Waking up early in the morning for school can be one of the most difficult tasks for fifth-grade students, unless they have a teacher like Barry White Jr.
White, who teaches English to fifth-graders at Ashley Park PreK-8, in Charlotte, North Carolina, greets his students every morning with a personalized, energetic handshake.
Interestingly, he has a different style of welcoming each one of them to class, which makes them feel special and helps White connect with the kids on a personal level.
“They know when they get to the front door we do our ‘good mornings,’ and then it’s time to go. 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,” the teacher told ABC News
The handshake is designed keeping in mind the student’s personality, so they can actually connect with what they’re doing. Apparently, White, who is a Cleveland Cavaliers fan, was inspired to do the handshakes after he saw his favorite basketball player, LeBron James, doing them with his teammates.
“I started with one simple handshake last year with a fourth-grader,” White said. “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."
“This year I started making handshakes with the kids at recess. It was just one or two students and then it became contagious,” he added. “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 third-graders wanting to do it too.”
The energetic teacher added that although remembering so many handshakes sounds tricky, it really isn’t that difficult when one comes to it.
“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,” White said of the initiative.
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