If there’s one thing Robert Durham knows it’s that when you look your best, you tend to feel your best too.
Robert is a fifth-grade teacher at Carver Elementary School in Richmond, Virginia, but he grew up watching his dad give haircuts in the family barbershop. He learned how to cut hair as a young boy, so on the day of his students’ “Moving On” ceremony a little voice inside his head reminded him to throw his hair clippers into his bag just in case.
“I had a gut feeling some of my boys were going to come today and they were not going to be prepared,” Robert explained. “I remember my fifth grade Moving On Ceremony [so] something just said ‘take your clippers and put them in your bag.’”
Robert knew his students well, and his instinct was spot-on. When he arrived that day several of his male students looked a bit “scruffy,” and after one of them let Robert cut his hair he soon found he had a line out the door. Before long other teachers were sending over their students to get a haircut from Mr. D as well. Robert patiently cared for each child, making sure that they felt confident and ready to take on the world at their ceremony that day.
“When I go to the barbershop when I get a haircut, you feel good, you look good, you’ve got that confidence starting to come out of you,” he added. “I want every one of my students to be confident today. This is their special day.”
After another teacher snapped a picture of Robert in action and shared it online, it went viral. While Robert was never expecting any attention from his act of kindness he is happy to make the hullabaloo part of this teachable moment. “You should always be caught doing the right thing, at all times,” he said. “I’m just happy to be a part of that moment.”
As for why he went above and beyond his duties that day, Robert has a simple answer. “If they don’t remember anything else about me, I always want them to remember that I was always there for them. Being that positive male role model is something I take pride in every day.”
The world needs more teachers like Robert! Please share this story to thank Robert for all that he does to be a terrific example for his students.
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