scorecardViral TikTok video shows the moment 30 college students surprised their professor with a heartwarming thank-you message
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Viral TikTok video shows the moment 30 college students surprised their professor with a heartwarming thank-you message

Monica Humphries   

Viral TikTok video shows the moment 30 college students surprised their professor with a heartwarming thank-you message
LifeThelife3 min read
  • Adam Shrager, a professor at The College of New Jersey, logged into his last virtual class of the semester and was met with blank screens.
  • He told Insider that he was initially surprised that he wouldn't be teaching to any faces for his last class, but that quickly changed.
  • Every student suddenly turned on their camera to reveal a heartwarming message for the teacher. Shrager was moved to tears.
  • "I was fully surprised, completely shocked that they would do this for me," Shrager told Insider. "And that the class meant that much to them."

This semester has been the hardest in Adam Shrager's 20 years of teaching.

But this academic year has also been one of the most rewarding for the high school teacher and adjunct statistics professor at The College of New Jersey.

On Wednesday evening, Shrager logged on to teach his final statistics class of the semester. Instead of seeing the familiar faces he's grown accustomed to over the past months, he saw blank screens.

But the students had a surprise: Once the class started, each student turned on their camera revealing messages of appreciation for their professor.

The professor told Insider his students typically have their cameras on, so he was surprised to not see a single face when he logged on

Shrager said he initially assumed he had a poor internet connection. He was frustrated that this last class might be canceled or happen without cameras.

That quickly changed as his 30 students began turning on their cameras to show they were each holding up a sign with a thank-you message.

@vizzywap

during these tough times it’s important to show extra appreciation! ##fyp ##foryoupage ##zoom ##dontletthisflop ##college ##covid ##professor ##thankyou

♬ original sound - James Blake

"I was fully surprised, completely shocked that they would do this for me," Shrager told Insider. "And that the class meant that much to them."

A video of the event on TikTok has close to 5 million views

One student posted a video of Shrager's reaction on TikTok, where it has been viewed nearly 5 million times since it was shared on Wednesday.

@vizzywap

Reply to @cmo245 ##greenscreen his tik tok is @statztchr he made it to respond to all the sweet comments thank you everyone!!

♬ original sound - vero

"During these tough times it's important to show extra appreciation," the student, who goes by vizzywap on TikTok, wrote.

In the video, Shrager is overwhelmed and immediately wants to capture the moment, so he takes screenshots of the students holding their signs.

"Wow, this is the nicest thing ever," he says in the video, before joking with his students they all got 100% on their final.

Later, the professor gathered his thoughts on Facebook.

"In 17 years of teaching high school and over 20 teaching college, this has been the toughest semester of my career," he wrote in a private Facebook post. "Yet tonight, the last regular class of the semester, I was honestly moved to tears."

"We have moments in our life that we remember, for good and for bad," Shrager told Insider. "This moment I will never forget."

The video has inspired other students to thank their educators

Since the video was uploaded, Shrager said he has been sent a handful of videos from other students across the country surprising their teachers with similar messages of gratitude.

The pandemic's impact on classes brought challenges that teachers never imagined, from bonding with virtual students to grappling with internet issues and unfamiliar teaching platforms.

"It is exhausting," Shrager said. "There's never been a semester, a six-month period, as difficult as this."

The video also inspired someone to create a subreddit, r/mademewanttoteach, where teachers and future teachers share posts that make them optimistic about the profession.

Shrager said he's amazed the video has resonated with so many people around the world and that this is a memory he'll never forget.

"I just think it's something we need right now," he said. "It's pure kindness."

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