For one new teacher, simply welcoming his 4th grade students as they arrived in the classroom for their first day of school was too ordinary.
Dwayne Reed, who began as a student-teacher this week at Stenson Elementary School in Skokie, Ill., created a rap video for his students to introduce himself, the Chicago Tribune reported. The song quickly went viral and has more than 1 million views on YouTube.
The video, which Reed created with a producer and director, features the teacher rapping and singing about the new school year, including how students should stay positive, work hard, have fun, and respect one another. It opens with the following chorus:
“Welcome to the 4th grade.
So happy to meet you.
Can’t wait til I see you.
Gonna have a good time.”
Reed, who is from Chicago Heights, Ill., said he didn’t enjoy learning as a student. But he wants his new students to feel differently, he told the Tribune. After the fall term, Reed will receive his bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Eastern Illinois University.
“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,” Reed told the Tribune. “This is like what I’ve been made to do in life and now I’m finally getting a shot at it.”
The song is available to download for free.
As word of the video spreads, Reed has used the opportunity as a platform to both help students in need and offer tips for new teachers. On his Twitter page, he put out a request for a “wide range of books” for underprivileged students in Chicago with the hashtag #SendBooksToMrReed. According to other tweets, the books are already arriving from supporters. He also asked for winter gear and school supplies.
My “fame” means nothing unless I use it to serve others. If you’d like to come alongside us as we fight for underserved kids, let us know!
— Dwayne Reed (@TeachMrReed) August 27, 2016
After a middle school in New Hampshire tweeted to ask Reed what his advice would be for new teachers, he began a series of tweets on Monday with tips, including this one:
Good teachers do not give students a voice; they give them the time and space for their voice to be heard.
— Dwayne Reed (@TeachMrReed) April 4, 2016
U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. also praised the new teacher’s work:
— John King (@JohnKingatED) August 27, 2016
Teachers, how do you welcome your students to a new school year?
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.