Pregnant and starting a new teaching job... they have no idea! Help!!

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by sonflawah, Jul 14, 2011.

  1. sonflawah

    sonflawah Companion

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    Hello all! I've been unemployed or underemployed for 2 years now, and have finally managed to earn my single subject math and science credentials after only being credentialed in elementary school. Now I have a real teaching job (7th grade science) this coming school year, but in May I found out we were expecting our first child. I've gone to the interview and signed the contract already. I'm only 13 weeks right now, so I'm not obviously pregnant. Part of me feels guilty for taking a new job knowing that I'm going to need maternity leave, but after 2 years of making less than $800 a month or sometimes even nothing, we desperately need me to take this job. I know employers aren't allowed to discriminate against pregnant women, but I'm afraid this isn't starting out on a good note. My question is how do I break the news to them? Should I wait until the start of school in early September when I'm 5 months and obviously pregnant, or should I tell them now over the summer? I hope they will be understanding. I also feel bad for the kids having to have their teacher leave for 6 weeks. What do you think I should do? I asked on another forum, and all I got was a bunch of criticism about how irresponsible it is to start a new job while 5 months pregnant, but I think it is the responsible thing to do take care of my child and give him or her a good home. Please don't judge me, I get enough of that already.
     
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  3. Mrs.SLF

    Mrs.SLF Comrade

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    Oh, jeez! First, congratulations!!! That has to be exciting and should be a wonderful time in your life-not one filled with anxiety and worry over judgement. Now, I've never been in this position before but as someone who wants to get pregnant soon, I would probably tell the school before the school year begins. I don't think you should feel like you're being dishonest when most in the medical profession don't suggest sharing that information until you're past your first trimester anyway. You've already signed the contract so that's not an issue and I think it would probably be worse or seem dishonest if you didn't give them the heads up now. I think, in the long run, it would benefit you to say something to the school now instead of later. That's just my :2cents:.

    Good luck and congratulations again!!! :)
     
  4. Alisha

    Alisha Cohort

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    Oh my goodness, do NOT feel guilty!! Congrats on both the pregnancy and the job! I would tell them sooner rather than later; you don't want to seem like you are trying to hide it, I don't think you did anything wrong. Congrats again!
     
  5. tired.mom

    tired.mom Companion

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    My old district hired lots of very pregnant women. I don't think it was a big deal; just let them know what is going on.

    Congratulations! :D
     
  6. AZMrs.S

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    Congrats! Do not feel guilty! This is an exciting time! I think that all of the previous advice is good- just go have a conversation with them and share your exciting news, I'm sure they will be glad that you took the time to tell them instead of trying to hide it.
     
  7. maya5250

    maya5250 Comrade

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    :hugs:Congrats on your new bundle of joy and your new job.

    Here on this forum, you will always find supporting people. I'm glad that you came to this forum after being so harshly criticized about your choice.

    You need to do what is right for you and your husband.
    I have never been pregnant so I don't have any advice based on experience about it. If you feel comfortable, I would let your principal know. Or find somebody you trust at the school. Since you are at your 1st trimester, I would let them know now, so they can make appropriate plans during the time that you are gone.

    Teachers take maternal leave all the time. Even 1st year teachers. Also, with this hard job market, it is great that you were able to find a job.
     
  8. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Congrats on both the new job and pregnancy! It's such an exciting time in your life. I would schedule a meeting with your principal to let him/her know before school starts (maybe two weeks or so). Just let them know what is going on and then go from there.

    Is this your first child? If so, get as much completed over the summer as possible. You'll be exhausted with both the job and the pregnancy, so have as much planned out and made as you can.
     
  9. Ms.teach

    Ms.teach Rookie

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    Don't feel guilty! Congratulations! Providing for your little one comes first! Since you're already 13 weeks I would go ahead and stop in to let the principal know. Becoming a parent is not irresponsible it's a personal choice. I can't believe someone had the nerve to criticize you.
     
