Teachers are heroes. But did you know they can also dance? An eighth grade teacher at Sumner High School in Riverview, Florida, proved that she not only has some amazing moves, but that teachers are amazing at connecting with kids. And she’s gone viral for it.
Yolando Turner has been teaching for 23 years. And when her kids wanted to let off some steam in between end-of-semester exams, she not only gave her blessing, she got on the dance floor herself, and reminded everyone of who’s in charge.
A fellow educator, Assistant Principal Natalie McClain, posted a 30-second clip of the dance battle on Twitter, and it all went viral within days. The moment has now racked up tens of millions of views across platforms — and everyone’s rooting for Yolanda.
In the video, we see a young teen face off with Turner while surrounded by students. He starts first, and his moves are impressive without a doubt. Then it’s Turner’s turn, and with her first few moves, the room explodes with cheers. Even her opponent seems delighted.
“The students were playing games. They were, you know, eating and enjoying their break time,” Turner told Good Morning America. “They decided to tap me in, to call me out.”
“I was watching the young man, and I’m like, oh god, don’t make me have to get on these knees, don’t make me have to use these knees,” Turner, 51, told ABC News Tampa Bay. “That song, ‘Lose Control,’ is like one of my favorite songs. It definitely gets everybody off their feet. So when it came on, I was just, so hype and the crowd was hyping me up.”
Her dance battle opponent, eighth grader O’Rian, was just as surprised as anyone.
“It caught me like completely by surprise — I was in shock,” the 13-year-old shared on GMA. “I had to regroup myself like I didn’t know that that was going to happen. We do a lot of dance-offs at our school,” O’Rian said. “She caught me off guard.”
People around the world shared and responded to the video.
“Teachers like this do not earn enough or get the credit they deserve, they are priceless,” one wrote.
“When will these kids learn not to mess with ole school!” wrote another.
The video has gone so viral that Turner has gotten messages from some of her own heroes.
“I’m going through the comments, and then I see Missy Elliot, I see Dr. Bernice King, and I’m like, oh my god this is crazy!” said Turner.
Of course this video isn’t about the views or even the dance. It’s about how wonderfully Turner is able to connect with her students and how she’s going above and beyond as an educator.
“Every kid in there has something, has a light inside, and it just takes that one little nudge to get it out,” Turner told ABC News.
Of course, it takes a very special person to engage with kids on Turner’s level.
“I’ve gotten messages from people just around the world that have seen the video talking about how amazing it is to engage kids,” she continued. “Some people talk about they wish they had this kind of engagement while they were in school or they want a thousand Miss. Turners, but I’m like, there’s only one Miss. Turner now.”
And Turner herself? She just enjoys being with the students and seeing them thrive.
“I’ve always had a great time with our students… They’re so resilient,” she told GMA. “They deserve to have a great time, and I’m just happy to be a part of that. I just want them to always remember that nothing is that bad where you can’t dance.”