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Teachers, when should I start maternity leave?

(41 Posts)
Naschkatze Thu 20-Oct-16 19:24:08

(Potentially) relevant information:
First baby, 22 weeks pregnant. Due at the end of February.

I teach KS1 in a 'challenging' school, full time. No extra responsibilities as such. I have a minor subject leadership role but nothing too time consuming.

Commute is 30/35 minutes each way and I drive. (Does there come a point when driving is uncomfortable/worse, impossible?)

It sort of makes sense to start maternity leave officially the first day back after Feb half term so I get paid (fully) for that week off. That means though on my last day in school I will be 38 weeks pregnant.

So, what do you all think?!

I know various things could mean I have to stop work early but basing this on the fact that at the moment I feel generally well except exhausted tired and no problems in pregnancy so far.

mamaduckbone Thu 20-Oct-16 19:30:14

I worked up to 38 weeks with my first for the same reason (October half term ) and did a 40 minute commute, so I could store as much maternity leave as I could for afterwards. Ds was 11 days late so it worked out perfectly. In principle, as long as you are in good health, it should be fine. My school really looked after me though - lots of lovely older TAs who made me rest! Congratulations!

Naschkatze Thu 20-Oct-16 19:45:06

Thanks Mamaduck! Do you have any tips for making it to then?! Is there anything you found particularly hard work?
At the moment, I'm finding I get through the school day fine but come 4pm it's hard to get through the marking and prepping resources etc because I'm so tired!

SussexTeacher Thu 20-Oct-16 20:12:12

I'm a secondary school head of department and due the end of March. I'm hoping to work until Feb half term, possibly a few days or a week afterwards. I don't think I could work until 38 weeks! I wouldn't be able to cope with the marking side of the job.

Plus I've watched every woman in my school really struggle to make it past 35 weeks. But I guess it's different for different schools.

For secondary, the pressure builds after Christmas as we head closer to exam season so I know I would end up doing a rubbish job x

ChocolateBudgeCake Thu 20-Oct-16 20:17:38

A lot depends on your school and class too. First pregnancy I was ks2 which is less physically demanding.

Second pregnancy I was ks1 which has been so much harder. Smaller chairs, lots more movement around the class even little things like handing out books, picking up jumpers from floor etc all made life more demanding.

It also is worth considering who is taking over? Will there be a handover? If so you may be able to let them take the lead in the last week or two allowing you to tie up loose ends etc.

1st pregnancy I stopped at 37 weeks. 2nd I stopped at 36 weeks. It can definitely be done especially if you have a fairly easy and healthy pregnancy.

MammyHester9116 Thu 20-Oct-16 20:32:40

My son was due on Tuesday after Xmas. My first official day off was the Monday! So I officially work till 39+6! smile but really only 38!
It is worth waiting as long as possible. Run up to Christmas was easier as everyone was winding gown anyway.
I was in year 1 and was giving a comfy low chair for teaching at the carpet and a nice chair for at my computer table. Towards the end I use to wheel the computer chair to their tables to work with them or they would bring their books to me and I would give lots of verbal feedback to reduce marking and staying after school.
My TA was also brilliant and would do lots for me and was a HLTA so I could leave her for 10 mins if I needed to pop to the loo or I needed to walk or move around.
Good luck!

SaltedCaramelEverything Thu 20-Oct-16 20:33:47

If you don't mind me asking another question... teachers - how did it go telling your exam classes you were (abandoning them) going on maternity leave before their exams? Dreading that bit especially for my year 13s!

MammyHester9116 Thu 20-Oct-16 20:35:13

Ps I drove all through he Christmas holidays until my husband went back to work then it was because he didn't want me in the car alone rather than I couldn't drive!

Shadowboy Thu 20-Oct-16 20:38:44

Tomorrow is my last day of work at 36+3 but officially I finish the first day back after half term. I would be 38 weeks.

During my first pregnancy I was due to finish 3rd October 38 +2 but went into labour on the Thursday 2nd!

Naschkatze Thu 20-Oct-16 20:56:00

Very useful to hear all these opinions, thank you.

Sussex I think the marking demands are probably higher in secondary than primary due to coursework, essays etc. I think that's what I'm conscious of though, I don't want to feel/ others to think I'm doing a rubbish job.

Chocolate I used to be in KS2 as well and KS1 is much more demanding in many ways! Not sure about the handover yet - all a bit up in the air. Would be good to have a couple of weeks to hand over and teach together but I think it's unlikely!

Mammy Already trying to streamline my marking with more verbal feedback etc and have a very good TA. Glad to hear driving not too much of a problem as well.

Wow Shadow! Hope you have a relaxing half term and best of luck for the new arrival. Enjoy your last day tomorrow.

Did anyone who left closer to due date later wish that they'd had longer beforehand to relax/prepare?

Aliveinwanderland Thu 20-Oct-16 20:59:38

I'm secondary and have worked up to 38 weeks. 40 minute commute.

I found the last 2/3 weeks tough and the last 3 days was very difficult as I'm not very mobile due to pelvic pain. Just walking from my classroom to the loo every hour was difficult.

I'm now nearly 2 weeks into my leave though and there is no sign of baby so I'm bored at home already! I know I couldn't have managed another week though.

happylass Thu 20-Oct-16 21:08:24

No advice as I'm pg with #1 but watching with interest! I'm secondary and my EDD is 28th Dec. I'm hoping to make it until we finish for Xmas, by which time I'll be 38+2. This means I'll officially be able to start my mat leave on my due date. Not sure how realistic I'm being but so far so good.

