Why Teachers Work in the Summer

In case you didn't know, teachers don't get paid over the summer. I find myself needing to remind people of this frequently, when they start talking about how teachers have it made this time of year.

In my county, teachers are 10-month employees. Most of the teachers I know opt to have their paychecks spread out over 12 months, in order to keep getting a check during the summer.

Let me say something else about Howard County, Maryland. It has listed among the 10 riches counties in the country. But keep in mind that the cost of living in one of the riches counties is a lot higher than in other places. Yet, teacher salaries here are not the highest in the country.

Trust me, I am not complaining. Just pointing out that some of us can't afford to just chill all summer.

In the past, NerdyTeacherMom has taken the summers off for several reasons.

First, I was too fried to do anything else. Usually, by the end of the year, I have absolutely no motivation or energy. I typically plan to work throughout the summer, to alleviate the workload during the school year, but I end up am too pooped to touch anything related to teaching.

The second reason I have not worked during the summer was that my daughters were too young. I realized that any money I earned would immediately be handed over to the camps I'd have to put them in while I worked. So, my summer job, in essence, was running mommy camp. And believe me, this was work. I typically planned an itinerary that included a morning activity, lunch, afternoon activity, and dinner.

The girls are older and fend for themselves for a few hours. And NerdyTeacherMom could stand to pay off some bills. So I approached this summer with a plan to find work.

Most people think Summer School is an easy option for teachers. I did, too, until I applied this year and did not get the job. Turns out, summer school teachers don't want to give up their jobs. The hours and money are pretty good, I hear. My county didn't need another Spanish teacher this summer. When I got the news, I was too stunned to even ask if there was something else I could do, or to seek a position in another district. So, no summer school for me.

When the topic came up in a Facebook group of teachers, I realized that teachers all over the country are working during the summer. Some of the teachers posted that they drive Uber or paint houses. Others work as on-line tutors, teaching English to students in China and other countries. I know teachers who have summer gigs in retail and at concert venues. Teachers are getting it in!

One advantage of having worked outside of education is my ability to remember that there is life outside of the school walls. (Okay, I remember this sometimes!) So, for some fresh ideas, I went to YouTube and searched for tutorials on "side hustles." Gotta love YouTube! I found more than I could watch. But what inspired me most were the ones related to writing. In the past, I've blogged about how much I've always loved to write. (And how difficult it is for me to just sit down and do it!)

I've decided to make my side hustle something that I love: writing. I'm not sure how much I'll make, but I'll enjoy the process.

I've gotten my feet wet with my first Kindle ebook, Fun Activities for Spanish Club Meetings, a compilation of games, crafts and other activities teachers can do with their Spanish Club students during the school year. .

Happy Summer!


Readers' favorites

Planning for an international field trip during Spring Break

Remembering bell hooks: She signed my books but wouldn't let me take her coat

Why my kids need to know "Lift Every Voice and Sing"