Jill Biden goes back to teaching at a university: the only first lady in US history to work outside the White House

Jill Biden professor at a university in Virginia

After the return to presence in most classrooms in the United States, the wife of the Democratic president returns to her role as a professor at a university in Virginia.

Classes throughout the United States have returned to face-to-face, even in the midst of the fourth wave of COVID-19 after the appearance of the Delta variant. And in the White House, this has had a great impact.

After months of teaching English and writing to her students at the Northern Virginia Community School (a university that offers a wide variety of college degrees) through a computer, the first lady of the country is back in the classroom today to teach in person.

Jill Biden has been a full-time professor at this university since 2009 when her husband was vice president of the country. Northern Virginia is just a 40-minute drive from the nation’s capital. Not even during the presidential campaign, which required travel across the country, did Jill Biden resign from her teaching position. She always made it clear that she would not do it either once she became the first lady, and she did so.

“There are things that cannot be replaced, and I am eager to return to the classroom,” the first lady said at the time when asked about virtual education during the pandemic.

Traditionally, First Ladies do not work outside the White House. Her role is to support her husband, host the official residence, carry out charitable work and raise children. In the case of Jill Biden, who is 70 years old, the parenting part is a thing of the past. Her only biological daughter, Ashley, is 40 years old, and Joe Biden’s two sons that she raised are in their late 50s.

She is an active grandmother and is often seen with her grandchildren. She also accompanies her husband at official events and goes on trips representing her husband frequently. But it was always known that this was not enough for Jill Biden.

She is the only first lady in history to have a Ph.D., and her career is something she always said she was going to preserve.

That is not to say that other First Ladies were not active. In the case of Eleanor Roosevelt, she became an ambassador for her husband around the world. Franklin D. Roosevelt had limited mobility after suffering from polio, and it was his wife who moved for him. In addition, she was the first to take up her own causes, such as supporting the poorest and minorities, and for years she wrote a column that was published in newspapers across the country. More recently, Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama, two prominent attorneys with significant pre-White House careers, decided to stop working privately but became influential in politics.

But the return to work outside the home of Jill Biden also has an important symbolic weight at this time in the country. Women make up 47 percent of the nation’s workforce, and during the pandemic, they were the hardest hit by the challenge of having to work while keeping children at home without going to school. During the last year and a half, about 1.8 million women in the country left their jobs as a result of this difficulty. The White House is encouraging them to return.

The first lady’s office has reported that no official activity of the White House will be affected by the work of Jill Biden, who surely like many other women in the world will juggle to fulfill all her obligations.