Higher Education Webinars

Mama PhD

Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.

November 16, 2010 - 9:38pm
This morning at the breakfast table (as my husband was hurriedly scheduling his day on his laptop), my seven-year-old said, “I just want a day where you don’t have to always be on your computer.” Turned out that although she agreed a day with the whole family home and no one working – my interpretation of her statement – sounded great, her immediate motivation was that she was antsy for a time when she could get on my computer to complete a school project.
November 15, 2010 - 9:08pm
 Four. Sixteen. Eight. Thirty-two. Five. Nineteen. Six. Lately everything I do seems to have a number on it. I have paper proposals to respond to, course proposals to read, a review to write. I watch the time as I grade and wonder if it’s worth stopping for a few minutes to gauge my progress. I decide not to — I don’t need to know how slowly I work, or for that matter how quickly. The work takes as long as it takes, and then there’s more work when that’s done. It’s good work — I’m not complaining — but it does add up. It doesn’t ever seem to diminish. 
November 14, 2010 - 7:32pm
Parent-teacher night at my son’s school was par for the course: everyone loves him. He’s a great student in class, engaged, respectful, and smart. He contributes a lot to classroom discussions. He does well on tests, and his in-class essays tend to be first rate.But. His homework is sloppy and incomplete. Longer-term projects read as though he had rushed through them the night before. This has to affect his grades. He’s capable of such great work — can’t we get him to focus?
November 11, 2010 - 7:53pm
One way that economists commonly use statistics is to do “forecasting”, to take what is known about today and to use it to predict what will happen tomorrow. I usually use statistics in ways that don’t involve forecasting in the future, but instead to test for relationships in data from the present. Still, there are times I wish I could forecast the future and know how things will look years from now. For example, I wished I could have such a “crystal ball” the other day.
November 11, 2010 - 6:04am
It's time to order the books for my spring courses. Because I teach Victorian novels, I'm continually trying to negotiate length; how many pages can I coax my students to read a week (or rather from Thursday to Tuesday, and then from Tuesday to Thursday). This causes me to engage in one of my disingenuous teaching practices: searching for the shortest edition of David Copperfield, or Middlemarch. Yes, I realize that all unabridged versions are really the same number of total words. But tell that to students asked to read 250 pages instead of 150.
November 10, 2010 - 8:41am
A recent Saturday morning with my son was a treasure: he invited me to play Lego with him. I made a pot of tea and brought it over to the living room rug to join him in the middle of the Lego piles. He was nice enough not to say anything about my violation of our house rule forbidding food or drink in the living room. I dug through the plastic tote full of parts to pick out the pieces that looked interesting to me. Instead of picking out his own blocks, my son watched me intently. As I started to put the plastic bricks and tubes together I felt nervous under his scrutiny.
November 9, 2010 - 5:51am
I’ve got a few weeks left in my CSA share. We’re in the leafy-greens stage of the fall, it seems: last week’s share included kale, collards, and mustard greens as well as arugula; there were also carrots, peppers, and turnips. We’re a long way from the weeks of tomato bounty and huge bunches of basil, but I’m still enjoying it. This past weekend I had some time to talk to Ali, the farmer, when I picked up the share.
November 7, 2010 - 5:21pm
A recent New York Times article describes an incident in which two young people on bicycles ran down an 87-year-old woman on a Manhattan sidewalk, knocking her to the ground. The woman suffered a hip fracture that required surgery. A judge has ruled that they can be sued for negligence.You might think a lawsuit is a light punishment for that degree of reckless behavior—unless you consider that the perps were 4 and 5 years old, and their bikes had training wheels.
November 4, 2010 - 9:10pm
I remember a cartoon from my graduate school days that showed a cockroach-looking creature looking over the shoulder of what looked like a scientist working busily at a desk. The caption of the cartoon said “an Exogenous variable watches an economist at work.” I was shown that cartoon about the same time I came to the conclusion that there was really nothing in the world that is exogenous, or determined by predetermined forces.
November 4, 2010 - 8:47am
My two teenagers have developed musical skills that neither their father nor myself ever possessed. They both participate in marching band, and have since middle school. I did not quite understand what this meant when my kids first got involved. Most of their friends played in the band and -- like the best student organizations — the after school commitment provided my kids with both a social life and valuable musical instruction.


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