Tattoos and Piercings: How much is too far in a teaching world?

So, I have been doing a lot of thinking.. a lot of thinking about a particular peer who is in this Education program with me. To keep some discretion I’ll will not be defining their gender or stating their name.

This student has an immense amount of piercings. Facial piercings. And I’m talking lip rings, nose rings, eyebrow piercings, surface piercings, dermals (anchors)…the whole flippin’ nine yards.

And don’t get me wrong, I have some sweet piercings too and even visible arm tattoos. I think these body modifications can be great- at least in moderation, that is.

The truth of the matter is..I cannot truthfully say that I take that student seriously when it comes to being a teacher. Now teachers come in all shapes and sizes, BUT we need to be realistic here. Sure, schools have totally become more liberal and adapt to modern trends such as piercings and tattoos, but are they really going to choose a face full of metal over a Perfect Patty? I don’t think so. Our society is shallow and even though the face full of metal might be a better teacher than Perfect Patty, schools are going to see looks first. Always….unless two metal faces show up..then they might actually have to judge them based on interview answers. 


Seriously though, I want thoughts on this. Is our society more liberal than I think? Or can you see my point in that we’re a shallow nation? Maybe it’s fine in moderation? 


2 thoughts on “Tattoos and Piercings: How much is too far in a teaching world?

  1. tseyffert says:

    Devyn, I always happen to post right after you and can’t help but read your lovely opinions, and HAVE to comment. I am nowhere near a metal face, but if you put down on paper the numbers, the numbers aren’t pleasing if you compare me to a Perfect Patty. I have 6 piercings and 1 tattoo (for now… I am addicted and am planning on more). But I have also kept in mind how my appearance will come across to employers and students. I am constantly considering placement of tattoos so that I can hide/cover them easily if necessary.
    I was a counselor at a day camp this summer. Only halfway through the summer, one of the 9-year-olds counted my piercings and saw my tattoo (HALFWAY THROUGH THE F***ING SUMMER!) and was startled. I could see her internal struggle with her previous judgment of these things, and her judgement of me. It was upsetting because I didn’t want her opinion of me to change based on my bodily alterations. I explained to her that I got my tattoo because it is meaningful to me. And my piercings are all disposable. But I was stuck, too, because I hated that I had to defend myself and my decisions to win her over.
    So, Devyn, I think some children (and future students) are influenced by what their parents believe about tattoos and piercings. But they are slowly becoming more acceptable. It could be that we are blind to the judgements because we live in a college town that is fully accepting of piercings and tattoos in most environments. I am looking forward to seeing this evolution unfold…. or see if it doesn’t.

    • bonnetnicholas says:


      I agree with you that we are shallow as a society when hiring anyone that looks different. Not even I would hire a well-qualified person if they had major body modifications. As a student, I know how easy it is to become distracted during a lecture, just because of appearance. For example, I have an older professor this semester, probably in her 50’s, and she wears really reveling clothing all the time. It makes me a little sick to my stomach, as I do NOT want to see short skirts and low-cut blouses on a 50 year old body. And there’s so much bending over to look at the book…everyday I hope her shirt will hold them in, because there is no bra there…no bra there at all…

      I have spent years in school, and have a lot of self discipline when it comes to things like that. I can usually get my mind back on track. But what about a high schooler who doesn’t want to be there in the first place? Do you think they are going to look at the white board when you have 3 inch holes in your ears? I don’t think so. They aren’t going to see you as an authority figure, because that’s not how society views authority figures. Even with the more liberal views coming to be accepted, teachers are still held to a high standard of dress and appearance.

      I remember last semester in EDUC275, we talked about how you can never stop being a teacher, even when you go home. People will recognize you wherever you go. The store, the movies, the yarn-farm (don’t judge me!). It doesn’t matter that you’re off the clock. You’re still a representative of the school, your profession, and the communities’ expectations.

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