SussexTeacher Thu 20-Oct-16 21:15:06

SaltedCaramel I am also dreading telling my exam classes, especially my year 13s and 11s. I'm only 18 weeks but I'm going to tell them after this half term. As I'm the only person in my department that can teach A Level, I think my students will panic. But ultimately, there isn't much I can do apart from try to do a good job while I'm still here.

I think if I could just do 8 until 4 every day I could feasibly last a bit longer. But I currently spend most evenings working and doing things for my HoD role that I just can't see that being able to continue. I'm already in bed!

SussexTeacher Thu 20-Oct-16 21:18:48

PS I love meeting other teachers, even if it is just virtually.

No one quite understands our problems, like not being able to just go to the loo, like other teachers!

ChocolateBudgeCake Thu 20-Oct-16 21:51:56

Yes pregnant teacher problems!

I suddenly realised how much stuff you constantly have to pick up off the floor... pencils, bags, jumpers, piles of books, paper, water bottles, children!

Sitting on the floor, kneeling next to desks, getting down to child level etc.

ChocolateBudgeCake Thu 20-Oct-16 21:52:32

Also trying to squeeze between desks without knocking children's heads with the bump!!

CalleighDoodle Thu 20-Oct-16 21:54:23

I finished at 32 weeks with first dc due to spd. Was awful. Finished at 36 weeks with second as spf in pg was more manageable, however i needed physio for months after!

Im secondary though so stood up mostly, never sat on floors!

Naschkatze Thu 20-Oct-16 22:14:02

Haha, pregnant teacher problems! I do worry that soon I'm going to sit down on the floor, in assembly or at circle time, and then need help getting back up!

Chocolate Gone are the days when I would crouch or kneel down to talk to a child, I call them over to my chair. This afternoon we were doing art and I was desperate for a sit down but there was no chance as they all needed help with cutting things out. (I was a bit ambitious in my planning for this early in the year I think!)

How easy is it to change planned maternity leave date closer to the time?

Naschkatze Thu 20-Oct-16 22:14:48

Good luck Aliveinwanderland, hope your little one makes an appearance soon for you!

SaltedCaramelEverything Fri 21-Oct-16 06:07:49

SussexTeacher wow I'm so impressed you've hid it until 18 weeks! That's amazing. How?! The kids at my school seem weirdly good at guessing. One teacher they had started guessing the week before her 12 week scan, she had no bump, no morning sickness and literally no one but her DH knew so not like another teacher blabbed it. Don't know how they worked it out! I'm also the same with being the only AL teacher and worry about that, but I keep telling myself if I can get to early May year 13 will then go on study leave and barely any came in for revision sessions last year! I feel like this lot would because they're more needy. Argh! Teacher guilt is the worse. I've also been in bed at 9 most nights (god knows how I'll finish this planning for the new spec!)

DoctorDonnaNoble Fri 21-Oct-16 06:22:52

I worked until 39 weeks.
Except my last week was the first week in September. DS arrived 16th September. That was a lucky one. It also meant reassuring my exam classes (I had 13,12,11 and 10) wasn't such an issue as there was a clear ending to the year and for two classes it didn't matter.
However, I would have told them it was the school's responsibility to ensure that they were 'looked after'.
As for 'hiding it'. Since returning from mat leave (half a term) all my colleagues ask if I'm going to have another. I'd rather just tell them the minute I hear whispering as I dislike gossiping.

DomesticAnarchist Fri 21-Oct-16 06:33:02

I think it very much depends on how you feel, and how much leave you're planning on taking.

With DC1 I worked till 38 weeks, which fell 2 weeks after a half term. I regretted coming back for those 2 weeks. I was exhausted and in pain.

But with DC2 I felt amazing throughout and worked till the last day of term (to get paid normal pay over the holidays till birth triggered maternity). Which meant I was in school at 40+1. But only because I felt well enough and I wanted to! (DC2 was 12 days late so it was well worth it!)

With both I planned to be back at work by 6 months - I needed as much time on the higher pay rate to keep up with the bills.

Also, it's brilliant being able to answer "yesterday" to the "wow, when are you due?" questions, and watch the horror appear on their faces!

DomesticAnarchist Fri 21-Oct-16 06:36:22

Also, regarding #PregnantTeacherProblems - get the kids to come to you, get them to pick stuff up.

Make small changes that will help you function better for longer. (An early evening nap before marking/planning/dinner can help too!)

I planned to work until 39 wks/Easter hols with my first. But at 36.5 wks we got the call, ofsted turned up! As second in a for subject in an upper, and my HoD off with a hospitalized child so have to stand in, I only made it to the end of that week!

This time I've had a much more stressful pregnancy. I had planned to work until today (36+5) but at the start of end trimester I was diagnosed with a brain tumour and it's taken it's toll. Add in an 18 month old, and I gave up 2 wks ago. I decided I really needed to look after myself! Plus, I'll be ending my mat leave before I'm on smp and going on to sick pay (so full pay) when I have brain surgery inn the new year. Made the decision weirdly easy!

Sunshinie Fri 21-Oct-16 10:03:13

It's really interesting to read this. I'm currently only about 9 weeks and teach ks1 (first year after ks2 for a long time) and I am absolutely exhausted! This week has been parents' evenings too and today I have called in sick for this morning. I only have a TA for 1hr each morning who is very nice but no initiative really. Does the tiredness get better? The last few weeks I have been so behind with everything and feeling very guilty about having no real planning, just deciding what to do each morning, which I know sounds awful! It's really not how I imagined being pregnant would be!

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