There's No Such Thing as a Reading Level

"Ms. Clay teach too fast. Don't she know we the dumb class?," she wrote in her life-book journal. The prompt was to recall your biggest take-aways from what was explored in Humanities that week, which also happened to be my first week of teaching them.

Whenever I notice students beginning to struggle with identifying their biggest takeaways, I usually ask questions like, "Five years from now, what will you remember about what you learned?" Not five years from now, not ten years, not ever, will I forget her last four words, "we the dumb class."
Before I go any further, it is vital to note: This book was developed by the youth, for the youth, but this foreword is by their teacher, for other teachers, parents, and any adults who live to serve children.


  1. I am teaching students for the first time this summer. I'm a recent grad school graduate heading to medical school after the summer and just decided to teach during the break. I will be teaching entering college students at an HBCU, Philander Smith College. When I gave my practice lecture I was asked to make the presentation less "technical and advanced." While I agree with meeting students where they are, I also totally agree with your logic as stated above. If students are never given a challenge and are labeled incapable or less smart, unable to grasp, etc. then that it is the tone and the expectation we are setting for them. I pull inspiration from you. This was never expected to be a part of my journey but it is such a blessing to be able to educate and mentor other students. I hope to give them my all and help them to advance beyond even their own expectations. Thank you for all that you do, for being a role model to me! P.S. I am also the young woman who reached out to you last summer when I traveled cross country to speak with inspiring women, creating a documentary of interviews for Women In STEM with AT&T, PBS and Roadtrip Nation of leading women in science and other women who myself and three other participants found to be inspiring. I am still following you today and just as inspired by you! Thank you.


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