MINOT, N.D. (KXNET) — It’s Teacher Appreciation Week — a week aimed to celebrate educators and highlight their impact on students.
And an elementary school music teacher in our area has been nationally recognized for her unconventional teaching methods.
As a high school English and language arts educator for 13 years, Risha Allen says that in music rooms at elementary schools across Minot, her life has changed.
She has found a way to connect differently with her students and has become a viral TikTok sensation because of it.
“Meeting them where they are with music has just changed everything about my day today. I feel like I was born for it,” said Allen, a music teacher at Roosevelt and John Hoeven Elementary Schools.
She has now been recognized as an ambassador for teachers nationwide.
Allen says it all started when she began posting videos of her and her students writing and singing songs together.
She wrote a song to teach about meters in music to the melody of a popular heavy metal band.
The video has over a million views.
On TikTok as @rishdishfish, Allen has been able to reach students and educators across the world that have been sharing her songs in their own schools.
Roosevelt and John Hoeven Elementary Schools were contacted by Hertz Rent-A-Car, who recognized Allen’s impact from her videos and wanted to make teacher appreciation week extra special for her.
The students and staff surprised Allen with a car for the week that was painted with customized artwork from her students.
The Kentucky native with over 5 million likes on TikTok says she believes she can connect with her students through music, no matter what genre.
“It’s amazing what’s happening in the classroom. Like they are– they come in with energy and we match each other’s energy. We write music together, we sing together. It’s like, I don’t know, there’s such positivity happening. I’m happy every day and I think they are too, it’s pretty great,” said Allen.
The principal of Roosevelt Elementary School, Todd Kaylor, says that Allen is an inspiration and he is thankful for all of the amazing teachers at his school.
“I feel that being a teacher is the noblest profession on earth. And it’s so fantastic that we get to honor them, take a week, and honor them. And it’s a small token for all the hours and all the energy that goes into the great work that they do,” said Kaylor.
The KX Team would like to thank all teachers for educating, inspiring and supporting students on their learning journey. Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!