French teacher wins respect of pupils for his night-time work
When Dudu Sarr, a French teacher, found out he would be a DJ at the same gig as Fatboy Slim and Damon Albarn this week he could not think of anything cooler.
But his pupils at Vyners secondary school in Ickenham, Middlesex, were slightly disappointed: they would rather he played with the Arctic Monkeys.
It has been a year since Mr Sarr's students ran his name through Google and found out about his double life as a dance DJ, playing in clubs, at summer festivals, and even in a pod on the London Eye.
Musical talent has now earned the 43-year-old head of French respect and mockery in equal measure. Mr Sarr, or Papa as he is now known to students, said he was happy to take the teasing. He said the revelation that he played a monthly slot at London's trendy Momo nightclub made communication better during lessons.
"Children have this idea that teachers curl up in the classroom cupboard to sleep at night and you are dusted off to start teaching in the morning," he said. "They find it difficult to believe you have a life outside of work."
He added:"This has humanised me in their eyes. It has closed the gap between the teacher and the pupil and we have more to talk about now.
Unfortunately, they do not all think I'm cool."
Mr Sarr also uses his musical skills to enrich lessons, using pop songs to help children remember foreign language.
He was due to play a gig at London club Fabric last night, on the same line up as Fatboy Slim, Damon Albarn, Mylo and Zane Lowe from Radio 1.
Mr Sarr, who came to England from Senegal 17 years ago, organised the event for Aduna, the charity he helped found to promote African music and cultures.
"This has been my dream for the past 30 years," he said. "And some of my sixth formers have been supportive when I told them about the stars who agreed to take part."
Aduna uses performing and visual arts from Africa to counter social and educational exclusion in the UK, including holding textile and DJing workshops in mainstream schools and at young offenders' institutes.