I am a veteran teacher from California who just moved to Missouri to teach 6th grade English. I come from a high school background and most recently taught at a continuation school. I have several tattoos and mostly a sleeve of Alice in Wonderland that is very visible. I never really felt the need to cover them until now. Any advice or suggestion? I’m not ashamed of my tattoos, but realize they’re not everyone’s cup of tea. I want to be professional, and stay true myself. 🙃

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Kind of depends on the culture of the school and if you are at elementary or middle school. Elementary being more uptight. I have seen some aides with tattoos and piercings. For myself, I would cover up what you can, dress to impress, and see how the rest of the staff presents themselves and see if you can get a taste for expectations. Otherwise just be yourself and impress them with your teaching skills and content knowledge.

likesmart

Thanks for the advice! I agree!

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Welcome to Missouri. I used to teach in Oklahoma and the climate is closed minded and very conservative. I once had a principal who told me that teachers should have nicely polished nails.
I would move somewhere affordable but I can’t take the mindset. I’m staying in California for the freedom from ignorance and bigotry.

likesmart

Good to know there’s no ignorance or bigotry in California.
I am a teacher and business owner, currently one of the customers we’re building a new house for (in the South) is a former winery owner from California. Recently finished a house for an Physiologist from Illinois. There’s a large supply of folks (that’s a good southern word) who think the grass is greener on the souther side.

We have cars sitting in the drive right now with keys in them. Never had one stolen yet.

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You definitely need to do an Alice in Wonderland read aloud for your kids in honor of your tattoo. I’m a 6th grade teacher too and I can guarantee that they’d love it.

likeuplifting

I love my tattoos and the elementary kids are fascinated with them. Many teachers here in Arkansas have them. I wouldn't be too worried.

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If your classroom is like mine, always cold enough to hang meet, long sleeves won’t be a problem. The tats won’t be a problem for the kids. You’ll have the “cool” factor. I would cover them initially as you gauge the atmosphere of the school and admin. Once they see that you are a fabulous teacher who,connects with the kids, admin won’t care about the tats anyway.

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Hopefully you were hired for your skill set not your looks. Be mindful of district dress code policies. Our school district requires all student and adult tattoos to be covered whenever possible.

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I think it depends on the school. I teach in a small district and several of our teachers have tattoos. It doesn’t appear to be a problem with admin, staff, teachers, or students.

likehelpful

I say, unless admin has mentioned it, who cares? I’m not saying flaunt it but don’t worry about it. I worked in a low income minority school when I was a teen and our coordinator had an inappropriate tattoo on his leg with naked body parts. He simply put a bandaid over that part each day.

likefunny

I appreciate that you are trying to be accommodating to the culture of the community you have joined. With that attitude, you will be a valuable addition to that district. Thanks for being open about the conflict, and I encourage you to be yourself, while continuing that respect you obviously have for those around you. Cheers.

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Thanks so much!

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I don't have tattoos myself, but I work at a high school in Florida, where plenty of my coworkers have visible tattoos. Some are small ones, but some are pretty bright and big. We have a pretty casual dress code for teachers, so tattoos aren't an issue :)

I agree with the other commenters about gauging how your everyone else presents themselves. Just keep in mind that the tattoos might be viewed inaccurately; that'll be your battle to fight.

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Yes, I agree with you. Take the temperature of the place before you show all. I don’t think it has to be a matter of being ashamed of you decide to keep them covered; I do think it will simply depend on the culture.

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I personally think the sooner the better for them to be visible. Slowly the culture and acceptance of tattoos is changing! If you have them visible within the first couple weeks, the “excitement” of them will wear off and kids will forget they’re even there!

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Be yourself 💕

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I have no tattoos - just not my thing. I have colleagues here in NJ with tats that show. I think it should depend upon what they depict.
But check with your admin - they will know what the policy is if there is one.

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I have multiple tattoos as well and feel like it’s personal expression. I would talk to your admin to get their feeling on it… depending on how conservative your school is.

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I say if they hired you then they don't have an issue with the tattoos. Just do you.

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