Teacher uses Lizzo song to boost 2nd-graders' self-esteem: 'Turns out I'm 100 percent that smart'

Hope Schreiber

A California teacher is using Lizzo's song, "Truth Hurts," with reimagined and age-appropriate lyrics, to teach her 2nd-graders that they're great.

On Tuesday, Pittsburg Unified School District shared a video on their social media accounts of Los Medanos Elementary School teacher standing on top of her students' desks as they sang and bopped in unison to the rewritten words of the hit song.

"Let's be great, 'cuz I know we are great. Whoo! I just took an ELA test, turns out I'm 100 percent that smart, even when I'm feeling lazy," the students sang. "Yeah, I got math problems, that's the student in me. Buzz, buzz, then I solve them, that's the worker [bee] in me."

"You want to have a good friend, who's committed, help you with your homework just a little," they continued. "You know I'll hold you down, because you got my back, and that's the sound of the yellow and black."

Ms. Mallari, whose first name is DorothyHoney — "hence the reason for the references of bees and yellow and black in our song" — tells Yahoo Lifestyle that she was born and raised in Pittsburg, Cali. While she has moved around since then, obtaining her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in San Diego, living in Los Angeles, and even traveling the world, she always knew she wanted to return to the community the "has poured so much into” her.

A cover of a popular song is a tradition in the "Class Hive" classroom.

After the students chant their rules, they sing their custom-made morning song. This year, their song is inspired by Lizzo, but Mallari always makes sure the songs she uses for the classroom are ones the students love.

"In the past, I’ve done songs to Drake and Imagine Dragons. It’s important to me that I pick a tune that the students love, are familiar with, and gain a lot of energy from," Mallari, who began teaching in 2013, tells Yahoo.

By now, Mallari's students know exactly what they're getting into on the first day of school with her as their teacher.

"They knew of my tradition of having a morning song, since every year my class would perform it in front of the school during our Flag Ceremony, so they couldn’t wait to create one as well," Mallari says.

Creating the lyrics to their morning song, however, is a group effort.

"It’s really important to me to have the students be involved with creating the song so they can take ownership when stating the affirmations that we put in the song. I come to class with the skeleton and layout of the lyrics, and then we go around bouncing ideas off of each other to complete the song," Mallari says. "These students were so excited because every word in the lyrics was true to them and what they were believing about themselves and their 'class hive family members.'"

According to Mallari, since the lyrics were essentially based on the students' ideas, it only took them a day to memorize.

The video of their performance has taken the internet by storm, with over 5,000 shares on Facebook.

"Ms. Mallari!!!! You are so inspiring in so many ways," one commenter wrote on the video shared by the district. "I'm honored to have seen your awesome skills in the classroom... What a blessing you are to all the young and old ones in PUSD!!

"YES! What a positive way to get the kids excited and ready to learn. Love it," another shared.

"Yuuup! That's my baby's teacher right there," one proud parent wrote.

According to Mallari, her students were surprised but ecstatic over the sudden viral fame, with some even practicing their autographs should a fan recognize them.

"Although they were overjoyed about the news coverage and reposts of their videos, nothing beat their reaction of when I told them that a local ice cream shop wanted to gift them with free ice cream. They fell to the floor and some started tearing up," Mallari says.

One person not surprised by the class act? The principal of the school.

"Mrs. Mallari is a phenomenal teacher. Her dedication towards her students is evident the moment you step into her classroom," Milly Estrada, principal of Los Medanos Elementary, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. "One of Dorothy’s priorities is to build relationships with her students and also to have them build relationships among themselves. When I saw her video, I was not surprised since I see this every time I visit her classroom. This was not a one-day performance, this was the way Dorothy runs her class every single day."

"As an educator, you wear many different hats and you become all the things to these children. There are times when I am a psychologist, a nurse, a party planner, an artist, a songwriter — you name it, being an educator will bring it out in you," Mallari says.

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