This Teacher Copied Her Student's Hair To Help Empower Her & The Sweetest Picture Of The Pair Is Going Viral

Ad failed to load

Representation matters, especially when you're young. Seeing someone who looks like you portrayed as strong and smart and beautiful is important, helping young kids internalize that message and be proud of who they are. That's why Leigha Bishop, an elementary school teacher for seven years, recreated her young student's braided top knot in an effort to empower the girl to be her truest self. She wanted to show the little girl that she's an inspiration to others and incredibly special.

When one of Bishop's students came to class with a braided top knot, the teacher immediately complimented the style and said she wanted to copy. But her student didn't believe her, responding with a, "Sure, Ms. Bishop" as she walked away. To show the girl that she really did inspire her teacher, Bishop got to work on her hair that same evening and came into class with the same exact up-do, much to the surprise and delight of her student. And she took this moment as an opportunity to teach her class that they should love themselves.

"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," Bishop shares with Bustle. "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."

Ad failed to load

She says she recreated the look to show her students that she genuinely cares about them. If they know that Ms. Bishop is in their corner, she says, they will be more willing to open up and ask for help if they're struggling with something in class or at home.

Bishop posted their matching hairstyles on Twitter, where it instantly became viral thanks to it's heart warming message.

Ad failed to load

"When your student is just so cute, you HAVE to copy her," she wrote in her caption.

And Twitter started collectively sobbing over how sweet and important this was. "We need more of this. Building confidence and reinforcing the natural beauty of our little girls," one user wrote.

Ad failed to load

Others acknowledged how simple of a gesture it was, but also how much potential it had to affect and shape the little girl.

Others highlighted how important it is to see yourself represented in culture and other people who look like you, likening it to the moment a little black boy touched President Obama's hair because it looked like his own.

Ad failed to load

Meanwhile other educators hopped onto the thread, feeling inspired to share the same kind of love and encouragement with their own students.

Ad failed to load

Bishop was happy that she inspired people with her copied up-do, saying that her life's purpose is to teach children that they're whole and loved.

She also acknowledged how important it is in both school and life to show children of color that they're represented and respected.

Ad failed to load

"Though I advocate for all children, black children do need more positive examples," Bishop says. "How often do we celebrate black women outside of Black History Month (if even then)? Almost never. If young black girls knew of the never-ending list of Black women who made a difference and are still making a difference, we wouldn't have so many little black girls with no one to look up to."

Bishop stresses that these girls need to know that they are important, too. And that they come from a long line of strong, impactful women.

"They have a voice that can be heard," she says. "They have a story that can be told. They have a heart that can be loved and respected."

Ad failed to load
Leigha Bishop

And by showing up to school with her hair thrown into a braided bun just like her student, Ms. Bishop made her kids believe that with even more conviction.

"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," she says. "Yes, even the things the world says a little black girl can't do."

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

Here's Your Horoscope For Memorial Day Weekend

We’re constantly fascinated by what our zodiac sign says about our lives, whether it's which signs are most compatible or how each sign handles conflict in relationships. That's why Bustle has enlisted Mecca Woods, a New York City-based astrologer of…
By Mecca Woods

These Are The Absolute Best Memorial Day Sales This Year

Get your credit cards ready, because this year's fashion and beauty Memorial Day sales might just be the best ones yet. There's not only major savings for the holiday, but some of the savings start days before. You know, so you can spend the entire w…
By Kali Borovic

Everything Leaving & Coming To Netflix In June To Help Get Your Summer Started

Summer is right around the corner, and so is another batch of streaming options to get excited about. On Wednesday, everything leaving and coming to Netflix in June 2018 was announced by the streaming platform. And don't worry, there's something for …
By Jamie Primeau

These Are The Beauty Products That Came Out In May That You DEFINITELY Need On Your Radar

For beauty lovers, months aren't just months: They're 28 to 31 day periods, wherein any and all product and brand launches can happen — and when they do, it feels like your birthday, no matter what time of the year you were actually born. The May 201…
By Amanda Richards

The 5 Rom-Coms You Need To Read This Summer, According To Someone Who Writes Them

