First Lady Jill Biden will make history as the country’s first First Lady to hold a paid job outside the White House.
Dr. Biden—who worked full-time as a community college English professor during her eight years as Second Lady—has said she plans to continue teaching.
Biden has been an educator for more than three decades. She taught English at Northern Virginia Community College during the time her husband was vice president, and earned her doctorate in education from the University of Delaware in 2007. In addition to her doctorate, she also holds two master’s degrees.
Although it is unusual for a Second Lady to work, it’s unprecedented for a First Lady.
Dr. Biden is entering her role as both First Lady and college professor at a time when women currently make up nearly half of the workforce in the U.S., and nearly one-third of all employed women are working mothers.
It is essential for a woman to have her own identity. The idea that a woman would have to give up her entire life for her spouse seems very antiquated.
Dr. Biden doesn’t know yet if she can balance both teaching and being First Lady quite yet, but this is her hope because she loves teaching, and it is the career that she has carved out for herself.
President Biden said, “She dedicated her life to education. Teaching is not just what she does; it’s who she is.”
And to her, he said, “Thank you for all that you do in the day-to-day. It’s not always recognized how much your work matters, but it does. Student by student, you are changing the world.”
To preserve the integrity of her classroom, “Dr. B” (as her students know her) will keep her teaching gig separate from her public role.
Dr. Biden has indicated that she will continue advocating for teachers and students, especially those at community colleges, placing education at the top of her agenda.
On the next evening after the inauguration, Dr. Biden hosted a virtual event to honor and pay tribute to educators. She said to them, “Educators, this is our moment because we know how to turn chaos into something beautiful—we do it every day in our classrooms.”
We should hope that people will accept Jill Biden’s desire to be a wife and a mother, serve as our First Lady, and continue her professional career as an educator.
Our best to you, Dr. B!