As teachers, we tend to have a difficult time making sacrifices in the classroom. For many of us, especially those of us who teach in low socio-economic areas, we might be one of the only constants in our students’ lives. We want to make sure that we are always “on” for our students and that we give them our best every day. At times this can be a challenge, and it only gets more challenging when you are pregnant. However, there are ways to survive teaching while pregnant without sacrificing anything in your classroom.
The first trimester can be a difficult one to navigate, especially if you are unfortunate enough to deal with severe morning sickness. Many women also prefer to not share any pregnancy news with family, friends, coworkers, and bosses during this time as well, which can only make these 13 weeks more complicated.
Here is how I managed to survive the first trimester while teaching:
- - Have seltzer water on hand at all times: This helped me so many times combat morning sickness. I would just sip on it casually throughout the entire day, and it would help.
- - Have bland crackers on hand at all times: Once again, this would help me manage the morning sickness.
- - Keep your desk stocked with snacks: Eating smaller and more frequent amounts of food helped me as well.
Many women decide to let the cat out of the bag once the second trimester starts. It is always best to share the news with your administration before telling any colleagues. News can spread quickly, and it is always best if your principal hears it from you.
This is also a good time to start the dialogue with your principal about finding a long term sub. Many districts require long-term subs to be fully credentialed or licensed teachers. The sooner you find a sub, the sooner your mind will be at ease.
The third trimester is one of the most difficult trimesters to teach through. Being on your feet for six or seven hours is rough when you are pregnant.
- - Plan your days so that students do a lot of the work: This doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your teaching to get some rest. Instead, plan some inquiry-based group and individual work for your students.
- - Take advantage of your prep period: Eat a snack, get off your feet, and grade/plan as much as you can.
- - Ask for student volunteers: Ask your students to help pass out and collect papers. This will help you stay off your feet while helping those antsy students get some energy out.
- - Dress comfortably: One word: flats. I love Born flats. They are cute and provide some additional support for your feet.
- - Don’t be afraid to take a day off: Some days you just might not feel well. It is okay to take a day off and relax at home.
- - Start planning for your sub: I am an over-planner. I can’t help it. I like to make sure that my sub is more than prepared to take over my class while on leave. I make a binder for the sub that includes everything they could possibly need. However, this doesn’t mean that I plan each and every single day for my sub. That would be too much. Instead, I provide my sub with unit plans. The unit plans include key readings, assignments, assessments, and a general time frame. I’ve found that this gives the sub a bit more flexibility when it comes to planning and preparing to take over your class. Furthermore, it allows the sub to take more ownership over the class, which is something that will benefit everyone involved.
What are some of your tips for teaching while pregnant?