Teachers Flashing Tattoos

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Dear Dr. Spilchuk 
/ Online Consultant, ISR

tiger-tatto84314753Dear Barbara,
 As a teacher of many years’ experience overseas, I have recently noticed a tendency for NQTs to arrive at a new posting flashing tattoos, nose rings and several ear piercings. They seem astonished when told that school rules require them to cover up and remove such studs. This year one young woman was very unpleasant about it and took every opportunity to ignore admin rules and display her tattoos as boldly as possible. In many countries, students and parents react to tattoos with horror as a sign of low social status or membership in some sort of triad. A number of my colleagues feel that tattoos and nose rings have no place in an international school – especially as rules forbid students from having them. Parents have complained that tattooed teachers are bad role models. I agree.

QSI schools prohibit hiring smokers — Will there be a need for school to ask if applicants have visible tattoos and nose rings in the future? What do other teachers and administrators feel, and how do they deal with this issue?

Hello ISR Fan,
I believe that we can all make personal choices for our makeup, jewelry and body art on our own time and in appropriate places. However, within schools, particularly International Schools, teachers need to set a higher standard than what may be acceptable for students. Teacher body jewelry and body art that has the potential to distract students from focusing on learning is just not in good taste and in many cultures, it is deemed highly inappropriate. My suggestion to teachers is for them to share this type of jewelry/art in more private locations.

Best,
Dr. Barbara Spilchuk / Online Consultant, ISR

 COMMENTS? Please scroll down

59 Responses to Teachers Flashing Tattoos

  1. Jo says:

    As a student who has no tattoos or peircings, I think that teachers should be aloud to have tattoos and piercings that show. It’s their way of expressing themselves, and if it doesn’t affect anyone else than people shouldn’t have a problem with it.

    “It doesn’t look professional,” or “they’re trashy.” Well, my pastor from my chruch, who many people respect, has visible tattoos.

    “They influence kids to get them.” Your kid can make their own decisions, that teacher did not make yourkid get a tattoo or tell them too. If your kid gets a tattoo, it’s their own choice.

    Tattoos and peircings have been around for thousands of years. In Africa the bigger the gauges a woman has the “more beautiful” she is.

    People in the military can have tattoos, why not teachers? They’re treated with respect.

    That is all I have to say.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Totally agree with Dr Spilchuk. We had a really nasty, arrogant, young and clueless ‘librarian’ last year – lucky she lasted a year – with her nose ring and ugly tattoos. The kid hated her and the tattoos caused a great lack of respect. This was China. Rude, loud and tacky!

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  3. Bessyboo says:

    For goodness sake. Anyone educating any student of any age, anywhere in the world, should be embracing diversity, focusing on celebrating differences and righting preconceptions.
    Freedom of choice, the right of the individual and the uniqueness of each one one us- isn’t that what we all want for our class, regardless of their culture or sex?
    Having taught in the Middle East for six years, I can honestly say I understand people’s reticence to go against fundamentalist government policy but never the teacher’s. I totally agree with the writer who stated earlier that it is the Administration of a school who most often creates the biggest preconceptions about a culture, society or individuals on the staff. I have witnessed so many teachers live the ex-pat life and absorb all their ‘cultural experience’ from Admin and sensationalists rather than get to know the people who’s country they are actually living in.
    Yes, it may not be acceptable for a local woman to have a tattoo (but many do) but normal people, including parents are incredibly open minded about other cultures having them and very happy for them to teach their children.
    I don’t believe anyone ‘flaunts’ their tattoos. People just have them.

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  4. Dr. Barbara Spilchuk says:

    Thanks all for your input! Such a wide range of responses should give us all food for thought!

    Like

  5. Anonymous says:

    I am a teacher in her mid fifties flashing her tattoo, no one has said a thing to me about it – is it because of my age and experience? Is this an “ageist” thing, I am a single mother with grown up children who is living the live she chooses in a conservative developing country. I respect my school and its community and they respect me.

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  6. louis says:

    You will certainly have problems in Saudi Arabian schools if showing off your tattoos especially crosses. I have the same experience at my school and had to give a teacher a warning letter for displaying his tattoos. It is against the Islamic religion to tattoo your skin.

