Saturday, July 17, 2010

Lessons from the Hairdresser

I love reconnecting with friends in summer. Over a steaming hot cup of Starbucks we catch up on each other's personal lives and inspire one another as teachers. This happened for me in an unusual way yesterday. I met with a girlfriend and immediately noticed her cute new haircut. She looked guilty and sheepishly admitted she had tried someone new. (Why is it we feel a marriage-like commitment that requires creative breakup strategies with our hairstylists?)

Holly, the new stylist, asked my friend to describe the last haircut she remembered loving. After reflecting for a moment, my friend responded, "I can't even remember." "Well, that is going to be my job then, to help match you with a haircut you'll love, that fits your personality and lifestyle."

Together they came up with a plan of action. It was going to require some growing out and patience, but my friend left feeling that hope was in sight, she was in good hands, and she could trust this new person to make informed decisions based on personal knowledge that would meet her needs.

Hmmm…my brain started turning, "Isn't that what good teachers do?" Imagine returning to school and asking a child, "Tell me about the last book you loved." What if they say, "I can't remember."? Can we honestly respond with, "Well then, it's my job this year to introduce you to books you will love"? Will that child leave the conference with a sense of hope, knowing that we care about them, and their interests and abilities? Will we be ready?

Summer is a great time to immerse ourselves in voracious reading of texts so we'll be ready to recommend the book that might be that perfect book for our kids. The children's librarian at the public library is always happy to tell us about what's hot and new. Our local bookstore can inform us of current trends among the age of students we teach. There are many wonderful teachers on Twitter who recommend books almost daily. Maybe we just need to look through our own classroom book tubs to get reacquainted with what we already have. Regardless of how we do it, we need to do it. It's the surest way I know to insure the children in our care will become lifelong learners and lovers of reading.

cross posted at


  1. Loved this Lori!! Thanks for sharing :)

  2. I follow you on twitter and have gotten lots of good ideas. I'm sure I will be reading your blog. I am a teacher also. And I like your name. Signed, Lori Labrum

  3. Lori, thanks for writing. I appreciate your support and kindness. :)

  4. I just can't get enough of your writing and your analogies. They are absolutely fabulous!!!! Finding your blog has been a true delight!

    By the way, I hate to admit this, but I never considered asking the people who work at the bookstores for insights. I will from now on. Thanks, Lori!