Indy math teacher raps lessons to middle school students

Andy Austin is a math teacher at Stonybrook Intermediate Academy in Indianapolis. (Photo provided by Andy Austin)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An Indianapolis teacher is using rap music to connect with students in a unique way.

Andy Austin teaches math, a subject that isn’t always exciting for kids and even he was starting to feel burned out, so he decided to incorporate his love of hip hop into class. Austin calls it mixtape math. He runs a structured classroom with routine and assignments, but when the kids least expect it, he throws in a beat.

“I want to do things that are going to catch them off guard, so they say ‘whoa this is cool, this is interesting,'” Austin said. “When they buy into me as the teacher that helps when I have to teach and give content.”

Austin has been teaching a decade, but the music is rather new for him.

“I was either going to do something else or I was going to go all in with this,” Austin said.

It was a last ditch effort to reignite his passion for teaching.

“It’s given me a new sense of purpose. It’s given me a new sense of calling in my life of what I should be doing,” Austin said.

For the kids, it’s a reason to look forward to math class where lyrics make lessons they won’t soon forget.

“I was clapping, laughing and smiling a lot because it’s weird like a teacher is rapping, but it’s my teacher you have to go with the flow,” student Ma’kylah Ball said.

Austin also creates videos for his rap songs and posts them on his YouTube channel.