Balancing Family and Teaching

Avatar for veesmimi
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Registered: 04-27-2003
Balancing Family and Teaching
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Wed, 05-28-2003 - 9:29pm
Do teacher's have to design their family's growth around the school year? We're ready to add to our family of three, but I feel a lot of (self-inflicted) pressure to postpone ttc until the summer baby window gets here. But the pressure of ttc within such a shallow window will most likely render me infertile! What are your thoughts on being an expectant teacher?

I'm a neophyte 4th grade teacher, beginning at a new school in the Fall. Thanks for your input!

Jennifer

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 05-29-2003 - 11:36am
Well, dh and I are both teachers and ds was born (a month early) on Aug. 30, two days before the kids came to school! He was a surprise and then to come a month early on top of that! Dd was born in March which was really nice because I took time off and then went back for the last three weeks and then had summer with her.

I was not able to "time" my kids - I really do think the pressure of ttc at a specific time made it so that I didn't! We had a teacher here this year who has been off since April and her class is Ok because she has a good sub and the rest of us at the grade level help out as much as we can.

Another thing about the summer baby thing to think about is when is the cut-off for entering school in your area? Will being a summer baby make your child one of the youngest in their class? This can really affect them in the maturity area as they get up in grades. Ds is really bummed that he can't drive until AFTER he starts his Junior year! However, if you do not have enough leave days saved up, you might need to try for late spring/summer so you won't lose pay.

Jane

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Registered: 03-24-2003
Thu, 05-29-2003 - 9:30pm
Good advice. I had both of my daughters in late spring, April and May. The first was due the day after school was out, but came early so I was off 2 weeks and returned to finish the last week. I wanted to time the second the same way, but got her going on the first try so she was born in April.

My biggest suggestion is to not let another teacher start the year for you and then you come back. Changing bad habits and rules is a challenge. A good sub is great, but you're not that lucky all of the time. I saw a horrible sub ruin a whole year for a great teacher.

Good luck!

Sherry

Sherry

 

Avatar for coloradomom2b
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 05-30-2003 - 6:06pm
I had my baby at the end of November. It actually worked out great for me because I took off from Thanksgiving until February. Our school gives 6 weeks maternity leave....plus I used some saved days (and Christmas vacation didn't count), so I got a little more time with my son than the usual 6 weeks. I know each district has different policies, so check yours. The didn't mind being gone mid-year. I felt like I was starting the year twice, though. I had to "remind" the kids of my policies when I got back.

I *thought* I could time my pregnancy....I actually ttc from May, but nothing happened until March the following year. Good luck! Having a baby mid-year is not so bad.

Tamie

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Avatar for luvmyevan
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Registered: 03-29-2003
Fri, 05-30-2003 - 10:08pm
I just had a baby (my 2nd) in Sept. 2002 (so this school year). I was pregnant from early January on, and it was actually good timing. I went in for the first 3 weeks this year to get assessments done and things in order for my sub, and she came in for 8 weeks then. I went back to work at 8 weeks, and it was hard to do, but I'd only really missed the first quarter of school.

The only drawback to it is that my baby is growing up so darn fast. My oldest had a lot of health problems and seemed to stay a baby for a long time. This one is 8 1/2 months and already pulling himself up on things and slowly cruising around the furniture. That's it... that was the most difficult part. Handing things over to a sub was a little uncomfortable at first, but I had some say in who my sub was, and was in contact with her every week. It went very well. She e-mailed me at my home address with questions so that she wouldn't bother the baby and I during the day, and it really went very smoothly. I don't regret having a baby during the school year one bit! :)

OH, one more thing, the worst parts of pregnancy were pretty much over-with by the time I got back to work, just the last 3 weeks but everyone took it easy on me knowing how uncomfortable I was in that 97+ degree heat with an almost-10-pound baby in me.

Katie

Avatar for luvmyevan
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Registered: 03-29-2003
Fri, 05-30-2003 - 10:13pm
A couple more things, sorry --

Find out the rules for maternity leave where you are. We are only allowed 6 weeks (unpaid unless you use sick days) unless they have a letter from the doctor. My doc said 8 weeks due to my having a c-section.

