+
Jill Biden shows how much we need teachers by returning to the classroom this semester
via Wikimedia Commons

In the days leading up to the 2020 Democratic Convention, Dr. Jill Biden reintroduced herself to the nation after serving as the Second Lady during the Obama administration. On Twitter, she reminded everyone that "Teaching isn't just what I do. It's who I am."

The statement was a bold proclamation of her priorities when she was on the cusp of becoming the First Lady of the United States. Her continued commitment to being an educator while holding one of the most high-profile positions in the world may seem extreme to some, but it's something every teacher understands.



Dr. Biden has kept up that commitment since moving into the White House. Last year, during the pandemic, she taught her classes virtually. But now she'll return to her classroom at Northern Virginia Community College, where she has worked since 2009.

But that doesn't mean America will be without a First Lady during the school year. She will continue to perform her duties as First Lady and will travel on days she isn't scheduled to be in the classroom.

"There are some things you just can't replace, and I can't wait to get back in the classroom," she told Good Housekeeping magazine.

Dr. Biden's return to work shows her commitment to education but it's also historically important. She is now the only First Lady in the position's 231-year history to have a full-time job outside of the White House.

"It shatters the norms of what first ladies do," said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, according to the Associated Press.

"She will really be bringing the role of first lady into the 21st century," First-Lady historian Katherine Jellison told USA Today.

"Americans have historically wanted their first ladies to be in the White House and at the president's side whenever possible," Jellison said. "Maybe the time has come when Americans will be more accepting of the idea that a president's wife can simultaneously be a first lady and a working professional."

Dr. Biden's decision to continue her career is a great example for women, too. It shows that even if your spouse has the most important job in the world, you can — and should — have your own life outside of their shadow.

via U.S. Embassy London

Her decision to return to work is also a way for her to show the value of educators. Teaching is too important for her to give up in exchange for a role that, at times, can be ceremonial and perfunctory.

"If we get to the White House, I'm going to continue to teach," she said before the 2020 election. "I want people to value teachers and know their contributions and to lift up the profession."

Dr. Biden shared why a teacher's job is so important in a recent op-ed she wrote for Time magazine.

"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," she wrote. "Your strength and resilience, your creativity and kindness, are changing lives and changing the world.

Dr. Biden's decision to work shows that Americans have come a long way in their expectations of a First Lady. Hillary Clinton was greeted with scorn back in 1992 when her husband was running for president. Many thought it was improper for the then governor's wife to be working as a lawyer.

"I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas," she said. "But what I decided to do was pursue my profession, which I entered before my husband was in public life."

At the time, her comments were seen as a major gaffe that dogged her for years. But now, they show how strong women like Clinton have changed the role that women can play in public life.

Hillary Clinton on "baking cookies"www.youtube.com


Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

True

Girls are bombarded with messages from a very young age telling them that they can’t, that is too big, this is too heavy, those are too much.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Swings can turn 80-year-olds into 8-year-olds in less that two seconds.

When we’re kids, fun comes so easily. You have coloring books and team sports and daily recess … so many opportunities to laugh, play and explore. As we get older, these activities get replaced by routine and responsibility (and yes, at times, survival). Adulthood, yuck.

Many of us want to have more fun, but making time for it still doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids—whether that’s because of guilt, a long list of other priorities or because we don’t feel it’s an age-appropriate thing to long for.

Luckily, we’ve come to realize that fun isn’t just a luxury of childhood, but really a vital aspect of living well—like reducing stress, balancing hormone levels and even improving relationships.

More and more people of all ages are letting their inner kids out to play, and the feelings are delightfully infectious.

You might be wanting to instill a little more childlike wonder into your own life, and not sure where to start. Never fear, the internet is here. Reddit user SetsunaSaigami asked people, “What always remains fun no matter how old you get?” People’s (surprisingly profound) answers were great reminders that no matter how complex our lives become, simple joy will always be important.

Here are 14 timeless pleasures to make you feel like a kid again:

Keep ReadingShow less
All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

Pop Culture

John Cena sets new world record with 650 wishes granted with the Make-A-Wish Foundation

He’s become the foundation’s most requested celebrity—and he never turns anyone down.

"I'll drop everything."

The multitalented, mega famous John Cena might hold many titles, but this might be the coolest one yet—and it has nothing to do with wrestling.

The actor and WWE performer just broke the Guinness World Records for most wishes granted through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. As of July 19, Guinness World Records reports, Cena has granted a whopping 650 wishes. The highest amount any other celebrity granted was 200.

The 16-time world champion first became a wish-granter back in 2002. Since then, he’s become the foundation’s most requested celebrity—and he never turns anyone down.

"I just drop everything. I don't care what I'm doing," he said in a WWE produced video after granting his 500th wish. “I can't say enough how cool it is to see the kids so happy, and their families so happy, I truly want to show them that it's their day.”
Keep ReadingShow less
via Lewis Speaks Sr. / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.25.21


Middle school has to be the most insecure time in a person's life. Kids in their early teens are incredibly cruel and will make fun of each other for not having the right shoes, listening to the right music, or having the right hairstyle.

As if the social pressure wasn't enough, a child that age has to deal with the intensely awkward psychological and biological changes of puberty at the same time.

Jason Smith, the principal of Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Warren Township, Indiana, had a young student sent to his office recently, and his ability to understand his feelings made all the difference.

Keep ReadingShow less