ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10/CNN) — Two Dougherty County teachers are hoping to make online learning more fun with a rap to welcome their students back.
For the last three years, Callie Evans and Audri Williams, teachers based in Albany, have been producing back-to-school jams for students at Monroe Comprehensive High School.
Dougherty County was hit hard early by the coronavirus with over three percent of the population testing positive. The school district has been out of the classroom since March. The teachers said they felt it was especially important to motivate their students as they return to school virtually.
“We didn’t know what was going to happen,” Evans told CNN. “They were used to being in class. So, we just wanted to kind of motivate them and engage them and make sure they were excited for what was to come even though it was unknown.”
This year, the teachers did a remake of Jack Harlow’s “What’s Poppin,” a hit that’s popular with Gen Z thanks to TikTok. Williams and Evans wrote the lyrics themselves, and recruited the school’s cheer team as back-up dancers.
“Yeah we virtual, and you know what’s up, so we ’bout to take it up a notch and Monroe is the best, no comparing,” the teachers rap. “We at the top, all truth no daring. CTAE, Fine Arts, and sports, man I want it all to myself no sharing. COVID-19 had us stressed, but it’s nothing.”
The production took a week to create but required a lot of discipline to perfect.
“I don’t think a lot of people know how much time, energy and money that we actually put into doing these,” Williams told CNN. “But we just enjoy doing them to make other people happy.”
Monday marked the first day of virtual learning, and the high school teachers said they already feel more bonded to their students. As soon as students logged on, they were excited to know more about the rap video, which served as an ideal icebreaker, Williams said.
“They were able to meet and see who we were as teachers,” Williams said. “So, coming in for the first day of school they’re already excited. Their energy was matching our energy, and it’s only the second day.”
“It’s a great feeling because now I know I’ve already connected with my student on another level,” Evans added.
The Dougherty County School System plans to monitor coronavirus case numbers each day. When there is a rolling average number of days with low cases, the system will pivot to parents having a choice between face-to-face or virtual learning, school officials told CNN.
Williams and Evans said virtual learning is turning out better than they expected.
“I was nervous about it, but I am actually really enjoying it,” Evans said. “It kind of gives the students a sense of independence to make sure that they’re actually getting their work done.”
As of Wednesday, a clip of the teachers’ back-to-school rap had amassed 180,000 views on Instagram.
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Tomorrow is the first day of virtual school !! With all the uncertainty these past few months have brought, I want to be able to get my students excited for what’s to come. You all will still be great despite what we’ve been through. Let’s have a great year !! Go check out my sister @audriwill_ video ! It’s DOPE ! Thank you to the @monroecheerleaders for dancing ! Love y’all !! 💚 📸: @overstreetmediaservices #ThirdYearTeacher #WhatsPoppin #iTeach #TeachersOfInstagram #TeachersFollowTeachers Lyrics: What’s poppin’ Mrs. Evans on the beat, so tap in You got options, but you better pass my class no floppin’ Gone log in, everyday, every morning, I’m watchin’ Yeah we virtual, and you know what’s up, so we ‘bout to take it up a notch and Monroe is the best, no comparing We at the top, all truth no daring CTAE, Fine Arts, and sports, man I want it all to my self no sharing COVID-19 had us stressed, but it’s nothing We gon overcome that’s facts no bluffing Wear your masks, wash your hands, keep a safe distance Cause I really thought that a pandemic said sum On the South, we do more than rap Doing all we can, just to get you out the trap Teaching, uplifting, motivating, and engaging Our students going straight to the top, no cap
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