Takeshi Kaneko: Teachers take paternity leave to focus on new babies


Madison Nguyen, Copy Editor

Math teacher Takeshi Kaneko and his wife welcomed their baby girl Maki into the world in April of last year. By this May, Kaneko will have taken six two-week blocks of paternity leave.

As a new parent, Kaneko hasn’t completely adjusted to having a baby. “It’s weird getting used to the fact that someone else is more important than you,” he said. “I haven’t had any trouble with it, but every once in a while, I will catch myself thinking, ‘Huh, it used to not be that way.’ It’s really cool, and I love it a lot.”

Although raising a baby is filled with joyful moments, there are still struggles that come with it. For example, Kaneko must check that baby equipment is on hand and that everything is planned in order to take care of Maki on-the-go. However, Kaneko makes sure to cherish the few moments he’s able to catch his breath. “We took a trip to Japan in November,” he said. “My parents also went on a separate trip, but we met up in the same place. One night, I asked them to babysit while my wife and I went out to dinner for her birthday.”

While he wants to be as good of a father as possible, Kaneko also wants to ensure that he does not disregard his responsibilities as a teacher. Learning to balance his work and home lives has become a major priority. “I commute to work by train, so I’ve had to do more work and utilize more of that time to grade and [do] other work,” he said. “I try and go home earlier now than I used to, so I end up taking home more work as well. It’s just a reorganizing of my activities and when I do them. Trying to do all of the things I used to do is my goal.”

Despite the challenges involved with raising a baby, Kaneko finds that even the littlest things make it all worthwhile. “One of my favorite things about my daughter is her laugh,” he said. “There isn’t anything better than her laugh.”