Really don't know how to feel about this.

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by ecteach, Jul 31, 2013.

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  1. ecteach

    ecteach Groupie

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    (Back story) We have a teacher on the 6th grade team who had a beautiful, healthy baby over the summer. The new mother will be coming back to work on the first day of school.

    We got an e-mail today stating that we would have to use part of our planning period to cover her class when she has to pump for the baby.

    Our principal made a rotation-like schedule in which every person has to give up about 20 min of their planning 1-2 times a week to cover her class. She will need to pump several times a day. Everyone can't cover, due to scheduling conflicts. For instance, no one on her team can cover, because they have classes at that time too.

    I know it's not a lot of time to give up to help a mother feed her baby, but I can't help feeling sort of taken advantage of. I only get 30 min/day of planning as it is. I generally need to do a whole lot of paperwork during this time. This seems like an indefinite thing too. Some mothers breast feed for years.

    I have a child. I have nothing against breastfeeding. I didn't do it with my child, because he refused. (Greedy boy wanted a bottle only.:blush:....came out faster.)

    I guess my issue is....why can't the principal(s) cover the class while she pumps? We have 3 principals.

    Am I a totally horrible person?
     
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  3. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I'll say it: I would not be happy.
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    What does your contract say about prep time? Ours says something about how our prep time is guaranteed to us except in rare circumstances. They can't take our prep time regularly. Does your contract have language like this? Do you have a union rep?
     
  5. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    When we've had new moms who needed to pump, they've made their schedule so they could pump without disturbing anyone. My friend and coworker pumped every three hours or so, so she pumped during her planning, then again at lunch, and sometimes after school if she was staying late. She locked her classroom door and kept the milk in her fridge. She did that for half a school year, and pumped once a day for a little bit at the start of the next year. No one ever had to cover for her.

    When I taught elementary, new moms would pump during planning, lunch, and recess. That was a little bit of a perk, because we did not have duty-free lunch or recess, but it was easy to watch her class during those times.

    If you are really concerned, check with your contract and state law about the number of students you can be scheduled to have each day, and the number of planning minutes you get in a week. They are required to give us an average of 45 minutes a day.

    In my experience, principals hesitate to cover classes on a regular schedule because their schedules are so unpredictable. Is there not a para who could help out?
     
  6. ecteach

    ecteach Groupie

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    Nothing is protected in our contracts.
     
  7. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Do you know what her daily schedule is like? Why can't she pump before school, during planning and lunch, and after school?
     
  8. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Most states have laws that require work places to provide a quiet, private place to pump, and adequate breaks to pump. If there are no paras or others to cover the classes, you may just have to suck it up. Your break is not guaranteed by law, but hers likely is.
     
  9. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I think that's actually a federal law.
     
  10. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    So exactly how many minutes of her students' day will be spent with essentially a babysitter without actual instruction taking place? Twenty, forty minutes? For middle and high school, one session could take a significant portion of the class period.

    And if another mother begins breastfeeding...where does it end?

    I think breastmilk is ideal in most circumstances, but if it ever becomes as common as I think it should, a lot of things in the workplace will have to change. Pausing class a few times a day and taking teachers' planning is unacceptable. So many issues. Let's say you have an IEP meeting scheduled but it's your day to cover. Then someone has to cover for the cover, causing the replacement to double up on missed planning. Extremely frustrating.
     
  11. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I think a better option would be increasing the length of maternity leave with pay. Also, many work places and schools are better equipped to deal of it this situation.
     
  12. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I'm curious how other schools in particular deal with breastfeeding moms.

    As for the increased maternity time (which I wish all mothers had), how long do you think would be best? And later, if you're still pumping for a one or two year old, you pump less frequently, right?
     
  13. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Teachers at my school who pump do so on their preps and during lunch, along with before and after school if necessary. We usually have enough student-free time built into our schedules that this isn't an issue. I understand that things are different in elementary schools.

    I think that women should get one year of paid maternity leave (even at half pay).

    Some women need to pump a lot, even after a year.
     
  14. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    I am not a mother, but but I fully support a mother's right to pump when and where she has to.

