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Returning To Teaching After Maternity Leave

Returning to teaching after maternity leave can be both exciting and challenging. You are so excited to see your students and do the job that you love, but you are sad to be away from your new baby and all the emotions the transition will bring.

Returning to teaching after maternity leave may sound difficult, but if you start by planning ahead and making preparations, the transition can be easier.

Here are some pieces of advice to help make the transition back to your classroom as smooth as possible.

breast bump by laptop, mom with baby, teacher with students- returning to teaching after maternity leave

How do I transition back to teaching after maternity leave?

Start preparing for your return to your classroom well in advance. Coordinate with your HR department, administrators, and team teachers to determine the date you’ll be returning and discuss any changes to your work schedule or responsibilities. 

If you are going to pump breast milk while at school, start establishing your pumping schedule in advance, to prepare your body for the transition back to work. Make preparations ahead of time for where you will pump at school, where you will store your breast milk, and who will watch your class while you are pumping. For more help in preparing to pump at school, read these blog posts, Why Is Pumping as a Teacher Such a Challenge?  and  7 Wise Pumping Tips for Teachers at School.

One of the hardest decisions to make when going back to teaching after maternity leave is finding the right childcare for your baby. Depending on your situation, you will want to start the search for childcare early (maybe even while you are still pregnant). Research and visit daycare centers, interview potential nannies or explore other arrangements, such as with a trusted family member or neighbor. Whichever route you go, ensure that you feel comfortable and confident in your chosen childcare provider.

If it will help you with the transition of teaching after maternity leave, ask your childcare provider for updates or pictures of your baby throughout the day.

Create a transition plan with your long-term sub and team teachers that ensure a smooth handover of responsibilities. We all know that creating maternity leave sub-plans can be one of the stresses before maternity leave. Just as you worked hard to make things easy for your long-term sub, work with your team and ask that they help your transition back to teaching after maternity leave easy, too!

This may not be possible in all schools or situations, but if possible, consider easing back into work with a gradual return. See if your long-term sub could work one half of the day and you the other half. This can help you adjust and find a new balance between work and family life.

When you are fully back in your classroom, take time to reestablish rules, routines, and expectations. Even with the best long-term sub, things will have changed in your classroom. This will help your students and you get back into the swing of things.

How to write a letter for returning to work after maternity leave?

Stay in touch with your HR department and/or administrators during your maternity leave to maintain a connection and to communicate about your return. Before your return to teaching after maternity leave, have a conversation about any changes or adjustments you may need, such as a change in school responsibilities or setting up a pumping schedule and location.

As the end of your leave approaches, write a letter to your administrator with the following information:

  • Your return to work date
  • Accommodations or requests that you may have
  • Note from your healthcare provider, if there is any information pertinent for them to know
  • Copy of communications that you have sent to parents about your leave

You’ll also want to send parents a letter about your return to teaching after maternity leave that should include information such as: 

  • Your return date
  • Any information you want your parents to know
  • Contact information for any questions
  • Thank them for their patience during this transition period

Our maternity leave letters have three pre-written, editable letters to send to parents prior to your maternity leave. Plus, the product also contains editable black letters for you to write additional letters that you’ll need to send throughout your maternity leave.  

How do I adjust to returning to work after maternity leave?

As you juggle teaching and the new addition to your family life, remember to prioritize self-care. Take breaks when needed, and don’t feel guilty about taking a day off when you need one!  Maintain a healthy lifestyle as best you can. Seek support from your partner, colleagues, family, and friends. Self-care will help you manage the demands of teaching and parenting effectively.

Be patient and realistic with yourself. Recognize that the transition may take time, and it’s normal to feel a mix of emotions, excited and happy to be back in your classroom with your students, and sad to be away from your baby. Give yourself permission to adjust gradually and be patient with the process. Set realistic expectations for yourself, both at school and at home.

Along with being patient and realistic with yourself, you’ll also need to embrace a flexible mindset that allows you to navigate the demands of teaching and family life effectively. Parenthood brings unexpected changes, be prepared to adapt your routine, schedules, and plans as needed. 

Connect with other teacher moms who have gone through a similar experience. Join our Wife Teacher Mommies Unite Facebook group for support from teachers just like you. Or join Wife Teacher Mommy Club where you’ll have not only access to an amazing community of teachers but also group life coaching that can help you with the transition after teacher maternity leave. 

Don’t forget throughout your whole transition to OWN YOUR WINS! You are doing a hard thing, be sure to recognize your daily wins. Take time to celebrate both personal and professional milestones. Whether it’s achieving a work goal or witnessing your child’s developmental milestones, celebrate the achievements along the way to stay motivated and maintain a positive mindset.

Remember, every parent’s journey is unique, so trust yourself and make choices that align with your family’s needs and values. With time, you’ll find a rhythm that works for you and your growing family.

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kelsey sorenson

Hey there, new teacher bestie! I’m Kelsey, and I created Wife Teacher Mommy just for YOU! I blog about teaching and create elementary school and homeschooling resources to make your life easier. Be sure to sign up for my FREE email newsletter!

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