Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Not an ode to my socks

It's National Teacher Appreciation Day, and a student gifted me a pair of socks. These socks, specifically:

The present made me smile, or rather the sentiment behind it. The socks themselves are problematic: They're stuck in a world of cliched tropes: male teacher in tie at either black-or white-board in front of cluster of raised hands, female teacher who points at a globe, looking extra matronly, though decked out in a superhero cape (you can see her boot and skirt running up my shin). Look more closely near the left instep. There, you can spot part of what says 'Book Report.' Continuing across the top of my left foot, you'll see a pencil that forms the I in 'Inspire.' I'm skeptical book reports in the forms that I've known them are reliable sources of inspiration.

My take-away? While one ought not look a gift horse in the mouth. one would do well to beware the pitfalls of too-easy imagery. If you were to redesign these socks, what might you include instead?


  1. What a funny gift. I have a half-post written somewhere about the gifts I've been given... but no student has ever given me socks. What would I put on teacher socks? Hmm... my first thought is pencils, books, maybe computers. But even that dates me, doesn't it? Still, I suppose it wouldn't do to just cover the socks in question marks and smiles and call it a day.

  2. Love that you got these socks - I mean, it's such a cute idea. I get it though - it is this kind of traditional imagery... Which can be fun, but also problematic. How do you change the icons of a profession... I don't know what I'd put on socks! But now I'm going to be thinking of it!

  3. Sock design?! That seems like a soft start bucket in the making. Hmmm. Used up dry erase markers, some broken pencils, and books?

  4. Maybe a protest sign? I'm in Oregon and we have closed schools today to rally for stable school funding.

  5. An Achilles' heel? Put your best foot forward...
    ?yllatigiD !dnuora lla sguH