One of the things that continually have the bees in my bonnet buzzing is the issue of clothing and students.
No, this is NOT the post where I opine about the serious lack of clothing in American classrooms nor is it the post where I profess to be astounded concerning the large amount of cleavage I see at the local high school. I’m not even going to write about how most school hallways resemble a plumber’s convention due to the amount of rear ends that wink at me.
My point this time is the emphasis children place on particular brands of clothing – Abercrombie, Pacific Sun, American Eagle, Hollister….
Now, I’m not just picking on students. I’m guilty of liking certain brands of clothing as well – Ralph Lauren, Talbots, Liz Claiborne , and Jones New York to name a few.
However, the difference is while I like certain brands of clothing I don’t alienate folks if they don’t wear the same thing as I do….I don’t call them names…..I don’t belittle them publically. Wear what you personally want to wear…..I do.
Unfortunately, students can and do alienate each other, call each other names, and belittle them publically.
This type of activity can undermine our number one purpose….learning.
Every few days I invite a student to join me for lunch…I don’t do this alphabetically because it would be too predictable, but I do make sure that every student is invited each nine weeks. I ask the student to get his or her tray and join me back in the classroom. We talk about all sorts of things. I ask the student about his or her life at home, likes, dislikes. We often discuss television shows including cartoons.
This provides an opportunity for me to build relationships with students…..students that are my problem kids…..kids that are the stand-out stars….and kids that I might not ever even know they were in the room unless I invited them to lunch.
Occasionally during these lunch dates a student will let me know if he or she is having issues with other students. This is usually when I find out I’m having a major clothing issue….a clothing bias can cause enough of a disruption to hinder the learning process.
This is when our normal studies come to a screeching halt, and we take a side road through fashion in history. We might research the fashions of the time period we are studying or, I might choose a short story I can read aloud to student and then ask them to illustrate what they think the characters in the story might be wearing depending on the clues given in the story. Students have to analyze the possible time period and the character’s actions to come up with a plausible costume. These activities also get students to discussing clothing choices and how they make and DON’T make a man.
From time to time one of the activites I use involves the Presidents of the United States. Some of their clothing choices were interesting, and speaking of labels……one label that is often repeated is the Brooks Brothers label. Follow this link to my newest posting at American Presidents titled All the President's Clothes... where I discuss how the Brooks Brothers label has been involved with the executive office since the early 19th century.