JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Nov. 18 (UPI) -- A Florida special education teacher is making viral waves with a video showing how he starts class each day by individually complimenting his students.
Chris Ulmer, a special education teacher at Mainspring Academy in Jacksonville, posted a video to his Facebook group, Special Books for Special Kids, showing how he starts class each day by complimenting his students for 10 minutes.
"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 tells one of the students in the video.
Ulmer said he has seen the students' "confidence and self-worth skyrocket" since he began the routine, which started as a "Toast Tuesdays" weekly event but soon became a daily occurrence.
"Children learn to love or hate at an early age," he wrote on Facebook. "I think it's time we actively work towards teaching love and acceptance."
Ulmer told ABC News he has been posting videos of his students nearly every day with the permission of parents. He said he was shocked when the compliment video went viral with nearly 20,000 shares.
"I actually didn't think a whole lot about this one before posting it. It's just something we do," he said.
Ulmer said he has been trying to find a publisher for a book he created by collaborating with his students and their parents.
"I have 50 rejection letters on my fridge to keep me motivated," he said.
The teacher said he has been teaching the same group for three years and he has seen them blossom in that time.
"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 said.