The Teachers’ Lounge: What Do Teachers Do in the Summer?

A word to the wise from graduates to students still in school: when you head into the real world and get jobs, you’ll miss those two-month-long summer vacations. Once you start working for the first few years, you’ll be lucky to even have a two-week vacation your boss will approve.

Many students may assume that the one exception to this are teachers. That when class ends and students are out, that means teachers won’t have anything to do during the summer until September when classes start for the next school year.

But this just isn’t true. So, what do teachers do in the summer? Surprisingly, they have a lot on their plate.

Teach Summer School

The way a teacher gets paid is different from the way other professionals receive their salary. While some private schools may provide salaries for their teaching staff year-round (as most private companies would), public school teachers don’t get paid for the summer months they don’t work. So, some school districts give teachers the option of receiving their annual salary in paychecks throughout the year or during the 10 months of the school year. If they choose the latter, they don’t get paid during the summer.

And given that public school teachers make around $60,000 annually (which is only a few thousand dollars more than the average salary of fresh college graduates), it’s not a lot of money. One way they can earn more is to teach summer school.

Summer school can last up to eight weeks, which means a teacher may be giving up their entire summer break for the additional income of summer school. But some teachers also choose to teach in summer school not for money, but because they genuinely want to help students who are struggling with certain subjects.

Tutoring (and Other Part-Time Jobs)

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Aside from summer school, teachers can find other types of work to increase their income over the summer. Some become private tutors, daycare assistants, drivers’ education instructors, and other odd-jobs that don’t require professional skills. These can both give them additional income as well as something to keep them busy over the next two months.

Read (for Work and Pleasure)

Teachers who love to read will most likely be spending their time catching up on novels they read for fun but didn’t have time to enjoy while teaching students. But they may also be reading pieces related to their work.

This can include news of their local school district, educational standards, new findings on effective teaching methods, or simply re-read textbooks to prepare themselves for the new curriculum.

Take Summer Classes

Yes, teachers can also be taught. Because a teacher’s tasks may go beyond the school’s working hours, they may not have time to seek higher education, continuing education units, or certifications that may or may not be related to their profession. Many programs can be taken in the span of two months.

Planning the Curriculum for Next Year

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Because the way teacher teach is always evolving, it’s highly likely that they’re using their free time to map out the lesson plans, activities, and other materials for the next school year. With so much free time, it’s likely that many teachers are already getting ready for the upcoming school year.

Department, School, and School District Meetings

It can be difficult to hold these meetings when school starts because of conflicting schedules and commitments even on the weekends. With free time on the summer, however, teachers and other members of the school district can hold meetings with a higher chance that everyone shows up.

During these meetings, they usually talk about changes for the school year, collaborations, and other matters of importance. This can also include coordinating so that the lesson plans are similar.

Preparing for the Next Batch of Students

In a typical school year, school has 180 days. During this time, a teacher will be so busy with lessons and other important matters that they won’t have time to do additional things to make school more fun for their students.

Teachers spend their last few weeks of summer vacation preparing their classrooms for their students. This means doing a bit of redecorating and cleaning so that everything will look new and refreshing when students return.

Take a Vacation (Just Like Normal People!)

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The job of a teacher is a long one. Even after the bell rings and students leave, their job isn’t done. Outside of school hours, teachers need to check homework, grade essays and quizzes, and then prepare for the next day of classes. And then there are also term papers which take much longer to grade and can even take up the better part of their weekend.

It is difficult for teachers to get a long vacation in the middle of the school year. Aside from the fact that there might not be a substitute teacher available to cover their classes, having a substitute teacher for such a long time can throw off students’ preferred teaching style.

Which is why the only time they can have a real vacation with their friends and family is during the long vacations. So, during the summer, it’s no surprise that many teachers use this opportunity to recharge and take a vacation like any other professional taking a long break at work.

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