I used to roll my eyes when I was in high school and teachers would say, “It’s so much easier to just be here and be sick than to be at home!” BUT OH MY GOD WERE THEY RIGHT! Handing over your classroom to a stranger is daunting. Will they follow the plans correctly? Will the kids behave? Will I come back to chaos the next day? Those thoughts have all run through a teacher’s head when prepping to be gone for any amount of time. Now imagine that multiplied by EIGHT WEEKS (omgterrifying). As a soon-to-be mom, I was determined to figure out how to handle maternity plans in a simple and straightforward manner.
To be completely honest, the mere thought of turning over my classroom – and the relationships I’ve spent time nurturing with all 130 of my students – to a total stranger for the entirety of my maternity leave, has riddled me with anxiety. Luckily I work within the BNHS Science Department and they are truly the most helpful, dedicated coworkers one could hope for. I know my sub will be in good hands with them, which eases my anxiety a little bit, but I knew I’d need to do my research and ask as many mommy-teachers for advice as I could before I turned over my classroom.
I’ve compiled all the advice I could into my own Maternity Leave Binder. Now that it’s done, I feel SO much better! I have split up the rest of this post based on the table of contents so you can get an idea of what my train of thought was. I also included some screen shots of both my personal plans, as well as the general template.
**I usually teach AP Environmental, but when I leave, the other AP Environmental teacher is taking over that class to prep them for the AP test, so they aren’t included in this Maternity Leave Binder.**
- This section mainly includes general information about myself and the school. First, there’s an “About Me” page to introduce myself and allow the sub to get to know me a little more. There’s also a helpful usernames, passwords, and my contact information page. I have a section dedicated to just my department, including brief descriptions and contact info about the members, as well as our department schedules. I also have a whole section with all of the important administrative contact information, nurse info, guidance info, and go-to people for technology help. I was also sure to include all the different daily bell schedules (normal day, assembly day, late start, and early release).
- Lastly, included a sample of the letter I sent home to parents (shout out to Kylie Law for her original letter I based mine off of). We don’t have a sub hired yet, so another followup letter will be sent with the sub’s information later on.
- In this section I outline all of my classroom procedures, disciplinary procedures, and emergency procedures. It’s essential for the sub to understand the things we do every day in class, where things are found, and how the students are used to things being run. Even though I teach high school, routine is ESSENTIAL to our day running smoothly! I even included pictures!
- I also discuss what disciplinary rules we follow within the classroom, as well as the school-wide rules. I outline the emergency procedures which are constantly updated at my school, including weather emergencies, building emergencies, and intruder emergencies.
- Here I outline the different classes I teach in great detail so the sub can get a feel for each period and how they differ from one another.
- I start with my Accelerated Biology classes. I include a description of each Accelerated class period, what makes each class unique, what I do differently between my two Accelerated classes, a list of helpful students, and students with certain needs. After that, I included all IEP and 504 plans for these two periods, a general content timeline to help the sub make adjustments to the schedule, as well as a calendar of each month I’ll be gone (including a month before and a month after) with a rough outline of what activities or lessons are to be done on what days. Obviously this is all up for flexibility, as things don’t always go perfectly to plan!
- The next section is dedicated to my General & Co-Taught Biology classes. I included all of the same information as the Accelerated classes, but this section also includes an “About Me” introduction of the paraprofessional that helps me in these classes, as well as a list of helpful tips since these students have more unique needs than my Accelerated students do both academically & behaviorally.
I hope the advice of my mommy-teacher friends and my obsessive nature will provide you with some useful information to help you simplify your maternity leave plans, spend less time worrying about your class, and more time focused on your newest addition 🙂 View and download the free editable template HERE!
Do you have any more advice for me as a first time mom about to leave her beloved classroom? Is there something in my maternity plans you found to be really helpful? On the contrary, do you have any constructive criticism or suggestions? I’d love to hear from you! Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below! Thank you!