We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Teachers deserve all the kudos, high fives, raises, accolades, prizes and thanks for everything they do. Even if they just stuck to academics alone, they’d be worth far more than they get, but so many teachers go above and beyond to teach the whole child, from balancing equations to building character qualities.
One way dedicated educators do that is by developing relationships and building rapport with their students. And one surefire way to build rapport is to dance with them.
A viral video shared by an assistant principal at Sumner High School & Academy in Riverview, Florida shows a group of students gathered around one student as he challenges a teacher to a dance-off.
“Our 8th grade Stingrays having a well deserved exam dance break,” wrote assistant principal Natalie McClain. “Of course our teachers are ending 2022 with a win.”
The teacher, Ms. Yolanda Turner, took the challenge—and the students went wild.
u201cOur 8th grade Stingrays having a well deserved exam dance break. Of course our teachers are ending 2022 with a win. Love my Stingrays ud83dudc99ud83dudc9a Happy Holidays @HCPS_SumnerHSu201d
— Natalie.McClain (@Natalie.McClain)
The student really thought he had her, didn’t he? It looked as if his soul left his body when he tapped her shoulders and then realized what he’d done. But to her credit, she took it in stride and took him out with her dance moves.
“The music was on, all the kids were pumped,” Turner told Fox 13. “So it was like, let’s have a dance challenge. So I’m like, okay, all right, so everybody’s having fun. And I said, ‘I’m going to tap in. I’m going to tap into the dance.'”
“I really try to emphasize for kids to be their authentic selves and to really never be afraid to express who they are no matter who’s watching,” she told the outlet.
This dance-off video is a prime example of how schools can be places of joyful connection in addition to academic achievement. Gaining students’ respect doesn’t require being a stuffy authoritarian hard nose, and students generally respond better to teachers they genuinely care for. Meeting them where they are is one of the best ways to reach kids and creating experiences that include for silliness and fun is one of the best ways to keep them engaged.
Plus, who doesn’t need to blow off a little steam in between exams? What a lovely example of striking a balance between academic rigor and modeling healthy stress relief. Well done, Ms. Turner.
This article originally appeared on 12.28,22