Daniel Hahn: Teachers take paternity leave to focus on their babies


Nikki Suzani, Managing Editor

Teachers can be under a lot of stress sometimes, especially when they’re juggling lesson plans, recommendation letters and their own lives outside of school. For math teacher Daniel Hahn, however, one bundle of joy makes it all worth it: his one-year-old baby named Leo.

When Hahn found out he was having a baby, he was beyond ecstatic. “We’d been trying to get [pregnant] for a long time,” he said. “We had to end up getting help from doctors, so when we finally found out, we were super happy and excited.”

Now almost a year old, little Leo has already figured out how to entertain himself. “He’s found peekaboo,” Hahn said. “When he gets in and out of the bath he’ll hide his face behind a towel and then pop back out and start laughing.”

Since his birth, the family has traveled all over the world. Between visiting Mexico, Rochester, Portland, New Orleans, Singapore and Thailand, Leo is quite well-travelled for his age. “He’s gotten progressively harder and harder to fly with because he’s bigger, but it’s all been a lot of fun,” Hahn said. “In Singapore, we got to see the hotel from ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ and eat on the rooftops there and [got] to see the food stands at the Night Market and eat all of the food.”

In early 2018, Hahn went on paternity leave for a few months to stay home with Leo and help his wife take care of him. “It’s just nice to feel like we’re both contributing and that I can give her a break, and I’m also not missing all the important time with the kid,” he said.

Still, being away from the classroom was difficult for Hahn. “My [substitute], Ms. Wong, was great, but there’s always kind of that little nagging feeling of ‘I hope my kids understand what’s happening,’ and [that] I don’t come back and everyone’s just been lost for weeks,” he said.

Ultimately, Hahn has one piece of advice for all parent teachers: “I think a lot of times it’s easy to get tired when you’re in the trenches of whatever your life is,” he said. “Just remember to be thankful, and that goes for everyone, of all the good things you have.”