  10. LUCHopefulTeach

    LUCHopefulTeach Habitué

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    You need to tell them now. Most districts have very specific deadlines and requirements for maternity leave since they have to hire a maternity sub.

    You'll want to be honest and professional with them from the start of the school year. This can help them be more cooperative, understanding, and willing to rehire you for the next school year.
     
  11. elateacher4life

    elateacher4life Cohort

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    Congratulations on your pregnancy and your new job. I think it is only fair to let the principal know you will need time off so that he/she or you can look for a reliable replacement during that time.
    Best wishes!
     
  12. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Nothing to stress about. This is good news! :)

    Your students will be fine while you're off on maternity leave.

    Tell your admin as soon as you feel comfortable so that they can begin making arrangements to find your leave replacement. You're into your second trimester, so it's probably a pretty safe bet to go ahead and share the news now.

    Our school has had many, many new (in general or to the school) teachers who were pregnant their first year at the school. It happens, and everything will be fine.

    Good luck to you!
     
  13. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    What do you mean by this?
     
  14. LUCHopefulTeach

    LUCHopefulTeach Habitué

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    My husband's district has a 90 day policy where you must notify your principal and human resources in writing ninety days before you wish/will take maternity leave and how long you will be out for. Affterwards, they approve it and start the process to find a long term maternity sub.

    Most of the districts in my area have a similiar policy 60-100 days. This ensures the diustrict that they can find the sub, that the teacher can have everything in order, and that the transition will be seamless.
     
  15. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    That's interesting. My district has no such a policy. I think it would be difficult to enforce even if they did because anyone who had been there for at least a year would still qualify for FMLA. The district can't deny them their leave.
     
  16. LUCHopefulTeach

    LUCHopefulTeach Habitué

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    Well in this district if you do not comply with the policy you get a red flag/ letter about ignoring district policy. I understand that they cannot deny you leave but at the same time, a professional needs to give enough notice so that a qualified replacement can be found.

    So in your district are you able to just tell HR whenever you want about your leave? I'm actually curious how that would work out with securing a LTS.
     
  17. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    My best friend had a baby in April and HR wouldn't even talk to her until the end of January because they said it was "too early".

    Obviously it's better for everyone to know as early as possible that a sub will be needed, but it's not something that's a required thing. I mean, if you wanted to not tell anyone that you were pregnant and just one day were gone because you had your baby, the school would still need to find a leave replacement for you. That would be exactly what would happen if you got into a bad car accident or had some serious, acute medical issue. I mean, the district can't require that you notify them 100 days before your heart attack. Since they can't require you to do that, how can they require you to notify them of your pregnancy? To me that would be a little discriminatory. Furthermore, there are women who, for a variety of reasons, don't know that they are pregnant. One such example that comes to mind is a coworker of mine who was in her 40s and unable to have children. Because she had been positive that she was unable to have children, she chalked all her mysterious symptoms up to pre-menopause. Turns out she was pregnant, and she found that out in her 7th month. It happens.
     
  18. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Wow, that seems...excessive? When I started my job, I was hired in July and started my leave on the second day of school in August.

    I agree Caesar, that seems discriminatory. What if you didn't wish to tell anyone about your pregnancy? Or what if you had to suddenly go on bedrest? With my third child, I found out on a Wednesday that I would be on bedrest for the following month, beginning immediately. I had a sub on standby, because my baby was due right at the end of the school year, so she just had to start early. I could maybe see with something preplanned, like a surgery...no, I can't even see that. Sometimes you just don't know those things, or want to tell anyone.

    All that being said, if it were me, I would wait until school started. That's just me. Your leave isn't imminent, so I don't know that I would say anything right now. But that's just me.
     
  19. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    90 days is roughly 13 weeks before you plan to go out.

    So roughly 27 weeks, or almost 7 months, pregnant. At that point, everyone who sees you is likely to realize you're pregnant.

    I think the rule exists not to ensure that you tell people before you're comfortable. Rather, I think it probably acts as a reminder to get your things in order well in advance of when you plan to be out, just in case you go early.

