This is not a book review. It is a celebration. Officially released in December 2019, Cultivating Genius caught fire in the pandemic era, becoming a widely popular resource for ensuring equitable classroom learning experiences. Two years later, this masterwork by Dr. Gholdy Muhammad via Scholastic Publishing deserves its spotlight – better yet, birthday candles – for a few key reasons.
Teaching is more stressful and challenging than ever. It is arguably one of the most stressful jobs in the country. With the ever-increasing workload, accountability policies, restrictions on how teachers are allowed to educate students, not to mention the overwhelm of navigating school during a pandemic, it's no wonder that currently, teacher stress is reported to be just as high as doctors and nurses. High-stress levels can lead to many negative consequences for health and well-being. Quality of life and teaching performance suffer as chronic stress leads to teacher burnout, job dissatisfaction, poor performance, and high turnover rates. At the end of the 2020–2021 school year, nearly 25% of teachers reported that they were likely to quit their jobs, increasing by almost 10% of teachers who said they were likely to leave before the pandemic. African American teachers were especially likely to quit teaching.