Tattooed Teachers... What I think.

It's been in the press recently about a teacher on placement at a school who has tattoos. It is alleged that she was told to go home and cover up, be it with clothes, bandages or plasters. There's been a major split in opinions from what I've seen. The most posing question of all is should she have to cover up?

My answer in this particular case... yes. *awaits backlash*

Tattoos in general, including 'sleeves', are very common these days and are not so shocking to anyone. This, I have no problem with at all. After all, diversity in life is something that children have to accept. There's nothing wrong with being different! General tattoos and sleeves can be covered up very easily and not on permanent show. Having a huge, colourfully decorative symbol tattooed on one's neck, however, is not easy to cover up and would be a distraction to me, let alone a child. The teacher in question has just this kind of tattoo. 

Distraction and impressionability. 
I'd be intrigued and ask about it's origin and wonder why they'd made the decision to have it placed in such a position. Me. I would want to know, as a genuinely interested person. I would happily accept their answer too - whatever that answer might be. But a child? They would ask question, after question. A class full of children? There'd be tens of questions, after questions. A school full of children? Look... it's an awful lot of little inquisitive people to answer. It becomes a distraction in the classroom and a talking point on the playground "Have you seen Mr/s Such'n'Such's tattoo's?"

THEN comes the Oooh's and Ahhh's. When something is different, it stands out, and more often than not it stands out as 'cool'. Children are impressionable at any age, there's no denying that. Teachers are there to teach my children the necessities to get by in life, not to influence their thoughts on lifestyle choices - be it positively or negatively. Children should be able to make those decisions themselves using their own independent judgement based on the pro's and con's based around them at the relevant time. Personal taste and opinion should not be portrayed to children at school by their teacher.

Have as many tattoos as you like - in any profession. I don't judge you by your cover, nor do I lower my expectations of your ability in your job. Just don't thrust it into the face of my young, naive, impressionable child. It's not fair. 

Aside from the distraction and impressionability though, what about dress code and decorum in a job role? I'm pretty certain if I went to work in a belly top and flip flops I'd be told to go home and change. Is it because I'm showing something off in an environment where it is seen as inappropriate? Possibly. But first and foremost, it's because I'm failing to follow the code of conduct set by my employers. If Carson went to school in tracksuit bottoms instead of grey trousers, he would be sent home too. Because it is breaking the rules of the school. The teacher in this case was advised that her tattoos needed to be covered, prior to her starting, as other teachers do with no complaints. The majority were covered, except the neck-eating one. *Pssst... never heard of a scarf, dude?*
The minute someone is allowed to do something outside of the code of conduct is the minute where others think it's OK to do so as well. Then all 'discipline' is out of the window. 

Why does it matter what someone looks like? They could be the best teacher in the world. 
It doesn't matter! If you're still thinking the above then you're missing my point entirely. Why would someone be asked to tuck their shirt in or take their sunglasses off of their head before a sales meeting - what does it matter? It doesn't! It's just what's expected of them by their employers. 
The teacher in this case said that she 'looked ridiculous' with plasters on her finger tattoos. I didn't think so? Just proves the point that what one person thinks looks ridiculous, another sees no problem. This is why codes of conduct are in place. If you don't like this code of conduct, move on and find somewhere that suits you better. If you're unable to do that, you bend over backwards to ensure you keep the job you have if you want it so badly. If that means wearing a scarf then so what? We all have things we wish we didn't have to do at work, but that's life. 

Final thought.
It's not about adversely affecting the kids or that tattoos are wrong because it doesn't and they aren't. I have tattoos, my husband has tattoos, both my family and his family also have tattoos. I'm not against them, nor am I against Carson asking questions about them. But a school is all about discipline and following rules. If the teacher can't do that themselves, then it's not a great start is it?

What are your thoughts?

Jo x


  1. I agree. I think having them is each person's individual choice, but they should be covered in a professional environment where possible.
    Great post x

    1. Thanks for your comment. Agreed. I'm not against anyone's personal choice, just that there is a time and a place to flaunt these things. That's all :-) xx

  2. I agree too, it happens in lots of jobs, not just teaching. My brother has to wear long sleeves in his office, even in summer, to cover the tattoo he has.


    1. Exactly! Just because covering them up is being requested in a teaching role, it's no more shocking than in other professions x

  3. You do make some very valid points. I'm a mother, a teacher and I have a tattoos one of which is on my wrist the other is not visible. Schools usually don't allow you to wear vest tops (without something covering your arms to at least T-shirt length) and I'm not a fan of t-shirts so I usually wear long sleeves at work out of choice. Due to where my wrist tattoo is, part of it is still visible. I have been asked by children what it is and why I have it but never been inundated with questions. Once I have informed the child that the conversation is one we can have out of learning time and I explain once that is usually the end of it. Teachers with good classroom management are often well equipped to ward of unnecessary questions and off task behaviour so I'm not sure it really matters if the tattoo is on show. Some teachers wear a headscarf or a cross for religious reasons, children will still ask questions. Some teachers wear a watch or a ring, children will still ask questions, Some teachers come to school in flats one day and heels the next and children will still ask questions. I can see your point about following the rules and tattoos easily covered by clothing don't have to be on show but I also agree with the teacher in that wearing a load of plasters will look a bit silly and not stop the questions, the children would still want to know why they have the plasters, would you then recommend lying, which is also not a good quality as school is also about learning good values such as honesty and respect for others.

    1. Excellent points you make. Yes children will ask questions about anything and everything and I certainly wouldn't recommend lying. If anything, telling the truth as to why they're worn instils the point about following rules which would actually be a positive point. Thanks so much for your comment x

  4. I don't have anything against tattoos I have a few and want more. But I think in a professional environment they should be covered I wouldn't want to see teachers with them all over their hands, up their neck or whatever. Like I wouldn't want to see them all over drs, the police or people working in offices.

  5. There's definitely amazing arguments for and against this, it's made it difficult for me to reach an opinion as I love that people can be themselves, but I don't agree if they have like naked women on them etc...x

  6. I honestly think as a teacher there are certain things you can not do, having a provocative tattoos especially ones you can't cover up is a bit too much for children. They become distracted by always obsessing over the tat.

  7. Working in schools the diversity of the staff and the children I feel is something to be embraced, a good teacher will deflect the questions and carry on teaching. Although personally I wouldn't pick a garish tattoo that shows as I think it kind of provokes the questions more. It's hard I definitely see both sides

  8. It is good to show children that we are all diverse and express ourselves in different ways and there should be freedom of expression... to a point. We all have to conform to a code of presentability, smartness and neatness. It's just life.

  9. You make some interesting points, I definitely agree with the ones on professional conduct. But it would be interesting to see if it changes in the future, would parents be ok if schools decided to remove the need to cover up tattoos?


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