MCMINN COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Through the halls of McMinn County High School in Athens, Tennessee, and behind the door of biology teacher Mr. Erick Innis, was a lesson that went beyond the pages of a textbook.
Photo courtesy of Erick Innis
"It just gets in your brain; it sticks with you," said Jalen Sharp, a student.
He referred to his teacher's biology rap, sung to the sounds of Hamilton's 'My Shot'.
"I've been listening to Hamilton for a couple months, I'm in love with it," Innis said. "What he has done is he has taken history that a lot of folks don't find interesting and he has put into a format that is so inspiring, and it is interesting."
So he did the same thing with science.
"He just makes it a lot easier," Manav Pateland said. "It's more fun to learn the way he makes it."
But Mr. Innis wanted students to walk out of his class with more than just an understanding of his subject.
"Passionately in pursuit," he said. "That is my vision statement for all to my students. I want them to learn biology. That's super important to study. But more than anything, I hope they leave passionate about something."
Innis' path to teaching wasn't perfect. The instructor once struggled through medical school.
"I'm sitting there from panic attacks and anxiety attacks and on depression medications going, 'I feel like God is calling me out of this,'" he recalled.
That's when he found his future in education, a lesson he wanted his class to learn from.
"Having students believe that they can use it. And then believe in themselves as they start using it," he said.
Innis' message of inspiration made it to the ears of instructors across the state. Last month, he was named Tennessee Science Teacher of the Year in high school.
The rap is about a year in the making. It was released last week with already about 9,000 views on YouTube.