When a kindergartener “didn’t really believe” that her teacher liked her hair, the next day Ms. Bishop came to school wearing the same hairstyle as her student to show her that she is both beautiful and loved.
4-year-old August Burroughs is a kindergartener at Lakeview Elementary School in Sugar land, Texas. One day at school, her teacher, Leigha Bishop, noticed that August was wearing her hair in a braided topknot and she told August that she loved it.
“August always changes her hair, kind of like I do. And when she got here Monday, she got out of the car and I was like, ‘August, your hair is so cute,’” Ms. Bishop explained.
The little girl didn’t believe her teacher’s compliment, saying, “sure, Ms. Bishop…” as she walked away.
Ms. Bishop is aware of the bullying that takes place in schools related to children’s appearances, especially with children of color, so she regularly makes an extra effort to praise her students in order to build their self-esteem and to promote a healthy self-image.
“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,” Ms. Bishop explained.
She wanted to show August that she really did like her hairstyle, so that night she went home and braided her hair in the exact same way as her student.
“I went home and got to work on my hair. With my student’s hair being similar to mine, I thought what better way to show her how she inspired me to feel beautiful [than] with that same braided updo?”
She came to school the next day, and after seeing her, 4-year-old August was both surprised and overwhelmed with joy.
“When your student is just so cute, you HAVE to copy her,” Ms. Bishop wrote next to a picture of her and August.
“Situations like this one are a reminder that the bare minimum may suffice but going above and beyond will make an impression. I know a lot of people think education is pen and pencil and test scores,” Ms. Bishop said. “But to me, it’s more than that. It’s when kids are comfortable with knowing their teachers notice them for them.”
“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 color, and I want to pour positive light into children of all ethnicities,” Ms. Bishop said.
Many grateful hearts also shared their thoughts:
“This teacher, Ms. Bishop from Lakeview Elementary in Sugar land, Tx complimented one of her student’s hair saying she loved it, but the little girl didn’t believe her. The next day, the teacher came to school with her hair done the same as her student so cute!” wrote Janae, whose share received more than 130k likes.
“The love shining in your eyes is being reflected right back in her eyes. You are both beautiful and inspiring,” commented another.
“You two just make the world go round. Love love love,” said S.T.
“She will remember that her whole life,” wrote another.
“‘Be the person you needed when you were younger.’ Ms Bishop, you have just greatly impacted and ignited a little soul. This baby girl will go on to do great things. God Bless You,” said L. Paster.
Keep up the wonderful work inspiring love, self-acceptance and self-worth in your students, Ms. Bishop.