I have been teaching for a few years at my university, and have mostly gotten into the rhythm of teaching and doing research.
This semester, I am teaching two courses. What is different this semester is that I am faced with the happy but unfamiliar circumstance that my wife is due to give birth during the semester.
Question: How should I plan my course schedule around the birth of our baby?
Here are some of the issues that I have considered:
The unpredictability of the birth date. We are expecting that our baby will be delivered naturally. While we were given an expected due date by the doctors, we don't really know when the contractions will start, when we will go to the hospital, how long the labor will be before the baby is born, etc.
The day of week effect. I am teaching on Mondays and Tuesdays.
- If my wife goes into labor on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday, I will probably be needed to help my wife give birth or recover, so I plan to cancel class.
- If my wife goes into labor on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday, we will probably be in a good enough situation that I can teach on Monday or Tuesday. But should I cancel class regardless?
What to communicate to students. If my wife suddenly goes into labor, I may have to suddenly cancel class. This could happen shortly before the class starts, or even possibly in the middle of the class. Should I communicate any information about my wife's pregnancy and the baby's expected due date to my students beforehand?
I would appreciate wise advice about how to plan my course schedule in a way that balances my family's needs and the students' needs.
Response to comments
Question: Can you arrange paternity leave/cover?
Answer: I'm asking Human Resources about the paternity leave policy. Both of these courses are course which I developed, so none of my colleagues in the department can teach them well without investing a significant amount of time. So I don't think I can find a colleague in my department to cover the course.