by TRN Staff Writers
It is often a thankless job where teachers find themselves trapped between school boards expecting them to do the impossible and parents criticizing them for not doing enough—all at a pay grade that is far too low.
Despite the drawbacks, there are still some teachers who put their hearts and soul into their profession. Barry White Jr. is one of the good ones. The North Carolina English teacher has been enjoying his 15 minutes of fame thanks to a viral video that has taken the nation by storm.
White greets his students at Ashley Park School in Charlotte each morning with a handshake tailored by and for each individual kid. It takes a moment to get through them all, but White remembers each kid’s special handshake and puts a little “English” on each greeting.
Yeah, somebody out there is probably saying, ‘it doesn’t take all that to greet a kid’…and true it doesn’t. But White’s creation of a special handshake for each kid sends an unspoken message to that child that you are special and deserve to be treated that way. And since the dap is a way of showing respect when greeting others, it teaches the kids to give respect because they are respected. Critics by the way are few. White’s viral video caught the eye of NBC’s “Today Show” which invited the teacher on the show. White just wants to help his students start their day off in a positive way saying, “I think the most important [thing] is encouraging your child, pumping their day up before they get to school..”
White seems to go along with a philosophy that it takes a village to educate a child. Teachers have to do their part to encourage and help children get excited about learning…and parents have to do their part as well. White says parents can just say a few words to their kids each day like, “I know you’re gonna have a great day” or “I’m proud of you.” Sounds like a little effort, but it will make a big impact on your child to see how much faith you have in them.
Our public schools are headed down an uncertain path with the appointment of a controversial, unqualified new Secretary of Education. Parents, teachers, teacher unions and students are all going to have to work hard and work together if we want to see our children succeed. Teachers like White who are coming up with creative ways to help our children stay focused and excited about learning is a step in the right direction.