    Most people I know tell their employers at the end of their first trimester. At that point, the pregnancy is as secure as it's likely to get, and most are just about ready to show.

    When I was pregnant with Julia, I let them know in August, before school began-- I was due in February. My good fiend (the one who has had chemo this year) had a daughter who was born a day later; she stopped in 2 or 3 days after I did to let them know.
     
  20. sonflawah

    sonflawah Companion

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    Wow, thank you everyone for all of your support! I feel so much better now and not so guilty. :-D I've decided it would be best to tell them before school starts. Even though I don't have to, it lessens the shock value of it all and they can get used to the idea. But now, I'm wondering, how exactly? It's at a charter school, and I'm not really sure if they have an HR department. Perhaps I'll just speak with the principal directly. She seemed nice during the interview, but I haven't spoken with her since them. I just signed the contract on Monday and interviewed last Friday. I'm thinking I'll tell her mid-August about 2 weeks before school starts, maybe try to work it into a casual conversation. I'm starting to show, and I don't know how quickly my bump will become obvious to the world, but I'd definitely like to tell her before she starts guessing. I already don't fit into my regular pants, and I'm wearing my "fat pants" now. So excited about my job and my baby! I just hope the parents don't have any kind of negative reaction. The charter school is in a very upper class area where parents tend to be extremely involved and interested in their child's education, and they might view it as a problem that I will be out for a while mid-year. I'm hoping maybe possibly everyone can even be a little excited for me. :)
     
  21. NJSocialStudies

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    Congratualtions on your good news! I wish you the best. Now about your employment situation, please understand I am not trying to scare you on this...you very well could have a good thing going with your principal and they may understand completely and no problems. However, legally speaking, the FMLA (family medical leave act of 1993) ONLY applies to people who have been employed for 12 months and a minimum of 1,250 hours on the job. Look it up fo ryour own reference. For teachers this is well into their second year of teaching befoer they are eligible. I don't mean to sound negative, its just the law. No amount of congrats on this board can change that. Good luck!
     
  22. Mrs.SLF

    Mrs.SLF Comrade

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    And while that is true, every school district applies that requirement differently. I worked with someone that got pregnant during her first year of teaching and took leave without any problems from our school system. I understand you're just trying to give her worst case scenario but that doesn't mean the school will not be understanding of her getting pregnant.
     
  23. LUCHopefulTeach

    LUCHopefulTeach Habitué

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    I've known many teacher's whose principals/schools were not understanding of them being pregnant before tenure especially in this economy. They have to allow you your leave but what they don't have to do is rehire you for the following year.

    I didn't realize that you were at a charter school. I would look at your contract with the charter school. Study it. I have no idea about your area but most charters in Chicago are at-will and the charter company can break your contract with you at any time.
     
  24. Mrs.SLF

    Mrs.SLF Comrade

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    Which is why everyone has pretty much suggested she tell the school sooner than later about her pregnancy. And while I understand your example about planned vacations, pregnancies are not the same. For one, it would not be prudent for most people to tell others they are pregnant until they are out of the clear (typically beyond the first trimester) which she is now. And me personally, I wouldn't want to work for someone who couldn't understand the importance of me keeping that information private until after the first trimester. Think about the pain of going through a miscarriage and also dealing with rehashing it if you've told too many people. :2cents:
     
  25. NJSocialStudies

    NJSocialStudies Rookie

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    Valid point.
     
  26. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    You are being very hard on yourself. I would tell the principal as soon as you can, but don't think he'll be shocked or distraught...teaching is a career with an overwhelming number of women. This is pretty normal! Enjoy the pregnancy, enjoy the start of the school year.
     
  27. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    We're in the 'kid business'. It's reasonable to think that teachers might want to have children of their own. It's professional, though, for you to be upfront about your pregnancy (and soon your pregnancy will be 'upfront':D) as soon as possible. Good luck to you with your new baby and your new job.:love:
     
  28. Rainbowbird

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    Congrats on both the job and the baby!

    Do tell them asap so they can make plans. It is also professional to do so.

