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Hey guys, I would love advice from any and all! Especially the parents of young elem. aged kids. I am going back to work on Aug 30th. I teach first grade at a higher incomed area so the parents there are really involved and REALLY vocal (which is great, most of the time). My question is, open house is usually a couple days before Labor Day and before school starts. This is about an hour or two and gives parents the opportunity to bring their child to meet me and to bring in supplies so they aren't carrying it all on the first day of school. Now, I've been at this school since it has opened so most of the parents know the teachers or things about the teachers. I'm sure it has circulated over and over that Mrs. Mitchell in first grade is pregnant and due EARLY in the school year.
As parents, what would you want/need to hear from your child's teacher as you walk in the door to open house and see a very pregnant teacher?
I'm trying to get my thoughts together on how to reassure these parents that things will be OK I am missing a lot of crucial parts during the first quarter (setting routines, assessing, beginning guided reading, reviewing) and I am well aware that this is not an ideal time to be out for maternity leave. What would you want to hear from your child's teacher if you were in this situation? I plan on admitting that it's not ideal, but that I will be having a great long term sub who I will work very closely with while I am out.
Well... just from a psychological point of view (and knowing the extremes of "helicopter parents" ), I think what you have posted in that you will be working closely with the long-term sub is ideal. I have a feeling they'll want to know more about the sub... and what stability this person can offer, how you can transition to her/him and then back to you again when you return...
I wouldn't apologize for being due so early in the school year! You should embrace it and let them know this is an exciting time and you are going to continue working so it is also exciting for their kids (not you being preggo and having a baby, but getting to first grade and learning!)
I've got a few years to go before DD is in school, but I'm thinking those may be good topics to address (as briefly as you can).
__________________ Gwynne, celebrating the newest of our four precious miracles Hat's off to Vicki for my cute siggy, thank you!
The main thing for me as a parent would be to know that you would be involved in his/her teaching. If the long term sub could be there to meet that would be really good as well, I would want to see the person who will be in the classroom. And I agree that you shouldn't apologize for being pregnant.
THANK YOU BAM FOR MY AWESOME SIGGY
Always Remembering Otis, Evan Navarro, Riley, and Patrick
~September 2010 DDC's Perfect Angels~
Jeanine -- Even though I teach at a middle school, I'm also in a district that sounds very similar to yours. Fingers crossed, I'll be back at school for 14 days before I go on leave. I'm teaching 6th grade this year, so I know that both the students and their parents will be nervous about attending middle school for the first time! I plan on having my maternity sub present at open house so that they can meet her right away. I've also invited her to come in on the first day of school. I want my students and their parents to see that I'm not "abandoning" all of them and that I'm taking my leave very seriously.
I'm also working closely with my maternity leave in terms of planning and the transitions. I want to ensure that it's as smooth of a transition as possible. I've explained the types of activities I do, my grading scale, and other classroom "things" that will be important for her to know and more importantly, things for her to continue to do. All of this will be communicated to the parents. I want them to see that my sub and I are a team.
If anything, don't apologize -- I don't plan on it! Will the parents be thrilled? Some probably won't be -- but in all honesty, aren't these the types of parents that would find something else to complain about? And besides, once you have Baby Charlotte, you won't even think about what's happening with your students for a while.
My son's soon -to- be teacher is also due in September and your school sounds very much like ours!
As a highly invlolved, parent of two elementary aged kids here are my thoughts:
It would be ideal if your long-term sub could be there to meet the parents/kids with you.
My main concern would be that you might change your mind about returning to school after the baby is born so I would probably want to hear that you are fully committed to returning at x time. I would also like to know that you will be up to speed on who the kids are, where each student is at, etc. Ideally, if you could stop by the classroom a few times prior to your return just to keep the kids familiar with the fact that you are their teacher.
I don't know if you typically send home a weekly newsletter but even if your sub takes this over, it might be nice if you added a few lines to it every week (again, reassuring parents that it's still your class and you are aware of what is happening week-to-week).
As a parent, I would like to know that the transition from the sub back to you goes as smoothly as possible and that the kids' daily classroom routine remains the same (you won't start a completely different daily routine than you have your sub doing).
Edited to add: I wouldn't apologize either! People will be happy for you!
I think kids tend to handle these things better than parents but if you can be as reassuring and clear as possible what the plan is and keep the line of communication open people will respond favorably!
These are great ideas and thoughts! I definitely am returning; financially, I have to so I hope that I can reassure them that I'm not abandoning their children. The only thing I'm worried about is that my long term sub is in Greece until the 18th....that's just a little over a week before I'm due I'm hoping that the parents will not be too upset about that!
We are HIGHLY involved with Phillips teachers. I will be highly involved with Zakkarys as well.
I would not dare apologize. You should be thrilled.
I would however reassure them that you are completely committed to coming back. I like the idea about possibly adding a couple of lines to the take home bulletin to let the parents be reassured that you are still committed to their children.
I think with it being so early in the school year that you have to take leave perhaps work with the sub that you are updated on each child. I know it would seem like a lot but that way you perhaps have a little bit of each of their personality's under your belt for when you return.
When I taught, I also taught in a wealthy area and boy those parents certainly can be *vocal*. Like mentioned, I would reassure them that you will be back at X date.
Maybe with kids that young you could stop by once a week-maybe to read a quick story or something like that, just to let the kids stay familiar with you.
Maybe if any kids seem to be having problems and the long term sub needs to have a conference with the parents, you could go too, just so they would see you're aware of what is going on.
Teaching is a hard job to begin with-I know maternity leave should be YOUR time, but I know how much parents expect of teachers and sometimes that it's just easier to give up a little in order to keep your sanity.
I've been the parent of first graders for the last two years. It would be great if the parents could meet the sub at the open house but it sounds like that is not possible. Is it a sub that some of the parents might know from school?
I'd want to know:
*when you'll be back
*how you and the sub are planning to transition for your return
*what you're planning to do to help the sub for his/her start
And you shouldn't apologize!
As the parent, I really wouldn't be too worried about your being out, unless I thought my child had some particular issue that I thought would be a problem.
I think my class is the gifted class or slightly above target kids (for the sole reason of knowing that I'd be out for 12 weeks) so I'm hoping the parents will be pretty relaxed about it all!! I'm not too nervous just yet, but it's starting to cross my mind that I need to start preparing all this!
Do we work in the same district? I know I had a lot of parent requests for next year but I also know that A LOT of people DON'T want their kid in my class because I'll be gone.
We start the day after you and we also do a meet the teacher before that =)
I'm just going to explain that I'm having a baby, I'll be back in 6-12 weeks, and we have someone very competent covering my class. As it stands now, one of my old student teachers is subbing for me, and if they like me, they'll like her. I'll walk back in as if I was there for the whole time.
Because we have the vocal people and the rich people...those who have problems have already spoken...those who have problems will also speak up...and they will all get their way.
My son had two teachers that had babies in Sept. Instead of crabbing, I reminded other parents that it's their right, and to have faith that the school will hire competent people. And they did, and the kid was fine. We liked the teachers and liked the subs!!!
I know my water is going to break during storytime and they will forever laugh at me for "peeing my pants". Luckiloy for me, I think about half my class I've had their siblings so at least they kind of know me (even though I've known lots of them since they were in utero themselves!!!)
The parents who know me know that I hate being at home, also...so they KNOW I'm coming back =)