Orange Mound teacher uses music to inspire his young students

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — An Orange Mound teacher is using music to inspire his second graders before summer vacation.

Nik Knight wrote the lyrics for his students before the pandemic to show children they can overcome obstacles.

Knight makes his students sing the chant every day.

The lyrics are “I feel smart, I feel good, I feel smart, I feel good, it’s time to learn man, it’s time to learn.”

Knight is giving his second graders at Dunbar Elementary School motivation and hope in a community where children see tragedy every day.

Knight wrote the song to help boost children’s self-esteem.

You can also hear instrumental music by Drake in the background that Knight got off YouTube because he says his students like the sound of hip-hop music. It gets them excited about learning.

“If a child tells himself they’re smart enough, enough times, that eventually, they believe it,” said Knight.

Knight could have taught at any other school in the country after graduating from North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro a few years ago, but he chose Dunbar Elementary because he knew he could make a true impact in a community that’s often plagued by violence.

“Orange Mound has a median income of around $30,000,” Knight said. “I also look around the neighborhood. There is a lack of resources, food, and healthcare, and schools are underfunded.”

That’s why Knight says he is standing in the gap for those students in need of a mentor.