Believe it or not, teachers are people. We go to the store and shop at Wal-Mart. Most of us actually have a life outside of school. So yes teachers do have the right to get pregnant and take maternity leaves. However, for teachers, the situation is a little different than from other professions and jobs.
A teacher’s maternity leave affects more than just the teacher herself. Each and every family and child that is in the class is affected. The affect is much greater in primary grade children. Some children have a very hard time adjusting to a new person. Therefore, I would like to offer some ideas on teachers taking maternity leaves.
While it is true that some pregnancies cannot be planned, some can. Both of mine were. I got pregnant within a couple of months of trying. One of my maternity leaves began about a month after school started. The other began about two months before school was out and lased until the end of the school year.
The latter maternity leave was much more enjoyable. I truly believe that ending the school year with your maternity leave is the best possible option for taking a leave at all. The timing is better for the students and for the teacher.
When a maternity leave is taken at the beginning of the year, the teacher has no control over teaching the class routines and procedures. Therefore when the teacher returns, habits (good and bad) have already been created. It may be very difficult for both the teacher and the students to readjust to new styles. Therefore, if any way possible, I suggest at least starting the year to get the students into your own routines before turning them over to someone else.
When a leave is at the end of the school year and the teacher does not return until a new year has begun, the teacher can establish routines, teach key information, and have time to adequately get to know all of the students personally. The timing is also better on the teacher. When the teacher’s leave is over, she does not have to return to “clean up or clarify” what another person left behind. She can begin fresh with a new group of students.