Teachers with new babies create life balance

Faith Webb Entertainment Editor

Moving up and down the halls and setting up the classrooms are not just teachers, but parents as well. These educators are not only helping and inspiring students, but spending time with their families and young ones. In recent times, more teachers are starting or continuing their families while working full time.

Being a working parent has its ups and downs, and separating life in the classroom and home can be challenging, like when schedules clash and they have to miss events, or make sub plans because of illness in the family. They have to make sure grades and lesson plans are done while being there for their family. One of these new parents working out this balance is Dean Taylor Schultz.

“I do my best to leave my work physically and emotionally at work so I can dedicate my time to my family at home,” Schultz said. “It’s hard to leave my kid to go and ‘raise’ other people’s children. When my child is of school age, it’ll be nice to be on the same schedule as them. Having summers off to spend with my kid will be even more special this summer.”

When having a new baby, maternity leave will always be a factor for any working parent. Teachers submit to FMLA and get up to 12 weeks of leave, any time needed after comes from their sick days.  FMLA is the Family and Medical Leave Act that was implemented in 1993 that gives people in the workforce 12 weeks of work leave in a 12-month period. This goes towards maternity leave, serious illness, and injury.

The BEast family has grown this past year, with many teachers having babies. Dean Taylor Schultz welcomed her son Jackson (above), and instructor Karin Donner welcomed her daughter Cecilia (below).

However, there is no set paternity leave for fathers and usually they have to take time off of work that comes from their sick days. Science teacher Karin Donner has firsthand experience with maternity leave.

“Finances, lesson planning, and my health. I had a ‘normal’ birth, so I am guaranteed 6 weeks off and since I worked for BPS for 1+ years, I qualify for FMLA. However, 12 weeks off, without pay, is hard. I came back during May of 2022. I did enjoy seeing my students, but also I missed my daughter tremendously,” Donner said.

At East, there seems to be a rise in new parents, each with a different parenting style and choices. Working with teenagers and children in general has its impacts on parenting choices. Some of these factors into technology and raising kids in a world where iPads, phones, and tablets ingrained into everyday life. Math teacher Jeremy Lenz works with students and technology.

“I am very cautious about screen time and try to reinforce the importance of being attentive and participating in multiple activities. My kids are a long way away from getting a cell phone, but I am most nervous about that step because I’ve seen how it can negatively impact my own students’ learning,” Lenz said.

Any person needs a good support system for emotional or physical needs. So, with this community of newer parent teachers, they are able to get some of that needed support. From administration offices to people just across the hall, they can talk and ask questions and share advice. It’s a new experience and it provides valuable bonding.

“My supervisor, Mr. Bacon, and my department have been so kind and understanding. Mr. Bacon checked in on me a couple times during my maternity leave. There is also a group of strong women that I call friends here at East that have covered my class, brought my coffee, and have listened to me on rough days. I am guaranteed time to pump at work, so that has been so helpful to me as a mom,” Donner said. “It’s such a help for me as a human being. I constantly text Mrs. Hoglund and Mrs. Clark about our children. They also have a toddler and a young infant at home. The struggles are real for us and I’m so glad I’m not alone,” Donner said.

Overall, these teachers work hard to provide for their families and students. Being a part of many lives, and most importantly sharing new experiences for their little ones. Moments like first steps, laughter, and a bright future, it’s hard not to crack a smile and feel warm and fuzzy when seeing these BEAST babies.