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Teacher Who Memorized Over 200 Handshakes With Students Talks the Importance of Connection in a Pandemic

·1 min read

David Jamison/Twitter David Jamison

David Jamison won't let virtual learning get in the way of connecting with his students.

Jamison, 34, aka "The Dope Educator" went viral last year for creating individual handshakes with each of his 75 students.

He sat down with PEOPLE Every Day podcast in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week to talk about sharing his passion for teaching with the world. The fifth-grade teacher claims says his own unique handshake with his childhood best friend inspired him to create the tradition.

"The secret handshake basically set us apart from everyone else," said Jamison, who has over 30K followers on Instagram. "So when I got into education, now I have 75 best friends. That's how I see it."

When his school moved to virtual and later hybrid learning during the pandemic, he traded in his handshakes for dance moves, to comply with social distancing. Jamison believes learning should be as engaging as possible, and that connections are vital to create a safe, "family" like atmosphere.

"I love making sure that everyone feels valued, that I'm not leaving anyone out," he said. "They're appreciated."

Listen below for more of Jamison's interview on PEOPLE Every Day, airing now on iHeartMedia, Apple podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever you listen to your podcasts.