Barry White, Jr. is an elementary teacher in Charlotte, North Carolina. He greets each of his 40 5th grade students with a personalized handshake that is all their own. This is a teacher who believes in the importance of building relationships with students. He believes in connection. “Before I’m able to deliver a substantial amount of content to them they have to buy into me,” White Jr. said.

Joe’s Perspective #1: You know the old adage – a kid doesn’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. This teacher demonstrates this everyday. He lets each child know that he “sees them” and “appreciates them.” No child goes unnoticed. And look how they respond – with smiles, with excitement. My guess is these students try a little harder…give a little extra… and buy into the importance of their education a little more than the average 5th grader.

Joe’s Perspective #2: Why has this video been viewed over 5 million times? Why is Barry White Jr. appearing on the Today Show, the Nightly News and everywhere you look? Developing a personal handshake is such a simple thing to do. Is it such a rare thing for a teacher to care about students? Don’t some or most students feel a connection with their teachers?

Your Turn:

Do you think it’s important for teachers to establish connections and relationships with their students? Have you ever had that type of connection with a teacher?

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