates about their clothing, visible piercing, and body art. Some education faculties have been known to place restrictions on candidates' dress, jewelry, and accessories during their field-based experiences. College educators often direct their candidates to attend field experiences in the public school looking a bit more "professional" and "appropriately" dressed. For some candidates, this request can leave gaps of interpretation, especially when it comes to tattoos and piercing. Thus, faculty try to gauge the new styles and norms with good humor and common sense. Many faculty prefer not to regulate teacher candidates' norms for dress and accessories. Teacher candidates attend classes dressed for comfort with the fashion freedoms they desire. However, each spring, teacher candidates are reminded that the norms for dress and accessories for the two settings, college classroom and conservative field-based classroom, can differ. Visible tattoos and body piercing will not be widely accepted in the schools. Generally, restrictions are legitimate and necessary for the teacher candidate to properly function within district schools while representing the values of a teacher education program. Candidates are advised that many parents want to see their children's teachers as role models. They are reminded of the old adage that first impressions count. The realities of first impressions made by administrators, colleagues, and parents during their brief time in a school setting can be critical to their success. Candidates quickly become aware that schools are hectic places and school personnel may not have many opportunities to get to know them well, so a certain image may give the teachers and parents confidence. In this age of accountability, the candidates are aware that school-based staff are eager to assess them. Professors and educators have no desire to trample on candidates' First Amendment rights. However, teacher education programs do appear to need clear guidelines for candidates doing field work in the public schools. Although tattoos and piercing generally are accepted in society, they still are not welcomed easily in the local schools.
Association for Childhood Education International. 17904 Georgia Avenue Suite 215, Olney, MD 20832. Tel: 800-423-3563; Tel: 301-570-2111; Fax: 301-570-2212; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A