Memphis teacher brings back individual handshakes with students during pandemic, greeting students each day

A teacher greets over 200 students daily with a personalized handshake, but due to COVID-19 along with virtual learning the handshakes had come to a stop. However, now after almost a year later, students have returned back to school in Memphis, Tennessee. in 2019 David Jamison a 5th grade English Language Arts teacher at Hickory Ridge Elementary went viral for his personalized greetings he gave each of his 75 students every day, with an elaborate set of unique moves according to TODAY. 

Jamison, who said the greetings made each student feel special and excited to learn, has resumed the daily routine now that school has opened again following a shutdown due to the pandemic. Jamison gives each student a customized greeting, with everyone wearing a mask. Although there is no touching, Jamison who had COVID-19 last year, says he can still make a connection with his students. He also said recovering from the virus made him more focused on doing what he loves.

Jamison is finishing up his 4th year in education and was motivated to enter the profession by the lack of Black men in the school system.

“[Black men] only make up 2% of [educators]. Research shows that a young Black child who has had at least one Black male educator increase their chances of attending secondary education,” Jamison told Because Of Them We Can.  A personalized greeting sends a message to a child that they are more than just a test score. You have to be able to catch the fish before you can clean it. The inspiration [for the handshakes] came from me wanting to motivate my scholars for class while simultaneously showing them the importance of love and human interaction.”

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