What it’s really like to be a parent in the world of higher education, and how academia can make this hard climb a little less steep
Academia has a big problem. For many parents—especially mothers—the idea of “work-life balance” is a work-life myth. Parents and caregivers work harder than ever to grow and thrive in their careers while juggling the additional responsibilities that accompany parenthood. Sudden disruptions and daily constraints such as breastfeeding, sick days that keep children home from school, and the sleep deprivation that plagues the early years of parenting threaten to derail careers. Some experience bias and harassment related to pregnancy or parental leave. The result is an academic Chutes and Ladders, where career advancement is nearly impossible for parents who lack access to formal or informal support systems.
In The PhD Parenthood Trap, Kerry F. Crawford and Leah C. Windsor reveal the realities of raising kids, on or off the tenure track, and suggest reforms to help support parents throughout their careers. Insights from their original survey data and poignant vignettes from scholars across disciplines make it clear that universities lack understanding, uniform policies, and flexibility for family formation, hurting the career development of parent-scholars. Each chapter includes recommendations for best practices and policy changes that will help make academia an exemplar of progressive family-leave policies. Topics covered include pregnancy, adoption, miscarriage and infant loss, postpartum depression, family leave, breastfeeding, daily parenting challenges, the tenure clock, and more. The book concludes with advice to new or soon-to-be parents to help them better navigate parenthood in academia.
The PhD Parenthood Trap provides scholars, academic mentors, and university administrators with empirical evidence and steps to break down personal and structural barriers between parenthood and scholarly careers.
The Secret Lives of Teachers
Anonymous University of Chicago Press, 2015 Library of Congress LB1777.3.N4D49 2016 | Dewey Decimal 373.1102097471
Welcome to “East Hudson,” an elite private school in New York where the students are attentive, the colleagues are supportive, and the tuition would make the average person choke on its string of zeroes. You might think a teacher here would have little in common with most other teachers in America, but as this veteran educator—writing anonymously—shows in this refreshingly honest account, all teachers are bound by a common thread. Stripped of most economic obstacles and freed up by anonymity, he is able to tell a deeper story about the universal conditions, anxieties, foibles, generosities, hopes, and complaints that comprise every teacher’s life. The results are sometimes funny, sometimes scandalous, but always recognizable to anyone who has ever walked into a classroom, closed the door, and started their day.
This is not a how-to manual. Rather, the author explores the dimensions of teaching that no one else has, those private thoughts few would dare put into a book but that form an important part of the day-to-day experience of a teacher. We see him ponder the clothes that people wear, think frankly about money (and the imbalance of its distribution), get wrangled by parents, provide on-the-fly psychotherapy, drape niceties over conversations that are actually all-out warfare, drop an f-bomb or two, and deal with students who are just plain unlikeable. We also see him envy, admire, fear, and hope; we see him in adulation and uncertainty, and in energy and exhaustion. We see him as teachers really are: human beings with a complex, rewarding, and very important job.
There has been no shortage of commentary on the teaching profession over the decades, but none quite like this. Unflinching, wry, and at times laugh-out-loud funny, it’s written for every teacher out there who has ever scrambled, smirked, or sighed—and toughed it out nonetheless.