    With that said, I am sitting here shaking my head. How on earth does admin think this is your "problem?" There's got to be a better way.

    On the flipside, I can't imagine this new mom likes this scenario any more than you do. If she has any decency about her at all, she's likely embarrassed it's come to this - teachers not even on her team giving up their planning so she can pump. It's shameful how far the US trails behind other countries in terms of adequate maternity leave, but I don't see anything changing anytime soon.

    I don't have any advice, I'm very sorry. I hope your admin can work out another solution.
     
  15. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    I've wondered how I would make this happen at my job if/when I have a child. There's simply no "off" time from class - somebody would have to cover, and teachers have common planning first thing in the morning. I think a secretary would have to cover my classes. A friend of mine tried to pump at work without disturbing her classes - I don't know if it was because she was going for such long stretches between pumping or if there were other factors, but her supply dried up.

    In your situation - on the one hand, I'd be happy to help a coworker out. But on the other hand, I think I would eventually get resentful that I was losing so much prep time.

    I think it's a shame the way the US treats new mothers.
     
  16. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    I'm always in shock when I read things like this. In Canada, new mothers get a year off and this simply is not an issue.
     
  17. Ted

    Ted Habitué

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    At our school, we've had a couple of new moms who had to breast pump.

    As the yard duty coordinator, I had to schedule the entire staff for our yard duties. These moms asked if they could have the after-school yard duty because they needed to pump: before school, at recess, and at lunch. Three times. We all complied; it was no problem.

    I'm not sure how your daily schedule looks, but I'm guessing there is no way for her to do it also: before school, recess, lunch, after school?

    As somebody mentioned, I'm sure this new mom feels awkward. The principal really has put everybody in a very strained situation, in my opinion.
     
  18. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    In our school, paras work constantly with special needs students who have mandatory IEP service hours to be met. Sometimes, they can't take their own breaks, let alone cover classes for other people.
     
  19. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I think that coverage, if necessary, would be given much less grudgingly if volunteers were asked for.
     
  20. geoteacher

    geoteacher Devotee

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    As someone who pumped for five months when my child was young, I would not have considered doing so at a time when it affected others. I pumped at lunch, and I fed my baby just before and after school.

    Doesn't your contract specify that you are to be paid if asked to work during your prep. It's not much, but when we sub during a prep, we do receive additional pay.
     
  21. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I've worked at a few schools where each kindergarten class had a para in the morning, and in the afternoon (while k students napped) they split their time with older grades. These were in addition to any paras required for IEP minutes. I realize that not all schools are that lucky, but some are.
     
  22. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    If I was that mother, I would be mortified.

    It sounds to me like this principal is trying way too hard to be compliant. I think I would have to speak up.
     
  23. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Any chance the school district could be persuaded to engage a retired teacher to cover the pumping time? It would be incontrovertible evidence of compliance with the law, it would require little expense on the district's part, it would ensure more continuity for the kidlings and less irritation for the staff, and it could be either a fun volunteer opportunity or a sweet gig with a little financial bonus for the retired teacher.
     
  24. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    Can you at least ask for Comp Time in exchange for the missed planning? It wouldn't really help, but might make it more palatable. I've asked for (and received) comp time for days I've had to give up my planning for class coverage.
     
  25. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    If the mom asked me I'd have no problem doing it as a favor. If my principal told me I was doing it I'd be seriously ticked off.

    It really frustrates me that we live in a society where it is easier to just mandate something than to ask for it because we're so afraid of what people think of us. What a joke.
     
  26. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    That is how it was in my old school. If there was a small problem or issue, wide sweeping "band aids" would be implemented, instead of simply addressing a problem using common sense. Drove me crazy.

    But, I do think it has helped me become a stronger leader-because I know how ineffective ones lead.
     
  27. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    I have not worked in a public school for some time but in my former district I do remember if a teacher had to cover any classes for any amount of time during their prep or lunch periods they had to be paid extra for it. I also heard this when I was student teaching and my cooperating teacher had to use her prep period to cover half a study hall period when a teacher got sick suddently. She got paid for her time.
     
