Jill Biden shares tales of grading papers on Air Force Two

“Education is possibility set in motion,” said former Second Lady of the United States and longtime teacher Jill Biden at Stanford as the Graduate School of Education’s Cubberley Lecturer. The Cubberley Lecture, inaugurated in 1938, is the Graduate School of Education’s premier showcase for ideas.

Jill Biden
Jill Biden

“Just as important as the practical argument is the civic one,” said Biden, who taught writing in high school and community college even as her husband was elected vice president. “Education teaches us compassion and kindness, connection to others. Education doesn’t just make us smarter. It makes us whole.”

Biden said that no one expected her to keep teaching after the 2008 elections. But, she said, she couldn’t walk away from the profession.

“So I did both,” she said. “I went to state receptions with the most powerful men on Earth, then to study sessions with single mothers just hoping to get a job. There was a little nook on Air Force Two that contained the vice presidential seal, and I would sort of wedge myself in there and grade papers on the floor.”

“As Second Lady, Dr. Biden had responsibilities that are hard to imagine, but she always kept teaching, because that is who she is. She is our kind of person,” said DANIEL SCHWARTZ, dean of the GSE. Schwartz introduced Biden to the capacity crowd of 1,700 at Memorial Auditorium.

Biden spoke the day after giving finals at Northern Virginia Community College, where she is a professor of writing. She noted to audience cheers that the scheduling placed her talk in the midst of Teacher Appreciation Week.

“Whenever you travel, whenever you meet another educator, it’s like an instant relationship,” she told the crowd.

For more, visit the Graduate School of Education website.