Maternity Leave Suggestions

Kimberly said: Aug 24, 2009
Kimberly Fanning
Suzuki Association Member
Cello, Viola, Violin
7 posts

Has anyone here taken a maternity leave? I’m having a baby in early March (circa March 9) and am not sure how to handle things. I’m hoping to teach through February (if the little one cooperates) and hoping to come back after 4-6 weeks (late April or beginning of May). Should I try to find a substitute? Should I just let them have a 6-8 week break? The biggest problem with finding a sub is I teach violin, viola and cello. I don’t know of any other teacher in town who does all three.

Any advice would be lovely!

Laura said: Aug 24, 2009
Suzuki Association Member
358 posts

Do you teach completely on your own, or part of a larger school with other teachers?

Sara said: Aug 25, 2009
191 posts

Find three different teachers to take over the three specific instruments. You could give the parents and students a choice if they want the time off or if they want a sub. I think most people are understanding of a baby arrival. If they are the parents of your students they have dealt with that themselves and know exactly how it is to juggle life afterward. Congratulations on your soon to be new arrival!!
Is this your first baby? You may consider taking more time off unless you have a very small studio. A baby will keep you up all night and demand your attention all day. Motherhood is definitely more enjoyable the less outside responsibilities you have to deal with.
Best of luck to you!

“What is man’s ultimate direction in life? It is to look for love, truth, virtue, and beauty.” Dr. Shinichi Suzuki

Kimberly said: Aug 26, 2009
Kimberly Fanning
Suzuki Association Member
Cello, Viola, Violin
7 posts

I have 5 different jobs, actually. I’m taking off the spring semester of my college teaching jobs and my private school lessons altogether. My 2 private lesson jobs are what I’m more worried about. In one I’m the only string teacher. At the other, there’s 3 other violin teachers, but I’m the only viola and cello teacher.

Unfortunately, I can’t take too much time off. I’m the breadwinner of our household (my husband has a factory job) and if I don’t work, the mortgage doesn’t get paid. Thankfully, my husband has a large family, all in town, so I’ll have plenty of support. (The first grandchild is also making my parents seriously consider moving out here to be near me instead of 500 miles away. That would really make my life easier.)

Most of the parents I’ve talked to seem fine and understanding with me taking off 4-6 weeks. (And my older students are thankful that my due date is 4-5 weeks after solo/ensemble contest.) Only a few have asked about taking a few lessons elsewhere during my time off.

Lynn said: Aug 26, 2009
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
173 posts

This is kind of a cool thing, you know, having a baby! If you asked your students to work with you and work with each other generating solutions for this time period when you are introducing new life to the planet, I wonder what they will come up with? Rather than generate a formal arrangement for all of them what if you identified a menu of possible options, and let each family decide with you how they wanted to work through this period? From your last post, it sounds as if some of your students might be okay with a break from lessons; for others, a temporary teacher either weekly, or 2-3 times during your leave; if you have a range of age and levels, perhaps a younger student could buddy with an older student and get feedback or tips on review pieces; older students could meet together and play for each other (if the group dynamics allow for that…) and so on. (With 5 different jobs, how many students do you have?!)

Congratulations, though—and happy, healthy gestating!

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