Forty Years, One Sweater Vest

Dale Irby recently retired after 40 years as a physical education teacher at Prestonwood Elementary in Dallas, Texas. Normally, this would only be news to those who knew the popular teacher. But Irby has the distinction of posing for his school portrait every one of those 40 years in the same clothing!

It began as an accident — a product of his sparse wardrobe back in the day.

“I was so embarrassed when I got the school pictures back that second year and realized I had worn the very same thing as the first year,” said Dale, 63.

But his wife, Cathy, dared him to do it a third year. Then Dale thought five would be funny. “After five pictures,” he said, “it was like: ‘Why stop?’”

After the first few years, Irby only pulled the 1970s shirt and vest out for picture day and put them back for the next year. You can see all forty pictures in a gallery and a video at the Dallas Morning News. Link  -via Uproxx


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My little brother wore the same sweater for picture day in first and second grade, completely by accident. Of course, being a kid, he couldn't do that for more than a couple years. Looking back at them, we can only tell which was which by the number of teeth he had.
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Not odd at all; the public school I recently worked at enforced an employee dresscode for men of a dress shirt and khakis/slacks (upperclass staff were encouraged [peer-pressured from peers rather than administration!] to add a tie to the ensemble). Women staff likewise had code on a similar level of formality.

I'm of two minds on it. Dressing seriously is one subtle cue to your students that you take their education seriously. On the other hand, one of my most brilliant teachers was a long-haired scientist fellow with a uniform of old sneakers, ripped jeans, and flannel shirts.
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The odd thing is, public school teachers are starting to be required to dress a little more formal. Business casual is starting to evolve back into "shirt and tie." I should add that this is for a group of grown adults who have to be told "If you look like you're going to the beach or the club, it's probably not work appropriate."
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