A video making its way around the internet today shows a fifth grade English teacher in North Carolina shaking hands with each of his students before they enter class. What’s remarkable about it is that the teacher, Barry White, Jr., developed unique and elaborate handshakes for all seventeen of them that are specifically tailored to their personalities. The idea was inspired by LeBron James’ pre-game handshake ritual with his teammates, but Mr. White says it goes beyond that: he and his students pride themselves on “high expectations and meaningful relationships” in the classroom.
Indeed, students said that Mr. White and his handshakes made them feel welcomed in the school. In many of the interviews for the Pipeline Project, the issue of students not feeling seen or known by their teachers arose. Can we hope that teachers around the country are inspired to find creative ways to make their students feel wanted in the classroom?