Planning for maternity leave in the classroom can feel like a daunting task when we already have so much on our plate as teachers! I had a hard time wrapping my head around planning 2 weeks worth of lesson plans when I was already struggling to keep up daily myself.
Pregnancy made me SUPER tired and many times I found myself passed out on the couch before dinner. Not to mention all I had on my brain was BABY! I was reading baby books, decorating the nursery, trying to plan healthy meals, and researching everything. The last thing I wanted to do or think about was maternity plans!
So today, I'm mapping out the process I went through to plan my maternity leave in hopes that it saves some future teacher mommas the stress and worry of planning out ALL THE THINGS.
Here's a list of my Maternity Leave Must Haves (which I will go over in length below):
If you have followed along with me on Instagram @mrshenryinfirst you've probably noticed my obsession with bins and caddies!! I really love organization and efficiency. So, with that being said, I've modified my popular Sub Station (read more about that here) and customized it especially for Maternity & Extended Leave. It's a clear, organized, and wonderful way to gather and display everything your extended leave/maternity sub needs.
I'd like to introduce you to the MATERNITY SUB STATION.
1. Maternity Binder
This part is easiest, in my opinion, because you probably already have your classroom running just how you like it. So, veg out on the couch with your feet up and type it up in an evening or two. Add in the specifics of your class like student roster, schedule, specials, student info, parent contact info, etc. Be sure to include a brief synopsis of your daily/weekly routines, classroom management, emergency procedures, and any other important things your sub will need to know in your absence.
Your maternity leave binder can and should be quite detailed because your sub will most likely be taking it home with them to read up on during their free time. This binder should give them a great picture of how your classroom runs on a daily basis. However, keep in mind, even when you think you've added it all, your substitute teacher is bound to have questions. I would include the name of dependable students & helpful teachers the sub can check in with should questions arise during the transition.
2. Sub Survival Guide
This portable Survival Guide will help your Sub with the transition immensely!! It contains the most important info at their fingertips, such as a class list (for fire drills) or what to do in an emergency (should one occur the week they start!!) They'll have a copy of the schedule to carry with them and specials rotations.
This little tool will be invaluable as the sub learns the flow. It's not super detailed like the binder, it's just a quick reference. It's the BEST SELLING item in my TpT store because it is SO HELPFUL! I've done the leg work and gathered the most important topics together your long term sub will need to know, all you have to do is edit/input the details. I attached the pages together with a binder clip for easy flipping!
3. Curriculum & Week-at-a-glace Maps
It's important that your Sub knows what content they need to cover in your absence. A curriculum map overview and week-at-a-glance template will help them achieve those goals while keeping them focused and organized!
Both of these forms are editable, so you can edit them in your computer with ease or handwrite them if that works better for you. When I was planning out my weekly templates, I used mini-post it notes during the process so I could move things around until I had a set plan. Do what works best for you!
4. Lesson Plans (Organizing Your Copies)
My school required me to leave lesson plans for 2 weeks after my absence. This is going to look very different for each school, grade, and situation. At my school, we used a variety of resources to teach our students including curriculum textbooks, TpT resources, and school wide programs. I left specific page numbers/topics on my week-at-a-glance page and any additional copies that were needed (outside of the curriculum) I placed in a large bin labeled "week one" or "week two."
In an effort to make the transition smooth, I ran classroom copies for the first week in advance. That way the sub wouldn't have to make their own copies right away. The second week, I just placed the masters in the bin. If you aren't planning to make a bunch of copies, just stick your materials in a folder instead.
5. Emergency Sub Plans
Having Emergency Sub Plans is a MUST in my opinion. If something urgent arises while you are still in the classroom, you don't want to be messing around with writing sub plans last minute. I always have Sub Plans labeled and ready to go! They cover skills my students are familiar with and they are engaging. With thoughtful Sub Plans that are printed and ready to go, I never feel guilty about having to miss a day of school.
You can find all my No Prep Sub Plans for grades K-4 HERE.
I also have an ENTIRE WEEK of No Prep, Elephant and Piggie Sub Plans you can use if you're really in a bind. I've even had teachers email me that they used the Elephant and Piggie Set as their Maternity Plans. Talk about GENIUS!!! Wish I had those ready when I was planning!
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I hope this post helps you organize and plan your Maternity or Extended Leave with ease!