  28. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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  29. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    If these teachers aren't back in school yet, it may be that the mom has no idea that this has been "mandated." Maybe she was planning on asking or it may be that all she has said to the school is "I'm going to need to pump every 3 hours" and admin jumped into "solution-mode" without consulting her.

    The situation sucks, but I feel bad for the mom getting thrown under the bus as being demanding when we don't really know that.
     
  30. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I would have a problem with this as well. This is expecting way too much from the other teachers.
     
  31. Croissant

    Croissant Comrade

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    I'd not be ok with that plan. As the mom or the covering teachers...
     
  32. ecteach

    ecteach Groupie

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    She has planning from 2:00-3:00 daily. So, she can't wait that long to pump. Her lunch is around 12:30. From what I understand, she will need a person to cover around 9:00 and then around 11:00.
     
  33. ecteach

    ecteach Groupie

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    We never get paid when we have to give up our planning period. It happens all the time, and no pay or comp time is ever given to us. That's NC for ya.
     
  34. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

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    I think I would volunteer for this.
     
  35. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    Wow. That puts everybody in an awkward position. FWIW, I'd have a problem with it, too, and I'm a mom who considered pumping at work (couldn't because of other issues). If I were the mom, I'd have a problem with it. We had a mom who pumped, but she did it before she came to work, at noon, and then again after school.

    Hopefully things can work out for everyone.

    Beth
     
  36. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    THIS
     
  37. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    I pumped the entire second semester last year. My schedule was actually pretty accommodating as I had prep and lunch 3 hours apart, then school was over 3 hours after lunch. There were some rare times (field trips, state testing weeks, last minute pull out cancellation), where I needed to pump when I had my class, but my teammates were wonderful about watching my kids so I could take 15 minutes to pump. I always made sure to return the favor by taking their classes so they could take an extra 15 minute prep. I was so grateful that nobody made it a big deal.

    My best suggestion would be to speak directly to your principal and not to the mom if you are unhappy with the situation. She has a right to the time to pump, and it probably was not her choice as to how to cover her class.
     
  38. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Regarding the comments about using a para, I'd like to point out the following. Even if a para is pulled from their usual duties instead of a teacher being pulled from plan time, someone, somewhere is losing out. It may be a student who requires assistance from the para. It may be a teacher who depends on the para in order to provide instruction to students in the classroom. I get VERY territorial when my admin tries to pull my paras to cover for other teachers. Amongst my admin at least, there seems to be this attitude that they are "just" paras and are not an essential component of the special ed program I provide.... and I don't even teach the students with the highest needs. They seem to think they're just sitting around, twiddling their thumbs, waiting to be called on to help. This is so not the case. If buildings happen to have support staff that are not essential, then this would be an excellent solution. However, in this economy, I doubt that non-essential support staff even hold positions in most schools. I don't mean to write-off anyone's suggestion. I would just like to provide the viewpoint of the person who would be losing the para support in order to cover for this teacher. Pulling a para is no better and no worse than pulling a teacher. This is just an all-around tough situation. As others have said, it seems that having an admin cover or hiring a sub to help out would be the best ideas, in my opinion.
     
  39. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    We had this situation in my first school and the entire grade level took an extra recess at the end of the day to accommodate the mother. She could pump inside while the other two teachers watched all 3 classes outside. It worked for her, but I often wondered about all of the missed instructional time. I'm not sure how long it's supposed to take, but they would stay out there for 40 minutes to an hour. We didn't have any paras in the whole building. We had a permanent sub, but more often than not she was already subbing for someone who was out all day.

    In this case it seems like it would be easier to rearrange the schedule so that the teacher has a more accommodating planning time rather than asking other people to cover her class every day. I think that will breed resentment even though it's not her fault, and then what happens when you have another new mom, or even three or four at once?
     
  40. myKroom

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    It is federal law! My personal opinion though is that it shouldn't create a disadvantage to the rest of the employees! It is her choice to breastfeed, no everyone else's. That's not fair and could potentially create resentment for those covering her class. That may sound a little harsh, but if I was the P, I'd be finding another way!
     
  41. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    Is the new mom even aware of this situation? If not, it really puts her in an awkward position.
     
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