Higher Education Webinars

Mama PhD

Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.

November 22, 2010 - 8:36pm
Sometimes teaching is a lot like baking. It helps to have a goal, and to have the basics down, but then it also helps to be flexible. Sometimes you just don’t have the necessary ingredients (the motivated students? The right mix of readings?), but you still have to teach the class. Baking’s often a lot like that for me.
November 21, 2010 - 4:20pm
Earlier this week, a friend and I visited the Lower East Side Tenement Museum to take the “Moore Family Tour,” a guided tour of a tenement apartment that has been restored to reflect the tenancy of William and Bridget Moore and their three daughters, who lived there in 1869. The Moores had emigrated in the aftermath of the Irish Potato Famine, and arrived to encounter virulent anti-Irish sentiment, garbage-strewn streets, and loud and unsanitary living conditions.
November 18, 2010 - 9:20pm
One of the reasons I fell in love with the field of economics was its logical progression, the linear way it tends to build upon previous concepts to uncover a consistent way of looking at the world. In many ways, all of knowledge does the same thing, building upon previous skills as one learns first how to read and add, and finally, to put it all together in discovering things about the world that require the synthesis of some very different fields of study. I thought of this recently as I enjoyed a musical production at my daughter’s school.
November 18, 2010 - 7:19am
What does it mean to archive emails? Are they the letters for the 21st century? Or are they the phone calls that simply disappear into the atmosphere? I know that I try to personally archive some of my children’s text messages, as well as their voice mails, because I understand that these fleeting moments document both their youth and the passage of time. Suddenly, though, there seem to be too many significant moments for me to save -- Facebook albums, chat sessions, cell phone photos--and a lot of technology to master in order to do it all.
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.

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