In a recent TikTok video that has gone viral for all the right reasons, a group of students surprised their professor over Zoom with beautiful messages of gratitude. After an incredibly difficult year filled with uncertainty and chaos for teachers and students across the country, their appreciation for their professor brought him to tears. And will absolutely have you crying too, so be prepared.
College student Lauren Herrle recently shared a video on TikTok she had taken of her last day of Zoom class with her "sweetest professor," Dr. Brown. The video starts off with only Dr. Brown's screen activated and he is asking calmly, "Is this the new cool thing to do? Not turn your camera on?" When no one's cameras come on he says hesitantly, "Here we go... seriously, is it my fault that you have your cameras off?"
Herrle finally says, "Dr. Brown, we actually kind of wanted to do something." She then says, "Everybody, do you want to go ahead?"
The cameras all turn on, but instead of his students' faces Dr. Brown is met with sign after sign. All homemade, all with personal messages that all were really the same message. "Thank you."
At which point Dr. Brown said, "Oh you guys, you're going to make me cry."
He takes off his glasses, wipes his eyes, and begins to cry. And I begin to cry. And you begin to cry.
Herrle's video has been watched more than 5.9 million times since it was posted, with people leaving comments like, "not to be dramatic but I would die for Dr. Brown," and "I wanted to cry when he said 'is it my fault'... then when he started to cry... I lost it."
Dr. Brown's students weren't the only ones to surprise a teacher with messages of thanks. Katherine De. Oliveira is a sophomore at The College of New Jersey who recently shared a similar video on TikTok. She and her classmates also started their class with statistics professor Adam Shrager with their cameras off. And when they turned them on, Shrager was met with similar messages of gratitude.
Teachers have really gone through it in 2020. Living and teaching through a pandemic, trying to manage all of their students' needs through Zoom. Trying to connect when they cannot connect, not in the traditional sense.
I hope these video surprises become a trend on TikTok for teachers. I hope they all know how much they have meant to their students. And I hope their students know how much they mean to their teachers , too.