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    Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.

Mothering at Mid-Career: End of Semester Bullets and Questions
December 7, 2009 - 8:39pm

Mothering at Mid-Career: End of Semester Bullets and Questions

--What happened to Thanksgiving? We had a houseful — which is why there was no blog post from me last week—a broken oven (fixed before the big day, thank goodness) and a leaky roof. And yet we were thankful — for family, food, and a remarkable number of lost items recovered and broken items fixed. We might have preferred that they never got lost or broken, but you can't have everything.

--The last week of classes raced by in a blur. This was in part because it was right after Thanksgiving (see above) and partly because I had a workshop to travel to at the end of the week.

--As has been true all semester, hearing from my daughter in college reminds me what's going on in my students' lives. As far as I'm concerned, my students have one paper due today. But my daughter reminds me that she has one paper (or more) due in each class. How can we help our students to do their best work when they are doing so much of it all at once?

--My son received the H1N1 vaccine at school last week. My daughter's college has yet to receive any, so we'll be looking into getting her vaccinated at home. Despite many sick students in my classes, almost everyone seems to be finishing up the term all right (including me). Knock wood.

--My weekend workshop (on invention and revision) was a salutary reminder of the value of intellectual community. I spent a weekend writing and revising in the company of other teachers, all equally busy, all equally committed to taking the time to work on their own writing and teaching. I think I'll have more to say about the seeds that were sown in the workshop in the coming weeks; for now it's enough to remember that it happened, and that I learned a lot.

--On the other hand, travel is pretty awful. I remembered this over Thanksgiving, as our various family members congregated in our house after long drive, bus rides, flights — and promptly collapsed. I remembered it again yesterday (and today) as I made my way back home from the workshop at midnight last night, and then faced a day of meetings and grading today. Would that we could all have a day of recovery after a day of hard travel — but, like my students right after Thanksgiving, I can't. I'm trying to remember to take it easy on myself, and maybe on them, too.

--No one likes exams. But I actually remember learning things in the process of taking them — of finding myself excited by the process of discovery that was initiated by writing to a prompt, under pressure. I remain committed to the in-class exam for that reason — but I wonder if I'm alone in that? Or whether there's another, better, way to produce a similar result?

--By next week the grading will all be done and it will be time to think about the holidays. Can everyone just hold off until then, for me? Thanks!


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