Dwayne Reed, a first-year teacher at Jane Stenson Elementary School in north suburban Skokie, got creative when he thought about how to get his students pumped for the upcoming school year. The 25-year-old student teacher wanted to do something different to welcome the kids back to school “instead of sending out the boring, old, ‘Welcome Back’ newsletter”. Being a fan of rap music, Reed wrote the song, called “Welcome to the Fourth Grade” in a day. He talks about learning math and science and having fun. So he decided to write a rap song and shoot a music video
“I want you to know who I am. I want you to know I’m authentic, I’m real. That’s why I talk about pizza, that’s why I’m dribbling a basketball in the video,” Reed said. He then asked the school’s principal for permission to shoot the video in the gym. He posted it to YouTube on Sunday and already, it’s been viewed nearly 800,000 times.
“As soon as I saw it, I sent it out to my principal friends and teacher friends and I knew they would enjoy it as well,” Principal Sue O’Neil said. Reed said the positive response has been overwhelming, and that this experience has taught him a valuable lesson. “When it comes to teaching people are longing for people to love their children – to affirm them and call them valuable,” he explained.
Mr. Reed used the song to share ideas about how he plans to make lessons memorable…
“It’s my first year teaching, so it’s all real exciting.
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 the year.”
…and stressed how important it is for the whole community to work together to help children succeed.
“Tell my friends and my peers, the parents and the students.
I’m ready, you’re ready, we’re ready, let’s do this!
But absolutely no day dreaming. Working hard till the bell starts ringing.”
I’ll always greet you with a smile.
I’ll always try to make the lessons worthwhile.
When you do good work, I’ll acknowledge,
Because I know you’re headed off to work or to college.
So we gotta keep it positive. That’s the key.
Have respect for each other – and don’t forget me.
Have respect for yourselves and the staff and the school.
Having fun can be cool when we’re following the rules.”