Florida teacher Chris Ulmer has begun starting off his day by complimenting his students, a task he says has built their confidence over the year.
Ulmer, a teacher at Mainspring Academy in Jacksonville, Florida, uploaded a video of himself performing this task onto Facebook, reports ABC News. Each student takes a turn standing in front of Ulmer as he recites his compliments.
“I love having you in my class. I think you’re funny. You're athletic. You’re a great soccer player.” Ulmer said to one student.
He finishes off each round of compliments with a high-five. Some students even compliment him back.
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Ulmer upload the video to his Facebook page Special Books By Special Kids, which is dedicated to a book he hopes to one day publish. He has received 50 rejection letters so far, but keeps them on his fridge as a reminder to carry on.
The book focuses on the story of each student. They are told by the child, the child’s parent or from Ulmer as their teacher.
Ulmer noted that he’s had the same kids in his class for three years and that they’ve evolved together as a family. In his first year of teaching, Ulmer had themes like “Monday Funday” and “Toast Tuesday.” He realized that the students behaved better on those days, so he started to include more elements like that in his teaching.
"They all came from a segregated environment [from general education students],” Ulmer said. “Now they're participating in school activities, dancing in front of hundreds of other kids and in the debate club."
Ulmer teaches a variety of students whose diagnoses range from autism to speech apraxia to traumatic brain injury.