Also find out about sick leave and if there is a 'sick leave bank'. Our district has a 'sick leave bank' that teachers can donate days to (5 per year) if they have more than they'll ever use/be able to cash in. I didn't have enough sick days to get paid for the entire 8 weeks (especially since I took a # of weeks 2 years ago for my 3 year old's surgeries), but they gave me sick days from the 'sick leave bank' and I got paid for the entire 8 weeks I was off.

Katie

Avatar for veesmimi
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-27-2003
Fri, 05-30-2003 - 11:20pm
Wow, some really good responses.. thank you! About having a sub start the year out for you, I can see that as a possible negetive. I'm currently in my first teaching position and I took over mid-year for a retiring teacher. The kids and I, we had to start from scratch-- but the residual framework from the original teacher still lingers, and the kids' often need to be reminded of my expectations. So the end of the Spring/ school year plan sounds like it afford the most time home with your newborn versus the summer option. If only I weren't new to this school, I would probably embrace that possibility. If May is my month, though, I hope my new principal is the understanding type! Thank you for all of your insights so far!
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Sat, 05-31-2003 - 8:38pm
Dear Jennifer: Yes, it is a very, shallow window of time. When my first son was born, I had to leave after Easter break. I didn't realize then how it must feel to the students. Now, I am also a mother and my own son's teacher just left on Friday to begin her maternity leave and all I can think is how hard even these last three weeks must be on little second graders. Not only that, but the teacher isn't coming back til November so it'll be even harder on next year's class.

I'd say try for that summer baby. If it doesn't work out that way, at least try to time it so that you can leave following a big holiday break because that can make the transition easier for the class.

Hope this helps.

-Jaynette
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
Sun, 06-01-2003 - 6:57pm
Ladies: With all due respect, you are giving Jennifer advice from the teacher's point of view, and from the perspective of your own families, but fist of all, do you think it's really fair to be starting at a new school and then immediately get pregnant? Also, what about the students who you have committed yourselves to? Is it really fair to them to have to deal with so much transition? I know all about children being very resilient... but it is still a disruption and upsetting particulary in the lower grades, don't you think? Just something to think about ...
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 06-02-2003 - 12:43pm
If we all followed your logic, no teacher would ever have a baby! Yes, you have a responsibility to the children in your class to do your best for them but your own family should still be a priority! Part of fulfilling your teacher's responsibilities would be finding the best sub possible to continue the students' education while you are gone.

Jane

Avatar for luvmyevan
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2003
Mon, 06-02-2003 - 9:10pm
I would hope that anyone considering having a baby would never put her career ahead of her family (born or yet-to-be-born). If you are willing to put career first now, you will put it first later, and that is not fair to your own children. It is also very naive to think that students can't handle having a sub, especially if you have a good sub. YOU come first, and I hope that the original poster realizes that and doesn't worry about what others think of when she chooses to have children.

I have been out twice in the three years with the district I currently work for. The first time was just a few weeks into my first year with the district. My son was having his 3rd heart surgery -- open heart, and we were told that it could be months before I could go back to work. Using the logic that kids are not resilient, I should have resigned. It made no sense to do that, and thankfully I was only out for 3 weeks, but my sub was wonderful (a retired first grade teacher who easily assumed the role of reading specialist for a few weeks) and the kids forgot she'd even been there once I was back.

The second time I was out was this fall, at the beginning of my 3rd year in this district. I had a great sub, and again the kids practically forgot about her once I was back, although they did want to write her letters once to thank her for her time there.

My point, don't put your own life on hold because of your career -- whether it be having a baby right now, taking a personal day to take your child to his/her first day of school, etc. Do NOT put anything before your own family, whether that means just starting your family or adding to it. Family is family and will always be there. You can't get a 'sub' for your family, and you may regret if you wait to have one because of a job.

My $.02,

Katie

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