unwed, pregnant teacher: how should I handle this?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by outsidethelines, Jan 11, 2011.

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  1. outsidethelines

    outsidethelines Companion

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    Jan 11, 2011

    I'm 26 years old and about 10 weeks pregnant with my first child. I am not married (nor planning to be), but I am in a long-term relationship with an amazing man. Last year, we bought our own home, and we are financially secure.

    Even though this was not a planned pregnancy, I am very excited (despite the morning sickness :). However, there is some tension regarding the situation with my principal. I work in a rural, Southern public school, and my principal is very religious and conservative. I recently told her I was pregnant because I wanted to explain why I've been sick so much. While she did not *say* anything negative, she seemed annoyed or disappointed when I told her. Her response was basically, "okay-- hope you feel better."

    I understand why she would be somewhat upset about it, considering her beliefs and the fact that I teach teenagers. However, I do not feel like I am a "bad influence" by any means. I have already made the decision to not even discuss it with my kids at all. I am sure many of them don't even know if I am married or not.

    So anyway, how should I handle this? I have felt very awkward around her since telling her...like I am being judged so harshly. All of my co-workers that I have told have been extremely supportive. Her reaction is just worrisome, especially since I am not up for tenure until next school year. :(
     
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  3. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    Are you sure that she really feels that way or are you projecting what you "think" she will feel? My sister made a stupid choice. She told my mother that my husband was "mad at her for what she did." My huband is the most non judgemental person I know. He could care less about what she did, but the day she told him was a rough day for him. He had lost an animal (he is an ag teacher), had students act up in class, and was having a headache. She assumed because he was not very talkative (even a good day he is reserved), that he was disappointed in her. I think she was more embarrassed and didn't want to tell him.
     
  4. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    You can't control how other people feel or think about this. You have made an adult choice that works for you and your boyfriend, and you will no doubt be a wonderful and loving mother. Don't worry about the rest.
     
  5. glitzeyes

    glitzeyes Rookie

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    Jan 11, 2011

    I am in Alabama which is also a conserative state and I am teaching 7th grade science as a LTS for the entire second half of the year because the previous teacher just had her baby. I wouldn't worry to much about whether u are married or not as you won't be going into details with the kids. I don't see a problem in telling the kids you are pregnant however. I also wouldn't be ashamed as you are a grown woman and able to make your own decisions and this doesn't impact your teaching until you are much further along and have to be out to have the baby. I would just hold your head up high and continue being a great teacher and then after school hours you can focus on planning to be a mommy!!
     
  6. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    eh, I am unwed and was when I got pregnant. I was reminded that there are TONS of students who a) have single parent households and b) have unwed parents/mothers. You aren't the first and certainly won't be the last. Just use your support system and you will be fine!
     
  7. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    Jan 11, 2011

    My old principal sounds a lot like yours and she did say a few things to a friend of mine who was pregnant and unmarried. I specifically remember her telling my friend that she would appreciate it if she would stop telling her students that the baby would be mixed. :eek: I seem to remember the union getting involved after that and I think that shut her up.

    People will always be judgmental. Unless you have some kind of outdated moral turpitude clause, your job is safe, and I wouldn't care what she thinks.
     
  8. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    It's really not anybody's business.

    I worked with someone for years and didn't realize that they wasn't married. I knew that she lived with a man, and they had children together. She used her maiden name, and she didn't wear a ring . . . but I know plenty of married people who use maiden names and don't wear rings.

    I was really surprised when I found out they weren't married. It didn't change how I felt about her in any way. It doesn't change who they are.
     
  9. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Any such moral turpitude clause in the US couldn't be applied to unwed mothers anyway -- Federal law specifically excludes employment discrimination based on marital status or maternity.

    It would actually be dangerous for your principal to say anything specifically negative about it. If she did, and then didn't renew you for any reason, she could be facing a lawsuit.
     
  10. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    What BandNerd wrote ... plus: I bet your students do know if you are married or not. They like to learn about their teacher's non-teacher life.
     
