Most students dread the first bell of the morning but a teacher
in Jacksonville, Florida, makes it well worth it to get to class early.
Chris Ulmer, a special education teacher at Mainspring Academy,
starts each day by individually affirming each of his eight students.
In a video posted to Facebook earlier this week, which has been
viewed more than 1 million times, Ulmer can be seen complimenting his students
on their personalities, intellect and potential.
"I love having
you in my class. I think you're very funny. You're a great soccer player.
Everyone in here loves you," Ulmer says in the video.
During his first year
of teaching, each day had a theme, like "Monday Funday" and
"Toast Tuesday," which is when he would affirm his students.
"I noticed the
kids were always more motivated, happier and better behaved on Tuesdays. So we
started doing it every day," he told ABC News.
Ulmer said he noticed
a remarkable difference in the attitudes of his students after he began his
morning ritual of complimenting them.
"They all came from a segregated environment [from general
education students]. Now they're participating in school activities, dancing in
front of hundreds of other kids and in the debate club," he shared with
Ulmer teaches children who have diagnoses ranging from autism to traumatic brain injury to
speech apraxia. He teaches them that they are valuable just as they are.
their quirks, and that's a good thing," he said. "We give ignorance a
free pass. There is no excuse for a lack of empathy."