maternity leave

Posted by: Christina

maternity leave - 04/28/05 04:14 AM

when should i tell my students i'm taking maternity leave next nov./dec.? do i tell them before or after they sign up for next year? i WAS planning to tell them at the year end recital in june, but it may be pretty obvious by then. anyone with experience in this situation? were you afraid of losing students?

p.s. i may be wanting to pick your brains about how to keep my students busy over this time as well. ie. stuff more interesting than just theory sheets...
Posted by: alidoremi

Re: maternity leave - 04/28/05 04:25 AM

Is your maternity leave just November-December? Actually, I think it's probably the most 'perfect' time of the school year for a leave because many teachers take off 1 week for Thanksgiving and 2 weeks for Christmas anyhow, so the students would be expecting NOT to be at lesson atleast those 3 weeks. If you're just taking off those 2 months I'd incorporate it into my Studio Policy and let parents know ahead of time. You can keep them busy with Christmas music and such and then start fresh in January. Many parents might even welcome a 2-month break with their busy holiday schedules.
Posted by: Christina

Re: maternity leave - 04/28/05 04:39 AM

yes, it's only going to be nov./ dec. i thought it's a good time to take off, too. it'll be like an extra long x-mas holiday. our thanksgiving is in october, however, but i think most people get really busy around that time of year anyway. there goes my christmas recital ONCE AGAIN!!! oh year!
Posted by: PFVTeach

Re: maternity leave - 04/28/05 05:25 AM

I would just tell them up front at lessons that you are expecting and your due around Nov/Dec and will be taking those two months off. Let them know you're going to give them things to work on while they are away. It's making sure they do work on it and not let it sit until the last possible minute before they do that is the problem. I would'nt worry about losing students either. I teach year round and took 3 months off one time over the summer to work out of state at WALDEN and only lost 2-3 students over it. It was not a big deal. (the ones that are going to quit are usually ones not that dedicated to lessons anyway). Enjoy that new little bundle of joy!
Posted by: Christina

Re: maternity leave - 04/28/05 05:30 AM

i was sondering about maybe setting up a website or something (work on it over summer holidays), and maybe somehow get them to do some kind of assignments every week, or 2. perhaps they can bring it by my mailbox or results? hmmm. lots to think about. i'm not overly worried about losing a couple of students, because i think with a new babe, it may be a bit of a blessing if i'm not so busy at first.
Posted by: Lilla

Re: maternity leave - 04/28/05 05:44 AM

I would just call it a Holiday Break, and let the parents know that you will be taking your maternity leave at the same time. So, no disruption to lessons - all works out beautifully - and how fortunate you are that this occurs at the same time. Sometimes I think we give out a lot more information than we need to. I would give the students Holiday music to work on and let them know what they can be reviewing in the lesson books - and a piece to try out "on their own". And provide them with a review of practice techniques and a reminder that a good pianist plays every day. Cross your fingers and hope for the best (with piano and with baby).
Good Luck.
Posted by: mirlou

Re: maternity leave - 04/28/05 08:20 AM

Maybe you can invite another teacher or a piano student who almost has a degree in teaching? I had two teachers teaching my students for 8 weeks. I told teachers and students what I expected them to do during those weeks and the students moved on like they always did and were happy they didn't need to take a break. I didn't lose a single student. Some adult students didn't want another teacher and just took those weeks off.
Posted by: Ginger

Re: maternity leave - 04/28/05 08:37 AM

How funny! I'll be having a baby in November too! For my first baby a few years ago, I just took 2 weeks off. I charge a set monthly fee, so I notified everybody for that month only their fee would be cut in half that month. I lost no students and nobody complained. ( I even got a lot of baby gifts in return!) I was late of course, so my doctor wanted to induce on a Monday. That was very convienent, and I just started my two weeks then. For me two weeks was almost too long--because I missed teaching so much!

I'm not too sure what I'll do this time. Everybody has made a pretty good case about just taking an extra long Holiday. To keep your kids busy, I have only one idea. You can make some assignments like going to a predetermined website and learning about a specific composer. There have been some good websites mentioned here before.
Posted by: mirlou

Re: maternity leave - 04/28/05 09:08 AM

Two weeks! We always have 16 weeks here! I took only 8 weeks off because after that the summer vacation started! Two weeks! How on earth did you do that????
Posted by: Lilla

Re: maternity leave - 04/28/05 09:12 AM

I did it 3 times. Not everyone has maternity benefits. I never had a paid leave of absence for maternity and couldn't afford not to be working.
Posted by: alidoremi

Re: maternity leave - 04/28/05 09:40 AM

by mirlou:
Two weeks! [Eek!] We always have 16 weeks here! I took only 8 weeks off because after that the summer vacation started!
Europe is very different. My cousin in Germany also had 4 months maternity leave (with pay). I guess that's one of the 'perks' of socialized medicine. But in the US we independent piano teachers don't have state-sponsored maternity leave. If we don't teach we don't get paid. \:\(
Posted by: Christina

