It’s a fact for teachers that having time off at school or their classes can be stressful. You need to fill out your calendar, prepare the new lesson plans and teaching materials, and get your energy levels up again. But if you’re taking a planned absence like maternity leave, early preparation is key to having a smooth time off.
Depending on the type of students you’re handling or the school you’re working at, there are numerous steps you need to take into account. For some general tips, check out our list for preparing for a happy and smooth material leave.
Involve your students
First and foremost, don’t forget to share the exciting news with your lovely students. Sharing the good news to them and talking to them about the plans and changes in the class will help them prepare in advance. Plus, it can also make them feel special to be part of such an important moment in your life.
If you’re teaching younger kids, you can send letters to their parents. You can also tell your students when you’ll leave and when you’ll come back. Having open conversations with your class can help avoid problems or some students feeling anxious when you leave.
Communicate with parents
It’s also best to notify the parents about your upcoming maternity leave, especially if you’re handling younger students. You can send a letter or hold a meeting to discuss the details, such as how long you’ll be gone and what preparations you are doing for the kids. At the same time, this will also prevent them from contacting you while you’re on leave. Introduce them to your sub, if you already got one, or any faculty members that they can contact while you’re gone.
Look for a substitute
Before you could ever enjoy your planned absence, you also need to find and secure a proper substitute. Finding a good one can surely make your time off a lot better – no frequent calls, no repetitive questions about the lessons. And since we’re talking about maternity leaves, you need some who can fill in for weeks or months. Check-in with the school for their procedures when it comes to assigning a substitute teacher.
Furthermore, it’ll be better if you can introduce the substitute teacher to your class a week or days before you go on leave. This will help your students adjust to your sub and avoid conflicts along the way.
Create a detailed sub binder
After finding a qualified substitute teacher, it’s now time to create and organize an extensive lesson plan. Ideally, the substitute binder or plan should have everything from class schedules, classroom procedures and routines, classroom information, and class rosters. After compiling all that, you need to add the lesson plans and overviews.
Be sure that the lesson plans are detailed so your sub can focus on getting to know the class and learning the routines. As for the weekly overview, you need to include the activities and lessons for every subject. Preparing a complete sub-plan will make preparing for your maternity leave a lot easier.
Leave small surprises
Now, this tip is something you can do or not; it’s your choice. But preparing a little something for your students can make them feel special and that you care for them. For instance, you can leave a small treat or card for students who will celebrate their birthdays while you’re gone. Grabbing some small goodies for the kids won’t cost a fortune. It’s also a good way to eliminate their worries about you being gone for weeks or months. Or, you can also have surprise Google Hangouts once you’re settled in at home.
Enjoy your baby
Pregnancy is an amazing phase for any woman to be sure to enjoy the moment once you’ve prepared everything. Avoid worrying too much and let your substitute teacher take over. That is exactly why finding a qualified sub is important. Nonetheless, be sure that once you took your first day off at work, use the time to relax and prepare yourself for the baby. Is the baby’s room already done? How about the clothes and toys?
With these simple tips, you can make your maternity leave preparations a whole lot easier and more fun for you and your entire class. And of course, after all that weeks of preparation, be sure to take a rest and relax. Use that leave to enjoy your precious moment with your new baby!