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Returning to Teaching

Returning to Teaching

I have just under two months left of maternity leave. By a grand coincidence, I shall be returning to work at the beginning of the school year, which means I can start fresh along with the rest of the school, instead of slipping in part way through the year.

I have written about the mum-side of my return to work, you can read it here. This post is purely focusing on the teacher-side!

I won’t be returning to my old school for a variety of reasons, and instead I have secured a position at a new school. What a stressful and exciting prospect!

I am genuinely concerned I will have forgotten how to teach!

Taking a year off has been wonderful for oh so many reasons, but I know going back I’m going to be very scratchy with my skills. In particular I’m concerned about my stamina, tolerance, and behaviour management.

I am more tired in general now, and I know that is going to increase next year when I have to be on my feet and interacting with upwards of 100 individual people each day. I don’t drink coffee, so I can’t look for help in that arena, so here’s hoping I can get a good sleep in each night!

Having been around no one but my baby for the vast majority of each day this year means my social skills have gone out the window too. I wonder how hard it’s going to be to get back into the swing of talking with people again. It seems ridiculous, but you try not talking to people all day every day, then throw yourself into a classroom or a staff room, and see how you go.

I’m planning to spend some time over the next couple of months going through my resources and refreshing myself with what I know and have. I am also going to ask my Head of Department for the curriculum plans so I can familiarise myself with them (even if I’m not sure of exactly what I’ll be teaching). I know I will be teaching year 11 biology, which is something I haven’t done for a number of years, and they have a brand new curriculum next year. Talk about stressful! I also need to make sure I haven’t forgotten too much content knowledge over the course of the year. Go away baby brain!

I’m also going to learn the school’s behaviour management policy inside out, so that I can be enforcing it from day one if needed. Many students unfortunately see a new teacher (even though this will be my fifth year of teaching) as an ‘easy target’, so I’ll need to keep on my toes. The quickest and easiest way to get everyone on board is to demonstrate that I am well aware of their tricks and quirks, and that I know and will use the school behaviour management plan.

I’ll also be following my own advice to all beginning teachers, in that I will be getting to know my students as quickly as possible. I plan to use this trusty old questionnaire, getting to know what they like and dislike, and trying to learn their names as quickly as possible. Get them on side quickly, and the whole year is better for everyone involved.

I’m really hoping I slip back into teaching like a hand into a comfortable old glove, but who knows how it’s going to go. The juggling act that will be first term is giving me a significant amount of anxiety, that’s for sure!

Any advice for a new mum returning to full time work after a year of maternity leave? Please help me out and leave it in the comments below!


Emily is a secondary science and math teacher in Australia. She enjoys sharing the real and human teacher life, facilitating the ‘light bulb’ moment in her students, and drinking tea and wine.

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  • Sheila Forknall December 3, 2018 at 4:03 pm

    Teaching is like riding a bike you never forget and it comes back easily but not necessarily painlessly.

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