TikTok’s Star Teacher: Florida Educator Garners 4 Million Likes with Videos Showing Her Unique Classroom Decor and Life-Skills Lessons
Science teacher Yennifer Castillo makes classroom a safe haven with elaborate decorations, weekly life skills projects & a 'Take What You Need' bin
For middle school science teacher Yennifer Castillo, a passion for education and art has made her a social media sensation, with more than 4 million likes on TikTok and more than 100,000 followers.
Castillo, who is in her fourth year of teaching, says she finds joy in making her classroom a safe haven not only for herself, but for her students by creating a well-equipped, stimulating and hands-on environment for learning.
Castillo teaches middle school physical science and Earth space science at the Florida A&M University Developmental Research School in Tallahassee. The K-12 laboratory school, located on the campus, is affiliated with the university’s College of Education, Castillo’s alma mater. She received her bachelor’s in biology education there in 2021.
During her first year of teaching, she designed her classroom based on the Cartoon Network show Total Drama Island and posted pictures on social media. Her tweet received over a quarter-million likes — and she’s never looked back. She documents her elaborate, hand-made classroom decorations on TikTok — typically based on favorite childhood shows and movies such as Stitch from Disney’s Lilo and Stitch or the characters from Disney Channel’s hit show The Proud Family — and posts videos of special Friday projects that teach students essential skills like cooking, sewing, proper table etiquette and balancing a checkbook.
@queenyennifer_ Would you cook with your students? #cookinglab #science #middleschool #LVLUPHotline ♬ Happy – TimTaj
Castilllo has received so many messages from teachers asking for tutorials that she posts theme concepts on TikTok and offers custom borders and posters on Etsy.
@queenyennifer_ My classroom reveal for my Proud Family Themed Classroom 💕👩🏽🏫#TheProudFamilyMovie #classroomreveal #classroomdecor #proudfamily #fypシ ♬ original sound – jaredonce
Her social media presence also garnered the attention of Grammy Award-winning rapper Megan thee Stallion, who sent Castillo and her students a special shoutout in 2021.
@queenyennifer_ That moment you and your students get a special shout-out from Megan Thee Stallion👩🏽🏫🤪 @theestallion #megantheestallion #middleschoolteacher ♬ original sound – Yennifer Castillo
Castillo also uses her Instagram account, @ScholarDreams_, to keep her students and parents informed about school events such as sports tryouts, weather-related cancellations and class supply lists.
Making her classroom as lively as possible is no small feat. It typically takes Castillo the entire summer to prepare, and she spends between $300 and $400 for decor each school year, plus about $100 for every “life skills” project. Support from the college and online donations help to offset the cost.
It’s totally worth it, she says, to always make her students feel welcome and know that someone took the time to invite them in and make them comfortable.
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