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  7. wayne says:

    lots of these posts are very condescending! i worked in the UAE for years and never had a problem with my visible tattoos – nor my wife’s tattoos or nose-ring. the kids are interested and curious. maybe in korea and china and the “qsi” schools they will think you of a low social class but nowhere else except, it seems, in the eyes of fellow teachers!

    how does having a tattoo make me a bad role model? simply put it doesn’t. and for any admin not under the yoke, it won’t make a difference.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    I agree that displaying tattoo or body art is something that a teacher should not assume is acceptable dress code just because they may come from a more tolerant (less conservative) society. Even in the most liberal areas this is still a risky assumption. I think it is reasonable to ask teachers to cover up just as you might require slacks for men or no flip flops for women in the classroom. In some countries even opening a tattoo shop is illegal (UAE) so why create an uncomfortable situation for parents, students and employers.

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  9. hlgarner says:

    I feel that the schools should note any restrictions or expectations in the interview/hiring phase. If they are going to make a requirement AFTER people show up in August, that is a little too late. This says nothing of whether I do or don’t have a tattoo, or extra piercings, or whether I think they should be visible or covered. It is not fair to hire people, only to hand down dress code and grooming mandates when they arrive months later.

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    • Anonymous says:

      As a professional you should not have to be handed a dress code for things that are really common sense. Having gone to enough fairs I think most experienced teachers know it is difficult enough to get clear answers on basic issues like health coverage and other employment perks when taking a job 8 months in advance. Having an attitude like “they didn’t tell me my earlobe extenders (insert body modification of your choice) was wrong” is really just a great example of being a trouble maker aka whiner that so many international teachers of class are frustrated by. In other words, grow up.

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  10. Suze says:

    Wow. So much judgement…so little time. Notice how people jump into stereotypes? Tattoos = young, hip. No tattoos = old, narrow minded according to some previous posters.. I don’t give a rip whether you have them or not. Great teachers come in all varieties. I would imagine conservative schools would be sensible enough to hire conservative looking people. Do what your school tells you. The end. PS–I think more of you should get split tongues and horn implants and black eyeballs and total lizard face tats.. Oh wait a minute…are you saying there are *degrees* of acceptability?

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  11. Kat says:

    My advice would be to check with the school at the interview stage. I have worked exclusively in the Middle East for 10 years, and the employee handbooks have stressed moderate, professional dress, meaning covered arms, no shorts, longer skirts for women, no sheer clothing, no beach sandals. They also say “no religious jewelry”. These are guidelines put in place not just for students and parents, but also for having good relationships with local staff, colleagues you will work with on a daily basis. Several of my friends, young and old, have had tattoos and piercings, but they follow the guidelines in the employee handbook and have no problems. Like most of the discussions in these forums, it all boils down to doing your research before you sign up with the school. Hold out for the right match. Don’t go somewhere where you will be miserable. Students will suffer, and so will you.

    P.S. Some of my friends have worked in schools where they have been required to wear a burqa. It would be silly for me to apply to these schools and then complain that I had to wear a burqa after the fact.

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  12. Chris says:

    If you are at an IB world school where the goal is to have students be internationally minded and embody the Learner Profile and attitudes it’s kind of ridiculous to have rules that don’t let professionals express who they are. The only way I would see tattoos, piercings, etc. as unprofessional is if they are discriminatory or vulgar. There are cultural sensitivities to consider and in those cases I would be conscious of but otherwise this old fashion view of what people need to look like is not the future.

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    • A.G. says:

      “The only way I would see tattoos, piercings, etc as unprofessional is if they are discriminatory or vulgar.” I’m unaware that there are any universally recognized and accepted criteria that determines what a discriminatory or vulgar tattoo is. Your definition of vulgarity might be my definition of acceptability.

      Since there is a infinite number of personal definitions (and interpretations) of what would constitute a vulgar tattoo, why not simply have a staff that doesn’t have any?

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  13. Merion says:

    Why does everyone assume that it’s younger teachers who sport tattoos? Both my husband and I are in our 50s, consider ourselves amongst the most professional teachers in our current and previous schools, which include the middle east, central asia and China. My tattoos, whilst I would be willing to cover should administration deem it necessary, in no way affect my ability as a teacher. Far from it, it continues to foster in my students that wonderful IB quality: open-mindedness. I firmly believe that one of the most important elements of being a teacher is to encourage our students not to be judgemental. To do that, we need to model this behaviour. I would hate to work for a school with such a limited view of what a role model should be – I think a bare-footed, laid-back British person would be a *great* role model, actually.

    I admit to be somewhat shocked by some of the comments in this thread. I’m open-minded but at the same time really, really hope I never have to work with some of you. Your narrow-mindedness makes me shudder and I hope I’m never in the position where I have to work alongside you and be open-minded to your narrow-mindeness😉

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    • Anonymous says:

      Umm, aren’t you in fact modeling a spirit of judgementalism towards those whom you disagree with? Is this the IB-spirit of non-judgmentalism in action?

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      • Anon andon says:

        No, she’s politely saying that working with tightly-wound judgmental people is not at all pleasant. Although, maybe her reply was mean-spirited by the closing happy face. Your reply says it all, unfortunately.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    I’ll say this, as someone with tattoos, I get that people, especially older people (I’m 30), don’t generally approve as much. I agree, to an extent, that flaunting them can be unprofessional. Mine are on my torso so there’s no way my students would see. I know it’s a cultural thing too – some cultures are more open than others. That’s all fine and dandy and anyone accepting a job in an area needs to know how the area regards it, and if its right for them. In Japan I know tattoos are still associated with the Yakuza so if you have them, you’re banned from public baths and things of that sort. I taught in Russia, where tattoos are gaining popularity among young people, but very frowned upon and associated with the Russian Mafia by older generations. No one knew I had mine, but I was able to see how people reacted to others. I have a lip piercing that I keep a clear retainer in so it’s hard to notice. It’s not a distraction. When my students did notice, they asked me a few questions, like “Did it hurt?” or “When did you get it?” or “Why did you get it?” and then it was almost never brought up again.
    If your tattoos or piercings are the topic of discussion instead of the subject matter, after maybe the first or second time the students notice it, there’s an issue of engagement with the students that goes beyond the piercings. I’ve worked with teachers with sleeves. One took one period and just went through the entirety of them with the students, asked if anyone had any questions, got it all out of the way, and it only ever came up again when there was a new student or one of the students got a tattoo.

    On the whole, just PLEASE do not assume that having tattoos makes anyone less qualified at their job. I’m not going to say I’m the best teacher in the world. I’m certainly not bad. I’m in high demand when I’m in a contract year. There’s definitely better teachers than me but I’m in the upper echelon. One of the best doctors I’ve ever seen had two full sleeves. If I had judged him on that, rather than his potential ability, I’d still be plagued with a reoccuring injury that he was the first of three other doctors to correctly diagnose and fix.

    You don’t need to like body decorations and modifications, but at least respect the people for who they are. Yes, they have a choice, but that’s like you being judged for your clothing choices. At least you can change theirs. People with tattoos know the prejudice they will face and get them anyway. That takes a lot of confidence to do. And again, mine are hidden, so I don’t even count myself in that group.

    Tattoos and piercings are just decorations. They don’t make that person any more or less of a person. They just make that person more colorful (literally), or more hole-y (also literally). That’s it!

    Like

  15. Jessi says:

    Tatoos have not been considered unprofessional in the US for a long time now. I am only in my second international school, but tattoos have not been considered unprofessional in either of those countries. Where I now, our admin sports tattoos or piercings. It is very easy to look professional and still have tattoos and/or piercings. HOWEVER, if the society and culture of a school’s host country still considers such things as unprofessional, it is the school’s responsibility to make this rule clear BEFORE hiring a teacher. AFTER that information in properly distributed, then it is the teacher’s job to fullfill their agreement of employment.

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  16. Peggy O'Neill says:

    When we are in foreign lands as a foreign teacher we should adhere to their laws and cultural rules. If you don’t think you should be obliged to follow them, don’t take the job.

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    • MasafiOne says:

      That’s exactly what I think Peggy. I don’t know why some people feel it is their right to affront local customs. Schools should not have to do the homework for applicants. It seems to be extremely foolhardy to hop on a plane without knowing a lot bout the place where you plan to spend at least two years.

      Like

    • A.G. says:

      Well put.

