Federal File

October 24, 2001 1 min read

First Teacher

First lady Laura Bush returned to the workforce last week—temporarily—to put in teaching stints at five elementary schools.

Mrs. Bush, a former teacher and librarian, planned lessons for each grade level and used the events, part of Teach For America Week to promote teacher recruitment, one of her policy-related interests.

Her classroom sessions had a current-events theme as she wove together lessons about geography, social studies, and phonics.

Her spokeswoman, Ashleigh Adams, said Mrs. Bush had chosen the lessons to reflect themes she’s been stressing since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks: understanding others, being compassionate, and embracing diversity.

At the beginning of the school year, Mrs. Bush made plans to spend the fall talking about teacher recruitment and other education issues. But since Sept. 11, she has focused on the need to be attentive to the emotional needs of both students and their teachers during a time of trauma.

She visited schools in Washington, Baltimore, Newark, N.J., Atlanta, and Baton Rouge, La., last week.

The 11-year-old Teach For America program places recent college graduates in high-need urban and rural districts across the country. Each year, it hosts Teach for America Week, during which corporate executives and celebrities teach classes to promote the profession.

Alas, for Mrs. Bush and others who made classroom appearances in support of the program: They didn’t get paid for their services as substitute teachers. All of them volunteered.

—Joetta L. Sack

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