If You Give a Teacher a Haircut

“It’s time for a change,” I said.

“I’d like to do something new with my hair,” I said.

“It won’t even be that big of a deal,” I said.

Alas, I was wrong.

I thought that, after three years of teaching, I’d seen and done it all.

I mean, I’ve dressed up as an Oompa Loompa once (for real), accidentally left my zipper down a time or two (it happens), and have even been told I dressed like a grandmother on a few occasions (not untrue).

You get my drift. I’m an expert, I thought.

That, however, was before I did something I’d never done before as a teacher: I got a haircut.

Now, you may have read my post about the importance of noticing students’ haircuts as a way of building relationships with them; if you didn’t see it, find it here.

I stand by that article, but I was ill-prepared to face a new phenomenon: getting a my first major haircut as a teacher.

When I got it, I knew that students would notice.

I didn’t, however, foresee the magnitude of the reaction my haircut would get. It got so serious that I ended up whipping out a sheet of paper to record their thoughts before first period even ended.

A Few Qualifiers and Clarifications

These are teenagers speaking: though I teach a gaggle of 9th graders, the comments came from current and previous students alike.

Also, bear this in mind: no matter how “out there” or hurtful these thoughts may seem, rest assured my feelings were not hurt in the making of these comments.

Now, the first time I ever went through ninth grade (as a 14 year old), I would’ve been destroyed by the comments; the 4th time around (my 3rd year of teaching) well, it just doesn’t sting anymore. Call it a teacher’s calloused heart

Finally, know that these…er…compliments were made (for the most part) out of love and a little bit of retribution because NOBODY dunks on these kids harder than their loving teacher, Ms. Meadows.

The comments on my new haircut are below, and I tried to categorize them for easier reading.

Pop Culture References

  • “You look like Ms. Honey from Matilda.”

  • “If Dory the fish (think Finding Nemo) was a human…that’s what you look like, Ms. Meadows.”
  • “If you put back on your glasses, Miss Meadows, you’d look just like Velma from Scooby Doo.”
  • “You look like Edna Mode.”

Semi-Normal Comparisons

  • “You look like your mom.”
  • “You actually look like a teacher now.”
  • “You look like Karen who wants to speak with the manager.”
  • “You look like a kindergarten teacher/ soccer mom who always brings the Caprisuns and Cuties in your little mom car.”
  • “You look like a news reporter.”

Generational Comparisons

  • “You look like a 1950s housewife.”
  • “You look like a 1980s college girl.”
  • “You look like my grandma.”

Miscellaneous Comments

  • “Ms. Meadows” *audible gasp* “WHY?!”
  • “You look like your name should be Agnes.”
  • “It’s just… I’m sorry, Ms. Meadows, but every time I see you I just get sad.”
  • “You don’t look that bad.”

The Blue Ribbon Winner

  • “You look like a 7 year old whose mom cut off all her hair because you have lice.”

Teenagers: they don’t mince words and they don’t spare feelings.

It’s November, so I’m thankful for their honesty and the laughter they bring to my life.

As the old adage goes, if you give a teacher a haircut, then, after fielding comments (both good and bad) for 8 hours, the teacher will ask herself what even possessed her to think “it’s time for a change” in the first place.

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