Teacher nervous to tell principal I'm pregnant... — The Bump
February 2015 Moms

Teacher nervous to tell principal I'm pregnant...

Hey everyone! This is my first time posting, I could really use some support...

I am an elementary school teacher in my fourth year of teaching, but my first year in this school (same district though). I'm due on February 5th and REALLY would like to take the rest of the school year off to be home with my baby, and return in September. Money will be tight when my FMLA runs out, but my hubby and I will be able to make it work.

The problem is, my new principal has mentioned numerous times in passing all of these amazing teachers who went out on maternity leave and came right back after 6 weeks to "be there for their class". They also made a point to tell me today that my incoming class has had "little stability" in the last two years and need a caring compassionate teacher and that's why they chose me. While that's nice to hear, all of this is making me feel completely anxious over a)telling them I'm pregnant and b) that I want to stay out the rest of the year.

Anyone else going through something similar? Is it wrong of me not to go back? I care deeply for my students and want the best for them, but my baby is only going to be a baby once and I would absolutely love to spend his or her first 6 months at home with them.

Thanks ladies!

Re: Teacher nervous to tell principal I'm pregnant...

  • I'm in a similar situation and wanted to stay out for the rest if year but we really can't afford it. I don't mind going back since it's really only 3 months or so until summer break and then I'll be home with the babies then. No advice to you, but good luck!
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  • I'm one of the ones willing to only take 6 weeks. I'm working on my second certification which requires me to student teach until October. I'm hoping I find a teaching position regardless of my pregnancy.

    I understand your anxiety over your situation. I know how much love and passion goes into teaching, but your family/child comes first. Don't let others guilt you into a decision you don't feel is right for you.
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  • I'm nervous to tell, too! I think it's a bit ridiculous of her to imply "amazing" teachers come back after 6 weeks! I teach prek4 and love my students also but I think teachers know better than anyone that if you're able to make it work to stay home, it's a good thing and it should be encouraged! You are a mommy first and a teacher second. I say don't worry what the principal says and do what you need to do! It could be spun that "consistency" for that class would be letting one person finish out the year instead of adjusting to a new person, then the new leaving and you coming back...but, in the end it's your choice! My old principal used to brag about other people doing things I wouldn't do, and you just have to be able to say, that's great for them and here's what's great for me!

    That all being said, I'm trying to disguise my own bump and decide the best timing to tell my school. Since we're just starting the year, I want to wait until after parent night so it doesn't feel like "I'm so excited for this year with your students!...that I'm not gonna finish." I dont know if I'm being silly with that thought, but oh well! Good luck!
  • I am also a teacher and due on Feb 2.  I am taking the rest of the school year off.  I did the same thing with DS (late Feb until early June, plus summer).  Luckily, my principal was totally fine with it, so I don't have that added stress.  

    But as far as the idea of "being there for your class" etc.. honestly, here's how I look at it.  I love my job.  I love my students.  But I don't love my job or my students more than I love my own child.  Nor do I think it's reasonable for anyone to expect me to.  (FTR, I'm not saying that moms who go back sooner love their children any less!)  Your students' parents value their own children above your child, that's fine, that's their job as parents.  But, assuming it works with your HR and your principal, you are entitled to take as much leave time as legally permitted and shouldn't be made to feel guilty.  Your baby is only going to be little once and if you are able to take that time, take it!
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  • I get 12 weeks fmla. (now I'm scared, have to double check). It will roll right into summer with the new baby.

    My advice may go againts what others may say...I say forget the job/class, your baby needs you. I went back to work after 12 weeks at my old job and I couldn't do it. I went back for 2 weeks just to give my notice.

    I agree a baby will be small for a while. Its a special time. IF you can afford it, I say go for it, even if money will be tight. You will learn to let go of luxuries and live on necessities.

    HOWEVER, if it will leave you homeless/foodless, you have have to do what you have to do and suck it up. Can't live on love alone.

