By Emma Taggart
Many great teachers have a positive influence on future generations, making a career in education hugely rewarding. No one could agree more than Dr. Jill Biden, who is the first first lady to work full-time while living in the White House. She’s been teaching her students virtually for over a year due to the pandemic; however, this week, the passionate teacher finally resumed her in-person classes at Northern Virginia Community College.
“As I think most teachers will tell you, there’s just so much that doesn’t translate through a computer screen,” says Dr. Biden. “I’ve missed being able to read people’s body language when they aren’t connecting with the material I’m teaching. I miss the energy of a full class, when everyone is talking over each other and the ideas bounce back and forth between them. I miss the conversations that happen when people linger after class.”
Dr. Biden first started teaching at the Virginia community college in 2009, when President Joe Biden was Vice President. Since becoming the first lady of the United States, Jill Biden vowed to continue teaching, even though her brave choice went against tradition. Historically, first ladies give up their working roles outside of the White House, and serve as support and ambassadors for their husbands. However, Dr. Biden has always been career driven, and her role as a teacher is an integral part of her identity. She says, “Teaching isn’t just what I do. It’s who I am.”
As of this week, Dr. Biden is scheduled to teach Tuesdays and Thursdays at the college. Biden not only inspires students, but she’s also a leading example for future, career-minded first ladies. Additionally, leaders of various teachers’ unions have praised her for her decision, and are hoping she will use her position at the White House to positively influence educational policies. Becky Pringle, president of the National Education Association says, “She sees it up close and personally and now, in the position as the 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.”