Can Teachers Wear Shorts?

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Shorts are made for comfort. They keep you cool and flexible, especially when your job involves keeping up with the energy of toddlers, young children, or even teenagers. No wonder teachers hit the internet year after year, whenever summer shows, asking a question that has become vital to them. Can teachers wear shorts to work?

Generally, shorts are not considered professional wear, whether for male or for female teachers. However, dress codes for teachers have become somewhat flexible over the years, allowing for some casual dressing and corporate-casuals on days referred to as ‘dress down days.

Consequently, some schools have days when you can actually appear in decent shorts as a teacher, and all will still be well with the world. 

Also, it depends on various factors, including the part of the world you’re teaching in, the category of school (public or private), the level of learners you have to deal with, what you teach, and most importantly, the individual school policy concerning teachers dress code.

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School Category 

Private schools tend to be stricter with their dress codes for teachers than public schools. Hence, more private schools are prone to disapprove of shirts. However, it also depends on the school leaders to go through with implementation and sanctions, or not.

Learners Level

In most educational establishments, the higher the age and level of learners you work with, the more professional you are expected to appear in your dressings.

This is largely due to the fact that older children, teenagers, or young adults are able to profile you based on your appearance. Schools also want teachers to serve as good dressing models for their students, in an age where the perception of decent dressing has become really flexible.

Shorts of any kind are usually frowned upon or outrightly prohibited for teachers teaching from primary classes upwards. However, kindergarten or pre-primary teachers have to deal with very young children with an endless supply of energy.

They are also more prone to being caught in a messy accident. Therefore, most schools allow kindergarten teachers to work in a pair of tailored shorts, or even the less approved denim shorts.

What You Teach

While shorts are mostly not suitable as work wear for most teachers, it is a no-brainer that sports and physical education instructors need sporty attires to carry out their duties effectively. So if you’re a sports instructor, chances are that you can more confidently wear shorts to work. 

Be careful, however, to find out what your particular place of work says about it. Some institutions require you to come in formal clothes and also to change back into them afterward. That is, you may be allowed to wear shorts only while actively training students. 

Location of School 

I have found that with the cultural differences between various countries, comes a measure of the difference in the mode of dressing expected of their teachers. In the United States, various districts have different policies about this.

In the UK, teachers are held to stricter dress codes and shorts are usually prohibited. However, Asian countries allow both traditional-formal wear and casual but moderate outfits on certain days, which means that shorts could be allowed. 

Africans would be expected to be the most flexible of the lot, owing to the hot weather one has to contend with most times. However, cultural modesty keeps many teachers away from shorts though it may not be expressly forbidden.

Individual School Policy

At the end of the day, it all comes down to the individual school policy on teachers’ dress code. Despite cultural norms, what you teach, school category, or the level of your learners, some schools or school leaders enforce rather strict dress codes. 

Certain schools have rules against teachers wearing shorts of any kind, no matter the circumstances. They also have no qualms about implementing strong sanctions to keep their teachers in line.

On the other hand, some schools have these policies but do not really enforce them, especially at times like summer. Schools that lack facilities for comfort such as air conditioners, may overlook non-compliance when teachers dress for comfort.

Conversely and ironically, there are schools that don’t have it as a rule on paper but still frown upon shorts. It’s like an unwritten code of conduct that everyone abides by. A teacher narrated how although there was no rule against it, she stopped wearing shorts due to the looks of disapproval she got from just about everyone in the school. 

Still, there are those institutions that recognize the need for comfort and fluidity while teaching, especially when interactive classes are encouraged. They actively allow shorts and jeans in the classroom. 

You have to find out how the laws of dressing go at your own place of work and go with the flow. 

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Why Do Some Schools Allow Teachers To Wear Shorts? 

As you now know, there are schools where you can wear shorts to work, either freely or with certain conditions. But what could be their reasons for accepting shorts even though the general agreement is that they are not professional wear?

Well, here are some pointers as to why some schools allow teachers to wear shorts to work. 

  1. Teachers have to deal with little children who are energetic and all over the place. In order to keep up with them, they need to be comfortably dressed and shorts have proven to be both comfortable and flexible. 
  2. Teaching has moved from the traditional method of lecturing in front of the classroom, to more interactive and learner-centered methods. This means that the teacher has to move around a lot and comfy wears like shorts make that so much easier.
  3. Schools in tropical areas may also permit the wearing of shorts due to the high temperature that teachers have to battle with.

