Teachers With Tattoos Shouldn't Scare Parents

Rant 76

tattooIt seems almost everyone has a tattoo nowadays. Doctors, grandmothers, and even the people who teach our kids. I know quite a few public school teachers with tattoos. Some are hidden behind clothing never to be seen, but others have more prominent tattoos that just cannot be hidden unless they wear an opaque full-body suit. Some even have piercings or dye their hair funky colors. 

Heather Warren is a children's librarian in Philadelphia whose tattoo is inspired by kid's books. She shares my love of Where the Wild Things Are. A librarian with tattoos of kids' book illustrations -- sounds like she's in the perfect career. Which is one of the reasons no parent should worry about if she's fit for the job.

I have two friends -- both history teachers -- who have tattoos that reflect their greatest interest, which is of course history. They have famous sayings, Presidents, relics from the past, and they are excellent teachers, very passionate about their work and giving kids the best education. They are both active in students' extra-curricular activities and are respected by the kids and the faculty. If they were discriminated against because of their tattoos, there would be two effective teachers out of work. And isn't that what we want for our kids? A teacher that will get through to them? Make them want to learn?

There are far too many other things about our education system to worry about then to concern ourselves with something that adorns the teachers.

Our kids are going to be influenced by all sorts of "undesirable" behavior. Maybe you think tattoos are a sign of someone who partakes in "undesirable" activities. But when we really think about it, all we need to concern ourselves with is how well a teacher can perform their job. What they do in their personal life (provided it's not some horrific bad news headline type of activity) should be their own business. Even if that business is a tattoo visible to students. Something seen as "cool" to the kids could actually make a child pay attention more. Maybe the cool, tattooed teacher is the one teacher who gets through to a rebellious child because she feels that teacher "gets" her. 

Not wanting your child being taught by a teacher with tattoos is sort of like a vegan family saying they don't want their child's teacher to be a meat-eater. I have tattoos, so naturally I'm against any discrimination toward those who have them, too. But I know it happens. I've had it happen to me. Hopefully most parents aren't concerned.

Should teachers be allowed to have visible tattoos? Or is that bad influence on kids? Would you worry if your child's teacher had tattoos or piercings?


Image via dps_42/Flickr

high school, education, tattoos


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GlowW... GlowWorm889

Hey, my high school English teacher had a nose piercing. Not a huge deal. Like you said, there are so many other things to worry about.

Rosas... RosasMummy

I want to be a secondary school teacher but I have tattoos on both my wrists, really hoping they dont get in the way of that :/

Lilyp... Lilypad523

My parents pretty much taught me that people with tattoos were "bad." Judgmental much? Haha. As an adult now, I don't want a tattoo but I don't have a problem with people who have them. Some tattoos are actually really cool :) As are the people that have them. Rosasmummy, I know quite a few teachers who have tattoos on their wrists. Whether they have to be covered or not usually varies by school. Jewelry or long sleeve shirts usually do the trick. I don't think teachers with tattoos should be a big deal unless they're offensive...obviously I wouldn't want someone with a tattoo of a swastika or something teaching kids. Haha.

cmjaz cmjaz

I don't have tatoos but I don't object to teachers who do. I may raise an eyebrow but then forget about it. I work with far too many financial professionals that have sleeve tattoos than to know that its any type of indication of someones capability. However, that being said, neck and face tattoos are a big no-no.

Mary Cimino

I get quite a few looks for my tattoo. A rainbow remembrance ribbon on my forearm and I live in the bible belt. Getting it made it easier to talk about my brothers murder by his bully. (The bully shot and killed him in his dorm room) I had a boss tell me that I was supporting the "alternative" lifestyle. Yeah, he said that. But most of my students LOVE my tattoos and it does make them pay attention to me.

Lilyp... Lilypad523

Mary, I'm so sorry for your loss. But what a personal and powerful way to share the dangers of bullying with your students. Was your brother gay? I'm making that assumption based on the rainbow tattoo and the "alternative" lifestyle comment.

Rose Glenn

My children go to public school in Chicago. A tattoo being a bad influence is the least of my worries. In fact, it would never even make it on the list!

nonmember avatar natalie

First, Mary, I am so deeply sorry about your brother.

My English and Social Studies teacher is a hippie and has a nose ring. She is one of the top 3 best teachers in my school.

dixie... dixiechick2

Tattoos are fine. Tattoos have nothing to do with their ability to teach.

Todd Vrancic

Tattoos are a non-issue for me.

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