  11. holliday

    holliday Comrade

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    Jan 11, 2011

    When I got pregnant with my son (he's 3 and a half now), I wasn't married, either. I had to tell my conservative principal early into it since I was MEGA sick. Anyway, one of my colleagues had gone through the exact same thing the year before and she took me aside to "warn" me about talking with my principal. She said our principal asked her to wear a ring and basically pretend she was married! My colleague is a sweet, but totally tough, outspoken woman who made sure to let the principal know that her personal life was her own business, etc....
    SO, when it was my turn, the principal was probably worried to say much. I still felt uncomfortable, though. Luckily, whatever misgivings she had due to her beliefs did not get in the way of her being kind and fair to me (she loaded me up at my shower!).
    So, I wouldn't worry. For some people, the news may be a shock at first, but this IS 2011, so no one will be encountering such a situation for the first time. You deserve to focus on the wonderful adventure of becoming a mommy. Let the rest of it roll off.
    Congrats!!
     
  12. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Asked her to wear a ring!?!

    :eek:
     
  13. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    Jan 11, 2011

    For me, I have found in life that the people you expect to judge you the most are usually the most gracious, helpful and supportive. While not my business, your lack of matrimony may not be the best choice for you and your child. You might want to consider your legal position should you and the wonderful man ever part ways. Just a thought and unsolicited advice, but given in love and concern.
    I wish you and the baby the best health and many blessings. I think in a professional sense you always need to keep some personal distance from your students, so beyond the due date and yes, I am very happy about it, I don't see why it should be a point of conversation.
     
  14. lindita323

    lindita323 Companion

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    I too, was unwed and pregnant with my son. At the time I was teaching 3rd grade. The situation was difficult for me because I was self-conscious about what people would think. I told my prnicpal and colleagues about 4 months into the pregnancy. Turns out that everyone was so supportive, they supported me because they cared about me, and if they were judgmental, they kept it to themselves. Early on, before I even talked to my principal, I went to talk to our union rep because I needed some reassurance about the situation. It will be ok, stay strong, you need your health right now to bake that baby, lol!!!
     
  15. kteachone

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    Jan 11, 2011

    That's a good point. My para is married and doesn't wear a ring.
     
  16. SciMathTchr09

    SciMathTchr09 New Member

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    Jan 11, 2011

    I am in a similar situation. I am 23 and 22 weeks pregnant with my first baby. My boyfriend and I are doing well financially and relationship-wise. We have plans to get married but not until perhaps a year after the the baby is born. I have not had a teaching job before because I just graduated december 2009 and in Ohio teaching jobs are extremely scarce. I plan to look for a job for next school year after the baby is born in may. the school system I'm most well known in is inner city with many single parents and drug and violence and teen pregnancy issues (i student taught there and worked with 2 pregnant 13 year olds) so I know an unwed mother is not unheard of but I still worry about the sigma from parents and that the principal will not hire me because of being an unwed mother. My family, mostly my ultra conservative 87 year old grandfather is convinced no one will hire me unless I'm married and is pushing me to go to the court house. I have subbed one day in the district so far this school year and I wore a ring In case students asked me anything, which they did. I also referred to my boyfriend as my fiance. Maybe if I say I'm engaged then I will get a job. I know they cannot legally discriminate against me but I may end up going in for interviews at 7 or 8 months pregnant and they can tell I'm not married with my title being Miss instead of Mrs. Any advice?
     
  17. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Jan 12, 2011

    Ms. It's none of their business if you are married or not.
     
  18. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    They should not be asking you questions about your marital status on your job interviews.
     
  19. JenniferVan1

    JenniferVan1 Rookie

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    Jan 12, 2011

    You can't control what others think. Is it wrong to discriminate? OF COURSE! Do people still do it? OF COURSE! To me, there is no "right answer" to this question. It is all going to depend on the school you interview at, the principal who interviews you, the type of area you are in, etc. I say, don't be ashamed. Be who you are. Your confidence in yourself will shine through the situation. Even if the principal is a narrow minded idiot, he will see your confidence and THAT is what they will remember. Good luck!
     
