A teacher at Tenaya Middle School in Fresno, California, has become an overnight internet sensation after pulling off some dance moves on campus in a TikTok that has since gone viral.
Before all this happened, teacher Austin LeMay didn’t even understand TikTok, but he recently opened an account to share more similar scenes with the internet. So far, with only four videos, he has already amassed 102.7K followers!
LeMay’s dancing video was captured by onsite school counselor Jenny McCauley, who said that the gathering is a regular Friday occurrence. She posted the video to highlight the good things happening at the school.
“This was totally by accident,” she told The Bee. “It’s something that we do every Friday. This isn’t out of the ordinary. It’s just an ordinary Friday with millions and millions of views.”
LeMay, the school’s Campus Culture Director, dances every Friday with students. The teens get to bust out their moves outside of the classroom or even watch LeMay pull off his own.
“This is my job and this is my career,” the teacher said. “More than anything, this is my passion as it is with every other teacher and adult here on campus. These kids are our passion.”
As of writing, the fun clip has reached 33.9 million views.
“This year, especially coming off from COVID and coming off of not being at school for a year and a half, we’ve really gone above and beyond to make every week a good fun week, and so we’ve been doing dance-offs and dance battles and group dances all semester,” LeMay said.
McCauley said LeMay dancing with the students isn’t out of character. It just so happened that the song “You’re a Jerk” by New Boyz was trending online when she posted the video.
“This is my seventh year teaching, and I have a bit of a long-standing tradition at the schools that I’ve worked at to act a fool from time to time and dance when I hear music, and when the time calls for it,” the dancing teacher said.
The dance, dubbed Jerkin’ or Jerking, started in Los Angeles in 2009 when hip hop group Audio Push dropped their song, “Teach Me How To Jerk.” That same year, New Boyz released their track “You’re a Jerk.”
LeMay knew the dance because he used to do it in high school when he was a senior in 2009.
Now that the teachers are TikTok famous, they hope to build on their momentum.
“We’ve been really trying to let people in our community know exactly what we’ve been doing on campus,” McCauley said. “Coming back on to campus and making sure that we do put fun as a priority as well as academics, but we want fun to be up there too.”
Teachers at the school put utmost importance on engaging with the kids and having fun.
“It’s been very important to us to provide an environment where kids want to be here, they want to come and connect with other people,” said principal Armen Torigian.
“I feel like if kids’ heads are in the right spot, they are feeling safe and they are having fun, then we can teach them anything that they need to learn.”
For McCauley and LeMay, the video’s virality comes down to the “positive culture” that teachers at Tenaya Middle School have been fostering for the students.
LeMay credits his parents for his killer dance moves and his willingness to get up and cut a rug. He hopes to continue creating a positive environment for the school and the students.
Here’s Mr. LeMay’s showing off his dance moves for your enjoyment.
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