An elementary school teacher in Texas has us feeling all warm and fuzzy. Leigha Bishop, who teaches in the neighbourhood of Sugarland near Houston, recently found a novel way to pay homage to one of her students — by copying her hairstyle.
Noticing one of her little pupils in a topknot and braids, Ms. Bishop, to use her official classroom moniker, told her she appreciated her hairstyle, and to prove it, would come to school herself rocking the same style. The little one was skeptical, probably figuring it’s just one of those things grown-ups say without meaning, but to her amazement, Ms. Bishop followed through on her word, and came to school the following day in her student-inspired hairstyle, and what can we say; the results are adorable, heartwarming, and inspiring.
— Ms. Leigha Bishop (@LeighaBishop) January 31, 2018
And there’s more to it than just showing the little one she knows how to rock a braid – though she surely does. Ms. Bishop seemed to be very aware of her role as teacher to empower her students beyond the regular grade-based, work-reward mechanisms kids are used to. Talking to Teen Vogue, Leigha shared more of her thoughts, “When students are valued for who they are as an individual beyond grades on a report card, they tend to want to be present in school and want to succeed in all aspects of life… This small gesture of copying a hairstyle also shows that students have the ability to inspire teachers.”
It’s so inspiring to see someone who has a critically influential role on youngsters using her position to help empower her students, affirming their value as people, and with the power to rub off on their elders. Leigha, whose been teaching for seven years, has no doubt had a remarkable impact on her students, and we’re sure the sweet kid won’t forget her in a hurry, either.
And there’s another element to it, too, that of emphasizing representation. She acknowledged, “Ultimately, I am a teacher who sees my students as whole people and not just bodies sitting in my classroom. I am a woman of colour, and I want to pour positive light into children of all races and ethnicities.” We love that she can help do good in so many ways in just one simple gesture.
And after being retweeted, her initial post went viral, with many leaving inspired and heartfelt comments.
In a country where children are often terrorized and marginalized in the classroom this is an awesome gesture but this teacher. I’m not even sure she understands the magnitude of what she did, AMAZING.
— Regular Joe (@RegularJoe1084) February 7, 2018
It’s great to see such acts of kindness and recognition in the classroom get attention. It reminds all of us, adults and kids alike, that there’s more to school than grades. We surely all remember the cool, kind, and inspiring teachers from our own childhoods — here’s to more like Ms. Bishop.