Dr. B is back in the classroom! CNN reported on Tuesday that First Lady Dr. Jill Biden will be returning to teach in person at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) starting Sept. 7. “She is looking forward to teaching and communicating in person rather than through the screen,” her press secretary Michael LaRosa told CNN.
President Joe Biden’s wife previously revealed that she missed the energy of a full classroom while virtually teaching during the pandemic. “As I think most teachers will tell you, there’s just so much that doesn’t translate through a computer screen. I’ve missed being able to read people’s body language when they aren’t connecting with the material I’m teaching,” she said in an interview for Good Housekeeping’s September 2021 issue. “I miss the energy of a full class, when everyone is talking over each other and the ideas bounce back and forth between them. I miss the conversations that happen when people linger after class.”
The first lady continued, “This past year did surprise me, though. I thought it would be harder online to create the community that makes our classes so special, but my students really stepped up. We found new ways to connect with each other. I learned a lot, and some of those lessons I’ll take forward to future years of teaching. Still, there are some things you just can’t replace, and I can’t wait to get back in the classroom, this fall.”
Ahead of her return to campus, Dr. Biden penned a tribute to the “country’s hardworking classroom heroes” in an essay published by TIME. “Over a year ago, classrooms closed as COVID-19 shut down our country. The pandemic has been difficult for everyone, and that was especially true for the educators who had to reimagine our lesson plans and rethink our classrooms almost overnight,” she wrote.
Dr. Biden pointed out that “educators across the country worked through the anxiety and unknowns, often while struggling to support their own families at home.” She noted, “As difficult as it has been, I have never been prouder to be a teacher. We put our shoulders back and did the work that needed to be done. We leaned on each other—even from six feet away—and carried the weight of this burden together. America’s students and families needed champions like never before, and they found their champions in educators. With all of my heart: Thank you for being the heroes we needed.”
The first lady stressed that it will take everyone “coming together to keep” schools safe and open. “Educators, always remember that right now, someone out there is a better thinker because of you. Someone is standing a little taller because you helped her find the confidence she needed. People are kinder because you showed them what that meant. Your strength and resilience, your creativity and kindness, are changing lives and changing the world,” Dr. Biden concluded. “Our work has never been more seen. As our President sets the course of our country, there is an educator standing right beside him.”