Nation | Education

In The Classroom, Jill Biden Is A Teacher First

NPR | Sept. 8, 2013 12:54 p.m.

Contributed By:

NPR Staff

Jill Biden thanks teachers during a 2010 meeting at Ft. Belvoir Elementary School in Virginia.

Jill Biden thanks teachers during a 2010 meeting at Ft. Belvoir Elementary School in Virginia.

Cherie Cullen, ASSOCIATED PRESS

Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.

Jill Biden’s most visible role is as Second Lady, wife to Vice President Joe Biden. But she has also had her own career, for more than three decades, as a teacher. Even now, she’s a full-time professor at Northern Virginia Community College.

Biden says she never talks about her other life when she’s in the classroom. Though students sometimes ask her whether she’s married to the vice president, she deflects their questions. “I think I have a separate role there, as an English teacher, and that’s who I want to be,” she tells NPR’s Rachel Martin. “And I think they like that, quite frankly.”

She has had her challenges as an educator. In one class, she had a student whose parents were pushing her into an arranged marriage, and she’s had women who’ve written class assignments about being abused. “Those are challenging in that you kind of have to tiptoe around,” says Biden. “But you need to provide help and support to your students.”

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