From Rapping to Teaching

At St. John’s College, Cambridge, they still say grace in Latin before dinner, a gong signaling the students when they may begin to eat. This is no surprise to one of my seniors, who will be going to another Cambridge college where they say grace in Latin. He is hoping to join one of the choirs there, perhaps even King’s College Choir.

But what moved the singer & rapper Niyi to throw over his musical career to study English and education at St. John’s so that he can become an English teacher? His chief inspiration came from the English teachers he had while studying his A-levels. And what keeps him going at Cambridge even though, he reports, his first exams were “a disaster”? He counts no fewer than eleven people there ready to help him out, from the woman who makes his bed to the chaplain, to his senior tutor, to his individual teachers.

This is obviously a place that cares, in its way, for the success of its students. While it would probably be impossible to duplicate this level of care in most colleges, it is worth remembering that Niyi thanks people for his success, not software. Something tells me that at the right school he will be a great success as a teacher, and that like the drama teacher in my recent posting on Rooms of Requirement, he will have a classroom in which humane values prevail.

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