      Like

  17. Anonymous says:

    Every time I see a hipster with stupid neck tattoos I can’t help but give them a silent round of applause for making it easier for me to get a job in an international school. Let them take all those high flying language institute jobs, I say…

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    • James Atwell says:

      Simply put: I’m disappointed at the tone and incredibly biased language of your remarks. I am much older and beyond the piercing and body art of some more accepting post millennial Americans (western cultures?), but I find my way past an individual’s willingness to get pierced or inked as a statement of their intelligence or membership in a given social group. Should an individual adhere to the guidelines of an international school? Absolutely. Might such an individual be bypassed for an international school position? Maybe. Should an educated person take your tone. No.

      Like

    • Dude says:

      well put.

      Like

  18. Jay Taylor says:

    I just dont take those jobs. I interview with my sleeves rolled up and make a point of saying, ” I have tattoos when summer comes I wear short sleeves”
    If that culture hasn’t evolved to the point of seeing tattoos as no big deal, I dont wanna work there.

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    • A.G. says:

      Nice bias you’re showing there, condemning an entire culture as being unsophisticated or primitive simply because they have differing values to your own with regards to body art. Perhaps you are not as suited for international teaching as you think.

      Like

  19. hagbard celine says:

    There are a lot of judgemental comments here. Nobody is perfect, and you can’t judge a book by its cover. I personally have no tattoos, nor do I ever intend on getting any, but to judge a person’s work ethic, empathy and competence as a role model based solely on the appearance or lack thereof of tattoos and or piercings is extremely narrow minded and is the opposite of what I try to teach my students. I teach my students that there are many wolves in sheep clothing, ergo there must be many sheep in wolves clothing too.

    People send their children to international schools to be exposed to different languages and cultures as well. Part of the Anglo-American culture is the presence of tattoos and piercings.

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  20. Charles Dallaire says:

    When in Rome do as the Romans do.
    I live in Japan and people with any kind or size of tattoos are forbidden to go to onsen (public thermal baths and spas). These are the local rules and culture. When I signed to come here I also signed to accept my host country’s culture. There are other rules and habits that I find puzzling but I am a guest here and I must show respect for Japan. I came here to discover the world not to impose my North American way of life.

    Like

    • Jan says:

      Exactly!

      Like

      • Aldo says:

        So if you are in PNG you are a cannibal? In parts of Africa you confiscate women’s IPODS? That’s doing the same as you mentioned.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I lived and taught in Japan and am heavily tattooed (Sleeves, chest, back, etc) I went in Onsens and Sentos without a problem. While I acknowledged the common thinking in the culture that tattoos=gangster, I kept a sensitive hat on but I also had no trouble in most cases. I had conversations with parents about my tattoos (I speak Japanese) and they had really good questions as well. Teaching at an IB school where they encouraged this open-minded attitude was also an importatnt feature. I never hid my tattoos and never was asked to cover them by anyone in admin. It is the mindset of the institution that can create the climate that makes people feel ashamed of who they are or how they appear and I would never work at an institution that only reads a book by it’s cover.

      Like

      • A.G. says:

        I live and teach in Japan, and personally know several people who have been banned or refused entry to onsen, sento, and swimming pools unless the tattoos are covered. Japan is well-known for their attitudes towards tattoos, which have a well-entrenched association with criminality. I would not be working at my current position had I interviewed with visible tattoos. Finally, I worked at an IB school where foreign staff with tattoos were expected to keep them covered. It is naive in the extreme to suggest your anecdotal experience is somehow reflective of reality for tattooed teachers in Japan.

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  21. Jerry says:

    As a teacher it’s your responsibility to look professional. As a school it’s your responsibility to ensure that teachers know that. It’s your responsibility as a school to communicate that tattoos aren’t deemed professional in society’s standards. Along with other guidelines. Hell some school require male teachers to wear a shirt and tie. If schools can give guidelines on what TO wear that can also give guidelines on what NOT to wear/show.

    I have tattoos. I cover them up because I want to look professional.

    Like

  22. Anonymous says:

    Spot on Catherine!

