4th Grade Teacher Says Welcome Back to School with Hit YouTube Video

This year, one 4th grade teacher from Chicago decided to give his students a warm welcome with a (precious, totally age appropriate) back to school rap video.

With nearly 200,000 views in just three days, “Welcome to the 4th Grade” has already landed first-year teacher Dwayne Reed (a.k.a. Mr. Reed) coverage via Time, Mashable, and Good Morning America.

As a creative approach to his suburban Chicago school’s traditional back to school newsletter, Reed channeled all his fresh enthusiasm into the upbeat, simple song encouraging students to “keep it positive” and “have respect for each other.”

The lyrics might be sweet, but Reed is no pushover—he still expects his students to be “Working hard till the bell starts ringing.”

Reed wrote the lyrics in one day, collaborating with fellow artists on the musical score and video to bring to the world the following masterpiece.

If you’ve ever wanted to see a teacher sing on a basketball court, dress up as Einstein, and dance with graduated cylinders, this one’s for you:

Reed’s creative education career is off to a great start, but this isn’t the last we’ll see from the first-year teacher. In the first few lines, he foreshadows that the style of his newsletter might also be the style of some of his lessons in the future.

“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.”

With a viral video to kick off his teaching career, Reed might have set a high bar for future back to school videos. In an interview with ABC News, Reed said “It’s going to be tough to top, maybe I’ll like dance on top of my desk.”

Fortunately, he probably won’t have to (or have time to)—I imagine this song will be a back to school favorite for years to come.

Download “Welcome to the 4th Grade” for free.

Dwayne Reed (not to be confused with the pharmacy) teaches 4th grade at Jane Stenson Elementary School in the Chicago Suburb of Skokie, Illinois. He recently graduated from Eastern Illinois University, where he studied elementary education. According to all resources on the Internet (including the song), he really loves pizza. 

Hannah Nyren

Hannah Nyren

A Texan by birth but a Bostonian at heart, Hannah is an educational writer, AmeriCorps alum, and one-time StartupWeekend EDU (SWEDU) winning team member. She started her career at a Pearson-incubated edtech startup, but has since covered travel, food & culture, and even stonemasonry in addition to education.