Teachers Kick Off School Year With a Cover of Popular TikTok Track and It Is Epic
Given mounting pandemic-fueled confusion and ever-changing logistics, plenty of kids are feeling less than pumped to start the 2020-2021 school year. But two teachers at Monroe Comprehensive High School in Albany, Georgia Audri Cobb and Callie Evans, were so determined to boost their students' spirits that they produced a back-to-school rap music video for what they call the "Teachers Edition" of Jack Harlow's "WHAT'S POPPIN'."
Williams came up with the idea ahead of new semester, which, for Monroe students, will begin entirely online. She had seen Harlow's track blow up on TikTok this summer and brought it to Evans. The pair recorded their version of the hit in the studio, then created a video—split into two parts, one featuring Cobb, the other featuring Williams—filmed by Jamel Overstreet of Overstreet Media Services. And as Williams and Evans are the school's cheer coaches, their cheerleaders joined in on the fun as dancers.
In the clip, Evans raps, "Gone log in, every day, every morning, I'm watching. Yeah, we virtual, and you know what's up, so we 'bout to take it up a notch" and her most loved lyrics, "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!"
Williams adds verses like, "Brand new year, and I'm locked in. Far as this teaching go I am unreachable, and I'm number one in your top 10. Mrs. Williams been poppin', 2020, new school year droppin'. No COVID-19, ain't worried about a thing, when it come to me, ain't no stoppin'" and her favorite line, "Class is in session, and we just progressing, success is the topic, and passing’s the message."
Evans aimed to reassure her students—many of whom were impacted by family members falling ill and passing away as a result of COVID-19 this past spring—about virtual learning. "There was definitely fear of the unknown, because virtual learning was something that the county was not used to, so I wanted to make light of the situation," she says. "I wanted to ease the nerves and anxiousness of the students and get them excited about the new year. My students are destined for greatness."
This isn't the first time Williams has shot a music video to motivate her students. "During my first year of teaching, Cardi B’s 'Bodak Yellow' was popular, and a lot of teachers were doing the #BodakYellowChallenge," she recalls. "This is when teachers would make up their own lyrics about teaching and learning using the beat to 'Bodak Yellow.' I've always enjoyed performing, acting, and being creative, so when I heard about the challenge between other educators, I immediately joined in."
Ultimately, Williams aims to encourage her students to be present, prompt, prepared, productive, and polite every period, every day, even if they're learning virtually. "As teachers, we have to push our students to their fullest potential," she says. "There are kids who feel as if virtual learning isn't for them, that they can’t learn that way. It’s my responsibility to show them that they can."