    Like

  23. richard says:

    These practices have become common in some Western countries among dimwitted Millennials and even their hipster parents. I recently had an initial appointment with a young U.S. dentist whose arms both were inked; his technician was pierced and inked. I felt I was in a tattoo parlor, not the office of a medical professional. I left and never returned. I’ve worked in Dubai, China and Central Asia, all of which frown on this kind of “personal statement” among professionals. Remember when working abroad: it’s their country and they are providing you with a good living; the least you can do is respect their customs…or stay home.

    Like

    • Chris says:

      I am a millennial and have tattoos. My parents are technically baby boomers and they like my tattoos. (By the way, my father was a teacher as well.)
      I’m likely a lot more intelligent than you Richard and from your incredibly judgmental comment, likely a lot better teacher and role model (and well person in general.) Be a bit more open minded.

      Like

      • Anonymous says:

        Doubt it.

        Like

      • Jay Taylor says:

        Truth. The last gen is outdated. The methods you use to teach and narrow veiws make your classes less enjoyable. When I skate to school and my students see me they feel a connection. We learn together and relate to eachother. We listen to (age appropriate) hip-hop music, use Youtube and interact in more honest way. Step off the high horse.

        Like

        • mark says:

          Wow, Jay, it must be wonderful to be so certain of your superiority to that of the older, narrow-thinking, dishonest, non-skating teaching generation. I’m not that conscious about making classes enjoyable, creating a connection and/or relating to anyone. (those all occur organically, not through a Tony Hawk-inspired Mix-master plan)…I “am” conscious about how much learning is going on each lesson.
          By the way, modern hip-hop can be comparatively lame and I’ve never liked horses.

          Like

        • Trav45 says:

          Wow. Talk about a high horse. That’s unbelievable. I’ve been teaching 28 years, and I’m more up on embedding technology and current thinking, and student-focused learning than most of our younger teachers.

          Like

        • A.G. says:

          Right, because as all of us know, proper training, experience and a willingness to improve yourself doesn’t count as much as rollerblading to work and listening to hip-hop music with your students. And you accuse others of being judgmental, hypocrite?

          Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Really Richard? So if you have a tattoo, you can’t go to any country that frowns upon the practice? I guess we should all just stay home and hide ourselves. I get what you are saying about being respectful of customs, but if those countries want tourism, then they had better be willing to accept all comers, especially if they are well-behaved. I would never stick my tattoos in the faces of the locals and draw attention to them, but I will not hide them either. They are a part of who I am and if you don’t like that, you don’t have to be around me or talk to me either, nor do you have to hire me. Mine are related to my life experiences and my spirituality.

      You have every right to leave that dentist’s office, because you are the customer and if you don’t feel comfortable with his appearance, that’s your opinion. However, that does not give you the right to judge him as unprofessional. His skills and how he uses them is what attests to that. Back in the day, women who wore skirts above the ankle or bikini’s at the beach were considered loose, but today that is normal. The same can be said about many other things. Years ago, a woman wearing a short sleeve shirt with a collar that was not a crew or turtleneck would have been told that it was unprofessional to dress that way on the job, but not anymore. Look at a woman’s teaching contract from a hundred years ago and you will see numerous examples of this. Back then, a woman staying out after sunset or riding in a car with a man that was not her brother, husband or father, would have been fired for acting “unprofessionally”. And today?? The times are changing and more open-minded people accept people who express themselves in these more uncommon ways.

      Having tattoos has nothing to do with professionalism. It is a method self-expression and tied to one’s beliefs. I am one of the MOST professional teachers you will ever meet and more dedicated to my students than the majority of other teachers I have met internationally and abroad. Having them does not make me of low social order or a negative role model, and it certainly does NOT make me a dim-witted Millennial. In fact, I have a very good reputation for the opposite and the fact that I have a boat load of recommendation letters from former administrators, colleagues, students and their parents, is proof of that. Many of my former students and parents still keep in regular contact with me years after I was their teacher. Thousands of professionals, including teachers, doctors, nurses and people from all walks of life have tattoos (and more have them all the time) and they are considered to be among the most professional in their careers.

      I am a Physics teacher and have taught at both the IBDP and AP level with well above average results in student success. Last year my students had the highest exam scores and averages in their grade. As such, I would bet that my “dim-witted” intelligence could stand up to yours easily. I have taught in New York, Florida, North Carolina, Egypt and the UAE. Each and every time, my tattoos actually helped form a bond with my students that prevented a lot of the discipline problems that other, non-tattooed teachers had to deal with. In my current school, the students are mostly wealthy locals that do not show respect to many people at all, but when I walk down that hallway, EVERY single kid, even those that are not my students, look at me, say “hello sir” and offer their hand to shake. Even my Principal has remarked on this and considers it a miracle.

