Photo via: Leigha Bishop
Representation matters and Leigha Bishop, a teacher at Lakeview Elementary School in Sugar Land, Texas, just proved how much it matters in the classroom.
As a teacher of seven years, Bishop takes pride in connecting with each and every one of her students, so when her 4-year-old student August Burroughs came to school with a new hairstyle last week, Bishop took the opportunity to compliment her braided top knot up-do.
"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,'" Bishop explained to ABC 13. "And she was like, 'Yep, thank you, whatever.' And I was like, 'No, I'm really going to go home and do my hair.'"
To prove to August that she was serious, Bishop came to work the following day with the same exact hairstyle. The empowering moment was captured in a sweet photo that has since melted the internet's heart.
However, the priceless moment was much more than just a cuteness overload as Bishop shared with Bustle:
"While I am teaching them content needed to grow and move on to the next grade level, I am also teaching them to love themselves a little more for the next challenge they might face in the next stage of development. It is with the connections and relationships that I am able to help students succeed academically, and it is with those same connections and relationships that I am able to possibly save lives of children who never knew what being whole felt like."
Social media users, including educators, commented on how important Bishop's small, yet encouraging gesture was, one user writing: "We need more of this. Building confidence and reinforcing the natural beauty of our little girls."
Bishops plans to continue to teach young girls who look like her that: "No matter what shade of 'Black' you are, no matter what texture your hair is, no matter what kind of home you come from, you have the ability to do anything in the world... even the things the world says a little Black girl can't do."
Ms. Bishop, thank you for using your platform to celebrate and empower the next generation of Black women leaders. You're an inspiration to us all.