Wisconsin teacher performs hilarious ‘Friends’ parody to virtually welcome students back to class

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A teacher in Wisconsin has chosen a unique — and hilarious — way to welcome students back virtually.

High school English teacher Paul Miller uploaded a video featuring himself singing a version of the theme song to the iconic hit comedy “Friends” that acknowledges the current virtual learning culture for educators as the COVID-19 pandemic lingers throughout the country.

The video, uploaded to Facebook and YouTube, features Miller singing “I’ll Be Here For You,” a spoof on the Friends theme song, “I’ll Be There For You.”

Initially, Miller opens the video in a classroom holding a ukulele and announcing a “back-to-school song for 2020,” then the camera pans to show that the room is empty.

“Hey, wait a second — where is everybody?” Miller asks.

Then the theme music begins and Miller starts belting out his new version of the old theme song.

“So no one told me that life was gonna be this way. I got my lessons ready, but the students are MIA… I’ll be here for you, when you’re learning at home. I’ll be here for you, and you’ll watch me on Chrome,” he sings.

The three-minute, fourteen-second now-viral video features Miller singing his verses and stanzas at what appears to be various locations around the school — hallways, classrooms, the football field, and in front of the school’s gates, with no one else around.

In typical years, Miller always begins the school year singing a song to returning students with his ukulele, Fox News reported. But this year, as the school district decided to begin the year with virtual coursework, Miller took a much different, and very entertaining, approach to the ‘opening song.’

“Obviously, I am not an expert musician. My intent is to show them that I am not afraid to take a risk and I want them to push themselves as well,” Miller said, noting that he likes to make his classes fun for students.

“This year, I have no live students because our district is fully virtual. So, I decided to put the uke down and make a music video to send home to my students,” he added.

Miller noted that he is aware a lot of students are disappointed they won’t be getting to see their friends in class, at least for a while longer, so he decided to give them something they could at least smile about.

The English instructor said that his wife helped him shoot the video and put together his updated ‘Friends’ theme that included footage from around Appleton East High School.

That said, he told Fox News the project came together quickly.

“I wrote the lyrics in a day, I recorded the singing in a day and we filmed it in a day,” Miller added. “I had no idea that so many people would see it.”

Wisconsin Department of Health officials released K-12 school reopening guidelines in mid-August. Among them are “best practices for wearing face coverings and cohorting students,” as well as details about “how to effectively detect and respond to” COVID-19 cases.

“Education, health, and safety all go hand-in-hand, and that is why this pandemic has made school this fall such a complicated issue. Whether it’s in-person instruction or virtual learning, we know it’s going to be a difficult start to the school year, and we’re going to have to keep working together to figure out how to best serve our kids,” Democratic Gov. Tony Evers — a former school superintendent — said.


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Jon Dougherty


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