Does Jill Biden’s return to education mean she is leaving the White House?
For the first time in U.S. history, the first lady will work at a full-time job outside of the White House. Jill Biden will return to her teaching career at Northern Virginia Community College on Tuesday. The first lady has always been vocal about her passion for education and now she will resume her role as an English professor at the institution.
With nearly four decades of experience in education, first lady Jill Biden will return to teaching in person after leading virtual classrooms since the pandemic hit. Read Jill Biden’s unique experience as both first lady and community college professor.
Jill Biden works full-time as a professor
The first lady, who asks students to call her “Dr. B”, will be teaching composition class this semester on Tuesdays & Thursdays. Clearly, Jill Biden isn’t working out of necessity but rather her dedication to education. Biden has said, “Teaching isn’t just what I do. It’s who I am.” The first lady has been part of the Northern Virginia Community College faculty since 2009, and she’s not letting her new position as first lady change that.
She is reportedly thrilled to be back in the classroom after having to teach virtually during the pandemic. Jill Biden’s press secretary, Michael LaRosa told CNN, “She is looking forward to teaching and communicating in person rather than through the screen.”
President Biden spoke at the NEA’s annual meeting about witnessing his wife’s dedication to teaching, even when classes were strictly through a screen. “It gave me an appreciation firsthand that I thought I had, but I wouldn’t have had had I not seen it,” he said at the July meeting.
He added, “And then going out and teaching — she was working four or five hours a day, getting ready to teach, putting her lesson plans together. . . a different way.”
President of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten said, “It shatters the norms of what first ladies do.”
Teaching amidst a pandemic
The first lady is also known for traveling to numerous schools and speaking with educators & students. At a school event in Arizona last March, Jill Biden stressed her own experience as a virtual teacher. She explained, “It’s been different learning over Zoom and trying to connect and feel that sense of community that, I think, teachers create in classrooms.”
Last month in an open letter, Biden discussed the current state of tension. “As this school year begins, families across the country thought we could exhale after so many difficult months and now we’re holding our breath once again,” she wrote.
On Monday, in an essay for Time magazine, Jill Biden wrote about the challenges of beginning a school term in the middle of an ongoing pandemic. She wrote, “A new adventure, messy and magical, is about to begin. The anticipation and excitement of this time of year is one of the best parts of being a teacher.”
She continued, “As we return to our classrooms this fall, it will take all of us coming together to keep our schools safe and open. We must remember that our enemy is the virus, not one another.”
The first lady’s career in education
With almost four decades of teaching experience, Jill Biden isn’t going to stop now. She has been teaching at Northern Virginia Community College since 2009, including last semester when all classes were virtual.
President of the National Education Association, Becky Pringle stated, “She sees it up close and personally and now, in the position as first lady, not only does she give voice to that from a place of understanding, she has an opportunity to create a platform and to have influence.”
Jill Biden’s passion for education resonates in her latest essay. In her essay published on Monday, titled “A Tribute to Classroom Heroes,” Biden said, “Educators, always remember that right now, someone out there is a better thinker because of you.”