SAN ANTONIO – The annual STAAR test may have concluded over a month ago but for one San Antonio teacher, this year’s end-of-course exam will be one for the history books.
Sean Callihan, a 21-year veteran teacher with Northside Independent School District, made a deal with his students midway into the school year as motivation for the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness.
“I was telling the kids all year that this was a journey between them and me,” Callihan told KSAT.com. “I told them that I would be a part of the test with them and if they all passed, then they can go ahead and shave my head.”
Callihan said the challenge this year was not only on his students but also on him as he was teaching history for the first time in 16 years.
Despite the adversity, Callihan said him and his more than 100 students were excited and pushing for the end result: his shaved head.
“That’s why I was telling them it was a journey,” Callihan said. “I think was happier to have my head shaved than possibly the kids.”
In a video shared on social media, Callihan is seen sitting on a chair in the school’s courtyard while being surrounded by several of his students.
The video starts with a student taking a pair of hair clippers, shaving first the side of his head. As the video goes on, Callihan’s students are seen taking turns to shave his head and beard until he was completely bald.
Callihan told KSAT.com that even though he made the deal months in advance, his wife didn’t even know about his wager until the day of his shaving.
“I’ve had a beard for several years and so my youngest child who’s 7 years old has never seen me without a beard,” Callihan said. “I told the kids they could shave everything but the eyebrows.”
Callihan said the response and the reactions he has received from his colleagues, students and other students have left him valuing the days of being a teacher.
“Being a teacher is being real with the kids, understanding their problems but you have to love it. You have to know this is what you’re going to do,” he said.
Brennan’s academic dean, Michelle Craig, said Callihan’s students not only just passed the STAAR test but exceeded requirements showcasing high-level thinking skills.
As for next year, Callihan told KSAT.com he’s not sure what fun, positive spin he’ll have for the STAAR test but he will certainly have something in store.
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