Are my visible tattoos bad advertising for the school?

I have never thought so, but then again I have many visible tattoos and am possibly just a little biased.

Interestingly at least one community member thinks they might be. It was in response to the pic seen in an earlier post, you can see the incriminating shot here. When I first heard this I laughed. "How ridiculous!" I thought. "What do my tattoos have to do with ability as an educational leader?" I thought. So on it went, the internal and external dialogue dismissing such close mindedness (echoed of course by the supportive, liberal, educated and fabulous people I call my colleagues and friends).

So why then has the comment (long deleted) stuck with me. Easy to disregard as a single person's view but does it actually represent a view that many are just too polite to articulate.

For me, tattoos have simply been a way of expressing my love of their designs. I love how they look, what they represent and for the most part I guess I do enjoy how people respond to them. I am proud that I am confident enough to express myself personally irregardless of what people might perceive as a norm for an educated professional. But even as I type out these words I wonder if I too have some deep-seated prejudice against my own tattoos. I mean, I do cover them for job interviews - usually because I don't want them to distract or to inform some incorrect perception. But if I think that, am I just as bad?

Do I think my visible tattoos are bad advertising for me...even if only in a first formal interview.

Then again, I guess most of us play that game, whether it be disguising our preference for going barefoot, wearing casual attire or something more permanent like me. Funnily enough I have never hidden them in the work place, nor should I.

Okay so this post has been a bit self-indulgent but it does raise an interesting point I do want to explore some more. What is the relationship between how we present ourselves and what we might be "saying" about our school or work environment? Does a suit, cap and gown suggest a more academic environment? Some would say it does. Ironic when you think of some of the most genuinely powerful people - Sergey Brin and Mark Zuckerburg don't strike me as the sort of dudes that don a suit too often and they seem to be doing okay.

So what do you think? Should school expect a level of formality so as to suggest it is somehow more "serious" about education? I sure hope not. But the more I think about it, most schools...even those who pride themselves as being at the more liberal end of the spectrum have reinstated uniforms (although that may be a different argument...) and expect a level of formality amongst their staff.

Is new NZ ready for a more "Google" approach to the education work environment. I desperately hope so, especially if it means we can a have a slide....


  1. I agree Ms Amos. The sad thing about that very public comment made about your physical presence, was her referral to Otara. Does having tattoo's insinuate bad things? And why does 'bad' automatically equate to Otara? There are bigger things at play here, that go beyond Education as a precursor to this thread: Prejudice and Racism. Yet no one is addressing her racist comment. Although devoid of any actual ownership, racism is still alive and well it seems, in the heart of Hobsonville, according to those very public comments.
    Your offence to this public comment made about your tattoo's, is justified and I wholeheartedly defend your right to be so. Partially because you're my friend, but mainly because the comment questioned your ability to educate. Ridiculous! It makes me angry. According to that idiot then, i should not be in education. Because I am brown. I dress in shorts/tshirts/jandals. I have a Ta Moko (Māori tattoo). Therefore I am bad. Suppression of education based on visual bias is the start of the end for schools. Therefore, its a good thing most NZ schools lead the way for the rest of the developing world - where successful tattoo'd adults are born! Kiri Turketo xx

  2. This is a balance we all walk. How much to "be myself" and how much to ameliorate that 'self' to meet perceived expectations of others. There is no right answer as a community will have people with different views so you can't please all no matter what you do. Having said that if your self is very out of sync with many in the community then tension could develop. I would never apply for a school that worked in ways or held positions I strongly disagreed with as I know it would be destructive for all involved. But I could make accommodations to positions I hold less strongly if most other positions were in sync.


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