I am the third art teacher at my current school in the five years I've
worked there. I'm also the first to be fully certified and healthy. The
teacher before me had so many personal issues to overcome that she
simplified her class curriculum to months of free draw assignments. This
meant that the kids did not learn much, and they quickly grew weary of going
to art. When she decided to move on, I jumped at the chance to return to the
art room after a decade in Kindergarten.
Over the last two years I have worked hard to get our art program to where
it should be, and am learning to overcome challenges such as weekly
40-minute class periods in an extremely transient military community. Now
I'm faced with a new challenge for 2009-2010. I'll be in my third trimester
of pregnancy when school begins, on maternity leave from approx mid-
November to mid- January, and be a first time mom for the remainder of the
year. I'm certain that I'm not the first art teacher to go on maternity
leave, and I need some good ideas for keeping the momentum going in my
classroom while also becoming a first time mom.
I think that I'm going to focus on weaving, paper sculpture, and painting
when school begins. I've learned that tempera is easy to manage when you do
not water spills. My students need to improve their small motor skills,
hence weaving. They simply love paper sculpture.
I have no clue how to structure my maternity leave plans, (I'm tempted to
lock my closets to keep any overly zealous subs out) and my principal has
left that task entirely to my discretion. Do I suspend my curriculum and
have them do holiday crafts from Oriental Trading?
I'm also open to suggestions from colleagues on how they balanced becoming a
new parent with being an art teacher.
Even though I realize that many are on summer vacation about now, I am
hopeful of hearing from other art teachers who've become parents during