|A list of name suggestions from one of my 5th graders.|
Around Thanksgiving and I told my administration and my human resources about the baby because I wanted to give them some time to plan for my leave. I also told teachers who were close friends.
The reason that I didn't share my news with the wider school community was first to be pragmatic. Parents and kids would want to know what the plan is for my leave. Also, this was during the end of the first trimester and I just didn't feel ready to have this news be part of my daily interactions and conversations with people.
Once the job posting for my paternity leave got posted, the ball got rolling. After it was posted a couple coworkers noticed and figured out it was me. Also, the baby was Facebook official at that time and I have a good amount of my coworkers as Facebook friends so it spread through those avenues. Even with all of those people knowing and the news spreading, many people were still surprised when I announced the news during a faculty meeting.
It was exciting to hear people respond and be supportive, but it was what I expected. They were adults, they knew what to say and many of them are parents themselves. I was much more nervous to tell my students.
I waited until after we hired my paternity substitute and set up for her to come next week to shadow me to tell my kids. I didn't want to make them sad because I was announcing that I was leaving. It's a really tough thing to know that I'm not going to see my kids all the way through to the end of the year, but my personal life takes priority here and I'm okay with that. This doesn't change the prospect of seeing sad eyes.
When I told my students across the different grades (3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th), there was a resounding exclamation of excitement. Some students were confused: "you can't have a baby, your are too young (3rd grader)" and yes, I did get some kids who were sad about the idea that I would be leaving. That quickly dissipated as kids got excited about suggesting baby names.
The first class I told exploded with baby name suggestions so during following classes I actually told them that I would give them the opportunity to do this, which made for a more appropriate discussion. Kids also asked to see baby pictures and one kids said that she thought that I was going to be a good dad. . . which made my heart melt.
It was really special to see how excited my students were for me and the support they showed through their enthusiasm was heartwarming. The fact that they are rooting for me makes me feel not as bad about leaving my kids for my paternity leave and I'm looking forward to returning in the fall and sharing stories and pictures of my baby boy.