When Can A Teacher Wear Shorts To Work? 

Although Mondays are usually dress-up days when teachers are expected to dress the most formally, there are some days when business casuals are allowed, then other days which are reserved for casual dressing. 

Friday is the most common of those casual days. Many schools observe Friday as a day to ease up on the formality and throw on some casual outfit. So, thank God it’s Friday! It’s time to pull out those smart shorts and show some class in the classroom! 

What Kind Of Shorts Can Teachers Wear To Work? 

An important factor to consider when choosing shorts for work is covered. The shorts have to be decent enough and show a little skin above the knees as possible. Check out some of the kinds of shorts you can wear to your teaching job below.

Tailored Shorts 

Capri Shorts for Women 

Bermuda Shorts

Cargo Shorts 

Golf Shorts 

Chino Shorts 

Denim Shorts 

What Else Can Teachers Wear To Keep Cool During Summer? 

So are we expected to just sweat out the hot seasons? Certainly not! There are clothes that are suitable both for the professionalism of teaching and for comfort in hot weather. These are other acceptable options for you, whether or not your workplace accepts shorts during summer.

For Women

Flowing jumpsuits– These keep you free and cool as they leave space for airflow.

Knee-length dresses– Go for breathable fabric like cotton. Also, avoid skin-tight dresses that may cause discomfort and get patches of sweat. 

Leggings with a short dress– Leggings will keep you cool and flexible without having to keep checking if you’re flashing your undies. Just pair it with a nice dress that covers the bum.

Skirt with a loose blouse– A flowing skirt can also do the job, with a loose blouse of breathable cloth.

For Men

Chinos with a polo or t-shirt– Chinos are versatile and airy, keeping you comfy no matter the weather. 

Jeans– This one depends on if your work rules allow it because some schools kick against it. If you are allowed to wear jeans, then it’s a great way to keep comfortable in the heat.

Short-sleeved shirt with dress pants– Substitute your long-sleeved shirt for the short-sleeved version and enjoy some coolness. 

Controversial Outfits For Teachers

There are always questions about certain outfits and how proper they are for teachers to wear to work. I’ve picked out some of the wears usually questioned, to explain how suitable they are. 

  • Shorts

As I already explained at the beginning of this article, shorts are not considered to be professional enough for a teacher to wear to work. However, some schools allow them. In the cases where shorts fall within the teacher’s dress code, care should be taken to wear the right kind of shorts that are adequate for teaching. 

  • Jeans/denim

The controversy around jeans for teachers has been around for a long time and continues to wax strong. While it is generally accepted that denim isn’t formal wear, many believe that it is not inappropriate for work either, especially on dress-down days. 

As a compromise, many schools now allow black jeans but still disapprove of blue or any other color of jeans. But of course, there are schools that have very pliable dress codes and support comfort as long as decency is maintained. 

  • Leggings 

Leggings are deemed suitable for female teachers when worn under skirts or dresses of good length. It is not acceptable in most schools to wear just a shirt or top on a pair of leggings. 

  • Sleeveless tops

While thin straps or strapless can only be worn under blazers or jackets, there are sleeveless shirts and blouses that are formal in nature and as such, good enough for work. Note however, that some schools have very conservative dress codes and still do not accept sleeveless tops. 

  • Tight dresses

This is totally unacceptable for obvious reasons. It is neither practical for the work of teaching, nor is it appropriate for someone who is in the face of children and teenagers. 

  • Tattoos 

Though tattoos are not clothes, they have grown to become a kind of fashion statement. Hence, they are worth mentioning here. It is mostly not a big deal for teachers to have tattoos as long as they are out of sight.

Many schools also permit tattoos that can be seen, if it is minor and considered inoffensive. However, tattoos on prominent places, like the face, are not acceptable. 

ConclusionCan Teachers Wear Shorts?

Although schools do not consider shorts to be professional wear, some of them allow their teachers to wear shorts to work for various reasons and based on certain factors. Any of the shorts I have suggested in this article will be suitable for classroom wear. 

In order to stay cool in the hot weather, make use of the dressing ideas I have given. Also browse through my collection of questionable outfits above to see what you can get away with wearing as a teacher.

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