      I walk the walk and lead by example in my actions, which is why I have the respect of so many. I work my butt off for the kids and am the first to be there when they need help. Plus I work even harder to make my lessons interesting for my students and connect the subject to their everyday lives. And they know it. School has not even started yet, yet I have already been getting e-mails from my last year’s students telling me how glad they are that I am coming back this year. How many others can say that, especially when you consider who I teach? THIS IS THE MARK OF A PROFESSIONAL, not just appearances. If my employer tells me to cover them up and wear long sleeves, I will do so, because he is my boss and he makes the rules. The kids will still ask to see them, as will their parents. They will still know they are there, but it will make no difference to how they treat and interact with me. It will also have no impact on my effectiveness as a teacher.

      I say again, what is considered to be a professional appearance varies by location, position, clientele and changes with time. We encourage our students to be open-minded about others, and so should we. Accepting others for who they are and seeing them as a good person or role model should be based upon the way they treat others, their moral & ethical behavior and how well they do their job. Tattoos are becoming more widely accepted with each passing year and their being “taboo” is disappearing, so let’s start being a little less judgmental, shall we?

      Like

      • Teachinginchina says:

        #applause Nothing else needs to r said!

        Like

      • mark says:

        Sounds to me that the respect you garner from your students is less from body art and more from your example of a fair, empathic professional. My interest in music-of all contemporary genres- has opened the door to relationships with kids who may have been otherwise remote to me. Nevertheless, I don’t sport an Iron Maiden t-shirt as part of my uniform for the self-absorbed purpose of personal expression. Respect, honesty and enthusiasm are keys to a productive learning environment- you obviously have a grip on that fact. All the rest of this-tatoos, facial hair, ties, dress length, etc, have always seemed inconsequential to the job at hand.

        Like

      • Scott Sheppard says:

        Well said and I agree with everything that you conveyed in your post. I am in my mid 40’s (not one of these young ones who don’t think) and have taught in Vietnam (Hanoi) for 4 1/2 years and then moved to Myanmar (Yangon) where I am now in my second year here. I have a full back, half-sleeves, chest plates, one small one on each inside wrist and my thighs tattooed – and all of them are Asian inspired due to my spiritual beliefs and martial arts training. I have both ears pierced and my labret done as well. Oh….and I have a shaved head with a nice distinguished grey mustache.

        In Vietnam there isn’t really a tattoo culture as such, due to a crackdown on the practice after the war, but the younger generation coming through now are embracing it with such fever that it is now becoming almost accepted. In short sleeves you can see about 1/2 to 1 cm of tattoo on my arms and a small bit on the back of my neck. I don’t go out of my way to flash them around and normally wore long sleeve shirts, but in Summer I wore short sleeves due to bad air-con. Not once did I ever have any parents complain, and because it was a private school these parents were Government Ministers, Army officials etc. In fact it was quite the opposite, they asked to see them and wanted to know the stories behind them and why I got them….they were genuinely interested in why foreigners did these things. They wanted to be seen as becoming modern and accepting of others traditions. They didn’t care what I looked like, just how well I taught their kids. My school had the same opinion and not once did they tell me to remove or cover anything.

        Moving to Myanmar brought a change as there is a long and strong history of tattooing, very similar to Thailand. Most of my student’s parents are tattooed and pierced, and this is also at a private international school. They show the same type of respect that you talk about, and it makes me more like them in their eyes. I get treated better than the “cleanskin” Teachers. I still get the same questions that I did in Vietnam, but here it is more understood, especially the spiritual side of it. And again my employers, who are conservative Turkish Muslims, have never had any problems with any of my body art. Some of them have even seen all of it when we have run in to each other at the local shops. They teach tolerance and respect of other cultures and customs at their school, and lead by example in this way. They understand that those “weird foreigners” sometimes don’t exactly look like teachers of old, but they know how to impart knowledge to today’s students.

