Teaching while pregnant is not always easy. In fact, it can be rather difficult. What’s even more difficult? Walking away from your classroom for maternity leave. You love your students. And let’s face it, it’s always hard to leave your students with a substitute. However, these 6 tips can make the process smoother for you, your students, and the substitute.
Talk to HR
Before doing anything else, talk to your human resources department. They can tell you how long your maternity leave should be and whether you’ll be paid during that time. Ask about any contact numbers that you need for insurance and others to set up your maternity leave.
Hire Your Long-Term Sub
Talk to an administrator to tell them when you’ll need to take your maternity leave. Of course, the earlier that you alert them, the better. Ask them what process you should follow for hiring your long-term substitute. If you have a say in who takes over your class, try to choose someone who has a similar teaching philosophy and classroom management style. Then, ask the sub to shadow you for a day or two before you leave.
Gather Important Documents
Start gathering documents to put in a binder for your substitute. Include any 504s or IEPs for your students, as well as the procedures and systems that you have in place.
Leave a note with passwords for your grade book and other programs the sub will need to use. Also, make sure that your contact information is available if the substitute has any questions, too.
Write Lesson Plans
Try to prepare about 2 weeks of detailed lesson plans. Include any activities, worksheets, handouts, quizzes, grading rubrics, and tests. After that, your long-term substitute should be able to plan lessons on his or her own. Just include a calendar with a rough idea of what should be covered while you’re gone. You could also have the substitute meet with your team of teachers to make the plans.
Organize the Classroom
You be sure that you are staying organized. Prepare your classroom by getting it organized as well. Label everything, so the substitute can find his or her way around the class. You may want to write your name on any supplies that you’ve personally purchased, so they won’t leave the classroom while you’re gone.
Prepare Your Students
Find a fun way to tell your students that you’re going to have a baby. Then, let them know that you’ll be taking time off when the baby comes. The sooner you tell them, the longer they have to prepare for your leave of absence. When you know who the substitute will be, send home a letter to parents. Introduce the substitute and let parents know what to expect while you’re gone.
For younger students, you could leave them something to remember you by. For example, make each student a bookmark with a personalized note from you.
Once you’ve done the work to prepare for your maternity leave, say goodbye to your students and head out the door. Trust that the long-term sub will take over from there, so you can focus on yourself and your new baby.