SUGAR LAND, Texas — A photo of a Texas teacher and her young student has gone viral after the woman kept her word last week and showed up at school with a hairdo identical to the girl’s.
Leigh Bishop, a pre-K teacher at Lakeview Elementary in Sugar Land, is being called "teacher of the year" across social media platforms after a photo of her with her student, who she identified only by the first name August, went viral. Bishop posted on Facebook Jan. 30 about an exchange she and August had the day before.
"[Monday] Me: Oh my goodness! I love your hair August! Don't be mad at me when I come to school with my hair just like that tomorrow …. August: Okay, Ms. Bishop. *Rolls eyes, keeps walking,*" Bishop wrote.
Bishop used emojis to show the surprise on August’s face, and her dad’s, the following morning when they arrived at school to find Bishop sporting the same braided hair as the little girl.
"Me: You thought I was playing? Girl, we are CA-UTE together!" Bishop wrote.
The internet at large agreed, with more than 15,000 people reacting to the post, which included a photo of Bishop crouched down next to August, her hands cradling the little girl’s chin. A beatific smile shines on 4-year-old August’s face as she looks at her teacher.
As of Wednesday, another 4,000-plus people had shared Bishop’s post on their own Facebook timelines, and hundreds of people had chimed in on the photo on both Facebook and Twitter.
Commenters praised her for giving August, who, like Bishop, is black, representation in her school.
“You are why we NEED black women teachers,” one woman, Paola Patrice, wrote. “You are beautiful inside and out! This made me smile at my phone. So grateful for you! You can never be paid enough!”
“Look at that smile!” TE Howell wrote. “It tells a beautiful story. The day my teacher let me know I’m beautiful, my hair is my glory and who I am will impact the world.”
“You are amazing,” another commenter, Toni Hunter, wrote. “You just built a beautiful little girl’s self-esteem.”
“God has placed you in the right place to touch kids’ minds and hearts,” Vickie Platenburg wrote. “You are a teacher that thinks outside of the box. Keep up the good work.”
"Thanks, everyone," Bishop wrote in response. "Any chance I get to make a student feel whole and important, I take it. (Plus, I REALLY loved her hair.)"
The teacher said that August was thrilled by the gesture.
“She was soooo tickled the whole afternoon!” Bishop wrote. “It was the cutest thing.”
One of Bishop’s friends wrote that the photo belongs in the school yearbook.
“You know, I took it just to show her what we looked like standing together!” Bishop responded. “Not even thinking it would turn out like this … it seriously speaks volumes. (Definitely) yearbook worthy.”
Bishop's Facebook page is full of stories and photos from her work. Her teacher biography on the Lakeview Elementary website, where she goes by Leigha Bishop, states that she is certified to teach elementary education, English as a second language and gifted and talented students. She is working toward a master's degree in school and mental health counseling.
"I am thrilled to be at a school with so much history, and a school that my dad and his siblings attended," Bishop states on the page. "I am also thrilled to be part of a school district I grew up in."
She wrote that, outside of her work, she enjoys spending time with her own daughter, hiking, “chasing waterfalls,” and baking.
Cox Media Group