Wednesday, July 15, 2020
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Welcome to 4th grade, a new teacher raps

Instead of sending out the boring, old, “Welcome Back” newsletter, Dwayne Reed, a first year teacher at Jane Stenson School in Skokie, just north of Chicago, wrote a rap song for his fourth-grade students and released it on music video.

“The song and video emphasize the reality that hard work is a must, but that school and learning can certainly be fun,” writes video producer Ty Gotham.

Jane Stenson School is an elementary school in District 68, serving students in kindergarten through fifth grade. Last year’s enrollment was 414 students, according to the Illinois Report Card. Today was the first day back for students.

Mr Reed is a new teacher in the district, and this is what he says:

Hello I’m your teacher.
My name’s Mr Reed, and it’s very nice to meet ya.
I’m from Chicago.
I love eating pizza.
I dress to impress, but I still rock sneakers.
It’s my first year of teaching so it’s all really exciting.
I’ve got some ideas, and I’d really like to try them.
Like making songs to remember what you hear.
We’ll be learning so much by the end of year.

He posted the video on Saturday, August 20 and had 190,000 views by Wednesday afternoon, the Chicago Tribune reported. By the end of the day today, Thursday, the video had been viewed more than 480,000 times.

“What I would want to come across is that the person that is going to be leading you this semester is so pumped about serving you,” the paper quoted him as saying. “We can have fun and we can joke and we can be hardworking as well.”

The idea had the support of other teachers and staff at the school, but the viral nature of the video caught them by surprise, by which I mean a happy surprise.

“We loved the idea, so we encouraged him,” Sue O’Neil told the Tribune. She’s been the principal at Stenson for 22 years. “Of course, we had no idea it would take off like this. When we saw it, it was uplifting and creative, and it’s a great way to connect with the kids and get them excited about school,” she said.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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