This was all over the news a month ago, but in case you happened to miss it —Barry White Jr., who teaches 5th grade in Charlotte, NC begins each school day with a special handshake with each student.  As I watched the video, it reminded me of the importance of building rapport with every student and athlete we serve.  The kids in Mr. White’s class know they matter.

Mr. White has done interviews, appeared on the Today Show, and had this to say:

“The most critical component is the relationship, 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 might not have a unique handshake with every young person we work with, but if we expect them to care what we have to say, we do well to have something that communicates they are a priority and worth our time and attention.