By Hope Ngo/Sept. 7, 2021 10:56 am EDT
When classes resume at the Northern Virginia Community College, there will be one professor in attendance who will be making history just by going back to the classroom. Dr. Jill Biden, who is listed by NVCC as a “9 month-Professor,” will be teaching in-person on Tuesdays and Thursdays, becoming the first first lady in U.S. history to hold down a full-time job in the process (via ABC News).
Biden’s decision to continue teaching is historic simply because the nation has never had a working first lady before. Laura Bush might have been an elementary school teacher and a librarian, but she wasn’t working when her husband, George W. Bush, was elected. Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama opted out of keeping their day jobs when their spouses were elected president. All the first ladies who held the post before Mrs. Bush served as special ambassadors for their husbands, or simply supported the president by staying home and playing both mother and hostess.
Biden’s return to in-person teaching should come as no surprise because even after her husband was sworn into office as president of the United States, she continued to teach virtually — whether it was from her office in the East Wing, in hotel rooms when she was on the road promoting the Biden administration’s various initiatives, or even when she was on the road, because she graded papers when she was flying. As she put it, “Teaching isn’t just what I do. It’s who I am.”
Jill Biden has been looking forward to in-person classes
Like many teachers, Dr. Jill Biden is anxious to get back into the classroom. “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,” she told Good Housekeeping.
Don’t expect Biden, who has been teaching at the Northern Virginia Community College since she was second lady, to change jobs just because she now lives at the White House. She continues to believe in community colleges, because of what they do to support its students. “Community colleges are engines of economic prosperity. Most importantly, they meet the needs of students and communities: offering classes that are flexible, so students don’t have to choose between work and school; training for real-world jobs, tailored to the communities they serve; and providing a strong foundation for a four-year degree,” she said.
The Northern Virginia Community College will be requiring all students and staff to keep face coverings on indoors — vaccinated or not (via ABC News).
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