Teachers have a lot of responsibilities to their students — make sure they are actively learning, are following along with the curriculum, and can pass the state exams — but what one teacher did for her 9-year-old student was definitely not in the curriculum. Tori Nelson, a fourth-grade teacher at Winlock Miller Elementary School in Washington, found one of her students, Matthew Finney, crying outside her classroom, afraid to come in for the day because he had gotten bullied for his new buzz cut.
Nelson decided right then and there to let Matthew cut her hair after lunch, so that if he got made fun of again, they'd be making fun of her, too. Staying true to her word, she let Matthew — who was "surprisingly not gentle" — buzz her hair in front of the entire fourth grade. Nelson says, "I don't know if I'm going to get every kid to pass the state tests — and I don't really care, to be honest with you — if these kids leave here knowing that there's an adult in this school that cares about them and worries about their well-being then I've done my job."
Nelson went completely above and beyond for Matthew, once again restoring our faith in humanity. She said, "Our motto here is to be the difference — I'm just trying to live up to that." And she totally did.