When you or your partner falls pregnant with your own child, your whole teaching dynamic will shift. So how and when do you announce your pregnancy to your school and your students?
As we discussed last week, there is no right or wrong time to fall pregnant. You can choose to try to work it around your school year, but chances are it’ll happen when it happens and you’ll have to shuffle some things around.
For many people, but not all, announcing a pregnancy is a time of joyous celebration, and finding the right time to share the news can be daunting. Especially when you know it’ll have some impact on your job and career, and also on your students. You may be feeling a whole host of emotions simultaneously – excitement, anxiety, fear, disappointment, confusion, joy, contentment. Any and all of these feelings are valid, especially when you link the knowledge of your pregnancy with the reality of our incredibly dynamic job.
The announcement can feel like a burden, and may cause a lot of trepidation. Or it can feel like a time to party and forward plan. It really boils down to three different groups at your school – leadership/administration, colleagues, and students.
When deciding when to announce to any of the different groups, make sure you are comfortable for the conversation ahead. Think about if you might want or need a support person with you, and think about how you want to say what you want to say.
Aside from any rules or regulations, there is no right or wrong time to announce. Our Western culture tends toward announcing after the 12 week mark, when the chance of miscarriage significantly drops. You may like to wait for this, or you may be like me and tell people before this time. I decided that path because I knew if I were to have a miscarriage I’d need the support of my colleagues and leadership team.
Telling your leadership team
In terms of your leadership team, a great place to begin is actually looking into your leave entitlements. Find out exactly what you are eligible for, and save all that info somewhere handy. That way any future conversations with your leadership team can happen from a place of you knowing your rights, just in case they don’t (or are trying to choose to ignore them).
For example you may be eligible for additional sick leave, leave for antenatal appointments, maternity/paternity leave that is paid and/or unpaid. You may be eligible for adjustments to your timetable or commitments, or gain access to support services. Find out what your return to work would ideally look like in terms of rules and regulations, even if you are currently unsure what future path you might like to take once bub is born.
Knowledge is power, after all.
The power dynamics at your school will likely dictate who you are supposed to tell first. It could be your principal/head of school, or it could be your head of department or line manager, or it could be a deputy/vice principal/staffing manager/HR. If you want to avoid ‘rocking the boat’, as it were, go straight for the top first, then make your way back down.
I’d recommend having this conversation in person if you can. But if you can’t, or are uncomfortable with that, you could definitely write an email to the most appropriate person, or even the whole leadership team in one go and save the double-up info-sharing.
If you already know you will need additional support, be sure to have these conversations early on too. It might mean adjustments to your classroom locations, extra-curricular activities, lab access, sport commitments, etc. Especially if you end up like me with complicated hip and back issues where you can’t stand or sit or walk for long periods.
Telling your colleagues
You may choose to tell your teacher-bestie before anyone else (or they may even guess before you tell them!), and other members of your department/faculty.
When you do go down this path, be explicit with who you are comfortable them passing the information along to, especially if you haven’t told your leadership team yet. We all know teachers tend to gossip just as much as the students, so set your boundaries from the absolute beginning to avoid any unwanted announcements before you are ready.
Just as with your students, you could be as straightforward or as coy with this announcement as you like.
Dropping it in casual conversation, bursting into the room full of glee, waiting to see how long before someone asks… they’re all completely legit options. You could also announce via cake or gifts, if you’re so inclined. Or a fun and subtle one could be to write your due date on a calendar that is up on the wall for everyone to see, and see how long it takes before someone notices.
If you’re anything like me, you show super early and are just somehow blatantly obviously pregnant even when you’re not showing. I told everyone at like 10 weeks. But I’m also terrible at keeping secrets about myself, especially when it’s something so massively life-altering.
Did you know there’s a Staffroom Stories podcast? You can check out the website directly here, find transcripts and show notes here, and subscribe through Google Podcasts, the Podbean App, Amazon Music/Audible, Samsung, and Podchaser. I’ll update when it’s approved for Spotify and Apple! The trailer is live now, and our first episode goes live Tues 17th May, so keep an eye out!
Telling your students
When and how to tell your students is entirely up to you.
You could wait until you are showing (which for me was very early!) and see who is brave enough to ask. You could play a fun game, or write a letter or email to the students and their parents/carers. You could somehow link it to your content and include it as part of the lesson.
For one of my pregnancies, one of my classes was learning about reproduction and growth, so it was a bit of fun to follow along with the development of bub throughout the term.
No matter how you announce it, be prepared for a million questions – 99% of which will be some version of ‘Are you going to name your baby after me?’.
How some of our Facebook community announced their pregnancies
I told my students right around 12 weeks. I read a book about a teacher having a baby. We did a gender reveal in the class with cake pops that were pink inside. Two years later, when I run into parents from that class, they tell me their children still talk about it! I taught kindergarten. I told my admin very early on because they were wanting to make a major change and I told them with a new baby coming, I wanted to stay put for now.
I told my admin around 8 weeks, my director guessed it with 5 . I wanted to tell my student with 16 weeks, which was after our Christmas Break but then we went online for COVID. In the end I send a screencast to parents and students doing a belly reveal, I was 20 weeks pregnant by that stage.
Didn’t officially tell my students until 1 week before water broke, but 5 weeks before my due date! I told just HR and Dean of Faculty at 12 weeks only because I had horrible morning sickness and we were starting the year in person with COVID still in full effect!
12 weeks for me. I always write the silly national holiday on the board below the date. That day I wrote “Find out your teacher is having another baby day” below the date. Some didn’t believe me.
I work at FE. Got pregnant in lockdown so told my HR at 8 weeks, line manager soon after, so I taught remotely. Students were told when I went off sick just before I had the baby they were a bit confused, having only seen me online it wasn’t very obvious.
How did you announce your pregnancy? Or how are you planning to? Let me know in the comments below!
Image is an original picture of me, taken by my husband, a week and a half before our daughter was born.