Aeron Haynie became a mother the year after she received tenure at the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay (and exactly one day after she turned 40). Formerly chair of English, she is now on sabbatical and relishes each day.
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January 18, 2012
When I was pregnant, I listened to rapper 50 Cent’s song “P.I.M.P.” so often that my husband worried our daughter’s first word would be “mother f ## er.” I even contemplated playing rap music during labor: what better music to accompany screaming and swearing in pain? As it turned out, I didn’t play any music during my delivery, and I promised my (wholesome Midwestern) husband that I would refrain from cursing in front of our daughter. Yet when she did eventually learn a few choice words, I couldn’t muster any conviction in telling her they were “bad” words.
January 4, 2012
Today was my first day back at work after a 10-day holiday which was a whirlwind of trips up and down the east coast. We arrived home late, exhausted. In early January the campus is eerily quiet. The coffee shop is closed and so are most of the cafeterias. Still, there was plenty of work waiting.
December 14, 2011
Last week I attended a workshop on “backwards” course design: planning courses by identifying the big ideas or main concepts that we want students to master, and then creating assignments by which students can demonstrate that they have mastered these concepts. As basic as this might sound, it’s a radical departure from the default method of syllabus construction in which we cram the books we’ve already ordered into the available weeks of the semester. None of this is new to me, but I need to be reminded every semester.
December 1, 2011
Last week a new custodian, while emptying my office trash, took one look at a framed photo of my daughter and asked me brightly, “Is that your granddaughter?” I graciously corrected him and continued working. When I mentioned this to friends their responses were uniformly horrified. It is a truth universally acknowledged that telling a woman she’s old is an unforgivable insult.
November 3, 2011
I read with great interest Pamela Haag’s thoughtful assessment of her time at Swarthmore (and later Yale) in which she asks, “Are elite colleges worth it?”
October 20, 2011
Last weekend, I had the opportunity to be part of a panel on “performing motherhood” with other mama PhDs at the OCSLG Conference at Loyola University Chicago. Elizabeth Coffman and I discussed our writing for this blog, while Shannon LC Cate and CL Cole discussed Shannon’s writing about their family in her own blog and at BlogHer.com and Babble.com. Although all four of us are mothers with doctorates, these twin threads of our identities as mothers, writers, and academics pull at us in different ways.
October 6, 2011
Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if you'd made different choices: if you had married your college boyfriend, stayed in your hometown, or had children earlier? I recently learned that one of my favorite colleagues -- a woman with such natural authority and humor that students can listen to her for hours spellbound, absorbing every word -- was born on exactly the same day as I was.
September 15, 2011
Good news for men and women: Time Magazine recently heralded the end of the chore wars! According to author Ruth Davis Konigsberg, women can stop complaining and men can stop feeling guilty because they work equal amounts. That is, if you combine the time spent working inside and outside of the home. While women do a bit more housework and childcare, men are working more hours at their jobs.
August 31, 2011
Today my daughter starts second grade, my step-daughter moves into the dorms at a college four hours away, and I prepare to meet my own students when my class begins next week. These are different kinds of beginnings. This is my first semester as an administrator; I’m teaching just one course and so my schedule will not change significantly when classes resume. My daughter has her first male teacher and will be in a combined second/third grade, but she’s still at the same (wonderful) public school with all of her friends.
August 17, 2011
Last Sunday’s NYT profiled Kris Carr, whose film (“Crazy, Sexy, Cancer”), best-selling book series, and blog celebrate the author’s transformation from a 31-year old woman diagnosed with stage 4 cancer to self-proclaimed “wellness warrior” and celebrity.