Returning After Maternity Leave

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Doublescoop, Mar 21, 2009.

  1. Doublescoop

    Doublescoop Companion

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    Mar 21, 2009

    I'M SO SCARED! I've been on maternity leave for just about a year now and I'm returning right after the Easter break. In some ways I am eager and excited to get back at it but I'm worried about a few things including coming home *exhausted* to a baby who wants and deserves all my attention and trying to maintain the household (which has been hard enough while at home) while working full time again. I am sure that the kids are probably nervous too. They have been told from the beginning that they would have two teachers this year and many of them are younger siblings of my former students so I'm not a complete stranger. I don't plan to make major changes in the daily routines that are already established (especially since I'm only back a couple of months before we go on summer holidays) but I'm wondering if anyone has ideas for how to make this transition easier on the kids and ON ME!
     
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  3. Doublescoop

    Doublescoop Companion

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    Mar 23, 2009

    60 looks but no comments. :( Nobody has any ideas, huh?
     
  4. Mrs. R.

    Mrs. R. Connoisseur

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    Mar 23, 2009

    I'll bite.....
    When I returned from my leave it was the end of the first quarter, right before conferences. So....a little bit different.

    First of all, figure out as much as you can for the week on the weekend. Make sure you have clothes washed, pressed, and ready to go. Do the same for the baby. Plan your meals for the week and go to the grocery store. Make sure you have the ingredients on hand to make the meals you have planned. Take the left overs for lunch.
    During the week, relax for a bit when you get home. Recharge your batteries; just sit an enjoy your baby. Will your husband/partner help with dinner? Mine is GREAT about being an equal partner, but I know that some women are in a different place.
    After dinner and bedtime for the baby, be sure to spend some time with just your significant other. It is important to nurture that relationship.
    Be prepared to let some things go. Your house does not have to be pristine every minute. Not every paper has to be graded. Figure out what you can let slide and then don't look back.

    School is another story. Anyone else have any ideas?
     
  5. McKennaL

    McKennaL Groupie

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    Mar 23, 2009

    When I went back to work (after having a baby) .. it was in a August.. not in the spring. But once I did come back after a 2 month illness. It (the clasroom and kids) was different. They talk about the other teacher a lot. It's their frame of reference, but you ucan get your feelings bruised. Don't take it personally or feel that they don't want you there.

    I would go back for visits-more frequently as it gets closer. If you haven't taught this group yet, take a picture and learn their names so that you have them memorized when you go back. If you can (while you're back for a visit...maybe during small group reading/station time) you could take them out one by one..chat and listen to them read a page or two. Get YOUR feet wet, and know what you are walking into. See if you can teach along side her once or twice...easing in for you, and out for HER.

    Ask the teacher to have them-as a writing or free-writing time- write you a letter about themselves. Their interests, hobbies, family lives...so that you can start out with the ability to make connections. And then pick them up while on one of your visits.

    Make copies or borrow the manuals again... and start your plans SOON. Perhaps put yourself on a "working schedule" now to ease your life back into the pace. Work during such and such hours...even from home. Trips to the library- research/plan a unit or so... make the arrangements you need (cutting out stuff, etc.)

    When you start up, perhaps take your first day or two EASY - Maybe use a few getting to know you activities. I can't imagine you can change HER way of doing things right away (or even completely-since she started the year with them)...but you can slowly bring in bits of YOUR style.

    *****

    Now about YOU.. I wrote once about coming back to school (that August) after being home with the baby. It's tough emotionally...and I cried during prep times for the first week or so. Do you have your day care arranged? If they are good...that takes a LOT of stress off of you. But the up part is..you'll be SO happy to come home and see your baby's smiling face!!

    Speaking of home... listen, one woman can't do it all. you can't be a great mom, great wife, great teacher, AND a great housekeeper and cook. There aren't enough hours in the day. You'll need your mate to help...or have to give up the idea that everything has to be as neat as a pin. There's a poem that talks about fingerprints on the windows and cobwebs in the corners will have to wait... this precious child needs to be held and rocked...and childhood DOESN'T wait. Prioritize...and don't sweat the small stuff (housework).

    You need to pace yourself as a teacher too. You DO have to leave school early enough. Let it roll off you. Tend to your child, then later -put him/her to bed early enough and be with your work and your mate. It'll take time to get used to it...but soon enough you get into the groove. I remember when my daughter was a baby... I knew when I had to get her up, when we NEEDED to get on the road to beat the rush, and soon we had the timing soon down pat. (I was more organized when she was a baby than I had ever..and HAVE EVER been) In the car, we sang and talked.. and SHE was my focus...same as when I got home.

    It DOES come! Again, you need to be organized... but it'll come.

    BEST wishes to you... Let us know how you are doing!
     
  6. McKennaL

    McKennaL Groupie

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    Mar 23, 2009

    Oh.. thought of this too.

    You know.. SHE (the long-term sub) was a big part of their year. Even if you aren't happy with the work she did, the condition things are handed over...or maybe if you have jealous feelings of THEIR feelings for her (or even if it was all perfect, and no problems at all)..

    DO remember she was part of their lives and year. Have them write a thank you card. In a week or so, have them write Up-dating/while you were gone letters to her about all they have done since her departure. And send her an invitation to field day/end of the year celebration.

    That would be nice for both she and the kids. And nice of YOU too!
     
  7. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Mar 23, 2009

    First off, congratulations! It's been a long time since I had little ones at home so I'll leave the "home" advice to others.

    One of the important things to remember when you return is that, for the students, you are the new one. They have had a teacher for the better part of the year and have become accustomed to routines. Even if you keep much the same, they will notice differences. Some may take awhile to warm up to you; they may look upon you as the sub. You will all likely experience some growing pains the first few weeks. If possible, I would try to go in for a visit 2 or 3 times in the next few weeks--meet with the sub, visit with the kids and get a sense for the atmosphere of the class and with where they're "at". It will also make it easier on the kids if they see you in a positive interaction with the sub.

    Most importantly, take care of yourself!
     

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