Jill Biden says her grandmother, who taught at a one-room school, inspired her to teach

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First Lady Jill Biden spoke to her fellow educators about the spark of inspiration that ignited her passion for teaching.

“We all have a time when our story began – or someone who put us on that path,” Dr. Biden said Monday at the White House during a speech for the state and teacher’s ceremony. National of the Year 2020 and 2021. “Mine is my grandmother.”

In addition to her duties as First Lady, Dr Biden is an English teacher at Northern Virginia Community College, but her interest in standing in front of a classroom began when a girl was watching her grandmother.

“She taught in an old-fashioned, one-room school filled with three classes of students,” said Biden, 70. “Some days she would take me with her, and when I was lucky I could ring the brass bell that called her students in class.”

About 100 teachers were honored at the White House event on Monday, including 2021 National Teacher of the Year Juliana Urtubey, who teaches at Kermit R. Booker, Sr. Innovative Elementary School in Nevada, and teacher National of the Year 2020 Tabatha Rosproy, who teaches at the Winfield Early Learning Center in Kansas.

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“Everyone is here today for a reason. A teacher who made you dream that you could make a difference. A child who inspired you to make the world a little better for her. A moment when you realized that no one else was going to do the hard work of changing things if you don’t answer the call, ”Biden said, before speaking about his grandmother to those who receive the honours.

“She was a good teacher. She loved it. And her students could tell. She didn’t just teach letters and arithmetic, she opened up new worlds. When she read us – from Charlotte’s canvas, or my favorite, Mary poppins – she was spellbinding. And every child who walked through the walls of their small classroom became enchanted, ”Biden recalls.

Spending time in her grandmother’s class, Biden said she wanted to follow in her footsteps. “I wanted to help children see their world in a different way,” she said. “I wanted to help them find their own voice through writing.”

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Biden said she still had the bell her grandmother rung to call students to their classes. “When my grandmother passed away, she didn’t leave a giant estate behind her,” she said. “But what I inherited from her – what I still have to this day – is the simple brass school bell she let me ring. And when I think of that bell, I think how his legacy – his love to learn, his patience and his compassion – resonated around the world like sound waves, changing those who heard his ring. “

While teachers don’t always know how much their hard work and dedication affects students in their classrooms, the first lady assured teachers that they are making a difference in the lives of children who may grow up to influence others or make the world better.

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“I think of each student [my grandmother] taught, and wonder what amazing things they grew up to do. They may be officials who are working to make our communities a little stronger, a little more just. They might be doctors who save lives, or architects who build our cities, or scientists who work to solve global problems, ”she said. “And of course there is at least one teacher. “

“Someone has inspired you too. Someone has helped you find your way,” added Dr Biden. “And I know they’d be proud to know how far you’ve come.”

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