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Episode 17 of 28

The Bravery of Educators (ft. Dr. Jill Biden)

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station description Get ready to leave perfect behind. Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO of Girls Who Cod... read more
Brave, Not Perfect with Reshma Saujani
Duration: 27:17
On this week's episode, Reshma sits down with Dr. Jill Biden to talk about the challenges of virtual education, the teachers she admires going above and beyond for their students during the pandemic, and how much she loves the one-of-a-kind community you find in a classroom.

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On this week's episode, Reshma sits down with Dr. Jill Biden to talk about the challenges of virtual education, the teachers she admires going above and beyond for their students during the pandemic, and how much she loves the one-of-a-kind community you find in a classroom.

This conversation is part of a speaker series for the Girl Who Code Summer Immersion Program. You can follow Reshma on twitter and instagram @ReshmaSaujani or join the Brave, Not Perfect Facebook group: https://bit.ly/2t5p41l

Follow Dr. Jill Biden on Twitter: https://bit.ly/3gNLsjo
Follow Dr. Jill Biden on Instagram: https://bit.ly/2XLFPL2

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Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/bravenotperfect/message
Snippet Transcripts
so much. So let's get started. I am constantly learning from my girls about bravery and resilience and, of course, learning about the latest new tick tock dances, which I am not fully an expert on. But I'm getting there. We don't get to see one. I'll send you a clip of me and my five year old doing the latest one. But one of the things that I've heard you say so often is that teachers are always learning from their students. And I'd love to know what are some of the things that you've learned from your students over the years? Well, you know, I Gosh, I've learned so much from my students, but there's one story that stands out to me in particular. And that was when I was teaching, and I had to tell my class that I would miss the next session for personal reasons. And, you know, my students, uh, have a lot of shining qualities, but boundaries air, not one of them. And so they immediately began shouting Dr B, Dr B, where you going? And so I I tried to tell them that my sister was going to go into the hospital to have a stem cell transplant, and I started to explain that to them with, you know, as as much courage as I could muster. But I could hear my voice crack. And so I turned to face the white board to sort of get myself in control. And when I turned back around, my entire class was standing and they lined up and they gave me a hug one by one. And, you know, it wasn't until that moment that I realized how much their strength meant to me and how much my classroom was so much a sense of community. And we had we all deeply cared about one another. And so I think it's that kindness, empathy, that sense of, you know, that we're all in this together and look at today. I mean, that especially applies to these times during this pandemic when I think, um, I'm sure your girls, I'm sure a lot of them are alone in their apartments. They may not be with their families, and we need community. You know, human beings air such social animals, and we need that. You know, that give and take with one another, and I truly miss that with not being able to be with my students. And so I hope to be back in the classroom after hopefully November and continue on with what I've been doing And, uh, you know, have back that that sense of community. Yeah, It's such a powerful point. Dr Biden and the girls who code we call that community our sisterhood, you know, going back to the moment that we're in right now. You have been an educator for a long time. One would have thought you've seen everything. But what's happening now is a complete new normal. Like this virtual world is a new normal for so many high school girls. You know, how can girls prepare for future where virtual education might be the norm? So, for example, you know I have a lot. We have a lot of students who are essential workers, right? Taking care of a young person are getting WiFi in a Burger King parking lot. And their education is everything to them. So how do girls prepare for this future world? Well, you know, your your girls are already ahead of the game because they know and they loved technology. So they're way ahead of a lot of students I have in my classroom who you know are learning technology for the first time. I have a lot of students at the community college who are maybe their thirties or there forties. They're coming back to school and and they don't know technology. So I started actually a mentoring group. It's called the Women's Retention Project to help women who are coming back to school, Um, and retain them because a lot of them have math anxiety. Many of them don't know technology. And so I think the girls that you work with are already, you know, they're already on a positive path, thio to the future. And so they're already you know, they're the ones who are going to get the jobs, and that's why I feel like where I teach is so great because we teach to the needs of the communities. Whether that's nurses, whether it's child care workers, whether it's, uh, women in technology. And so community college students get jobs, just like you're the girls that you work with will get jobs, and that's important because women have to be independent and we have to support our families. And that's always what I've taught my daughter. And what I try to teach my students. Yeah. I mean, as you know, so many of the women in your community. They're the ones that are putting food on the table right and making sure they pay for the mortgage and making sure that kids have a chance of the middle class. And so it's so important. Technology is gonna play a huge role in that future job growth. So, you know, one of the huge downsides and that you pointed to this off. This health crisis is related toe Welby. Right? And one of the huge downsides of virtual education is related. Thio well being you can't hug someone. You can't put them talk to them in the school cafeteria and say, Am I crazy? Did you just experience that, too? Are struggling with this and ah, lot of our girls feel isolated their stock. Some of them are worried about their health. They're worried about their parents health, their grand parents health. Do you have any advice for them on how to deal with the day to day? Sure. You know, as you know, I was a little bit late because I came from a funeral on Friend had lost her husband and she came up to me at the end of the service. Now it was outside. The service was outside and she went to hug me. And then she realized we can't hug each other, you know? And so we missed that connection. You know of just embracing one another, especially after she lost her husband. So So many people, like you're saying, are dealing with depression or anxiety or feelings of being alone. And I try to tell, um, I try to tell women, especially, you know, you need to find something for yourself, just something, some little thing for yourself, Whether for me, that's exercise. I mean, I love to exercise and it starts my day off right, and I feel good, and I feel confident starting my day. But it could be exercise. It could be meditation. It could be prayer. It could be journaling. Whatever. That one thing is that you confined for yourself to sort of create a space of peace. And then I think you can feel like you can handle anything, but not to get too political about this But I have to tell you that one thing that Joe is gonna push for is more mental health care. Because teachers all over this country are saying to me, Jill, our kids were going to come back into the classroom having suffered from anxiety and food insecurity and child abuse is on the rise, and they're going to be bringing all this back into the classroom. And the teachers are not just going to be teaching science or tech courses or whatever. They're going to have to help these kids get back to normal and there is really no
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