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I Celebrate Your Uniqueness

Take a couple of minutes and watch this very cool video.

Inspiring at many levels but what I most appreciate about literacy teacher, Barry White Junior is his commitment to take time and individualize his students.

When I was teaching in the classroom, I made a quiet commitment that I would learn every one of my students’ names by the beginning of class #2. This meant that I had to recognize and remember over 80 names in less than 24 hours.  I wanted each student to know that he or she was special – that I didn’t look out at the class and see 25 nameless faces – I could respond to each student by name. This was quite a challenge. The first day of class, I would seat the students alphabetically (the students didn’t like this because they wanted to sit beside their friends) and for the next 47 minutes, I would repeat their names over and over again as I asked questions. I also scribbled down notes at my desk that would help me remember faces. (especially when it came to distinguishing twins!) During that day, I would begin calling students by name as I passed them in the hall and I made a point of going into their homerooms during lunch so I could put a name to a face.  On night 1, I would go home with my attendance sheets, visualize a face and recite his/her name . . . over and over again. When day 2 came along, I let the students sit wherever they wanted to and they were really impressed that I knew their names already. This was a good life lesson for them – “Go out of your way and make someone feel special today.” Then, during class #2, I preceded to teach my infamous lesson, “20 of Mrs. L’s Quirks” which was a creative and humorous way of communicating expectations in the classroom. (Got to get the boundaries down too!)

After viewing this video, I couldn’t help but smile. I  so appreciated the work put into this teacher’s connection with students.

“The most critical component in the relationships is the rapport you build with your students because sometimes it can go underrated or overlooked,” White says. “Before I’m able to deliver a substantial amount of content to them, they have to invest in the teacher. We collect and collaborate and come up with the handshake together, so a lot of it is based on who they are,” White said. “That’s what I love, they came up with it so it’s really personalized to their personalities.” 

This teacher knows what he’s doing. 

“I’m all about bringing joy to people’s lives and inspiring others to do so,” White says. “That’s really why I do (the handshakes), to bring joy to them.”

We all need joy – that’s for sure.




  1. Kathy

    What a great video. Such an inspiring and dedicated caring teacher. And you Diane, that was amazing that you learned their names so quickly. I was easier for me in teaching kindergarten to have the kids wear name tags. But when I taught rotary French, it was really tricky learning the names of 120-180 students. I always used a seating plan.
    Now when I substitute text , I immediately make a seating plan at the satrt of each class…usually rotary also! Really helps to connect with students. Thank you!

    • Diane (Author)

      It is a great video, isn’t it? Love watching it! Yah, 180 names are a bit much…but I seemed to be able to handle four classes of names with a lot of homework the first night! So important to connect with the students, right “Teach”? 🙂

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