English teacher dives into work after first-semester maternity leave

January 28, 2020 — by Oliver Ye and Anouk Yeh 

Ryan discusses how her transition has been — at work and at home.

Entering the classroom after a semester of maternity leave, English 9 and 10 teacher Susanna Ryan felt a wave of excitement. Although she is its her 16th year as a teacher and coming back from maternity leave with her third child, she said that she always gets excited to transition back to work. 

 “I feel really welcomed and excited to work with the kids. I'm excited to teach literature again,” Ryan said. “[Saratoga] is a great place to be, and I feel happy when I come in.”

Her transition back to work has been similar to her previous two.

“I've done it before, so I know what to expect, but I know it's a transition for students,”  Ryan said. “I'm trying to empathize with everybody who's kind of experienced that absence, and just kind of recognizing what it was like for them.”

Ryan spent the majority of the first week back adjusting her students to her classroom expectations.  Long-term substitute Ellen McCormick taught her classes in most of first semester.

According to freshman Kate Hsiung, who is in Ryan’s English 9 class, the transition has been pretty smooth so far — although there was a clear difference in expectations between the two teachers. 

“The teacher before Mrs. Ryan didn’t give a lot of work, and now the classroom environment is very different behavior-wise — everyone gets a lot more quiet, no one really talks anymore,” Hsiung said. 

Using a Google Form, Ryan allowed students to express how they were feeling about the mid-year change. 

So far, Ryan said the hardest part of the transition to school is spending less time with her son each day.

“I keep leaving later than I should because I just keep holding [Franklin], and then I run home [after school] and just hold him the rest of the night,” she said.

Something that Ryan has been grateful for as she has transitioned back has been the support of her husband, who has taken a four-week paternity leave in order to take care of the “total chaos and a hundred things to do” in the house. 

She said that although it’s nic

Ryan has also been attempting to incorporate her love for literature in the classroom to her own children’s lives. According to Ryan, Josie, her oldest child, who currently attends Argonaut as a first grader, has recently been engrossed with reading literature and poetry.

“We haven't been as good at making time for Franklin to be  read to yet, but I bet Josie is going read a bunch to him too, because she loves it,” Ryan said. “It's just cute to see how books can be become so central to kids’ lives.”

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