Fort Worth Math Teacher Gets Into Character to Connect With Students

Veteran teacher Thomas Mayfield's latest rap video racks up 'likes' on social media

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Fort Worth ISD teacher Thomas Mayfield is again doing what he does best - using rap and music videos to teach his students at Leadership Academy at Como Elementary.

"I am big on culturally responsive teaching, reaching the students I serve from any medium in which they might be able to stay engaged in class," Mayfield said.

Through the years, Mayfield has written songs and produced videos about female empowerment, getting a college education and virtual learning.

But as a math teacher, that's the subject featured most often. In his latest video, Mayfield dressed up as Goku, a character in the Japanese anime "Dragon Ball Z," to teach his fifth-graders about multiplying with decimals.

"It's a way we can learn but also in a fun way," said Jordan Rasberry, 11.

"You understand it more and strategies," said Skya Stevenson, 11.

The video made its way to national social media channels with likes and views adding up.

"I feel famous," Stevenson smiled.

Students say Mayfield's extra effort to make learning fun makes a difference.

"I started listening to him in fourth grade, and it inspired me to be a teacher and start rapping," said Gabrielle Nolley, 11.

"Mr. Mayfield is one of the best teachers I ever had because we can do videos but when it's time to work, we also gotta work at the same time," added Rasberry.

"I love working with kids and music, and I'll be doing it until I can't do it anymore," Mayfield said.

Mayfield's skills and dedication got the attention of The Ellen Degeneres Show in 2019 and a $50,000 donation.

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