Last month, Aaron Smith noticed his students were in a slump, so the college professor decided to try a few rhymes to wake them up.
A professor of African American Studies at Temple University in Philadelphia, Smith rapped to the tune of Big Sean’s “One Man Can Change the World,” but changed the lyrics to express experiences that the students were going through, with a special spin: "Owls Were Meant to Soar."
Owls are the university's mascot.
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Smith, who also goes by "Ben", posted the video on his Facebook page.
“I just wanted them to know that people have been down the same roads as them, and we know it’s not always easy,” Smith told NBC10.
Since he rapped that day in class, Smith said that students have come to his office hours increasingly more to talk about life and their coursework.
“I’m not just another teacher,” Smith said he’s been rapping since he was 18, and had planned to pursue a career in the music industry until he took a class at Temple with Molefi Kete Asante, professor and chair of the African American Studies department, that changed his life forever.
Smith said Asante always had a positive, optimistic message for his students, which inspired Smith to become a teacher and do the same.
“I feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to do."