As I’ve thought about these notes and written the first few, I’ve come to realize how much it means to actually get to meet someone. I’ve had the opportunity to meet Matt, Julia, and Sherri in person at some point. I’ve not had that with Jess. It hasn’t changed the fact that Jess is someone from whom I learn regularly. Someone who helps me expand my understanding of what reading and writing can be in school. Someone who has taught me about the realities of living in the LGBTQ+ community, both as an educator and as a person.
Jess’s blog, if you don’t read it, is another one of those that I wait to open. Most of Jess’s writing is about lessons and units with her students. But her latest post, once her mom gave her the okay to publish it, illustrates poignantly, beautifully, and at least a little painfully the reality for many teachers, students, and families right now. The posts about her lessons and units are not only instructive for those of us who might like to try this work, but also reflective and insightful. Jess doesn’t just share what she did and what her students did, she digs deep with it and brings us inside.
Jess’s work in literacy is about so much more than reading and writing. She uses her language arts time with students to help them see the world beyond their neighborhood, to help them explore big issues in our society. Jess’s students are learning not only how to read and write but the power that exists in reading and writing. It is truly inspirational. But not just inspirational. Because Jess shares it all online with the rest of us, we can feel inspired and also feel that we can give it a try.