220: Bonus Edition- Interview with CJ Reynolds

CJ Reynolds teaches high school literature and the history of hip-hop in West Philadelphia. He is a graduate of Rowan University and has been a classroom teacher for 15 years. He is also the author of the upcoming book Teach Your Class Off and the creator of the Real Rap with Reynolds YouTube channel.

CJ’s YouTube channel and book are aimed at giving viewers an authentic glimpse into the life of a high school teacher in the inner city while at the same time helping new and veteran educators be the teachers and mentors they always wanted to be for their students. His bare-bones teaching philosophy is simple: In the classroom relationships are king, and the job of a teacher is always and only about the students.


  • One of the things that I learned early on is becoming a great educator is taking all of the things that make you who you are and using them to be a teacher.
  • It is looking at what you have to teach and then thinking, what lens could I teach this though?
  • If you make it about the kids, it gives you courage, one, and two you are trying to be relevant, not cool.
  • A quite classroom does not equal an effective classroom.
  • Don’t wait for anything. Be the teacher you always wanted to be immediately.
  • I am very mindful at school that I only surround myself with people that I want to be like.
  • It is your attention over your advice that wins with students all the time.

Connect with CJ

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About the author, Gretchen

I am a teacher trainer and coach. Working elbow to elbow with teachers and teacher leaders to ensure instructional proficiency and student achievement soar lights me up. We have a real need in our nation for strong educators to remain in the field. My blog, book, podcast, courses and instructional materials are geared towards empowering teachers (and those that lead them) to receive the support needed to grow and thrive today, tomorrow and always.