politics

Jill Biden: From second lady to Professor FLOTUS

By CNN Staff

Published November 14, 2020

Courtesy of Jill Biden

Jill Biden has previously said that if Joe Biden was elected President, she planned to go back to teaching at a community college.

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Now that Joe Biden has become President-elect, if she stays true to her plan, Jill Biden could break barriers as the first presidential spouse to work a paying job while serving as first lady.

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It’s a balancing act she's done before. During her eight years as second lady, Biden taught English at Northern Virginia Community College while working on initiatives to highlight community colleges, help military families and raise awareness about breast cancer.

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Biden “has always said that community colleges are ‘one of America’s best-kept secrets.’ As a teacher, she sees how community colleges have changed the lives of so many of her students for the better,” according to the Obama White House archives.

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Biden is a lifelong educator. She earned her doctorate in education in 2007, and taught English in the 1990s at Brandywine High School in Wilmington, Delaware.

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In fact, she gave her DNC speech at her old stomping grounds, using her perspective as a teacher to advocate for her husband. In an empty Brandywine classroom, she talked about how the pandemic has affected all aspects of life, especially education. But she also tried to convey a message of hope.

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"Across the country, educators, parents, first responders -- Americans of all walks of life are putting their shoulders back, fighting for each other. We haven't given up. We just need leadership worthy of our nation. Worthy of you."

Jill Biden

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So how did Biden approach her political fame with her students? In a 2013 NPR interview, she said she doesn't mention being second lady or talk politics with her students.

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"I think I have a separate role there as an English teacher and that's who I want to be. I want to be Dr. B., their English teacher and I think they like that, quite frankly," she told NPR.

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Biden had to take a leave of absence from teaching while she hit the campaign trail.

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"He's always supported my career. And this is a critical time for me to support him because, you know, I want change."

Jill Biden told CNN in January

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But her statements indicate that she’s eager to get back to her passion.

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In her memoir "Where the Light Enters," Jill Biden explains that for her, "teaching is my internal compass; I can always count on it to steer me in the right direction."

Photo by Ece Ogulturk