The sweet reason behind a Kailua math teacher’s ‘corny’ rap lessons


HONOLULU (KHON) — Teachers and students may have adjusted to distance learning but it is certainly not the same as in-person interaction. 

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Eric Stinton teaches 7th-grade math at Kailua Intermediate School. He says, his students entered Kailua Intermediate from different elementary schools but have not been able to engage and meet one another in person due to the pandemic. 

So he decided to spice up his online math lessons by subtracting humiliation and adding musical beats. 

“They were a little embarrassed by it,” he said of their initial reaction to his rapping skills.

“But now they know that I spit hot fire. It’s a fact. I’m a math teacher. I only deal with the facts,” Stinton said. 

Stinton teaches math along with co-teacher Jimmy Lee. Both have filmed light-hearted skits to keep their students entertained, although Lee lets Stinton do the rapping. 

Reaction to the unusual teaching method transformed from embarrassed to excited. 

“They always see it coming too. I’ll try to be sneaky and say something like, ‘Alright everyone, I just have a quick announcement’ and then I’ll fidget over to get the beat going. (My students) go: ‘Oh no, he’s rapping!’ And then everyone just gets all excited.”

An escape from harsh reality is something Stinton has on his daily lesson plans in a school year dominated by the effects of the pandemic and done entirely through distance learning. 

“They’re in a situation where they’re not around their friends. They’re meeting people digitally, which isn’t the same. It does wear on them. You can tell a lot of them are lonely and frustrated.

“If I can do something a little bit embarrassing and have some corny math raps to help lighten their day at least for a little bit, then that’s an effort worth putting in,” Stinton said.

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