Teaching moments don’t always happen in school, and when they do, it’s not necessarily in the classroom. This week, an educator is being commended for his ability to look beyond the rules to impart one of life’s most important lessons.
When student Anthony Moore showed up to class wearing a hat in violation of the school’s dress code, Stonybrook Middle and High School Principal Jason Smith knew something was wrong.
Finally, he got Moore to open up. After about 30 minutes, the young man finally explained that he was embarrassed by the bad haircut he had recently received.
“He didn’t say it directly, but I feel like he didn’t want to be laughed at,” Smith said. CNN. “Hairdressing and haircutting as black men is very important in the community and looking your best and being stylish is just a cultural aspect.”
Understanding the weaknesses of peer pressure too well, rather than simply dismissing Moore’s concerns and applying disciplinary action, in a stroke of “cutting genius”, Smith found an alternative solution: He would fix the cruel cut himself.
It was not just an idle offer. Smith has been cutting his hair since he was a teenager. After showing Moore photographic evidence of some of the things he had done, the young man agreed to the engagement.
So braving the winter snows of Indianapolis, Smith drove home to pick up his gear and then came back to realign Moore’s unruly hairline. Moore willingly submitted to Smith’s hairdressing skills and was pleased enough with the results that he returned to class, hatless, where he could finish his school day in good spirits.
Moore’s mother, who had approved of the makeshift haircut, was grateful that instead of following the book and simply failing her son, Smith chose to use the opportunity to help the young man feel better about himself.
“All behavior is communication and when a student is struggling, we must ask ourselves, ‘What happened to this child?’ instead of ‘What’s wrong with the child?’ Smith told CNN. “‘What need is the child trying to meet?’ And really, the future of urban education is based on that question. “
While it is a question with no easy answers, being able to recognize it when asked, as well as being willing to take the initiative to transform a minor transgression into a teaching moment, is what makes educators like Smith stand out above all. the rest.
(CLOCK WTHR’s video buzz below).
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