Dr. Walter Returns from Maternity Leave

Dr. Walter smiles with her son Ethan. Photo: Melody Walter

As if becoming a parent isn’t difficult enough, returning to teaching after becoming a parent can be even more challenging. But chemistry teacher Melody Walter is ready for this challenge. On Nov. 21, she returned to Pace Academy’s upper school science department from maternity leave after the birth of son Ethan Michael Murray Walter on Aug. 10.

Over her maternity leave, Dr. Walter had time to get to know her son and begin to adjust to being his mom. “Parenting is really hard, but rewarding work,” she said. Walter’s new life as a teacher-parent has been filled with constant juggling and multitasking.

There are many hard parts to being a mom, especially a new one. However, “one of the biggest challenges is trying to rapidly learn about Ethan and his needs since he’s constantly growing and changing,” according to Dr. Walter. She keeps an optimistic outlook towards all parenting challenges saying that she just wants “to try and do the best [she] can.” Additionally, she has a rapidly changing sleep schedule because of Ethan’s young age. She embraces the nights when Ethan is able to sleep a bit more and hopes that he continues to make progress. 

In Dr. Walter’s case, the phrase “it takes a village to raise a child” truly holds up. The involvement of husband Steven Walter and the help of Dr. Walter’s parents has allowed her to smoothly return to teaching knowing Ethan is always in safe hands. “It’s Ethan’s world and we’re just living in it,” she said.

Parenting has changed Dr. Walter’s role as a teacher in some ways. “As a parent, I am learning how to be more efficient in and outside of class time since time is so limited and valuable,” she said. But her teaching style continues to be student-driven as she strives to inspire excitement for chemistry and facilitates self-guided learning among students.

While Dr. Walter was at home caring for Ethan she missed the Pace community, students and teachers alike. As she continues to make the adjustment back to teaching as a working mom she looks forward to the coming semester and to seeing the senior class graduate. “[The 2020 class] is the first class of students that I taught at Pace, so it will be bittersweet in May,” she said. Additionally, Walter looks forward to  getting to know the sophomores in her classes while talking about science.

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