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Ties in Schools


John Simkin
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My newspaper today included an interesting photograph. It is of the world’s political leaders meeting on Sea Island. The most striking thing about the photograph is that all ten men are not wearing ties. This suggests to me that a decision was made to have the photograph without ties. Obviously they thought it would provide the right image to the rest of the world (youthful, modern, etc.)

This got me thinking about the wearing of ties in school. As a teacher I did not object to wearing a tie on most occasions. I was brought up to believe that if you were doing an important job you wore a tie. After working for seven years in a factory I looked forward to wearing a tie to work. However, my objection was that you were expected (in fact, forced) to wear a tie all the time. This was especially uncomfortable during hot weather.

A few years ago I was working for a national newspaper. The policy was that you had to wear a tie for meetings with senior members of staff and with meetings with outside organizations. However, if you were working in the office they did not mind what you wore.

Next I worked for a dot com company that was owned by another national newspaper. The managing director (he was a former deputy editor of another national newspaper) took the view we should not wear ties at meetings. The thinking was that this would give the impression that we would look like a youthful, modern company, etc.). I found the reaction to this policy very interesting. Start up dot com companies held similar views and rarely wore ties at meetings. However, people from more conventional companies were openly shocked by our behaviour. I remember on one occasion having a meeting with a highly successful businessman who had been granted a title by the government and placed in charge of a government body on information technology. He found it difficult not to make it clear he greatly disapproved of these tieless executives.

On another occasion I went into a school with the managing director of this company. I of course wore a tie. The managing director was tieless. The headmaster was furious and was reluctant to give us a tour of the school. He was clearly uncomfortable when introducing this man to fellow members of staff. I am sure he felt his authority was being undermined.

Over the last few years I have visited schools all over Europe. In every case, I have seen few teachers wearing ties. Is it time Britain entered the modern world and consigned the tie to the dustbin of history.

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Thanks John, this is a real bugbear of mine and it is lovely to be able to vent spleen. I have a real issue with the idea of compulsion - ie the expectation that I should wear a tie every day of the week. In fact at my old school I even went as far as DELIBERATELY not wearing a tie on a Friday. In my current post as a middle manager the expectation is even higher, and on the odd occasion that I 'dared' not to wear a tie the amount of comments that I got was ridiculous. I do not have a problem in looking smart, in fact I spend lots of money on my clothes and love a good shop. I feel really strongly that I look just as formal with a suit and open shirt / v-neck jumper as I do with a tie. I do have a problem with double standards - sadly the old fashioned gender stereotypes / expectations still exist - many women teachers can dress in T-shirts whilst I have to wear a collar and tie. The other appaling thing about ties are the men that wear novelty ties, especially at Christmas, makes me want to choke them! (I told you I had an issue with this!)

Maybe I should start a no tie campaign, and start to picket the Dept for Education.

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There is no obvious purpose to the male tie, other than as a rather basic and obvious pointing devise in the direction of the male groin. Unless therefore one has a very shortsighted wife, there is absolutely no useful function for the tie.

Clothing and "fashion" regulations for both staff and students are really all about power and the ridiculous desire for the leadership of an institution to be the dominant cultural influence on their minions.

I fear however the anti-tie campaign is doomed to failure. When the tie goes the argument will shift to shirt colour, hair length, the cut of your trousers and a thousand other nonsenses. The desire to control will just find a new focus ;)

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There is no obvious purpose to the male tie, other than as a rather basic and obvious pointing devise in the direction of the male groin. Unless therefore one has a very shortsighted wife, there is absolutely no useful function for the tie.

The great day came when the pupils were finally allowed to take their ties off for the rest of the summer. The boys took them off. And a large number of the girls promptly took them and put them on.

Uses for ties:

Emergency replacement for belt

Offensive weapon

aide memoire (you can tie a knot in it but in view of Andy's symbolism this is suddenly problematical)

Deceptive Status symbol....I can use mine to prove I went to Eton and served in the Guards....

Have a nice day

Derek McMillan

(nobody has ever forced me to wear a tie since school, but I do wear one)

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I slop around at home in jeans and a teeshirt most days - I work mainly from home. I used to hate wearing a tie on hot summer days when I was at school, both as a student and as a teacher. I can't see any point in wearing a tie when the weather is hot. Now I quite enjoy dressing up in a suit and wearing a tie on formal occasions. I suppose it has some novelty value now, and it's my personal choice.

I get a bit cross, however, about stupid dress codes. I was barred from entering a pub on one occasion because I was wearing trainers. On another occasion a jobsworth at a local pay-and-play golf centre took exception to my turning up in a polo neck shirt instead of what he called a "collared shirt". I pointed out that a polo neck shirt does actually have a collar and that if this was the golf centre's policy then they were acting above their station, as even Wentworth Golf Club allows gentlemen to wear a polo neck shirt in the formal dining room - although a jacket is required. The jobsworth - reluctantly - allowed me to play.

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I get a bit cross, however, about stupid dress codes. I was barred from entering a pub on one occasion because I was wearing trainers. On another occasion a jobsworth at a local pay-and-play golf centre took exception to my turning up in a polo neck shirt instead of what he called a "collared shirt". I pointed out that a polo neck shirt does actually have a collar and that if this was the golf centre's policy then they were acting above their station, as even Wentworth Golf Club allows gentlemen to wear a polo neck shirt in the formal dining room - although a jacket is required. The jobsworth - reluctantly - allowed me to play.

;):lol: You should see the dress code at my golf club! Some highlights;

Jackets must be warn in the clubhouse and can only be removed with the Captains approval

Apparel which has been worn on the course is not permitted in the clubhouse

Caps must not be warn in the clubhouse - on the course they must be worn with the peak facing forward

Shorts must be of a "reasonable length"

Shirts must be tucked into trousers at all times

What is even more hilarious than the regulations themselves are those who get upset when they are broken.

Back to ties, I note no one has yet come up with an alternative useful "function" to the one I suggested earlier :unsure:

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Andy writes:

Back to ties, I note no one has yet come up with an alternative useful "function" to the one I suggested earlier.

My ties are pretty good at soaking up soup at the dinner table.

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During my time as a pupil in an all girls grammar school, I also had to wear a collar and tie, together with a pleated skirt and blazer ...lovely it was, especially when teamed up with a jaunty velour hat complete with metal badge on the front of the hatband! I can sympathise with the guys who find ties somewhat of a pain, especially in warm weather. However, they do ensure that gentlemen who are rather hirsuite can more easily control the escape of said body hair by tying it down with their tie! <_<

They can also be a source of some simple amusement - the weekly 'grotty tie competition' was hotly contested amongst some gentlemen of my acquaintance ... where they found such horrors I couldn't begin to imagine! :)

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They can also be a source of some simple amusement - the weekly 'grotty tie competition' was hotly contested amongst some gentlemen of my acquaintance ... where they found such horrors I couldn't begin to imagine!

I remember such competitions well. I taught at a secondary school in the late 60s /early 70s. The teacher who taught dressmaking got her pupils to make ties out of leftover bits of material. The ties were then sold to male staff to generate a bit of income for the teacher's department (textiles). Many of the male staff, including myself, sported really outrageous flowery ties that we bought from the textiles department.

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