Baltimore Substitute Teacher's Emotional Poem To Students Goes Viral (Video)

| by Sean Kelly
Kondwani Fidel reciting a poem to studentsKondwani Fidel reciting a poem to students

A video (below) of a substitute teacher in Baltimore performing a poem in front of students went viral.

Kondwani Fidel said he was only an hour into his first day of subbing at Baltimore City High School when the class he was teaching requested that he recite a poem.

“I didn't really want to perform,” 22-year-old Fidel told the Daily News, adding that he was worried that the 11th graders just wanted to kill time.

He ultimately agreed after the class encouraged him, and he began a spoken word performance detailing his experience growing up in a drug-torn family living in a violent neighborhood, according to

“Sometimes I wish I was a stillborn, I coulda gone straight to heaven,” he says in the poem. “Nothing I'm speaking is made up.”

Fidel, the oldest of seven, said his father is currently serving a 12-year prison sentence and that his mother is a longtime drug addict.

He spent years skipping school and dealing drugs, but was eventually encouraged by his grandmother to pursue college.

He attended Virginia State University, where an English professor introduced him to a book called Black People Don’t Read. From there, he was hooked. 

“I started reading Maya Angelou and Langston Hughes," he said. Following graduation, he decided to begin substitute teaching. 

“I love it,’ he said. “Because I get to interact with students and be real with them."

Fidel, who recites poetry several times a week, was filmed by many of the students on the day he performed in class. 

“People record me all the time,” he said. “So I didn't think nothing of it.”

On Oct. 6, however, Fidel awoke to a number of social media notifications after a student uploaded a clip of his performance on Facebook. 

“I was shocked,” he said of the clip’s popularity. "It really threw me off."

Watch Fidel’s performance below.

Sources: New York Daily News, LiftBump / Photo credit: