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VIDEO: California teacher showing students how to 'jerk' goes viral

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This screengrab shows an image from the viral video of Austin LeMay dancing with his students (Photo: @tenayas_msjenny via TikTok))

FRESNO, Calif. (KMPH) — A middle school teacher served up a different kind of lesson that has since gone viral — a dance lesson.

Students at Tenaya Middle School in Fresno, California were dancing to "You're a Jerk" by New Boyz when educator Austin LeMay stepped in to show them how it's done.

As of Monday night, LeMay’s dance moves had been viewed nearly eight million times on TikTok alone.

“This year, being back from COVID, we've made it a real point to like do all of our rallies and everything every Friday; you know, play music in the quad every Friday just to really kind of boost all of our on-campus activities,” said LeMay, leadership teacher and campus culture director at Tenaya Middle School.

Some students danced and as soon as the 2009 song came on, LeMay said he knew what to do.

“I’ve been dancing to ‘the jerk’ for a decade now,” LeMay says.

With his principal, students and colleagues looking on, LeMay stepped to the center of the circle. When he hit "the jerk," the students surrounding him collectively lost their minds.

“If there’s anything I could still pull off, that’s it!” LeMay said.

His colleague, Jenny McCauley, recorded it and posted the dance to TikTok. The following morning, video of the moment had amassed hundreds of thousands of views.

By Sunday, millions.

“I certainly didn't mean for it to happen, but I'm not upset that it happened,” LeMay said.

At times, LeMay admits he’s checked the comments — most of them, positive.

“I am not at all the 'educator of the year' or anything like that, but I do know how to have a good bit of fun,” LeMay said. “I'm happy to do it so long as the kids don't start turning on me and become internet trolls.”

LeMay said that while praise for his dance moves has been fun, the highlight has been the positive attention it's brought the school and its students.

He said he used to tell students he didn’t understand TikTok, thinking it was something for “the kids.”

“I’m saying to the kids, ‘This doesn't make sense. I don't get it. I don't understand all these dances and everything,’” LeMay says. “Sometimes as a teacher, our role is to be proven wrong, and I'm glad that my students proved me wrong on this one.