Tips to Make Maternity Leave Planning a Breeze!
Oh, maternity leave— as if welcoming a new baby into the world isn’t nerve-wracking enough. Having a baby is a beautiful blessing, but it also brings new stresses, new anxieties, and so much more. So yeah— let’s add maternity leave sub plans.
I have some tips to *hopefully* help you with this process! Or at least make you feel a little bit better about the 6-12 weeks you will be off.
Just to give you a better understanding of my situation, I want to clarify that my maternity leave is quite unique in terms of my teaching position, school policies, substitute teacher, and other factors. I am currently teaching 7th grade English Language Arts, with my only prep period being for that subject, and I teach for 57 minutes, four times a day. Luckily, my class sizes range from 16 to 20 students. Also, since my due date was in the middle of May, I only had three weeks of school left before summer break, which made up the rest of my leave. While I understand that my experience may not be the same as everyone else's, I hope that my advice can be adapted and help you during your own maternity leave.
Alrighty— let’s dive in!
Maternity Leave Planning:
- When you know you'll be taking maternity leave, start planning well in advance to avoid stress. Begin by reaching out to your Human Resources (HR) department to understand your leave options based on your contract. Some districts use sick days, while others might offer Emergency Medical Leave or sick day donations from colleagues.
- Discuss with HR how to manage any no-pay days and how they might affect your paychecks and insurance coverage. Also, communicate with your principal or supervisor about handling Professional Development (PD) days during your leave. You might be able to arrange flex time for these days if they fall outside your contract hours.
- Submit your request for a substitute teacher as early as possible. Knowing your sub's identity can help you tailor your plans or get to know them. If you have multiple subs, leverage their strengths for effective planning.
Strategic Lesson Planning:
- Since your maternity leave is toward the end of the school year, focus on group projects that align with your standards and curriculum. Plan projects lasting 1-2 weeks, and offer students a choice among project options. Leave a clear rubric for the substitute to facilitate grading.
- Create instructional videos on Google Meet to explain project directions, rubrics, and supply details. This helps both the substitute and students understand your expectations and eliminates confusion.
- Maintain a consistent daily routine as much as possible. For example, start each day with a podcast, review grammar skills on Mondays, and introduce First Chapter Fridays. A predictable schedule helps the substitute and students adjust to your absence.
- Be prepared with time fillers for unexpected gaps in your plans. Nonfiction articles with comprehension questions can serve as engaging activities. Having these resources ready ensures a smooth flow even if your original plans need adjustment.
By following these steps and being well-prepared, you can navigate your maternity leave with confidence, ensuring a successful learning experience for your students and a smoother transition for everyone involved.
What would you add to this list for our fellow teachers?