Perhaps the best thing of all about being a pregnant teacher is seeing the way students respond and seeing them bend over backwards to take care of you – from opening doors, to carrying your things and even, helpfully, suggesting names for your baby…
However, teaching while pregnant presents some unique challenges – restricted opportunities to eat or visit the bathroom, lots of standing up and manoeuvring through busy corridors filled with young people are just the beginning.
So here are some top tips for making it through teaching while growing another human being.
1. Drawer snacks
If drawer snacks is a new concept for you, you’ve been missing out. If you’re in the first trimester then the snack drawer is pretty much essential.
To ward off nausea, it’s sensible to eat little and often, which isn’t possible if you restrict yourself to break and lunchtime.
The chances are that you can’t stomach a great deal, but eating small amounts of dry, beige foods like crackers or biscuits can keep the sickness at bay.
While I’m not suggesting you eat throughout your lesson, a quick nibble here and there isn’t going to hurt.
2. A make-do maternity wardrobe
However long it feels, pregnancy is temporary, so you don’t want to go splashing out too much cash on your maternity wardrobe.
Where possible, make modifications to the workwear you already have (eg with waistband extenders or belly bands).
Layering up is the pregnant woman’s secret wardrobe weapon – buy a few maternity camisoles to put under your regular tops to get you a few more weeks of extra wear out of them.
3. Embrace sitting down
As your bump grows and you become increasingly tired, you might find that it’s difficult to stand for long periods of time. Your baby is taking up more and more room, including that space you used to use for your lungs, so getting a good breath while standing up and talking to a class can become a real challenge.
Where possible, sit down. If you don’t want to teach from behind your desk, then take a chair to the front of the room when you want to address the class.
Got a desk chair with wheels? Even better.
4. Accept help
You might prefer to hand out and collect in resources yourself (especially if you keep a tight leash on your glue sticks), but accept help from your students with these jobs – you’ll find that they’re more than willing to make things easier for you.
Don’t struggle with heavy bags from your car. Accept offers from your colleagues and students to help you.
With my second pregnancy I was lucky enough to have a couple of teacher friends who made it their duty to meet me at my car every morning and escort me back at the end!
I felt a bit silly at the start, but I soon got used to it. You might find you miss your little entourage when you’re done being pregnant.
5. Nap when you can
You may find that sleeping through the night becomes increasingly challenging, so embrace catching up whenever you can. A quick restorative nap after work, after dinner, and at the weekend is sometimes just what you need to get you through the day.
Rebecca Foster is head of English and associate senior leader at Wyvern St Edmund’s Learning Campus