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  • I'm worried about telling my principal also. This is my 5th year at the school, but my first in a testing grade. I was pregnant before I knew I'd be moving grades. Like you, I really hope to stay out the rest of the year and return in September.

    While I do feel somewhat guilty leaving the new position mid year, I think I would regret it big time if I went back too soon. Like you said, your baby is only that little once. My husband and I agree it would be best, and we will make it work money wise.

    I think despite what your principal says, you have to put your family ahead of your job if that's what you feel is right. The principal will get over it.
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  • Bottom line is that you have to do what is best for you and your family. You should not feel pressured in coming back. Could you just say for now you are undecided how long you will take? For me, I went through HR first then had my letter in stating how much time I was requesting. 
    srcr2011
  • I agree with everyone else - baby comes first! Take the rest of the year without guilt if that's what works for your family. I was a little nervous to tell my principal since I will be leaving right before state testing for reading and will probably miss math testing too (wish I could leave the whole year, we can't make it work financially) and she was so happy and supportive. She said she'd rather I take a full 12 weeks so I could be home with the baby. You might be surprised by the reaction - good luck!
  • have you considered intermittent leave?  My plan is to stay out until spring break (mid-April) and starting the following week add one day at a time.  Start on a Friday, then the following week Thursday Friday, etc.  I did that last time and it worked well.
  • Good luck, I agree with everyone about putting your family first. You have to do what's right for you!

    I'm going to try to talk to my principal today (eek), but I expect her to be happy for me (albeit possibly put out since we had 3 teachers on maternity leave last year). I teach first, so I expect some backlash from parents, but I don't really care. I will go back after 12 weeks, though, (meaning just working a month after ), because of restrictions in my district.

    People make different decisions, and it doesn't mean we care about or families or our students any less. We can do it!
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  • I'm going to chime in again.

    I was called yesterday that due to budget cuts, I will no longer get paid for lunch duty (I am a school nurse, I "had" to stay in for lunch). Now, I HAVE to take a 30 min lunch. I sure will miss the 2 extra checks a year though :((

    My boss and I came to an agreement that I would leave at 2:30 daily, instead of 3. The kids get on the bus at 2:50. It works great and I will eat lunch at my desk and still see kids like I did before.

    I called to ask her if this started immediately. She was not at her desk so I told the secretary the plan due to budget cuts and that this was the principal's instructions. I told her I was leaving at 2:30. She told me "I hope that's ok, what if there is a fight?!" I said talk to the principal. I hung up and thought to myself "The world is NOT going to stop spinning if I'm not at work!! It's nothing they can't handle without me".  <------So this is my new motto. I figured they better get used to it since I will be going on maternity leave in 6 months.
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  • I am having the same conundrum. I'm going I to year 5 and this is my first (due Feb. 20) and I also want to take the rest of the year off if we can swing it. I am not sure when to let my DC and Principal know either but I say that your time with your baby will be limited from now on. Take advantage of the extra time with the little one while you can. Any advice out there on how to break the news?
  • Honestly, when I worked in HS I gave everything to my job. I gave myself pneumonia because I didn't even want to take a sick day when I wasn't feeling well for a week and just tried to power through and the only person that appreciated it was my boss that got laid off that year. Your students will be FINE with a long-term sub. Your baby needs you more than your students do. 

    I am also nervous to break the news to my boss. I work at a university now and our semesters are only 15 weeks long, so if I take 6-8 weeks depending on how I deliver, I am missing about half the semester (I'm not super concerned about missing time with the baby because I only teach part time now so I'd only be away from her for a few hours twice a week). Plus, there are no subs in college so I'm not even sure who will cover my classes. I'm nervous because I'm afraid my boss will tell me I have to take the whole semester off which I'd rather not do for financial reasons and for resume reasons. We are planning on moving out of state and I want continuous employment on my resume before we move, especially after taking off 2 years between my last HS job and my current college job due to the pregnancy an birth of my twins.
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  • I'm in the same position too, first year in the position, first baby. I would recommend telling your principal sooner than later. I was nervous to tell too since it's my first year in the district, and I'm high risk so I have more appts than normal, but he was nothing but supportive. It is your life and your baby, and yes you need to take care of your students, but baby and family come first and if I had a principal that thought otherwise I would get the hell out of that school anyway. If you want to take the rest of the year off, that is your right as a permanent employee of that district, regardless of your principal's personal feelings.
    If you tell and she makes judgemental or inappropriate comments, I would contact your HR rep, or union rep if you're somewhere where that's available. It's not her job to judge you, especially if you're making it clear that you're returning in the fall. Those first few months with baby are precious and I think you would regret going back earlier than originally planned just to make her happy.

