First Lady Jill Biden has two master’s degrees in addition to a doctorate, and her reviews on Rate My Professor go on, and on (and on) about how hard her classes are. “Not gonna lie, she gives A LOT of homework, makes you work for the good grade, but its 101% worth it,” wrote an ex-student in January 2021. Back when she was the second lady, Dr.Biden continued to teach two classes at Northern Virginia Community College, as per Los Angeles Times: English as a second language and developmental English 3. Even then, her schedule got, well, kinda (understandably) cramped. “This morning, between appearing on the Today Show, receiving briefings from her staff, and hosting the summit, she was actually grading papers in her White House office,” Former President Barack Obama once explained while introducing her at an event (via Politico).
Now, as the first lady, CBS News reports that Biden is simultaneously teaching three introductory English courses at the same institution. Despite her well-published commitment to continue teaching, it wasn’t clear how she would achieve that until shortly before classes started.
Jill Biden's return to the classroom was full of unexpected challenges
Money was an early issue. Dr. Biden makes $81,904 a year as a professor. But in preliminary talks with Northern Virginia Community College, the idea of donating her salary was tossed around. To ensure the constitutionality of her payment, CBS News reports that Dr. Biden will be paid through the University’s fundraising arm.
But perhaps a bigger issue for Biden was anonymity. During the Obama administration, Biden asked her students to call her “Dr. B,” and consistently tried to keep her marriage to Joe Biden under wraps (via Los Angeles Times). Emails obtained by CBS show that Biden continues to push for maximum anonymity. She originally asked to be listed as “TBA” on the course listings. The president of the college pushed back, worried that her class schedule might suffer as a result. Neither could Biden use “Tracy,” her middle name, instead of her last name. Doing so would create incongruencies between different college information systems. As late as two days before classes started, the college had yet to decide on what to call her. It finally listed her as “Jill T. Biden.”
Biden also went out of her way to prevent colleagues from listing her official title as “First Lady Jill Biden” on a campus flyer. “I am an English teacher at NOVA — not First Lady,” she wrote in an email, “I want students to see me as their English teacher. I am not mentioning it in my classes AT ALL.”
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