  20. newbie23

    newbie23 Comrade

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    Personally I go by Ms. as a 25, single, teacher w/o children. I feel like Miss sounds too young and honestly, no one needs to know my personal status. I still get Miss a lot and it doesn't bother me but it's a personal preference.
     
  21. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    I still get Miss INteacher even though I have been married 25 years, have two kids and most of students have know me most of their lives :lol:
     
  22. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I get Miss a lot as well (and I'm certainly not young!).

    As far as the pregnancy, it really can't see it being an issue here.
     
  23. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Hmmm. I live in conservative Georgia, and if our lesbian gym teacher can adopt a child and not care what the community thinks, then you can do go ahead and be happy with your choice. It's no one's business unless you make it theirs.
     
  24. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    It's not your administrator's business, but people have a way of making it so. Should you be treated with "friendly advice" regarding your "situation", you have a few options as to how to respond that have been shared already I believe. Hopefully, though, she'll keep her (possibly) disapproving thoughts to herself and you and your family can live happily ever after. :)

    I don't wear a wedding ring either...well, some days I do when I happen to come across it! Oh, there it is!
     
  25. outsidethelines

    outsidethelines Companion

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    Jan 13, 2011

    Thank you all for your input! It truly made me feel a lot better. Now, I have to decide how I should approach the subject with my kids because apparently it's already spreading around through the rumor mill.
     
  26. flutterbye

    flutterbye Rookie

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    We all know they aren't supposed to ask those questions, but they do, and what can we do about it? If we want any chance at having the job, we can't say anything.

    I was asked at my most recent job interview if I had children. I wanted to say, "do you realized you just broke the law" but of course, they don't have to hire you even when they ask improper questions. So you point out that they can't ask that, or you refuse to answer and all that happens is you don't get the job. Or you answer and hope for the best.

    In my case I have 5 children, which sometimes helps, and sometimes does not. Some principals see a person who is very familiar with children, and some see multiple sick days being used.

    I got the job where I was asked that, and since I've only been working there for a week, I don't yet feel comfortable pointing that issue out to them.
     
  27. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    I think you should let your students know when you are ready. Be sure to also let the parents know. But you only need to let them know that you are expecting a baby and will be taking time off when the baby is born. The fact that you are an unwed mother with a great boyfriend is really none of their business!
     
  28. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    First thing one can do is not be a doormat and allow this to happen. You can report them and they will get in trouble!!! You can also refuse to work for a place like that. When people get too desperate they get taken advantage of. Yes we need jobs but a person needs to take pride in themselves too!
     
  29. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    I was asked if I was married or had kids in an interview. I know that they aren't supposed to ask, but I don't think that it factored into their decision to hire me. I think that they were asking just to learn about me. The group that interviewed me told me about their home lives as well. My group interview was more to see if I would fit in with the teachers I would work with than if I knew anything about teaching....
     
  30. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I serve on my district hiring committee. We don't ask about marital status, or kids...the question 'tell us about yourself' is sometimes posed, but most candidates use that opportunity to highlight their professional qualities, education, experience and passions.

    Depending on how questions are posed, candidates might try to turn the answer to their benefit.
     
  31. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Like cza said, the question 'tell us about yourself' comes up. I do use that highlight my professional side, but I also throw in there that I'm married and have a child in X grade.
     
  32. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    Well then, if you volunteer the info on your marital status and if you have kids then you can't complain or file grievance if you think they didn't hire you because of that....

    I choose to remain professional on all levels, that way they know my work ethic. I don't bring personal business into my work environment unless it's absolutely necessary as in my pregnancy.
     
  33. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Why would you say that?

    It's illegal to discriminate based on marital status, period. It doesn't matter how the employer finds out. One certainly has a better case if the employer is deliberately fishing for the information, but just because it's volunteered it doesn't automatically preclude a suit.