    Do NOT feel guilty. They cannot discriminate against you for becoming pregnant; teachers get pregnant and leave all the time! It's our biology, okay, and we can't help it! Somebody has to bear the children for the human race! LOL!

    You have done nothing wrong. The days when women are supposed to be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen are long gone. And I say this as someone who took maternity leave halfway through the year and ended up staying home for several years to raise my kids. It's your choice...just be professional and they cannot fault you!
     
  29. sonflawah

    sonflawah Companion

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    Some mentioned how the FMLA only applies to employees working more than 12 months, and I was just wondering, do they have to allow me to continue working through the rest of the school year after I take my leave in late January-February? I'm not too much worried about the following school year 2012-2013, I figure if I do good enough job, they'll hire me back, and if they don't, this will definitely help us catch up on bills and even get ahead in the mean time. I can always find another job.
     
  30. sonflawah

    sonflawah Companion

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    I'm also hoping the fact that the principal and school directors are all women will make them more understanding.
     
  31. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Why?
     
  32. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

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    Congrats on all fronts and just tell them as soon as possible.
     
  33. sonflawah

    sonflawah Companion

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    Maybe they've gone through the same thing...
     
  34. LUCHopefulTeach

    LUCHopefulTeach Habitué

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    Look at your contract. This will/ should have information about leave and about breaking contracts on both ends. The fact that its a charter school can complicate things. They run differently in most cases.

    Yes, you hope that they understand because they are women but you have to remember that they are administrators/ business people. Its very different when it happens to you and when it happens to your employee, your school, your business.
     
  35. NJSocialStudies

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    Agreed. Remember, teachers are contracted employees. They are not quite "employees" and not quite "independent contractors". The terms of your contract you signed may include stipulations on leave, or they may not. You have two options, tell them now or tell them later. If you tell them immediately they may understand and its full steam ahead. However, being that there is still time before school begins and lots of people looking for jobs, they may think they can find someone else. If you tell them later, you may be secured in your job for the year (but no guarantees because of the 12 month rule of the FMLA) but they may not renew for next year.

    I would tell them right away based on that and hope for the best! Good luck.
     
  36. sonflawah

    sonflawah Companion

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    Well, I told her, and it went well. She asked how long I planned on taking off, and reaffirmed that she was excited to have me on board for the following school year. :)
     
  37. FarFromHome

    FarFromHome Connoisseur

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    I'm glad it went well!
     
  38. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    That's great news. Now relax and enjoy getting ready for baby! Do not, I repeat, do not worry about your students! They will be fine while you are gone.
     
  39. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Great news! People in the education world tend to understand pregnancy and leave (its part of being a teacher for most of us, and yes even the male teachers become dads and want some time off).

    What I found the most helpful with parents was reassuring them that I was coming back. I would be out for such a time and then would be back to continue our work with their children. And be upfront with them at Open House or Conferences or whenever you meet them. Answer their questions as honestly as you can and feel comfortable. Then right before you go on leave, send out an email or letter with the name and contact information of your substitute.
     
  40. pollymolly

    pollymolly New Member

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    Aug 2, 2011

    Me Too

    I am in a similar position. We just started our teacher orientations this week. I found out I was pregnant last week. Im about 5 weeks. I will probably wait until after my first dr's appt to tell them I'm not sure. I don't want them to think I will be uneffective because this is my first year teaching. If I could have planned this I would have had the baby when school was out for the summer but....I don't know I just hope it doesnt change the way they view me. I have already began researching ways to overcome morning sickness. Because I did have it bad with my other 3 but only had to work through the pregnancy with my oldest. I just pray they understand!
     
  41. sonflawah

    sonflawah Companion

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    Aug 14, 2011

    I don't know how I could have worked while I had morning sickness. Lucky me it's all over now... Wish you the best, maybe you'll be lucky and not get it! Definitely wait until you see the baby/heartbeat on ultrasound to tell though. I hope your administration is as understanding as mine was. Now on a positive note, we'll be able to smell the kids eating doritos out of their desk on the other side of the room better than any other teacher.
     

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