How Michelle Obama Made Time for Date Nights and Workouts as First Lady

This content is recommended for 30~60 minute sessions. Note that tutors may not be familiar with the content. Make sure you consult with your tutor before using this material. 


After a quick greeting, read the following article out loud. Your tutor will go over pronunciation if necessary.

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[P1] The responsibilities of any public figure can be demanding. That’s especially the case for the first lady of the United States, who has to balance her own agenda, the commitments she has as spouse of the president, and her personal life.

[P2] Former first lady Michelle Obama, speaking at Klick Health’s Muse event in New York, said that it was especially challenging after uprooting her family while her children were young to move to the White House. “What we learned we had to do is start prioritizing us alongside — and often before — the work,” Obama said.

[P3] That required a concerted effort to map out the year, adding family events, vacations, even workouts before setting up meetings. “Proactively, starting every year before I booked anything, agreed to any meetings or conferences, I sat down with my assistant and we looked at our lives first,” she said. “We put potlucks in there, we put date nights in there, I put my workouts, we put our vacations on the calendar first.”

[P4] Any time remaining could be spent doing work. It’s a different approach than many take, with dinners and workouts scheduled on days when there aren’t work commitments. “Oftentimes, we don’t do that as professionals. We schedule work before we schedule us,” Obama said. But it doesn’t have to be that way, she said. “The truth is even when you schedule your family, there’s still plenty of time for work. But we don’t plan like that.”

[P5] That planning kept her and President Barack Obama from missing out on family time or important events in their daughters’ lives. “We always scheduled family dinners. He was always home in time to sit down for that family dinner,” Obama said. “We had our regular vacations and Barack never missed a parent-teacher conference.”



Read the word/expression and definition out loud. Your tutor will go over anything you do not understand. Practice creating a sentence or two to make sure you know how to use the word/expression properly.

Vocabulary/ Expressions

Expression Definition
public figure (n) a well-known person
e.g. Should we consider professors as public figures?
uproot (v) to make (someone) leave home and move to a different place
e.g. Taking the job would mean uprooting my family.
concerted (adj) contrived or arranged by agreement; planned or devised together
e.g. a concerted action/campaign
map out (phrasal v) to plan the details of (something, such as a program or your future)
e.g. We mapped out a plan of action.
potluck (v) a meal to which everyone who is invited brings food to share
e.g. He organized a neighborhood potluck for next Saturday.

Discussion Questions

Use the following questions as a guideline to help develop an interesting conversation with your tutor. Feel free to diverge from these suggestions if anything interesting comes up.

  1. Summarize the article in your own words.
  2. How did President Barack Obama and his wife make time for their family?
  3. What are some things that you planned for this year? Are you keeping up with your New Year’s Resolution?
  4. What are your life-long priorities? Share your thoughts with your Cambly tutor!


Go over any new expressions or vocabulary that you learned today.

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