This teacher has her kindergartners shake hands every morning — it's a lesson in success

Courtesy of Ashley Taylor

Each morning, the kindergartners in Ashley Taylor's class at Keene Elementary School in North Texas start their day off with a routine.

One student from the class is selected as the "greeter" for the morning, and welcomes each classmate to school with eye contact, a handshake, a proper hello — and sometimes a hug, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.

When Taylor posted a video to her Facebook page of a student named Asher Bales doing just that, the video took off, racking up over 150,000 views on her page.

"Good morning Serena," Bales says while shaking the hand of his classmate.

Model Gigi Hadid even weighed in on the video, tweeting, "Love this!!!! Made my day! This is so important."


Taylor has been teaching (kindergartners through sixth graders) for 18 years, and started the practice halfway through her career, she tells CNBC Make It. After teaching her class the basic idea every year, she turns it over to the students and lets them pick the greeters.

"They say good morning, sometimes they say something nice about the person who is walking up," she explains, emphasizing the importance of confidence. "We talk about making sure that we make eye contact, and that you have a smile on your face."

For her, the routine is about teaching students soft skills that are key for success.

"Later in life they're going to need these things when they get out into the workforce," she says. "Academics are super important, but these life skills — I think there really needs to be an emphasis."

Indeed, experts agree the ability to demonstrate confidence and poise is important for any career.

"We make judgments [about other people] in a nanosecond," Whitney Johnson, the author of "Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work," tells the Harvard Business Review. And once someone has formed an impression of you, it is "very, very hard to change it." So, it's important to project confidence when introducing yourself to new people.

Making eye contact is one way to project self-esteem and assertiveness, according to experts, along with other nonverbal social cues. HBR suggests being aware of your body language: "Take long strides. Sit up straight. Walk with your chest held high. Even if this isn't your natural way of being, you can assume simple poses that will increase your confidence."

Billionaire Richard Branson's formula for a great first impression also looks a lot like Taylor's — a handshake with eye contact.

"This moment of human contact is essential. And that look in the other person's eye shouldn't be a quick glance," Branson says. "Sustain eye contact for as long as it takes to let them know that you really see them."

And, those habits can start young. According to research by Brown University, some habits can be set by age 9. Taylor says the reaction to her video goes to show how much impact a small routine can have.

"Seeing our video be shared through my teacher blogs and all these other teacher pages and classroom pages — the schools are like, 'We're starting this next year, we're going to do this, we're putting this in place," she says. "I'm just thinking, 'Look how many kids we are going to reach."

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