A teacher at Mueller Elementary School in Wichita is showing that the simplest routine of a special handshake with each her students every day can make a big impact.
Jerusha Willenborg said it all started when she was hive-fiving and fist-bumping her students at the end of the day when one student added a little something extra. “He added on to it. Then, everyone wanted a handshake,” the third-grade teacher told KWCH.
Willenborg first started doing unique handshakes with each of her students three years ago, and she continued the tradition this year, which is her first year at Mueller Elementary.
“The kids don’t always make good choices. They are amazing kids, but you know, they’re kids. At the end of the day, they give me their handshake, whether they had a good day or not, they leave that day knowing I still care about them,” says Willenborg.
One of the students said, “It makes me feel like Miss Willenborg has my back.” She added, “I made a handshake with one of the students here. Her name is Navaeah. We’ve been practicing a long, long time. We do our handshake just because it’s fun.”
Since KWCH posted the video of Willenborg’s handshakes with her students to their Facebook, it’s already been viewed over 20 million times!
Willenborg never thought a simple gesture could gain this much fame, but she hopes the kindness can gain the same kind of momentum. “It started last night. It was a little overwhelming. My phone was blowing up. I had to turn it on silent because I had papers to grade. I had work to do!”
Watch the incredible video below:
Do you wish teachers in all schools did something like this? Do you have any other ideas for ways teachers can connect with their students?
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[Featured Image Credit: KWCH 12 News]