I finally got shorn. Like the wooly black-faced sheep in The Midwife’s Apprentice. Usually I begrudgingly (vocabulary word this week!) get two haircuts a year.  But I seemed to have missed one this year. So it was a double shocker when I showed up Tuesday looking “fresh.”

I usually unlock my door at about 8:00 — we start at 8:20 — and I was in my comfy, rolling desk  chair I usually teach from, but with my back to the door, when the first girl came in at 8:02.

She’s borderline OCD (“I love writing KBAR responses — I did 4 pages last night!”), and a little bit, shall we say, skittish. She ALWAYS jumps when the timer goes off, and she screams at the drop of a hat. (Although that’s not unusual in a seventh grade girl.)

She comes in the door, and starts to say, “Where’s Mr. Cowa…”

I turn my chair. She screams and runs out the door.

Throughout the day, kids who would have me later in the day, who had heard the scuttlebutt (we have Charlotte Doyle coming up, so I’m getting in the mood), would walk slowly by the open door and stare. And point. Or heads would slide into view like an old Loony Tunes cartoon. Staring.

The best one was near the end of the day. I was sitting behind my desk, sort of leaning back in my chair, partially obscured by my double monitor setup. (My desk is at the back of the room, and I am rarely back there except during my prep, when I might just work in a quick nap, while my silent aides toil away.) The first kid of the next class saunters in (this guy never walks any other way), glances across the room and says,

“So we got a sub today huh?”

A considerable number of them made the observation that I “don’t look as mean.”

“You don’t seem as scary any more.”


A smattering of comments:

“You cut off the cool hair!”

“Snazzy.” (Yes, that was from a seventh grader.)

“You’re not a hippie any more!”

“It doesn’t look like you!” (x 1,000)

“Oh. My. God.”

One teacher just kept rubbing my head in disbelief.

“You clean up pretty good.” (From the pe teacher who took my CTEL advice.)

“Whoa. It doesn’t look like him does it?” (From my new principal. I had told her I was going to cut it off, but she didn’t really understand what that meant.)

“You look like one of your seventh graders. I guess that works ok, since you already act like one.” (From the school secretary. She recognizes a seventh grader with a badge when she sees one.)


“You got a haircut!”

(“No, I got them all cut. I don’t discriminate.” I can never resist that one. Or, “No way! Really?”)

“Now you look more like the picture in my brother’s yearbook!” This from the kid who’s the fifth one I’ve had from that family. Which brother? Which yearbook?

I HATE getting my picture taken. I’m with those cliched primitive tribes who believe each picture steals a bit of your soul.  I got away with using the same pic for years in the yearbook — I NEVER go to the school picture day sessions; usually I hold the camera myself–  until the yearbook lady’s computer got wiped. Last year I tried to give her my eighth grade yearbook pic, but she said she couldn’t take black and white.

I’m going to Photoshop it into color this year.