While I was “off” with my new baby, it got me thinking about everything involved when taking maternity leave while teaching.    Unlike most professions, very detailed preparation is involved before leaving… from outlining procedures and systems you have in your classroom to writing daily lesson plans o the hour (maybe even minute-ha!)… a lot of work has to happen.  With my oldest, I took off a full 12 weeks.  That year I was SUPER DUPER organized.  Not only did I have everything written in a binder for the sub, I also had posters everywhere of the systems and procedures we had in place.  Plus, I was really blessed to work with a fabulous team.  We planned together yet split up the workload…from making copies to planning lessons.  It was such a blessing to not have to plan every.single.day for the substitute (as I’m sure most teachers have to do.  boo).  However, there was still so much to do!

So, I put together this list of TOP 10 TIPS TO FOR MATERNITY LEAVE for all those expecting teachers.  I have also created a free checklist for those of you who would like it.

Maternity Leave Tips www.amodernteacher.com

{Please note that these are just my opinions–hope they help!}

1. Notify your principal/staff (but be sure to tell your BTF-best teacher friend- first-)

2. Check with the Human Resource Department for policies and paperwork.  Determine how much leave you can take, what is paid vs. partial pay, who to contact if you have other insurances (like short term/long term disability), etc.  I would get to know the person or people in charge of maternity leave.  For me, the lady I worked with helped me out MORE THAN I THOUGHT I NEEDED HELP. She gave me the numbers to help me make the decision of how much time to take off.

3. Secure a substitute.  Talk with your principal on his/her procedure on hiring a sub.  Some schools use teachers already on staff, some schools use teachers who have already been interviewed and are waiting for a spot to open up, some use surplus teachers, and some (like I did) have myself and my team hire a long-term substitute.  If you get to have input on who you hire, I would look for someone who has the general classroom management techniques that are very similar to yours.  Even though they might use your system, you want the kids to almost feel like you are there…when you’re really not.

4.  Plan substitute plans.  Determine how detailed you need to be.  Maybe they will plan with your team or a teaching partner….  Maybe for the first couple of weeks they have to be very detailed but then can level off. Just depends on how you plan.

5.  If possible, have the substitute shadow you for a day or two.  I was very fortunate to have my substitute with me an entire week because as you know…Mondays in a classroom look very different than Fridays.

6.  Have all procedures/systems in place.  Having these in a binder (like the organizer) or up on walls is extremely helpful.  This way everyone is on the same page.

7.  Change passwords for technology programs the sub might use (if they can have access to them). Include these in the binder.

8.  Give contact info. of your doctor and emergency contact to a colleague and the school nurse in case of an emergency.

9.  Write a letter to your students (to be given to them sometime during your leave) to maintain connection.

10.  When you come back, treat that first week like it is the first week of school.  Although a bit time consuming, you’ll be glad you did.

*** AND when you return, stay busy, busy, busy.  I know you’ll be busy anyway but staying busy will help the time go by faster those first few weeks back.  Before you know it, it’ll be time to leave and love on your new baby.

Maternity Leave Printable www.amodernteacher.com

How many teachers on your campus are taking maternity leave this year?

Want to get even more organized for when you return from maternity leave?  Check out the Teacher Planner and Binder (an all-in-one resource) HERE.  OVER 20 designs!!

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