A Long Nine Months – Project Managers Juggle Teaching and Families

January 31, 2015

Culture, The Zoetics


Project Manager Danielle Plomaritas, left, and Social Worker April Marquez are two of a handful of ASK staff who have gone on maternity leave in the past year.

Project Manager Danielle Plomaritas, left, and Social Worker April Marquez are two of a handful of ASK staff who have gone on maternity leave in the past year.

By Brenna Garcia

There must be something in the water — in the last three years, a handful of Project Managers at ASK have become pregnant shortly within their tenure on campus. Carrying a child for nine months itself is difficult, but adding in long work days and leading a class make it even harder.

According to Biomedical Project Manager Karen Pierce, who is in the middle of her second maternity leave at ASK, being pregnant as a teacher is not easy. “Depending on the symptoms that you are experiencing, teaching can be pretty hard while pregnant.”  With fatigue, mood swings, and raging hormones, a manager’s pregnancy can be hard on both the teacher and the scholars.

Manager Danielle Plomaritas is due with her first son in March. She said that she is more tired these days and that walking around the classroom can be difficult because of her back and hips. She also that most teachers want their absence have as little effect on scholars as possible, which makes lesson planning difficult.

“I’m very picky about how my class is run, which makes me want to plan activities that I would actually do if I were present. This presents a planning challenge because the sub may or may not understand the activities I want done,” Plomaritas said.

ASK Social Worker April Marquez is in her third trimester. For her, the hardest part is the fatigue she is experiencing. “A kid can be pouring their heart and soul out to me, and I begin yawning,” she laughed. “I feel awful for doing it, but I think the kids understand.”

It can also be a challenge for teachers to find interesting ways to announce to their classes that they are pregnant. First-time mothers’ Plomaritas and Marquez both waited until the end of the first trimester, while Pierce waited longer due to some issues with previous pregnancies. During a lecture about the embryonic development, Pierce put up an ultrasound picture of her first child and let the class come to the realization that it was her own. Her second announcement was not as clever, seeing as she found out she was expecting just before school let out, and she was already showing when school started again in the Fall.

Plomaritas projected a photo onto the board. She and her husband were posing with their dog, and holding a pair of baby shoes. She walked away and let scholars guess, and said it took the boys a little longer to figure it out. Marquez said she just told students point blank that she was pregnant with no special announcement. She said she asked, “Did you know I was pregnant?” or “Have I told you I am pregnant?”

Senior Kylie McGhee said it was difficult having Pierce gone on maternity leave, since she has several classes with her throughout the day. “It was like losing two teachers at once,” she said. In her four years at ASK, McGhee has had quite a few teachers become pregnant and go on leave. She agreed that sometimes hormonal, pregnant project managers can be difficult to work with. “Once they went on maternity leave, it was kind of a relief, because they were so stressed out and mean. But it’s bittersweet also, because we lost one of our favorite teachers.”

Senior Austin Aguinaldo said the hardest part of having so many teachers out on maternity leave is the long-term subs.”Long term subs just don’t fit in, because our school is so different than regular schools. We form a bond with our teachers since our school is so small, and when they leave it’s kind of hard to let go.”

Although scholars complain about hormonal project managers, and having to deal with long term subs during maternity leave, most of them seem to support the manager’s growing families.


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