Faculty Spotlight: Activism to honor each learner
Updated: Dec 19, 2022
For Jinni Forcucci, teaching is the highest form of activism. “When we honor individual identities, build liberated classroom communities, and support academic rigor, we grow a culture where critical thinking and joy lead to change and progress,” she says. “Journeying alongside our students toward increased awareness is really something special.”
Forcucci is an adjunct professor at Wor Wic Community College in Maryland; she also serves as an educational consultant in Delaware where she lives. “I’m helping the Delaware Department of Education as we work to recruit a diversified and culturally proficient workforce,” she notes. “I support Delaware Teacher Academy teachers as we revise and implement socially just curriculum in our high school programs.”
Her work has been recognized with the honor of 2018 Delaware Teacher of the Year. In 2019, Forcucci delivered a TED Ed Talk titled “Disrupting Bias through Listening, Truth-Telling, Self-Reflection and Action.” And she’s the co-author of “Teaching Beyond Privilege” in Flip the System US.
As a Reach professor, Forcucci teaches WC 101: Composition and Discourse; many of her students are advocating in real time for change in their districts/parishes. “After a student completed her research around how her district is supporting Emerging Bilingual students, she requested that English language (EL) student data be more accessible to families, caregivers and teachers,” Forcucci recounts. “Her impassioned and informed request was answered by district leaders, and she was able to celebrate her accomplishment with our classroom community. How cool is that?”
Forcucci is often overwhelmed by the “awe-inspiring commitment” of her students. “They’ve chosen to become teacher leaders because they adore the young people in their lives, and they know that the system isn’t honoring the varying needs of their learners,” she says.
She also appreciates how the Reach program offers support and breaks down barriers that have historically and systemically excluded so many potential educators.
Ultimately, Forcucci believes in honoring the power of teaching. “When we commit to engaging the hearts and minds of learners, we have power - to honor that power, we must not only wield it with grace and intentionality, we must share it,” she says. “It’s a teacher’s moral obligation to build classroom spaces where commune, exploration and liberation lead to student empowerment and leadership. Honestly, there’s really nothing I’d rather do than spend my days being inspired, and that’s really what teaching is… it’s inspiration and joy and discovery and growth all wrapped up in love and justice.”