Skokie student teacher talks about his viral back-to-school rap video

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Dwayne Reed, a 25-year-old student teacher, said he wanted to do something different to welcome the kids back to school. (WLS)

It's Mr. Reed's first year teaching at Jane Stenson School in Skokie, and the way he's saying "welcome back to class" has gone viral.

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A teacher from Chicago is determined to show his students that school is cool - and that working hard can be lots of fun. (Dwayne Reed/YouTube)

Dwayne Reed took advantage of a quiet classroom to prepare for the start of school on Thursday. The student teacher will face a new class of 24 fourth graders at Stenson - but they already know who he is.

Reed stars in a rap video that's gone viral. The 25-year-old wanted to do something different to welcome the kids back to school.

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.

"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 200,000 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, for example, people are longing for people to love their children - to affirm them and call them valuable," he explained.

With all of his enthusiasm and excitement, you would think Reed had wanted to be an educator all his life. Not so. He didn't even think about being a teacher until three years ago.

"I was just watching videos on YouTube and I thought, teaching's cool. So then I just continued to pursue it, and here I am," Reed said.

But it seems he's found his calling. He'll be ready for a full-time job when his student teaching is done in December.

"The video set a standard that I wanted to set that says, 'Hey, I'm gonna work really hard, and what I'm gonna put forward is my best foot every single time,'" he said.
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educationteachermusic videoback to schoolChicago - Downtown
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