Being Beautiful: What do students learn while teachers teach?

August 9, 2014 11:21:40 PM

David Creel -


I hold such a tender spot in my heart for teachers. When August sets in, I can't help thinking of all those who helped rear me from that freckle-faced boy who stood out from the rest of the kindergarten graduates by donning a bowtie, to the significantly taller know-it-all college student who wore cardigans and listened to big band jazz. I was playing to type, so I thought. Mama and Daddy wanted me to become a pharmacist, but I had other inclinations. Writing was always an outlet of self-expression for me, and I guess it still is.  


Perhaps it was my second-grade teacher, Mrs. Dykes, who spotted my flair for the dramatic. She "invited" my friend Sonya and me in during many recesses and lunch breaks to practice our writing skills on the blackboard. "I will not talk in class while Mrs. Dykes is teaching" loses its charm after the first few dozen times, I confess. Reading, math and science were the basic curriculum, but I remember that nothing was basic about Mrs. Dykes' brown wedge haircut. It sat proudly just above her turtleneck sweaters with fringy sideburns that pointed to a larger-than-life smile or that frustrated expression which usually meant Marlin Goodnight did not turn in his homework or some such thing. 


Sadly (or is it), it was mostly the hairstyles that got my attention back then. I still struggle with long division, but I vividly remember Mrs. Jefcoats' bob, Mrs. Adams' one-length hair she held back on either side with barrettes, the blonde hot-rolled coiffure of my fifth-grade science teacher, Mrs. Hillman, and those feathered bangs that Mrs. McCalla stole my heart with in sixth grade. I was prone to daydream in elementary school, staring out the louvered blinds of our tiny classroom, although our art teacher Mrs. Anderson's pink, blue and purple streaked hair was fabulously distracting. 


Sure, I learned enough to pass from one nine weeks to the next, eventually through the middle school years and landing in high school with the teachers I had heard my older brothers talk about so often at the dinner table. Mrs. Rounsaville's classic brunette coif kept me alert in English. Mrs. Young's patience was tried over and over with me in accounting, and I'm convinced her curly hairstyle was caused by a nervous condition we gave her as much as a permanent wave. And the most glorious was the substitute teacher, Mrs. Coleman, who was the spitting image of Morgan Fairchild, blonde as an angel, with peppermints for everybody.  


I studied my college professors too, especially Mrs. Beasley who tapped her brightly manicured nails on the podium in English Composition II to prove a point more theatrically, and Mr. Nunes, our algebra professor with perfect sandy brown hair and chiseled jawline who got everyone's attention for all the wrong reasons and some of the right ones.  


Teachers, I salute you as you begin another year. Remember that it's not just about syllabus, grades and formal education. There's probably someone in your classroom just like me who is watching you from a different point of view and might even write a column about you one day!

Former Columbus resident David Creel owns Beautiful With David salon in Jackson and has 20 years experience in the beauty industry. Contact him at [email protected]