A teacher from the US has amazingly come up with and memorised individual handshakes with every child in her class.
Some teachers struggle to just to remember the names of each member of their classroom. We’ve all seen the cheat sheets they use – aka the register – often with our student pictures next to our name to help identify us.
While the ones who are able to recall what we’re called could offer us a handshake if we really wanted, they probably wouldn’t be anywhere near as impressive as Jerusha Willenborg’s fantastic array of greetings.
The third grade teacher from Kansas managed to come up with and remember individual handshakes for every one of her students.
Watch the brilliant video here:
Miss Willenborg’s unique welcome into the classroom stemmed from just one child asking her if they could share a special handshake four years ago.
Understandably, one third grade child having a secret routine with the teacher quickly started a trend, and soon more and more children wanted to come up with the elaborate shakes.
The video shows Jerusha completing 20 handshakes, one for each of her 20 students – though simply calling them ‘handshakes’ might be a bit of an understatement.
The routines often involve feet, elbows, dance moves and dabbing, and each ends with a hug between student and teacher.
I wonder if this was all actually an elaborate plan from the children to get them out of a few extra minutes of learning.
Having her own little connection with each child seems to have had a positive effect on the third grade class and their feelings towards the teacher.
Jerusha spoke to CNN about what drove her to memorise the range of greetings, explaining that the personalised handshakes help the relationships with her students develop and grow.
Their face. I just look at their face and I know it builds that relationship. It’s just between me and them and it’s special.
One student added:
It makes me feel like Miss Willenborg has my back.
Jerusha has made a tradition out of the handshakes, and makes sure that each new arrival gets the appropriate welcome.
Videos of the teacher have been shared on YouTube, showing her handshakes through the years.
Jerusha’s speciality subject must be maths – she obviously has a sharp memory for patterns and sequences.
Miss Willenborg hasn’t just stopped at handshakes to connect with the children, either. The creative teacher also has a series of chants which she calls out in order to get the kids’ attention when they’re being too noisy.
The chants work as a call and response, with many of them including lyrics from songs.
Jerusha will call out lyrics to, for example, Drake’s God’s Plan, French Montana’s All The Way Up, or the Baha Men’s Who Let The Dogs Out, and the children will respond, completing the lyric.
That system is certainly a lot more fun than ‘hands up and quiet please’.
I’m jealous that Miss Willenborg wasn’t my teacher.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.