Becoming a parent: How to tell your students

30th March 2018 at 00:00
A primary school teacher and a curriculum leader in secondary offer their advice on sharing your good news with your pupils

Primary

My first baby was due in October and my maternity leave started after the summer holidays, so the class I was teaching at the time were completely unaffected.

My headteacher was happy for me to decide when I wanted to tell the children, and I waited until 25 weeks for a number of reasons. The main one was that this was the stage that I felt most comfortable sharing my news with more people.

I was really excited about telling the children and it ended up being rather amusing. They were excited, but also surprised as they just thought I’d “got a bit fat”.

The second time I was pregnant, I was in a job share and due in May. This meant that informing parents and children was a very different experience. I wanted to inform them earlier to allow the children time to get used to the idea of a different teacher, and I wanted a period of transition before I started maternity leave. Therefore, they were informed before I was 20 weeks.

Again, they were excited and this time it was early enough that they had not already decided I had just “got a bit fat”.

Heidi Connolly is a primary school teacher in Hampshire


 

Secondary

You will need to tell your classes that you are having a baby – that’s the first thing to realise. The main reason is that, even if you are in denial, students are likely to notice your blossoming bump. And at least one of them will ask.

You may wish to announce your pregnancy before they notice the bump for a number of reasons: maybe you are floating on a joyful first baby bubble; perhaps you are already vomiting copiously into the classroom bin and don’t want them to think you’re an alcoholic; or maybe you fear the weighty whispers of “Fatty McFatterson” as you expand into the next trimester.

Ultimately, when you choose to tell your class will depend on your own personal circumstances.

My advice is: think it through before you (over) share. There are many emotive areas of discussion that can be raised by teacher pregnancy, such as infertility, IVF, fostering, sperm or egg donation, adoption, miscarriage or stillbirth. And teenagers will raise them.

Stephanie Keenan is curriculum leader for English and literacy at Ruislip High School in north-west London

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