With the current generation of young people constantly hypnotized by screens, some “old school” teachers may find themselves having a more difficult time connecting with their students. Fortunately, this is where millennial teachers have a leg up on their older counterparts—and no better example of this is a teacher who went viral this week for going above and beyond to welcome her students back to school.
Rebecca Newby kicked off her second year of teaching English, pre-AP English, and creative writing to ninth-grade students on Monday in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, the same town where the 23-year-old was born and raised. Since Newby is responsible with providing many of her own classroom materials, she found a way to turn the Cardi B “My momma said” meme into creative and affordable hall passes.
Last month, the rapper (birth name Belcalis Marlenis Alamanzar) posted an old childhood photo which one Twitter user jokingly captioned, ” My momma said y’all have to play with me.” Once Cardi herself shared the tweet on Instagram and Twitter, it became a full-blown meme.
“My students love Cardi B, and so do I, by the way,” Newby told BuzzFeed, so she printed copies of the meme out, laminated the photos, hot-glued them to cardboard, and made hall passes out of them. “It literally cost me $0 and took only a matter of minutes.”
Newby said that her students’ faces lit up upon seeing her handiwork and that other teachers even asked her to make some for them.
“Hall passes are just a small piece to creating the culture of my classroom,” she told BuzzFeed. “I became a teacher because I realized how important it is to have ‘good’ teachers.”
Had it not been for those “good” teachers, Newby says she wouldn’t be where she is today, after going through a period of depression as a youth that caused her grades to drop. She credits her seventh- and eighth-grade teachers for “calling to check on me, snap me back to reality, and inspire me to keep going.”
It seems as though Newby is determined to pay that inspiration forward to her own students, and the world could use more teachers like her.