        I teach my students to never judge a book by its cover, and I think they are a lot better off for it. I have students that have now gone on to Universities in the USA, Canada, England, Germany, Scotland, Australia and Singapore, then there are those who have stayed in Vietnam and Myanmar for Uni. If my tattoos and piercings made me a bad teacher then I wonder what I would of achieved without them?

        Maybe some of those that are putting outdated and discriminatory opinions on here should reconsider their way of thinking?

        Like

      • Anonymous says:

        Excellent. Totally agree.

        Like

      • A.G. says:

        “So, if you have a tattoo, you can’t go into any country that frowns on the practice?”

        You can, just don’t be surprised if you get turned down for jobs because of them.

        “I would never stick my tattoos in the faces of the locals and draw attention to them, but I will not hide them either.”

        Ah, irony.

        “Having tattoos has nothing to do with professionalism.”

        In some cultures is does. You don’t have to agree with it, but that is irrelevant.

        “Tattoos are becoming more widely accepted with each passing year and their being taboo is disappearing.”

        Your job as an expatriate teacher is to teach, not to impose your cultural imperialism on others. If you are working in a country that frowns upon tattoos in the workplace, then you should accept that. You seem to have been able to do so, but many others I have seen have not.

        Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Kind of went on a tangent there about how you disrespected your dentist merely because he had tattoos. Clearly logical to equate tattoos with u professionalism and ability. I’d hate to see what happens in a classroom where students don’t follow some of the “criteria,” or don’t act and say exactly what a lot of you narrow-minded pessimists (who clearly feel empowered by discounting others) think perfect little robots should.

      I would hope most people living and working abroad acknowledge and research the country they are going to teach in. There are a lot of assumptions and faulty logic going on here which points to a much larger problem than body art.

      Like

  24. Jon Cristofer Miller says:

    There are records from the Egyptian Dynasties and the Roman Empire complaining about “children today having no respect for elders, playing terrible music, and not taking education seriously. From that perspective, one might argue that older administrators and parents should consider younger teachers who can “relate” more to “today’s” – whatever the year – youth. Then again, if countries and administrators want “old style” teachers, then maybe they should review prohibitions against older teachers.

    Like

    • Jan says:

      Fantastic suggestion, however insurance becomes too much of a liability.

      Like

    • Merion says:

      I work with colleagues at least 20 years younger than me who are far more ‘old-style’ than I am. As educators, please let’s stop with the generalisations and ageist comments. Being older in years does not automatically make one’s teaching or personal style out-dated or conservative. Mindset, not age, is far more important.

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  25. omgarsenal says:

    This debate has been going on a long time and will continue to do so. Do these kind of teachers present bad role models to students, or is this simply a question of conventions, local traditions and in some cases, prejudices?
    IF, in their initial contract, it specifically states that visible tattoos and body piercings are prohibited for students AND staff, then the rules are clear and staff breaking them will submit to the consequences. However IF such regulations do not exist, then they either have to be added, and until such time as they are, the staff-member is tolerated, OR the teacher is politely asked to cover up such tattoos and piercings as can be easily seen. There are many kinds of tattoos that are not offensive or garish but piercings are a bit more obvious when clearly visible…..the school has to decide what image they want to portray….one of tolerance or one of propriety.

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  26. I totally agree with the writers comments and also Dr +> Spilchucks reply. Several years ago I was confronted by a Lead Teacher who had 4 children and called herself Miss and was proud to state that her 4 children had 4 different fathers and she had married none of them and sh e had tattoos on her behind so that when she bent over they could be seen by everyone.She was appointed Head of early years because she was British but had wandered around bare footed in Bali for years living a very laid back lifestyle. I lost count of the number of times I expressed to management that she was not a suitable role model to young children. Eventually she left but what are management thinking when they see these types of staff and keep them particulary in a new school?

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    • heg says:

      What in particular made her an inappropriate role model? Her teaching ability? Her connectedness with her own identity? Her free-spirited nature? He love for her children and ability to have a career while raising them on her own? Her interpretation of aesthetic? Being laid-back? Her confidence? Her feminist approach to life? If I had kids – I think I’d encourage all of these attributes in them.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Horrible ‘role model’ and as a parent and teacher, not someone I would want around my own children! And yes, parents pay teachers salaries!

      Like

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