    In some work environments, being married and/or having kids is a plus. Personally I tend to trust teachers who have kids more than those without kids, all other things being equal. Also, it would make sense that people with kids tend to be slightly more averse to risks -- risks like suddenly skipping out of a stable job because you're not happy with it.

    I tend to agree that most of those who directly ask these "forbidden" (and certainly ill-advised) questions probably aren't actually intending to use them to discriminate. If they were, they'd be a little less obvious about it.
     
  34. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    For what it's worth: the last time I was job hunting, I answered the "Tell us about yourself" question with information about my home life, including the 3 kids. I got two job offers out of two interviews, before my old job hired me back.

    As 3Sons mentioned, I think it speaks to my stability, to my abilities to deal with kids and my abilities to juggle conflicting prioritites.

    And even if it didn't, it's a HUGE part of who I am. So, yes, I did miss school on Friday because I had 2 sick kids. If that fact will make everyone miserable, then better we all know that before I take the job.

    I understand the law, and the reasons for it. But I'm not hiding who or what I am for a job or anything else.

    I am who I am. If that's not the vision you have of the best candidate, then I can live with that.

    I landed (back) in a school that understands parents. All of the non-Religious members of our administration are parents themselves. (In fact, the AP's son is a 7th grader in our school.) So while we do have a large number of faculty members who are single and unencumbered, we also have an equally large number who occasionally call in because our kids are sick. As 3sons mentioned, we tend to be the ones who have been in the school longest. Many of us were hired when we were single, and our families have grown along with the school.
     
  35. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Of course, I've read before on this site that those with children are naturally more effective teachers (which I find to be an inaccurate generalization), but to say you trust those without children less? Meaning...?
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2011
  36. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    I really don't even agree that those with children are more nurturing, understanding, or more effective teachers. It hasn't been my experience.

    Of course most teachers (or a great amount) usually have children so it's hard to compare. My former teammates all had children yet they had no problem pushing students against the walls and grabbing them and humiliating them. Let's not forget the teacher (who was also a parent of a child in the school) who told me to beat a student down to the floor if she tried to hit me.

    I was childless, but still a natural nurturer, and was always calm and loving with the students. My teammates said my "suburban love" won't work for inner city kids. But it was working as the parents adored and respected me because their kids spoke highly of me.
    Anyway, I think it's a personality issue.

    I know of an awesome and compassionate male teacher and I love his style as he cares so very deeply about the kids. He's also childless, and more nurturing than many, maybe even most female teachers with children I have interacted with.
     
  37. Kat53

    Kat53 Devotee

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    It's really my pet peeve when people make generalizations about people who don't have kids. Not specifically about this particular thread, but I find this in general.
     
  38. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Meaning that I know if someone is a parent, they've had experiences typical of parents and will have a better chance of understanding other parents and other experiences of children. I'm sure there are childless teachers who are just as effective, but given equal knowledge about teachers, I'll trust the one with kids more.

    The generalization I'm making about those who don't have kids is that they haven't raised kids, and therefore won't have the benefit of experience raising kids. Let me know if that's an unfair generalization. I suspect the generalization that those with kids are more risk-averse is shakier, and it's still pretty solid.

    No offense intended towards those teachers who don't have kids. I'm sure lots of you are excellent. Personality is more critical, but it's hard to just see someone's personality from meeting them once or twice in an artificial situation.
     
  39. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    Really? I'm the same person now with a kid than I was without. If you are a nurturer, you are a nurturer it's part of your personality!

    I respect your reasoning but I would never let on to an employer that its ever possible that you have to miss work like that. In my opinion, one should be hired because of their EXPERIENCE and KNOWLEDGE towards the job (as well as making sure your personality fits with the environment) not because you are married or have kids, etc.
    Yes, I went through that myself.....
     
  40. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I'm really hung up on the word "trust". :unsure:
     
  41. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    We're getting off topic here and it seems to be hurting some feelings.
     
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