'Tis the season for rom-coms. The weather is warm, the sun is shining, and everyone is rocking the flirtiest items in their wardrobe. I don't know about you, but summer always takes me back to my teenage years — and that automatically makes me want t…
By Cristina Arreola

11 Tiny Sunglasses That Will Make You Look Even Cooler Than Kylie Jenner

You know what they say — the tinier the sunglasses, the more stylish the outfit. OK, that's not really a saying, but it seems to be the case these days. Basically every celebrity, model, and It person has been spotted sporting tiny sunglasses as part…
By Sara Tan

I've Paid $18,000 To A $24,000 Student Loan, & I Still Owe $24,000

It all became real the summer before my senior year of college. It was 2010, and my home phone still had a cord, which I wrapped around my fingers as I waited not-so-patiently for the apathetic representative on the other end to tell me the bad news …
By Kaitlyn Cawley

12 Personality Quizzes That Will Help You Determine Your Exact Strengths

Learning more about yourself can be tough. It's so easy to observe others to learn what makes them tick, what areas they really excel in, and the things they could be better at. Doing that to yourself, however, is a whole different story. That's exac…
By Jessica Booth

5 Brand New Short Story Collections You Can Finish In One Sitting This Weekend

Since 2013, May has been known by book-lovers by another name: Short Story Month. If you're ready to kick off this year's celebration the right way, make sure to pick up a short story collection to read over the weekend. Modern life moves more than …
By Sadie Trombetta

I Got Styled By 'Queer Eye's Tan France & Realized I Still Have A Lot Of Fashion "Rules" To Unlearn

When I walked into a New York City Express store on May 2 to get styled by Queer Eye's Tan France, I was ready for anything. And I mean truly anything. I am such a massive fan of the show and Tan that if he had instructed me to wrap myself in tin foi…
By Olivia Muenter

It Isn’t Bad To Have A “Princess Fantasy” — Mine Made Me The Woman I Am Today

What do you want to be when you grow up? If you were anything like me as a kid, at some point, the answer to that question was "a princess." Thanks to good old-fashioned gender stereotypes, most little girls born in the '90s (and even now) grew up in…
By Nicole Pomarico

Here’s How To Get A FREE 30-Minute Facial At Sephora That Sucks Your Pores Clean

Sephora has long been a mecca for both serious and amateur beauty lovers alike, where they not only have makeup artists that help answer questions about products, but free samples to let you play with new collections. But now they have upped the ante…
By Marlen Komar

Kris Jenner Is FINALLY Launching A Makeup Line With Kylie

Maybe you don't have a favorite sister of the Kar-Jenner clan, and that's perfectly fine. The one thing you can't deny, though, is that when it comes power, no one in that family has more than the world famous momager. Now, Kris Jenner x Kylie Cosmet…
By Shea Simmons

This Kendall Jenner “Diva” Moment Is Really Being Taken Out Of Context

The fashion always takes center stage at the Met Gala, but there's usually a little drama, too. And this time, a member of the Kardashian-Jenner family is involved. People are buzzing about how Kendall Jenner shoved someone at the Met Gala, but after…
By Nicole Pomarico

Feel Like You've Seen Everything On Netflix? Add These Movies To Your Watch List

The weekend may feel too far away, but if you're lacking formal plans, a Netflix marathon session is always a good idea. If you're an avid viewer, however, you probably feel like you've seen everything the streaming platform has to offer already. In …
By Ashley Rey

Hillary Clinton Says She's Ready To Fight Like A Republican — EXCLUSIVE

Hillary Clinton Is Not Going Away Quietly. Can Hillary Clinton Please Go Quietly Into The Night? Unlike Losers Before Her, Clinton Is Not Going Gently Into the Night. These headlines, which appeared in various news outlets over the course of the last…
By Catherine Thompson and Jenny Hollander

Here's The Very Best Time To Book Your Summer Vacation If You're Trying To Save Money

Summer is a great time to travel, for obvious reasons. The weather is better. Many offices are more lax about time off. If you have kids, they’re out of school. But there’s one very important element that makes summer not a great time to travel: Cost…
By Emma McGowan