News

This Teacher Has a Special Handshake For Every Student and It's Fantastic

Published On 02/01/2017 Published On 02/01/2017
teacher has special handshakes for every student
Screengrab ABC News

Fifth-grade teacher Barry White, Jr. has a unique handshake he does with every single one of his students. You read that right. Every single student. And some the handshakes are elaborate (except for the awesome student who just salutes him).

Mr. White, as he's known to his kids, is a teacher at Ashley Park PreK-8 School in Charlotte, North Carolina. The unique relationships he's cultivating with his students was recently highlighted by ABC News, who captured video of the students saying "good morning" to Mr. White.

“They know when they get to the front door we do our ‘good mornings,’ and then it’s time to go,” he told ABC News. “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.”

White uses the handshakes as a way to connect with students and draw them into his classroom. “I started with one simple handshake last year with a 4th grader,” he told ABC. “She would wait for me every morning before she’d go to class. She’d get in trouble sometimes for being late because she’d wait on the handshake."

He said that students started coming up to him during recess this year and wanting to have their own handshake. “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," he said.

It has to be a bit of work to get all those handshakes memorized, but White shrugs it off. "It’s muscle memory at this point," he says. It's an amazing way to connect with the kids and make school feel like, as he said in a separate interview with NBC, "a sanctuary."

It's a testament not just to him, but lots of teachers who put in the work and deserve some special recognition.

On the other hand, won't someone think of the substitute teachers? Who is the poor soul standing at the door on the days when Mr. White is sick?!

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Dustin Nelson is a News Writer with Thrillist. He holds a Guinness World Record but has never met the fingernail lady. He’s written for Sports Illustrated, Rolling Stone, Men’s Journal, The Rumpus, and other digital wonderlands. Follow him @dlukenelson.

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