In a back-to-school season unusually fraught with uncertainty, two high school teachers in Albany, Ga., are going viral for their creative approach to raising students' morale.
Callie Evans and Audri Williams, teachers and cheerleading coaches at Monroe Comprehensive High School, rapped about virtual learning and the COVID-19 pandemic in a music video that has garnered thousands of likes and comments in two days.
"What better way to release all of the anxiety, doubts & fears of the school year than to dance & turn up," Williams captioned an Instagram video of her verse.
Evans and Williams perform their high-energy verses in the school's empty hallways, where they are backed up by mask-wearing, move-busting cheerleaders. The video bursts with school spirit, from the cheerleaders' "Golden Tornadoes" apparel to the teachers' upbeat messaging.
The teachers remixed the song "What's Poppin" by Jack Harlow to meet the moment, with lyrics about logging on, masking up, social distancing and aiming high even in times of stress.
"You got options, but you better pass my class no floppin'/Gone log in, every day, every morning, I'm watchin'/Yeah we virtual, and you know what's up, so we 'bout to take it up a notch," Evans raps at one point.
Their school district is starting the year with remote learning as Georgia struggles to bring the coronavirus under control.
The state reported the highest rate of new cases in the country in the week ending Friday, with 216 cases per 100,000 people — about double the national average. And several Georgia high schools have reopened for in-person learning, only to close again, leaving hundreds of students quarantining in response to possible exposure.
Evans posted her video the day before high school classes resumed Monday in the hopes of raising students' spirits about virtual learning.
"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," she wrote. "You all will still be great despite what we've been through."
Williams told a local Fox TV affiliate that the video seems to have worked.
"Students are so excited to log in virtually with me and Mrs. Evans," she said. "They are just so excited to learn, and they are actually engaging in class like they already know me, it's a wonderful feeling."
Both say they hope their video will encourage other teachers and students to find their own ways to make remote learning exciting. (Some have already used this technique: A high school principal in Alabama won hearts earlier with his parody of MC Hammer's "U Can't Touch This.")
And video director Jamel Overstreet shared his own lighthearted message to students on Instagram:
"If Mrs. Evans or Mrs. Williams is not your teacher, please contact your advisor."