Here's a feel-good story in dark times.
Barry White, Jr., a fifth grade English teacher in Charlotte, North Carolina, has come up with his own personalized handshake for every single one of his students based upon each of their personalities. White explained the pre-class routine to ABC News: "They know when they get to the front door we do our ‘good mornings,’ and then it’s time to go," he 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."
White cites LeBron James's exchanges with teammates as an inspiration for his customized greetings. He also says the idea came after coming up with one handshake for one fourth grader during last school year. "I started with one simple handshake last year with a 4th grader," he 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."
He also made it sound like he'll soon have to come up with like a thousand more of these to accommodate the whole school. "This year I started making handshakes with the kids at recess," White continued. "It was just one or two students and then it became contagious. 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.”
While LeBron James is getting the credit for inspiring White, this story also brings to mind the insane memory of another athlete, Wake Forest wide receiver Cortez Lewis, who also came up with his own handshakes for every one of his teammates a few seasons ago. Feel free to watch and decide who did it better:
White's effort hasn't gone unnoticed by the school's administrators. "The only way to help our scholars achieve at high levels every day is to embrace the need for a meaningful and deep relationships,” said the school's principal Meaghan Loftus. “Barry’s handshakes represent his own authentic take on building those relationships. 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."
Sounds like teachers who start the day with nothing more than a phoned in "Good morning" are officially on notice.