Since March 24, Michael Doggett has been connecting with students through rap and hip hop videos filmed from the comfort of his home.
Wednesday marked the final installment of the sixth-grade teacher’s popular rap videos titled “Hey Students,” posted weekly to his YouTube channel and other social media platforms in an effort to motivate and empower his students amid the ongoing pandemic.
“For this last one, I really wanted to step aside and let the students speak,” said Doggett, who works at Hallie Wells Middle School in Clarksburg. “What was so inspiring about being at the march in Clarksburg on Tuesday was the vocal presence of such a diverse group of young people. It’s their voices that need to be elevated right now, and I feel privileged to be in a position to help make that happen.”
The final Hey Students of the school year. Thank you guys for watching and encouraging the students and me each week. For this last one I really wanted to just step aside and let the students speak. They came through like they always do. #BlackLivesMatter https://t.co/yM9VZ7136R
— Michael Doggett (@MrDoggettRMS) June 4, 2020
In the final video, Doggett recounts his experiences at the Clarksburg protest earlier this year, while also promoting the importance of racial equality. The video also features several students sharing their own personal thoughts.
Amid the pandemic, many teachers are tapping into their creative side, using unconventional means to keep students engaged and focused from home. While Doggett turned to music, other teachers are asking students to dress-up, wear masks or use a funky green-screen during online sessions.
On May 11, Doggett received $30,000 during Chance the Rapper’s Instagram Lives Twilight Awards, given to multiple teachers who have utilized their creativity to promote student learning. To date, Doggett has uploaded twelve “Hey Students” videos to his YouTube channel.
As the school year concludes, Doggett, who also organizes the Hallie Wells Hip Hop Program, says he’s working on putting together plans for a remote program during the summer.
“It is by no means the end of the mission for Hallie Wells Hip Hop,” he said.