A 5th grade teacher in Charlotte, North Carolina knows education alone isn’t necessarily enough to get his students excited for class. So he’s using personalized handshakes instead.
Barry White Jr., an English teacher at Ashley Park PreK-8 School, gives personalized greetings (most of which are intermingled with dance moves) to all 40 of his students. News of his interactions originally went viral in September when the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District posted the video to their Facebook page.
“This [school] year I started making handshakes with the kids at recess. It was just one or two students and then it became contagious,” White told ABC News in a piece published on Tuesday. “I saw how much it meant to them, so I said, ‘Come on. Everyone come on.’ Then it was my full class, then it was kids from other classes. Now I have 3rd graders wanting to do it too.”
As seen in the video above, these handshakes don’t just consist of your basic high-five. White and his students can be seen doing a range of popular dance moves, including everything from the dab to the milly rock to the whip and nae nae.
But once the moves are done, it’s time to hit the chalkboard.
“They know when they get to the front door, we do our ‘good mornings,’ and then it’s time to go,” White said. “I’m always pumped up and then we start doing the moves and that brings them excitement and pumps them up for a high-energy class.”
Ashley Park Principal Meaghan Loftus praised White’s methodology for creating a stimulating environment.
“The only way to help our scholars achieve at high levels every day is to embrace the need for a meaningful and deep relationships,” Loftus told ABC.
“Barry’s handshakes represent his own authentic take on building those relationships,” she continued. “When I walk into my teachers’ rooms, I see the impact of those strong and trusting relationships. When kids know their teacher cares, they are attentive, engaged and driven to be successful. That’s the culture we are building at Ashley Park.”