Teacher fixes a pupil's hair during the break: it had been ruined by the rain - WTVideo.com
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Teacher fixes a pupil's hair during…
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Teacher fixes a pupil's hair during the break: it had been ruined by the rain

November 16, 2021 • By Alison Forde

Being a school teacher is not a job like any other; it takes not only passion for one's work, but also a lot of communication skills, empathy and kindness towards the students who have more difficulties. Sometimes, for these pupils, even the most apparently simple gesture can turn into an act of great solidarity. One thing that Vanessa Sefa knows very well, a middle school teacher from London who enacted a very simple but important gesture for one of her students ...

When Purity Agyeman arrived at school one morning with all her hair tangled and wet from the pouring rain, she couldn't help but ask her teacher Vanessa for help to help her fix her hair which had been undone by the rain; the teacher could hardly say no to her: "She had tears in her eyes, and she told me that she wouldn't go around school like this all day and that she would rather go home. Her hair had started to clump together and consequently get tangled due to the friction of her hood and the rain water. "

Vanessa Sefa knew perfectly well that for that twelve-year-old black student it was not a banality to present herself to others with her hair neatly styled and combed; the woman knew well that for a girl of that age and ethnicity, it is extremely important for her self-esteem: "For anyone, regardless of ethnicity or origin, hair is often an important part of one's identity. It can be particular loaded with political or revolutionary sentiments, even when the individual is not aware of the context or is simply being themselves. Black hair is sometimes seen as "disheveled", "radical" and even "dirty." Due to these prejudices, socially, people of color are often much more aware of what their hair says about them."

Vanessa did not, at that specific moment, have many tools to fix the 12-year-old girl's hair, other than a small comb and her hands; it took them 15 minutes to untangle her locks and curls, but in the end, using only her nails and the comb, Vanessa managed to comb Purity's hair and give her back the hairstyle she had had before the rain.


An apparently very simple gesture, but in reality full of meaning; both little Purity and Vanessa Sefa are women of color in the city of London, a metropolis that counts only 3% of "black" teachers in the work force; a not insignificant fact that emphasizes even more how much the two protagonists of this beautiful story feel in a certain sense still part of a minority, despite the long history of multiculturalism in the UK...


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