Professionalism is key in workplace

Kandice Johnson

When fourth grade Atlanta teacher aide Patrice Brown, now known as “#TeacherBae” on the internet, popped up on the scene, I was one of the many who believed her Instagram pictures went too far, but my reasons for believing a line was crossed doesn’t stem from her body shape or her clothing (although, I do despise seeing a grown woman try to pass off a body-con dress as a work dress in the office). Brown crossed the professionalism line in other ways.

Allow me to rewind the story, before I breakdown my reasons.

Brown became the latest Instagram sensation after multiple photos of her in the workplace went viral.

Why would it go viral?

Well, Brown has the rare curves that most women dream of having, but only genetics, workouts or good-old-fashion surgery could make it happen.

One does not simply wake up rocking a body like Browns without some hard work involved. Kudos to her because not every woman is able.

But she made it her curse when she decided to use her classroom as a runway. Her decision to pose for the camera at her workplace made some people stamp her teaching skills as incompetent and her clothes as unprofessional.

Grab your cell phone, go to Google Images and type in “#TeacherBae” if you haven’t seen the photos, because I want you to be on the same level as me for the rest of this article.

I want readers to see these photos just like I did and understand why I’m saying the things I’m saying.

Now to judge Brown’s teaching skills as incompetent is so harsh and shallow of America. I don’t believe her teaching skills are incompetent. Her professional ethics seem a bit “lacking,” but I wouldn’t go so far as insulting her teaching skills.

Also, I wouldn’t go as far as attacking her body and the clothing as being the main problem, because I personally understand the fact that sometimes you just can’t cover wide hips, a full chest and a big bum.

Now…I’m not blessed with a full chest, but I was almost kicked out of a meeting for wearing a sheath work dress that fit a bit too snug and too short in the eyes of my boss.

Although on paper I passed the dress code policy, something about seeing 43-inch hips and a 26-inch waist in a work dress made my boss uncomfortable.

The way my boss confronted me was so embarrassing to my spirit, members of the meeting tried to apologize afterwards on her behalf.

So please, don’t think for a minute I’m attacking Brown’s teaching skills and her shape. I can semi-relate.

I was judged as tacky and flippant, but I was not branded as unprofessional.


Because at least I was smart enough to know posing or taking pictures was just too much.

When I first saw the photos, I wondered why Brown decided to take photos…at work…in a classroom of all places…consistently.

Posing with the peace sign, the duck lips and all. If we’re telling kids they can’t take photos during school, why in the world should teachers be excluded from the policy?

I could understand if she was taking pictures with the students and publishing their cool class projects or taking pictures incorporating some of her learning plans, but they way it looks to me, Brown was taking pictures just to take them.

I feel as though if she had toned down the posing and constant full body pictures of her in the workplace, Brown probably wouldn’t have received majority of the criticism she did receive.

Brown should have realized just like every one else working in this world, how you conduct yourself on company ground impacts the company as a whole.

The photos weren’t taken outside of school. But since they were taken on school ground, that allows the faculty, the school board and the parents to evaluate her professional work ethic.

If Brown wanted to take pictures at the school, she should have at least incorporate something about the school.

If you’re ever feeling confused about what a professional picture in the workplace looks like (if you seriously can’t help yourself and must take a picture at work), ask yourself this…if I take this picture, could this be something my job could use to show the business in a positive productive light?

As far as I’m concerned, her pictures in the work place failed with flying colors.

But if you look at those pictures, ask yourself the question and still believe a professional line wasn’t crossed, maybe you should reevaluate your professional work ethics.