It may not be new – in 2008, teachers in England were being advised that beginning the day with a personalised greeting for each student could help improve relationships and possibly results. But teachers’ greetings have recently become a global internet phenomenon.
A heartwarming video from South Africa of primary teacher Zuleka Smit greeting her five- and six-year-old pupils with a series of different greetings is the latest example to go viral.
Children arriving at Ms Smit’s class choose from a menu of eight greetings, including a fist bump, hug or high five – and Ms Smit says hello in their chosen fashion, much to the evident delight of the youngsters.
And now a video showing the morning ritual, posted on the school’s Facebook page, is also cheering up others – with more than 660,000 views to date.
The boys at Paarl Boys’ Primary school, near Cape Town, line up and point at the picture of the greeting they want.
During the two-minute video, Ms Smit greets several of the boys with hugs, fist bumps or high fives, with just one child choosing, instead, to shake hands.
And the comments below show how much people appreciate the teacher’s welcome.
“Absolutely beautiful. So much love from that teacher,” says one.
“What an amazing teacher. Well done,” another adds.
View the video here:
Juffrou Zuleka se Graad R-manne kies hoe hulle vir juffrou wil groet in die oggend.Posted by Paarl Boys' Primary on Thursday, 10 January 2019
And the same idea is taking off in the UK. The #shakeyhandgang and #shakyhandgang hashtags, started by the behaviour expert Paul Dix, have been used by teachers to share their experiences of taking up Mr Dix’s pledge to personally welcome their learners into the classroom each day.
At Glencoats School in Scotland, one teacher has filmed an impressive variety of greetings.
And St Silas School CE Primary in Liverpool, children – and one staff member – were happy to hug their teacher (although some preferred just to wave from a safe distance).
But there are some teachers who have encountered that particularly British reaction to such outbreaks of teacher enthusiasm.
Day 2 of #shakeyhandgang. Only a couple more handshakes than yesterday but two children joined me on the door to shake everyone’s hand as well! Yesterday’s suspicious child seems to think I’m starting some sort of cult 🙈— Miss K (@misskteach1) April 25, 2018
And in the US, Jerusha Willenborg has taken it to a new level by learning all the preferred greetings of every child in her class. The video of her incredible clapping, dancing and clicking memory feat, posted in November 2017, has now had more than 6.2 million views.
Watch it here and you’ll be smiling all day: