March 24, 2016

Going Digital on Bed Rest + A Freebie!

Yes, it's true: I am a teacher who was put on bed rest with no warning. I survived, but I wouldn't wish it on anyone! It was a normal Friday at school with my 2nd grade babies. I was 32 weeks pregnant and I had just walked them to their busses and said goodbye to them for another weekend. I made it back to my classroom and started organizing things for the following Monday, and I started having contractions. 

I went home and kind of pretended that they weren't happening. I had a dance team fundraiser the next day, and I knew that if I faced the reality of possibly going into labor, that it could really mess up my plans (mistake #3,192 I've made while pregnant). I continued to have the contractions sporadically all weekend, and I finally called my doctor Sunday morning. 
To make a long, stressful story very short: the contractions were for real. I was dilated and effaced, and I had to be put on bed rest until I made it 36 weeks in an attempt to not have my baby boy too early. No teaching. No coaching. Nothing.

I learned a few things about myself during this bed rest period. 
1.) I am a control freak. Turning my classroom over to someone else with no ability to warn my students or parents or go in and prepare for a sub caused me so much anxiety I actually had higher blood pressure than normal when I would visit the doctor's office. Higher blood pressure than I had when I was teaching full time and coaching part time! Unbelievable. I had already started organizing and preparing for my maternity leave...it was going to begin the day before my due date BTW (LOL). The baby wasn't supposed to come until my classroom was ready. Instead, I was being forced to take a leave of absence 8 weeks before I had planned, and slap together some emergency plans in less than 24 hours...I wanted to just let it go and focus on my baby's health, but...
2.) I am not a graceful loser. I continued to believe that, even after the verdict had been stated, my doctor may change his mind or something. I went into each appointment with the same slew of questions. "Do you think I could go back to work if I found a way to sit a lot more?" No. "What if I only went 3 days a week?" No. "Maybe I could go back at 34 instead of 36 weeks?" No. I even tried to argue with my HR department to let me work part time, despite the doctor's orders. I really did that. I had to be told pretty firmly that it was illegal for me to work with medical orders to stay home before I stopped emailing them.

My original maternity leave organizational system. A box for each week...this idea was inspired by Miss DeCarbo over at http://secondgradesugarandspice.blogspot.com.  
Each box has several labeled file folders in it. Some had already been filled, but I had many more copies to make before I had planned to leave! 

3.) I genuinely love my job. I'm afraid that this post is making it seem like I wasn't concerned about the health of my baby. That's not true. But I did come to realize that this new role as someone's mom  was going to replace teaching as the most important work of my life...and part of me was going to have to accept that teaching would be 2nd place. I didn't expect that to be such a difficult thing to swallow. Teaching provides so much stress and busy-ness all year, that I really didn't know how much I appreciated it until I wasn't allowed to do it. I missed my students, my fellow teachers, the parents...everything. 

All of this taken into account, I realized that in order to still plan maternity leave my way I was going to have to get creative with how I could have a hand in the planning from my bed. Enter Dropbox.com. 
Within my dropbox account, I created a folder titled "Maternity Leave". There is a folder for each week of Wonders that needs to be taught. I have been filling these folders with various rotation activities that match the standards, graphic organizers, etc. These weeks in the photo above are actually the weeks that I am hoping to come back and teach myself...but we will see how long baby boy stays in there once I go back next week! If I have to stop teaching at any point before my original plan, all I have to do is enter my interim sub's email address and share these folders with her! This will keep me from feeling like I have to go up to school to communicate everything that needs to be done. What amazing peace of mind for a control freak like myself!

To round off this post, I wanted to share a free product that I created while I was thinking through how I wanted to teach the various skills this week. Problem & Solution is coming up, and this graphic organizer gives students 3 questions to ask themselves to come up with the main problem in any story! Enjoy!

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Problem-Solution-Graphic-Organizer-2463537