WATCH: Pleasanton teacher greets each of his 123 students with personal handshake

Algebra teacher uses handshakes as way to connect with, motivate students

PLEASANTON, Texas – Students in coach Tim Salinas' algebra class aren't the only ones having to master some difficult formulas. Salinas, who teaches Algebra I and coaches football and basketball at Pleasanton High School, tasked himself with memorizing a specific handshake for each of his 123 students.

Salinas said he started personalized handshakes with some of his students four years ago. The next year, he decided to do it with every one of his students.

"I wanted to find a way to connect with students, where they would enjoy coming to my class, and it also gave me a way to implement my growth mindset," Salinas said.

Local principal and vice principal adopt students out of love and hope for future

The handshake is actually the first homework he assigns his students each year. The kids are each required to come up with one and then Salinas has to learn them all.

"Some of them are the same as a few other students, but the majority are different with their own spin on it," he said.

Salinas said it usually takes him a few weeks to get them all down, but he uses it as a way to teach that hard work and perseverance pays off.

Video: NEISD shares famous enchilada recipe

"I explain to the kids that if I had told myself I would never memorize all of these handshakes, I would have given up after day one. But a growth mindset is the idea that through practice and a drive to achieve, you can be successful in the task at hand," said Salinas.

About the Author:

Julie Moreno has worked in local television news for more than 20 years. She came to KSAT as a news producer in 2000. After producing thousands of newscasts, she transitioned to the digital team in 2015. She writes on a wide variety of topics from breaking news to trending stories and manages KSAT’s daily digital content strategy.