The secrets to being a great teacher as told by Kanye West lyrics

Love him or love him, Kanye West is the type of leader and inspiration as rare as a spare moment in your schedule. Pablo has served as a continual inspiration to me in both my personal and professional life. He has worn many hats in his time: patriarch, saint, father, husband, demigod, and has disseminated his gospel across the land.


What many miss in Kanye’s psalms is the coded insight and information, previously accessible to only a small cadre of scholars who were able to decipher the wisdom in Kanye’s words. Following in the footsteps of scholars like Rashi, we must look at Yeezus’ gospel for what it is, and understand its relevance and application to our own lives. In fact, I would argue that the keys to being a good educator are delivered as messages in Yeezus’ lyrics. It is our job to discern them and understand their relevance in our lives.


Without further adieu: All you need to know about education as told by Kanye West lyrics


Album: The College Dropout

Song: We Don’t Care

Line: So now we smart/We ain’t retards/The way teachers thought


In this line, Kanye is communicating an important truth for teachers: what we see and how we judge often limit us in ways that prevent us from seeing the unique and inherent intelligence in students that we teach. In this line, Yeezus reminds us that behind the veil of our thoughts, perceptions, judgments, and preconceptions, lies brilliance. If we do not work to shatter the illusions of our corporeal conceptions, we are not serving our students to the fullest.


Album: Late Registration

Song: Touch the sky

Line: Before anybody wanted K West beats/Me and my girl split the buffet at KFC


If you’re an educator, money is tight. Deal with it.


Album: Graduation

Song: Stronger

Graduation: I ask, cause I’m that sure/Do anybody make real shit anymore?


Mr. West is an innovator. If we are to follow in Yeezus’ example, we too must be innovators. Saint Pablo calls out to us as a measure of accountability. By heeding his word, we must turn and look inside ourselves, and ask the question: “Is what I’m doing real? Is it relevant to kids? Am I simply carrying on in stale traditions, or am I taking the creative risk to innovate in my teaching practice?


Album: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Song: Power

Line: No one man should have all that power


Now, more than ever, we must be cognizant of the power dynamics that govern not only our interactions with the world, but our interactions with students. Students need to feel and exercise a measure of power and control if they are to learn how to be self-directed, self-monitoring, and take initiative. A measure of control also brings a measure of safety. Saint Pablo reminds us that no one person should control an inordinate amount of power. Power must be shared to avoid being abused.


Album: Yeezus

Song: I am a god

Line: I am a god/So hurry up with my damn massage/In a french ass restaurant/Hurry up with my damn croissants


We all know that teaching is an urgent and essential profession. In this verse, the New Kanye communicates the idea that deliberate urgency applies to endeavors and ideas big and small: from being a god to simply wanting to eat croissants in a timely fashion, it is important that we recognize the urgency of all things that we do as educators, no matter how small seeming. It all adds up: the quicker we get the “massage” (example: mini lesson) the quicker we can get to the restaurant (the Exit Ticket) and the more time we have to enjoy our croissants (Student success).


Album: The Life of Pablo

Song: Ultralight Beam

Line: Imma make sure that they go where they can’t go/Even if they don’t wanna ride imma still give em raincoats


Saint Pablo gives us perhaps the most important message coded in this line. Our job as teachers is to helps students achieve what they could not before, succeed in ways they couldn’t before, and help them reach goals and standards that they couldn’t before. And even if they don’t always show it, when we’re not on the same page with them, we must still give to them and protect them so that they can set out to achieve even the loftiest goals.


The gospel according to Pablo.


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