It’s Hair Raising What Teachers Will Do for Their Students

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Shane Totten takes No Shave November to whole new lengths…..[All photos provided by Shane Totten]

One teacher in Humboldt has a lighthearted way to inspire his students. It started one year, when Shane Totten, who works at Ferndale Junior High, began growing out his beard for No Shave November as a way to raise money for cancer awareness. His students were fascinated.

“Because they became so interested,” Totten said. “I talked about the history of beard. I talked about styles.” The students wanted to know what he was going to do with the beard after November. One thing led to another and…Totten began offering a contest to decide what style to shave his beard.

The contest got more involved and…now, this year, his students can earn tickets called Beardos. “I hand those out to recognize a student doing good work or doing something kind when no one was looking,” Totten explained. “I did it to get them motivated and inspired with their History Day projects.”

To learn about the electoral process, the students get to vote on how he’ll shave his beard after November. “I give them a few choices,” he explained. “I’m not completely crazy…This year they talked about me dyeing it.” But, he vetoed that. He gives them a “Beard Ballot” with several choices and a place to draw-in their own design. “Then we tally,” he explained. This year the four students with the most Beardos then get to make the final decision.

So, last week, the votes were tallied.

Totten gathered the students to watch. “I do it myself,” he said. “The kids huddle around and one holds the mirror and others take pictures.”

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This year the vote was for a handle bar mustache with a goatee.

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Totten said he’s not afraid to try out a new look. “This is for the kids,” he explained, “to help inspire them, to let them know it is okay to have a lighthearted look at things.”  He added, “I’m thankful that my administration and my fellow teachers and the administration and the district are all supportive of that. We all have the combined goal of ‘hey, let’s help these kids be the best they can be.'”

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