TSR Black Excellence: We Stan dedicated educators who put in that extra effort to make learning fun while also being effective. Daisha Taylor is one of those teachers. A native of Detroit, Daisha moved to Georgia to teach and has been a certified teacher for 11 years. In the past six years that she has been teaching elementary students, Daisha realized that music was the best way to reach her students math.
Back in 2013, after a few of her students left her math lesson on the integer rule frustrated, Daisha decided to take the math lesson and turn it into a song using Rich Homie Quan’s “Type of Way” and then taught it to her students. “They retained the information and their assessment scores increased tremendously,” Daisha said. “That was my AHA moment!”
Since then, Daisha has rewritten more than 10 songs to better teach her students math and other subjects. SWIPE to see why Ms. Taylor’s class is so poppin and read our interview with her below!
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TSR STAFF: Christina C! @cdelafresh ___ #TSRBlackExcellence: We Stan dedicated educators who put in that extra effort to make learning fun while also being effective. ___ Daisha Taylor is one of those teachers. A native of Detroit, Daisha moved to Georgia to teach and has been a certified teacher for 11 years. In the past six years that she has been teaching elementary students, Daisha realized that music was the best way to reach her students. ___ Back in 2013, after a few of her students left her math lesson on the integer rule frustrated, Daisha decided to take the lesson and turn it into a song using Rich Homie Quan’s “Type of Way” and then taught it to her students. “They retained the information and their assessment scores increased tremendously,” Daisha said. “That was my AHA moment!” ___ Since then, Daisha has rewritten several songs to better teach her students and hopes to motivate other teachers while continuing her method. SWIPE to see why Ms. Taylor’s class is so poppin and click on the link in our bio to read our full interview! (📹: @daisha.taylor2009)
TSR: Where are you from and how did you end up teaching in Georgia?
Daisha: I was born and raised in Detroit, MI. Attending a college tour (right before my senior year of high school) sparked my interest in moving to Georgia. When it was time for college, I was nervous about being away from home because I was only 17, so I decided to wait until I graduated before moving. I graduated undergrad in 2008 and in 2009, I visited Georgia for a week in search of a teaching position. I literally just stepped out on faith, not knowing anyone here. I walked into a childcare center to drop off my resume and I was asked to come back on the following day for an interview. I interviewed for a Lead Pre- K teaching position and was hired within ten minutes. I returned to Detroit, packed up, and prepared to start my new journey. Within two weeks, I moved to Riverdale, GA and began my teaching career.
TSR: How long have you been teaching and what inspired you to teach?
Daisha: I have been a certified educator for 11 years. I’ve taught Pre- K (3 years), middle school (2 years), and elementary (6 years). I was first inspired to become a teacher after spending countless hours with my high school cheer coach (Meoshia Bogins), who was also an elementary teacher. I enjoyed watching her teach and admired the way she interacted with her students. The methods she used and the impact that she had on them impacted me greatly. I felt that teachers made a huge difference in the lives of others. I knew immediately that teaching was my future career. While in college, I had the opportunity to work at a daycare. I gained lots of experience working with, understanding, and educating the youth. I was beyond ready to get into a classroom of my own.
TSR: When and what was the first song you rewrote to teach your kids and what gave you the idea to do so?
Daisha: The first song that I wrote was an integer rule song that I taught to my 7th grade math students in 2013. One day after teaching my lesson, they walked away lost and confused. I became frustrated because I didn’t know how to get them to remember what I needed them to know, in order to show mastery of the standard. Driving to work the next morning, I heard the song “Type of Way” (by Rich Homie Quan) playing on the radio. As I listened to the beat these words began to pop in my head, “My integer rules will help you in school, all you have to do is put ‘em on your paper. You can add, subtract, you can multiply, shawty you can even divide. Now listen up while I tell you…when you add two positive numbers the sign will stay the same. When you add two negative numbers, the sign will stay the same. When the signs are different just subtract them mane, and the sign of the largest number will remain…” By the time I arrived to work, I had a whole integer rule song. I taught my students the words and they loved it. They retained the information and their assessment scores increased tremendously. That was my AHA moment! Through the use of music, I was able to engage my students on their level.
TSR: About how many songs have you written since?
Daisha: To date, I have written approximately 12 songs. Many of those songs were written while teaching in the elementary setting. Most of the songs/raps are content related (math and science) songs that help students remember procedural information. A couple of the songs were written to get them excited and in a good head space for their standardized state testing and one song included all of the school rules that they should follow.
TSR: Do your students help you or choose the songs they want you to remake?
Daisha: No, I come up with the songs based on how the beat will flow with the words that I need to put together. I choose my instrumentals based on what’s hot at the moment, a song that I may have heard the students singing, or a beat that I know my students will “get lit” to. My students love to create dance routines after I teach them the words to the songs. This actually brings life to the lyrics.
TSR: Why do you feel this method is effective (especially for math)?
Daisha: I feel this method is effective because the students retain the information better when it is given to them in a way that is relatable. The students enjoy learning the songs and it gives them something to look forward to when coming to my class. Everybody learns differently… putting the content in a song helps me reach students that may otherwise not retain what they need in order to be successful academically. As a teacher, it’s important to find a way to connect and identify with your students. Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Showing them that you are interested in the things that they like is a strong indication that you care about them.
TSR: Have you ever considered songwriting as a career?
Daisha: No, I never imagined writing songs at all, not even for my students. I’ve always had a passion for music, dance, poetry, and teaching. Once I put all of those components together, I became this unique self- proclaimed “lit teacher”.
TSR: What’s your ultimate goal for your students and how do you plan to expand this brand of teaching?
Daisha: My ultimate goal is for my students to retain the content needed for them to be successful while at the same time, gaining a love for learning. My desire is for my students to understand that learning can be fun. I want my students to grow up and remember me as the teacher that was human… the teacher that allowed them express themselves and have fun while learning. I get excited when students tell me that they plan to become a teacher when they grow up. I plan to expand my teaching style by continuing to use my social media platform to inspire others. I wish to motivate other teachers to try different instructional approaches and also allow other students that follow me to learn my songs which may ultimately help them in school as well.