Watch this teacher share personalized secret handshakes with each and every student (VIDEO)

This innovative fifth grade teacher goes the extra mile to connect with the kids in his classroom.

Most of us remember our favorite childhood teacher—that standout kind face or talented, entertaining educator who made us think outside the box, challenged us beyond than the others, or simply brought a unique and lasting perspective to the classroom. Maybe you actually had fun while learning in their classroom. Well, there’s no doubt that Mr. Barry White Jr.’s students will remember him fondly once they graduate from his fifth-grade literacy classroom.

Mr. White, who teaches at a Title I school, has indeed found an uncommon way to foster rapport and connect with his students: a secret handshake. And no—not a secret handshake the entire class and teacher all share—Mr. White shares a special, personalized handshake greeting with each and every student. (I can’t even imagine the memory skill that takes. As a parent, I know all too well that some days it’s hard enough to keep our own kids’ names straight!)

Big shout out to #NBC for stopping by to get the full experience inside and outside my classroom. @nbcnews #iteach #forwardprogress #educators #teacherlife #liftsomeoneuptoday

A video posted by Barry White Jr (@thatsbwhite) on

It’s important to Mr. White that his students are excited about school, and about learning. “The most critical component is the relationship, the rapport you build with your students because sometimes it can go underrated or overlooked,” he says. “Before I’m able to deliver a substantial amount of content to them, they have to invest in the teacher.”

The idea for secret handshake came to him after he saw Cleveland Cavaliers star player Lebron James sharing handshakes with other players. White then tried a handshake with one student and saw how excited she was about it. After that, the tradition extended to the students in his three literacy classes. Determined to bring joy to school, Mr. White didn’t stop there. He also shares special handshakes with administrators, volunteers, and students who aren’t even in his classes.

Mr. White’s handshake tradition is making worldwide news, inspiring teachers and just about everyone who sees it (one such video on Facebook has received 17 million views!). Though it may seem small to some, it goes to show how a seemingly modest act of joy, positivity, and love can truly make a difference in a school culture, or in someone’s life. “I’m all about bringing joy to people’s lives and inspiring others to do so, hopefully, everybody can start doing it in their classroom,” Mr. White told reporters.

Mr. White’s enthusiasm and love are such great reminders to all of us that it doesn’t take much to positively influence those around us. Maybe it’s not a secret handshake at your office or in your home, but surely there’s something small we can all do to make someone else’s day better! Because we could all learn a thing or two from Mr. White.

Ashley Jonkman
Ashley Jonkman

Ashley is a freelance writer and editor. She lives with her husband, two sons and two rambunctious dogs in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Leave a comment: