Higher Education Webinars

Mama PhD

Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.

September 29, 2010 - 10:45pm
I just finished teaching Daniel Defoe's 1722 novel, Moll Flanders, about a heroine who “Was Twelve Year a Whore, Five Times a Wife [Whereof Once To Her Own Brother], Twelve Year a Thief, Eight Year a Transported Felon In Virginia, At Last Grew Rich, Liv'd Honest, and Died a Penitent." The novel's frank depiction of criminality shocked 18th century readers, but my students are most appalled by the fact that Moll gives up her many children: the first, to her in-laws, and others to a paid surrogate family. We discuss the lack of sentimental language used to describe these separations.
September 29, 2010 - 4:34am
I’ve been thinking about a different sort of gap year lately. Not the year full of promise, excitement and life experience that some graduating high school seniors plan before starting college (and mentioned in recent Mama PhD blogs), but instead the gap years in my life, where I’ve been a stay-at-home mom. These years are also filled with promise, excitement, life experiences, and learning how to parent my children.
September 27, 2010 - 8:19pm
I feel compelled to add more to my blog post of last week about failure, in part because soon after I posted it I thought of some other failures from which I hadn’t learned quite so much. For example: at my most recent tae kwon do test (they come up about every three months), I was almost unable to break any boards, and I also had trouble remembering my patterns or forms, the sequences of moves that we learn at each belt level.
September 26, 2010 - 5:34pm
I wrote a few weeks ago about an encounter my son had with the police, and how this affected our family. Ben is back in school now, and things have returned to normal — and yet, they haven’t.On most schooldays, I walk Ben to the subway before hitting the pool at the health club and then going on to work. At 16, he certainly doesn’t need his mommy to drop him off, but it’s a ritual we developed when he first started traveling by himself, in the eighth grade, and we both enjoy it.
September 23, 2010 - 7:50pm
The concept of equality or equivalency is central to mathematics, as even the most simple algebra requires a statement of equivalency in order to present a statement that is true and can be solved. Such equality can even be found in non-mathematical arenas, as when mention of one thing immediately brings to mind thoughts of another. For example, it is true that there are certain cities whose names have become almost equivalent to organizations they house. When a character in The Great Gatsby says that someone “went to New Haven”, it is assumed that he went to Yale University.
September 22, 2010 - 9:31pm
The last few years have been a bit of a roller coaster ride for my son Nick. He’s been busy with school obligations, starting rock bands with his friends, and trying to pass a full schedule of Honors and AP coursework. Nick seems happy. He works as a lifeguard and plays in his school’s marching band. But for some reason, he refuses to do much homework and his grades have dropped.
September 21, 2010 - 10:37pm
At a recent birthday party one of my daughter’s friends received a copy of the young readers edition of the book “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan. The dust jacket describes the book as “an unforgettable journey behind the scenes of your dinner”. My daughter was intrigued. It is a very readable narrative, and since she found it in the library a last week, she has carried it around constantly.
September 20, 2010 - 9:47pm
This past Sunday the New York Times magazine section was devoted to education, and especially to education and technology.
September 19, 2010 - 4:47pm
In response to last week’s post, Suzanne Sheffield commented, “Your story reiterates what I often think - as parents we should listen to that quiet but persistent inner voice that tells us that something is wrong and we SHOULD be worried.”
September 16, 2010 - 7:13pm
When I was a child, there was a commercial on (black and white) TV that had a very happy woman telling a friend about some beauty product, and then that friend told several friends about it, "and so on, and so on, and so on." The way news of this beauty product was spread mimics exponential growth, where the number of people told is raised to a power with each telling. I could not help but think of such growth when I learned recently of the death of one of my colleagues from our Department of Education.


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