    With that being said, I understand not being able to stay out that long. Financially, I know that I can't, but I would if my DH and I could afford it!
  • If FMLA is 12 weeks how will you take the rest of the year? I am due mid Feb and therefore if I take 12 weeks, I have to go back for 2 additional weeks since we aren't out until first week of June. Maybe y'all are out earlier? I am worried because I teach a test subject and my kids will have a huge state test.
  • barrett36 said:

    If FMLA is 12 weeks how will you take the rest of the year? I am due mid Feb and therefore if I take 12 weeks, I have to go back for 2 additional weeks since we aren't out until first week of June. Maybe y'all are out earlier? I am worried because I teach a test subject and my kids will have a huge state test.

    I will start by saying I have absolutely no idea how FMLA works, if I qualify, etc. But I'll be taking the rest of the year off and a good chunk of it will be unpaid. I know teachers who've taken an entire year off, and one who is due this November is taking the rest of the school year and thinking about taking the following year also. I've only worked in one district, so I don't know if that's normal or not, but I think they will hold your job in my district for 2 years, but they do not guarantee you'll return to the same grade or school when you come back.
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  • barrett36 said:
    If FMLA is 12 weeks how will you take the rest of the year? I am due mid Feb and therefore if I take 12 weeks, I have to go back for 2 additional weeks since we aren't out until first week of June. Maybe y'all are out earlier? I am worried because I teach a test subject and my kids will have a huge state test.
    At least in the school district where I work, the teacher's contract allows for up to 3 years of unpaid 'childcare leave.'  Your position is only guaranteed in the same location for 12 weeks, and a similar position is guaranteed after those 12 weeks are up.  I guess it depends on where you work.  I for one will definitely go back before the end of the year, so that I don't have to pay for my benefits all summer.  (We only pay for the benefits for 10 months, but get them all year and if you aren't in a paid status at the end of the year, you have to pay for your insurance 100% for the whole summer.  



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  • I have enough sick days built up to cover my 12 weeks, but when my FMLA runs out I will be unpaid and will have to switch to my husbands benefits. We'll stay on my husbands benefits until I go back in September. It's not ideal, by any means, but it can work.
  • wintersong139wintersong139
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    salbabe79 said:
    have you considered intermittent leave?  My plan is to stay out until spring break (mid-April) and starting the following week add one day at a time.  Start on a Friday, then the following week Thursday Friday, etc.  I did that last time and it worked well.
    I never even considered that, but it is a great idea! Our state testing starts in mid-May. If I did something like this I could demonstrate I want to be there for my school during test reviews but still have most of my fays for the baby.

    The only down side is for whomever the sub is who will be covering for you. Long term subs get the same hourly/daily rate as teachers in my county, substantially more than a sub would normally get. This is only if they teach every school day for a certain number of weeks. Breaking it up intermittently would mean less pay for them.

    A question about FMLA--doesn't that only say employers have to give you 12 weeks, paid or unpaid? I know teachers often take the rest of the year as unpaid leave, but I don't think FMLA is the reason they can do that--I think the school and county works with them. (Other teachers: am I wrong? I have never done this before!)

    ETA: I am coming from the position of taking 12 weeks, but only 6 weeks of those will be paid maternity leave, plus any family/personal sick days I have accrued.
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