Monday, December 16, 2019
US flag

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.

Recent posts

Girls’ volleyball champs in Illinois

We congratulate the Illinois state champions in girls' volleyball: Newark, St Teresa, Sterling, & Benet Academy.

A weekend of ‘band geeks’ across America

The musical Band Geeks was in performance at a MD high school, just as marching bands from across America named a national champion.

2 dead, 3 wounded in Calif. school shooting

Another school shooting has resulted in the death of 2 California high school students. The suspect shot himself and is in custody.

Mercury makes a transit; next in 2032

A transit of Mercury occurred today and was visible from the US, provided you had sunny skies. It was one of longest possible transits.

On the Naperville BWW racist incident

A racist incident at a Naperville, IL, sports bar indicates that the threads of racism are strong, perhaps as strong as ever.

IL bill could excuse absences to vote

A proposed law in IL could give students up to two hours during the school day so they could vote in the upcoming election.

Loan forgiveness gains some bipartisan support

One Republican from GA, who used to work under Betsy DeVos at the US Education Dept, offers a plan to forgive some student loan debt.

A band teacher is IL Teacher of the Year

IL named a band teacher the 2020 Teacher of the Year on Oct. 19. He individualizes music instruction and shares his work with 1000s.

‘Little Shop of Horrors’ bookends Halloween

Several high schools have decided to add a little spook to their musical stages in this season of Halloween. Music makes it happen.

New IL law ensures inclusion of LGBTQ+

A law will take effect next school year in IL that will require students to study LGBTQ history as part of the social studies curriculum.

MoCo doubles down on summer learning loss

Research is at least equivocal about summer learning loss, but maybe there's something to a new plan in Montgomery County, Md.