Re: maternity leave - 04/28/05 11:25 AM

hey congratulations, ginger, when are you due? mine's nov.18th (or thereabouts). are you going to take more time off this time? i guess i'm kind of lucky because i can take the time off comfortably thanks to dh. when i had my dd 4 years ago, i got the maternity benefits because i worked at a music store as well. in canada, you get one full year off with 55% income for maternity leave, but only if you pay into ei (employment insurance). unfortunately with private lessons we don't generally do that, so if you rely solely on your lesson income, the time you take off is money lost. but i think it's that way in most places anyway.

i like the ideas about doing composer studies, x-mas music, and new pieces, studied independently. please keep the ideas coming! i've been feeling a little overwhelmed lately with everything to think about. thank you thank you thank you for all your ideas!!!!!!!
Posted by: Doenny

Re: maternity leave - 04/28/05 10:10 PM

Something that I did with my students this past Christmas (I had a 3 week break) was what I called "The Candy Cane Challenge"

Each student was given a paper that had a picture of a candy cane on it. I looked at the calendar and figured out how many days there were (not including weekends)that the student would realisticaly be able to practice on. Then I made it so that the candy cane picture had at least that many stripes on it. I think the one I used also had a bow tied around it, so those were extra spaces.

Then I gave them a goal like "every time you practice, perform for someone, play for pleasure, (on different days)then a parent or the teacher etc. could sign one of the squares on the candy.
They were told ahead of time how many squares were required to be filled in order for the challenge to be met.

At the end of the time, all those who met the challenge were given some kind of prize (gum, stickers, pencil, other candy etc. their choice)

It was neat to see the progress that a lot of them made.

Another idea, though you have to have the parent involved for this one! Is a practice candle. Everyone is given a candle that they only have lit while they are practicing. At the end of a couple weeks or longer see how much the candle has melted! I did this with my violin students, they seemed to like it.
Posted by: shannonspiano

Re: maternity leave - 04/29/05 04:04 AM

Congratulations Christina and Ginger.. Wow two new musical babies.. I've told all of my parents they are to expect a maternity leave in Aug and September. I let my families know with a note on the refrigerator... and watched to see how many people noticed.. Then at 11-12 weeks I let my families know directly. I still wasn't noticable expecting until about 17 weeks.
What I'm doing is making everyone who can continue lessons as consistantly as possible through July, then I've always taken August off to prepare for next year. And have another teacher ready to provide my students' extra lessons if they desire it.. but they have to schedule it with her. She's a good friend and almost retired.
I did have a student start lessons this month and just let them know in advance that I would be taking a maternity leave.. And they didn't feel it would be too much of a bother, and were glad to know up front.
Sorry that got a bit long.. But that's what I'm doing.
Posted by: Ginger

Re: maternity leave - 04/29/05 08:05 AM

Well, I'm due November 10th....and I'm a little ticked about it! Just kidding, I'm still trying to get certified, and the people at MTNA schedualed me to take the test on November 9th or 10th, the days of the Indiana State something. I was a little shocked when I contacted them to say that I was ready for the test that they schedualed it sooooo late in the year. I was really hoping for April, May, or March. Out of all the days they could have picked!

Anyway, I don't know what I'll be doing yet. I'm glad that this was brought up, because I just hadn't thought about it yet. I'm not having a recital this year to tell all the big news to. Last time, I sent out monthly statements/newsletters each month and told the news there. But since I've moved, I don't have as many students to have a real newsletter. Maybe I'll tell everyone when it's obvious that I'm not just gaining weight!
Posted by: shannonspiano

Re: maternity leave - 04/30/05 04:42 AM

Ginger.. It would be awful if you had to take the test that close to your due date... Just going for the 3 hours without food was bad enough for me, and at that point I wasn't pg. Is there anyway you can contact the state certification chair?? Ours was willing to work with my schedule, and let me take the test earlier that day before the other meetings I had. She said that I could take the test at her school sometime if I needed to.. Do contact the state chair, they are a lot more flexible than the national level, people make them out to be.
Posted by: pianoannie

Re: maternity leave - 04/30/05 06:55 AM

Originally posted by Doenny:

Another idea, though you have to have the parent involved for this one! Is a practice candle. Everyone is given a candle that they only have lit while they are practicing. At the end of a couple weeks or longer see how much the candle has melted! I did this with my violin students, they seemed to like it.
Doenny, I really love this idea! What size/type candle did you use? (the kind in a glass jar or just the stick kind?) I'm thinking that the jar kind is safer, but harder to determine the amount melted. Maybe I could weigh them at the end of the contest.
Posted by: Doenny

Re: maternity leave - 04/30/05 09:59 AM


I bought the tall tapered type of candle. Being it was Christmas when I did it, I desided to buy the kind that was numbered 1 - 25. (It was kind of pretty with a picture of a tree down the front!)

In the future if I use the tall type, I think I would just use a normal candle as the calendar one took a long time to burn, so some of them only made it half way or so.

I agree that the jar kind of candle would probably be safer.