First Lady, Two Jobs: History Made by Dr. Jill Biden



Dr. Jill Biden, a professor beloved by her students, will continue teaching full time.

Hannah Steinberg, Staff Reporter, Freshman

Throughout the history of the United States, every First Lady has dedicated the entirety of their time in the White House to be the First Lady and nothing else. None have ventured outside of the pre-existing boundaries of the role and work in a paid job outside of the White House. The new First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, is the first woman to do so. Before entering office, Dr. Jill Biden, who has a doctorate in education leadership, stated that she will continue to teach writing full time at Northern Virginia Community College for the next four years. This is definitely a big undertaking since being the First Lady comes with many duties, responsibilities, and jobs to serve both the country and the president. During the eight years that Jill Biden held the position of Second Lady, she was able to continue to teach, which proves she is up for the challenge and will hopefully be able to balance these two roles now. Jill’s decision is historic and proves that being First Lady does not have to prevent one from pursuing their passion and continuing to do what they love. 

Dr. Biden has been a teacher for over three decades and is known for being deeply admired by her students. Not wanting her new title to interfere with her teaching ability and the academic experience for her students, she wants to keep her role as First Lady separate from being Dr. Jill Biden. 

“Dr. Biden will keep her teaching at Northern Virginia Community College separate from her public role,” said her spokesman, Michael LaRosa. Dr. Biden has dismissed questions and feedback about her decision, acknowledging last month in an interview at “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” that she did not really think of it in “historic terms” since she had continued teaching while being the second lady. At the same interview, she also said “I’m really looking forward to being first lady and doing the things that [I did] as second lady, carrying on with military families and education and free community college, cancer [the Biden Cancer Initiative], that Joe and I have both worked on, and I’m going to teach as well.” 

It is believed by many that Dr. Biden’s position as both a teacher and First Lady makes her more relatable to the public and displays an admirable, dedicated quality in her personality. Jill’s love of and strength in teaching will be evident in her First Lady duties and should go to bolster her ability to execute her role. A section of her opening address video is a salute to the teachers of America, where Dr. Biden encouraged, praised, and promised her support to teachers during the Coronavirus Pandemic. 

However, some do believe that Jill’s continuation of teaching is impolitic and a dishonor to the nation. In the Wall Street Journal, an op-ed was published by Joseph Epstein calling for her to remove the admirable “Dr.” from her name. He wrote, “Forget the small thrill of being Dr. Jill, and settle for the larger thrill of living for the next four years in the best public housing in the world as First Lady Jill Biden.” In response to this, she shot down his suggestion and tweeted, “Together, we will build a world where the accomplishments of our daughters will be celebrated, rather than diminished.” 

Dr. Jill Biden’s determination to continue following her dreams while maintaining a respectable public image as First Lady is something that is inspiring to women across the nation, as well as a choice that will go down in history and change the meaning of what it means to be the First Lady forever.