First he made a rap video welcoming his students. Now he's giving back in a bigger way.

Welcome to the fourth grade.

In preparation for his student teaching job, Dwayne Reed decided to do something a little different from the usual lesson plan prep — he made a rap video.

"I wanted to get my students excited about the upcoming school year," Reed said. "I also wanted to connect myself to them before they even stepped foot in the classroom."

Reed in his music video, "Welcome to the Fourth Grade." Photo via Mr. Reed/YouTube.


Aside from welcoming his fourth grade class to the new year at Stenson Elementary School in Skokie, Illinois, the video highlights some "ideas he'd really like to try." He's interested in using music to teach on occasion because it has a way of making things stick in your head. (Seriously, you'll never stop singing the catchy welcome song Reed wrote.)

According to Reed, his students loved the video, as did their parents, and their friends, and their friends' parents. The video went viral and no doubt earned him the Coolest Teacher of the Year award.

While the student and parent approval is definitely a plus, it's what he's doing with the notoriety from his viral video that matters more.

Photo via Dwayne Reed/Facebook. Used with permission.

He's made it his mission to get books and supplies to underserved kids all over the Chicago area.

Public school funding in Chicago has been notoriously low since the 2008 recession, and this year is no exception. According to district data, over 30 public schools are set to lose between $50,000 and $200,000 in funding in the 2016-17 school year.

This is a reflection of a much larger problem with the way education is funded in America. According to The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, at least 31 states provided less funding per student in 2014 than they did in 2008 before the recession hit. While 2016's complete data isn't in yet, so far, more than 25 states are still providing less funding overall.

Teachers all over the country are spending their own money to make up for the lack of funds to keep their classrooms outfitted with the proper supplies.

This is not something that should fall to them, but more often than not, it does. A Vox survey shows the majority of teachers spend anywhere from $200 to over $600 of their own salaries on school supplies for their students. Many have even turned to education-specific crowdfunding sites like Donors Choose, which certainly helps, but shouldn't be necessary for public education.

Thankfully, people, especially parents, are starting to take notice. They're helping out in any way they can — like the story of this great dad who gave what he could to a teacher buying supplies. Or this mom who wrote about how much buying that extra tissue box means to a teacher.

Reed continues to raise money via a GoFundMe account set up for him and by privately reaching out to those in his community.

But despite Reed's newfound fame, he – and many, many other teachers – could use a helping hand.

So consider donating to him or a school near you or a teacher you might randomly encounter buying school supplies. You'll be making a huge difference — not only to that teacher, but to all the kids they teach.

Here's Reed's awesome music video "Welcome to the Fourth Grade" for further incentive.

Meet your new favorite teacher, who's breakin' out his rhyme book to welcome his new class.Special thanks to Mr. Dwayne Reed.

Posted by Upworthy on Friday, August 26, 2016
Most Shared
The Guardian / YouTube

Earlier this month, a beluga whale caught the world's attention by playing fetch with a rugby ball thrown by South African researchers off the waters of Norway.

The adorable video has been watched over 20 million times, promoting people across the globe to wonder how the whale became so comfortable around humans.

It's believed that the whale, known as Hvaldimir, was at some point, trained by the Russian military and was either released or escaped.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Facebook / Maverick Austin

Your first period is always a weird one. You know it's going to happen eventually, but you're not always expecting it. One day, everything is normal, then BAM. Puberty hits you in a way you can't ignore.

One dad is getting attention for the incredibly supportive way he handled his daughter's first period. "So today I got 'The Call,'" Maverick Austin started out a Facebook post that has now gone viral.

The only thing is, Austin didn't know he got "the call." His 13-year-old thought she pooped her pants. At that age, your body makes no sense whatsoever. It's a miracle every time you even think you know what's going on.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Instagram / Katie Sturino

Plus-size women are in the majority. In America, 68% of women wear a size 14 or higher. Yet many plus-sized are ignored by the fashion industry. Plus-sized clothing is a $21 billion industry, however only one-fifth of clothing sales are plus-sized. On top of that, plus-sized women are often body shamed, further reinforcing that bigger body types are not mainstream despite the fact that it is common.

Plus-size fashion blogger Katie Sturino recently called out her body shamers. Sturino runs the blog, The 12ish Style, showing that plus-sized fashion isn't – and shouldn't be – limited to clothes that hide the body.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
via Twitter / Soraya

There is a strange right-wing logic that suggests when minorities fight for equal rights it's somehow a threat to the rights already held by those in the majority or who hold power.

Like when the Black Lives Matter movement started, many on the right claimed that fighting for black people to be treated equally somehow meant that other people's lives were not as valuable, leading to the short-lived All Lives Matter movement.

This same "oppressed majority" logic is behind the new Straight Pride movement which made headlines in August after its march through the streets of Boston.

Keep Reading Show less
popular