Hi MonthyrGrimm. I started with hair almost to my waist, by the 11 month mark they were up to my shoulders. I also started my dreads by using the T&R method. If you do choose this way, it is best to let your hair separate into sections naturally first, it will only take about a couple of weeks. When you do your T&R, do them in random thicknesses, anywhere from pencil thin to a max of one inch. The measurement is where the section of hair meets the scalp, that will be the size of your mature dread. When they are first put in, they will be much skinnier, that is because the hair has not shrunk up yet creating the mature dread, so use the scalp area as you measurement. I do have tips posted on my page for T&R to get your started, hope this helps you: http://www.dreadlockssite.com/forum/topics/just-starting-out-what-to-expect?xg_source=activity
As Kelly explained, not all of your T&R dreads will stay in, some will fall out completely. And they will loosen up, need to in order to shrink, so don't do them tooo tight.
A sea salt spray helps the locking process go faster: You can use this as a spray or a head soak. Mix 3 1/2 tbls of sea salt to 5 cups of water. When using this, it should be rinsed out by the two hour mark or it will dry out your hair. Use it as often as you want, but always rinse it out. You can find sea salt from bulk food stores, aquarium fish stores, health food stores. Use the sea salt to dry out your hair a little for the locking process to go faster, not peroxide or hair dye like Sweet recommended. Keep your dreads hair color free, it's hard to rinse that crap out and it will permanently wreck your dreads, lots of ladies with undreaded hair have damaged hair from dye jobs. You would need to use other products just to keep them soft from using that crap.
What are you washing with now??? Don't be sorry for being long winded, you are a teacher are you not.....peace