David Jamison's viral video in December featured him sharing a special handshake with each of his fifth-grade students

By Rachel DeSantis
May 06, 2020 01:41 PM
David Jamison - The Dope Educator - Survives COVID-19
David Jamison
| Credit: David Jamison/Twitter

The Tennessee teacher who went viral in December after he memorized dozens of handshakes and completed them with each of his students has recovered from a bout with the coronavirus.

David Jamison, 33, announced on Twitter in late April that he beat the virus — and that his experiences with it had left a lasting impact on his life.

“I beat Covid 19!!!!! God is amazing!!” he wrote. “We often hear about people that have recovered from Covid-19, but one thing they don’t tell you is the impact that it has on your mind. I now have a very special place in my heart more than ever, for people that deal with anxiety and sleepless nights. You’re not alone.”

Jamison made headlines last winter after he memorized 75 different handshakes for all of his fifth-grade students at Hickory Ridge Elementary School in Memphis, the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported.

He shared a heartwarming video of him and his students completing their handshakes as they entered his classroom to Twitter, and it took off, amassing more than a million views and tens of thousands of likes.

“More black men are needed in the school system! In my 3 years of teaching I’ve never had discipline problems because I make sure that all my students feel counted for,” he wrote on Twitter at the time. “The foundation in maximizing the fullest potential of all students is through love and human interaction.”

Shelby County Schools have been closed because of coronavirus since March 12. Jamison told Good Morning America his symptoms began with backaches and a severe headache.

He tested positive for COVID-19 in late March, and was told to self-quarantine for two weeks, though the diagnosis sparked severe anxiety.

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“They basically sent me home and gave me something to help me to calm down. They were saying I was panicking, which I was, because you get this report and you’re watching the news and hearing people are dying of this deadly disease,” he told the outlet.

Jamison, who goes by The Dope Educator on social media, said the subsequent anxiety has been “the worst part” of the virus by far, and that he’s still struggling despite having recovered.

“I still can’t sleep. I’m also dealing with the thought of being away from family,” he said. “To me, my students are like family. With that came depression.”

Now that he’s out of the woods, Jamison told GMA he wants to use his experience to help others who have experienced similar traumas.

“I’m looking forward to now inspiring on the importance of how to deal with people who have been through a traumatic experience,” he said. “I’m of course looking forward to getting back to doing what I love to do — teaching kids.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, there have been at least 13,615 cases and 234 deaths attributed to coronavirus in Tennessee, according to The New York Times. The U.S. has seen at least 1.2 million cases and 71,133 deaths.

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