Elementary school teacher uses reggae music to inspire students

POLK COUNTY, Fla. — By day, Edward Jackson teaches math and science in 4th grade, but by night he plays reggae music all over Polk County.

Now Jackson combines them, using his own music and lyrics to teach students lessons. If you’re dancing and learning at the same time, then you’re in Jackson’s Sikes Elementary School classroom.

“It can be slow and you want to make sure you’re able to grab their attention and keep it going, step by step, going from topic to topic every day,” Jackson said.

Jackson usually sings original songs with his reggae band, Fire Light. So, he thought, “why not write lyrics to apply to math and science.”

“It felt natural, I use what I’m proficient and talented with and try to bring it to whatever aspect I do,” Jackson said. “I’m the same person there that I am in class.”

Students would never have thought that subject learning could be so great.

“Like he’s playing music in science, it makes me even more excited,” said student Jordan McLeod.

Jackson said people have songs in their heads all the time, so why not use them to their advantage.

“Have a good rhythm behind it that gets them on the beat, because if you have something rhythmic that you teach those concepts with, it helps them retain it a little better,” Jackson said.

Like any good musician, Jackson always wants more.

“Oh that’s great. That’s great, when you see that connection, the fire in their eyes, it really reinforces, ‘yes I’m doing the right thing, that’s where I’m supposed to be and that’s what what I’m supposed to do,'” Jackson said.

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