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How do I transition back after a 10-week maternity leave??

Hi Everyone!!!

The baby's here and my pregnancy leave is almost over.

It has been nine weeks and I can't help but think about ways to transition myself back into the classroom in April. Before I left, my students were so excited about the baby.  We would always count around the classroom for attendance purposes and they would always count my bump as a member of the class. They drew me pictures, made me cards, guessed the sex, rubbed my belly, helped me stand and helped ease any fears and angst with their love and enthusiasm. They were all so warm and so sweet.  It was all I could do to leave. In fact, I thought I could work straight up until my due date. Some call it denial or fear, I would like to think that it was determined loyalty for my students and colleagues. 

The time away has felt like a lifetime.  I have been totally engrossed with Soraya, my daughter. I have entered a whole new world and must admit to being at a loss as to how to navigate my way back. 

Of course, I want to be the best I can be in both worlds.  I want to believe that I will be able to expertly juggle my new responsibilities alongside the old ones.

As I try to prepare Soraya for my departure, I can't help but feel the need to prepare my students for my arrival. Initially, I imagined myself creating a slide show of Soraya every week for them. In actuality, I completed three, her first week, her first month and her second month.  It was my way of maintaining a connection between school and my new life at home.

Next week is their last week before Spring Break and I feel that I should go in and participate in some of their morning activities. I know that they are not super sensitive but it cannot have been easy for them to get used to life without me only to now have me back in their lives.

Alexandra, Marisa and Amy have done an incredible job of keeping me in the loop.  in fact, Alexandra would tell you that it feels like I JUST left.  Maybe she feels my presence in all of my annoying early morning and late night text messages with curricular ideas:-)  She is constantly reminding me that she is NOT on the same breastfeeding schedule that I am on(smile).  Thanks to the three of them, I feel that I am somewhat up to date with the students and boy, have they changed a lot.  The students are looking forward to my arrival and yet are going to have to say good-bye to Ms. Amy Kim, whom they adore.

It is going to feel great to go back to them, their enthusiasm and love.....I just wish I was not leaving my heart and soul behind.  I often wonder why more schools I do not offer daycare for their faculty.  I am positive that it would help retain more faculty.

If you have any thoughts or suggestions for myself and other teachers in my position, please post them here.  What did you or would you do, if you were in my shoes?

Soraya Randolph My Sweet Soraya

Tour Naomi & Alexandra's Kindergarten Classroom

As team teachers, Naomi and Alexandra, strive to instill a love of learning, respect and a sense of community in their kindergarten classroom. Learn more. 

Saying it the right way!

Hello Everyone! 

Hopefully, most of you are still on vacation and not even thinking about the school year yet! 

    In our case, we are constantly brainstorming “new ideas” and thinking on “how to better our room or curriculum" , so we are too often discussing one thing or another.  One thing that we have been working on for the past two years is our use of language in the classroom! 

    As teachers, we sometimes forget what powerful tools language, words and tone are.  Language is a key component of teaching and creating a safe and fun environment. When used effectively, it enhances our teaching efforts.  Because there are two of us in the room all the time, we use each other as monitoring agents. Oftentimes, pulling each other aside to giggle at and parrot a phrase that was said to the class. In this way, we help the other really “hear” herself.  We discovered we say things that we were never aware of and have been able to take note of habitual phrases that we want to adapt. It's not an easy to do and has required a certain “rewiring”!  Funny enough, sometimes we realized that we were saying some of the things that our parents or old teachers had said to us.   

    If you are not part of a team, you could tape record yourself, ask a colleague to come and observe you or even videotape yourself.  Another thing to do is post a list of phrases that you want to use daily throughout the room.  We have been trying to follow the Responsive Classroom approach so we actually used a lot of their language. 

    We would love to hear your thoughts on language in the classroom and how you self-monitor yourselves. Also, do you have any books or articles or even ideas for us all to share. 

Thanks for reading.

Alexandra and Naomi

**A book that has been highly recommended by colleagues and also advocates of the Responsive Classroom approach is “The Power of Our Words” by Paula Denton. 

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Inside Naomi & Alexandra's Kindergarten Classroom are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.