‘Teachers have big hearts’: Leander school staff records parody videos to connect with kids

Coronavirus
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A Mason Elementary School staff member dances with a banjo in a video the school’s librarian produced to connect with students while they’re learning from home. (Image Courtesy: Stephanie Beasley)

CEDAR PARK, Texas (KXAN) — A Leander ISD librarian is tapping into her creativity to write and record parody songs and posting the results to YouTube to foster connection with students while they’re learning from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stephanie Beasley, the librarian at Mason Elementary School in Cedar Park, comes up with a song each week, rewrites the words and recruits teachers and other school staff members to record video clips of them dancing and lip-syncing. She cuts the submissions together and shared the resulting parody with the community.

“It was just a way to connect with the kids and let them know, hey, we see you, we understand what’s going on is really weird,” Beasley told KXAN. “I’d say probably 95% of [staff members] at some point have contributed.”

She’s posted four of the videos so far, with titles like “We’re All in This Together” and “Don’t Worry, Learn Happy.”

The rewritten lyrics emphasize the strange, difficult world kids are experiencing right now, but the videos reassure them that their teachers and other adults in their lives are there to encourage and support them through it.

“This is not everybody’s comfort zone, so the fact that they’re willing to do it because they care that much about connecting with their students is huge,” she said. “Teachers have big hearts.”

Beasley spends hours each week on the videos, first coming up with the idea and adjusting the songs to fit, then collecting submissions from a Google Drive account where staff members can add their contributions.

Editing it all together is like “putting together a giant puzzle, but you don’t really know what you’re going to get until you get it,” she said.

So far the response from the school community has been positive, and the staff “is crazy supportive about it.” The next video will drop by Thursday, she said, and will feature a ’90s Spice Girls vibe that she admits will probably speak more to parents that to elementary-age students.

But she won’t stop there: Beasley plans to keep producing the videos weekly as long as inspiration strikes.

“There’s an unlimited amount of musical numbers out there that we can parody,” she said, “so we’ll just do what we can.”

She hopes families take comfort in knowing that their kids’ teachers are doing what they can to help during this difficult time.

“This is different, and it’s new, but it’s not bad,” she said. “There’s a lot of good and you kind of just have to go find it.”

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