Personalized handshakes and vocabulary “shoot-outs” in the classroom? Count Barry White as the coolest reading teacher ever!
In an exclusive PEOPLE Now video, the viral teacher, who created personalized, five-second handshakes for his fifth graders, continues to win hearts as he Skypes during a break from his Charlotte, North Carolina, classroom.
“They’re pumping each other up, especially when we’re in class,” White, a 26-year-old second-year teacher, tells PEOPLE Now. Ashley Park Principal Meghan Loftus agrees, telling PEOPLE, “This strong relationship makes it possible for him to hold his students to high expectations, and have them respond with determination and hard work.”
White attributes his “simple” encouragement and personalized approach to his unique classroom culture. He says it’s easy to remember the specific moves for each student because he does it every day.
“The scholar culture in my classroom is off the chain,” White says. “Never undervalue or overlook the importance of relationships.”
But does a handshake line delay getting into the classroom?
“They’re actually coming into my class,” he says. “We’re definitely on time.”
Visiting the Today show yesterday, Mr. White’s absence has gone noticed by his adoring students, who says he has gotten texts that his students couldn’t wait to see him.
“I just couldn’t wait to get to school today,” White says. “I missed them yesterday.”