How to return to teaching after maternity leave: top-notch tips

Working women tend to plan quite thoroughly the steps which are necessary to take before leaving for maternity leave. The time spent at home while taking care of the baby is one of the most exciting and exhausting things that one can have. The joy and endless happiness of a new parent go in parallel with sleepless nights, continual feeding and cooking.

However, there comes the time when you need to plan your return from maternity leave. In the beginning, it may seem quite an easy task but you may need a much more detailed plan than the one you had before the leave. Here are the most helpful tips which will make your transition from maternity leave to teaching much easier.

Gather first-hand information

First-hand experience is always a great chance to get the information you need. So before getting back to teaching, try to set up some time to talk with moms from your workplace who took teacher maternity leave and returned. Their experience will reveal a lot of issues you have never thought about. You may ask questions about the support from the administration, the challenges you may face with colleagues/students,  tips for setting the best schedule.

Follow your own plan

The support and advice you get from other mom teachers are valuable but you know your family better and you must choose what is right for you and your family. If you are suggested to manage a speaking club or cover other teachers, you may refuse if your family routine will suffer.

Make your kids a part of your teaching

Students are always interested in the routine you have with your child/children. I bring in pictures and videos, and if I can incorporate something my kids did or said into a lesson, I do it. My students love hearing about my kids, and it feels good to bring that part of my life into the classroom. Another fun activity for teaching after maternity leave is to have your students write about what they think you did while you were on maternity leave. Some of them will write the funniest things.

Find enjoyable things at work

Think of little things which will make your return to work much easier. These enjoyable things must not necessarily be connected with teaching. For example, when I was on maternity leave I enjoyed morning tea/coffee times therefore I implemented this habit into my teaching mornings.

Avoid additional stress

Do your best to not take on a new role or teach a new grade level or subject from the previous year. Returning to something you already know how to do will save you time and prevent additional stress.

Add up the teaching hours step by step to make you used to the working routine. Take 20-30 minutes after the baby sleeps to read some professional literature or plan the upcoming lesson.

The most challenging thing on the first working day for me was leaving my kids for so long. Before, I had left them with my parents for a maximum of three hours. When I returned to work I was away for about 6 or 7 hours. That long separation was tearing me apart, so probably I would recommend gradually increasing time away from kids. — comment from a working mom, Maria Tsedrik

Get ready for emergencies

It is a good idea to plan and make copies/materials for a couple of substitute lessons. Children tend to get sick quite often and you will be required to stay home to take care of the baby. Therefore, it is of great importance to prepare materials for a couple of substitute lessons. You will be calm to know that your students have already been planned for.

Find your time-savers

Try to finish lesson planning and checking parts in the classroom. The less work you take home, the more time you will spend with your little one. Find a childcare centre close to your school to save time and energy.

CPD is your everything

Plan a set of webinars and workshops as a part of professional development. Consult with colleagues which workshops will be more effective for you as a newly-returned teacher.

Practice peer teaching to reduce your workload. Observe classes of other teachers to implement new techniques and methods into your classes.

During my maternity leave, I felt as if I was losing all my knowledge about the language and teaching.—сomment from a working mom, Daria Potapkova

Hopefully, all these tips will help you to successfully return to teaching after maternity leave. Moms, what tips do you have for returning from maternity leave? What did you learn or what would you do differently?

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