Storks have been spotted gliding over the fine edifice of Fairmont High School, an exciting omen hinting at the swollen bellies of several Fairmont teachers. Staggering amounts of lovely Firebird teachers have explained the sightings of the telling storks. Babies just might be left on the doorsteps of Fairmont in due time.
But with the promise of children, comes the responsibility of maternity leave and lifestyle changes of the pregnant teachers. The preparation that goes into maternity leave is something many teachers have been through and the process takes a lot of meticulous planning.
Jennifer Richardson, a social studies teacher at Fairmont, has had 2 children within the past year. Currently, she is not pregnant, but possesses experience in taking time off work to provide for the new member of her family.
A vital part of maternity leave, according to Richardson, is finding an adequate substitute teacher to carry on classroom duties and teaching responsibilities.
“I met with my sub a couple times before I left,” Richardson said. “He came in one day and kind of shadowed me to see how my classes were.”
A fairly new rule has been put in place, regarding long-term substitutes, ensuring adequate experience in the appropriate subject before they are deemed qualified for the job.
Laura Resnik, an AP Statistics and Algebra teacher, as well as the JV girls golf coach at Fairmont, is very hard-working and enthusiastic about her job. Finding a sub that meets the standards of her classroom conduct and zealous teaching style is of the utmost importance to Resnik.
“I know he could be wonderful or terrible and I really don’t have too much control, but I know I have done everything I can on my part, and certainly can’t control everything.” Resnik said. “So, I’ll control what I can, and then let go and start my family.”
Although Resnik has a laser focus on starting a family, her passion for teaching hasn’t faded in the slightest.
“I feel motivated beyond belief to be organized and feel confident about my replacement while I am gone.”
Of course, there are still challenges that present themselves while teachers go through pregnancy. Richardson explains her daily routine while pregnant did not vary much from normal other than strategically placing bathroom breaks throughout the day.
Many teachers are familiar with with foot pain after being up all day explaining geometric proofs or the infamous Attack on Pearl Harbor to energetic teenagers. Once pregnant, the struggle becomes all the more challenging as pregnancy can cause fatigue.
“It is tough to be on your feet all day if you’re young, healthy, and un-pregnant, so it is definitely a struggle with a basketball under your shirt,” Resnik said.
Abby Ryberg, teacher at Fairmont, is pregnant with twins and can attest to the difficulties of teaching while pregnant. Her due date is May 28th but will likely be out of school by the beginning of May.
“They say that with twins we have twice the amount of hormones going through our bodies and so we’re sicker,” Ryberg said. “So the morning sickness can be doubled and the tiredness can be doubled.”
Ryberg’s daily schedule has changed a bit more than the other teachers due to her having twins.
“I typically like to stay after school to get work done and then go home in the evening and be done, but with being pregnant this year I would have to leave by 3:15, go home, take a nap, refuel, eat some snacks, and then do some schoolwork from home, which I always have tried to avoid,” Ryberg said.
After the work has been done and plans for a substitute has been made, the teachers can begin looking forward to the arrival of their baby.
“I couldn’t be more excited for the future, and if I had to do it all again, I wouldn’t change a thing,” Resnik said. “Let’s just hope this child sleeps and eats like a champ!”