Summer vacation: It's a great time of year for teachers and students alike. We all know the typical things that students do during that time off. They log some serious time at the local pool, go to summer barbeques with friends, or spend the long hours of daylight playing outside. While teachers also enjoy doing these things, their summer vacation time might look a little different. In the summer, that image of teachers furiously grading papers with their red pens is thrown out of the window in favor of other things, some enjoyable, some work.
For many teachers, having summers off isn't a choice. The transition from working long hours and grading papers to having absolutely nothing to do but watch bad, daytime television can be an unwelcome change for many teachers. Educators do their best work in the classroom, so it follows that many teachers would sign up to teach summer school, even with the opportunity to have a summer away from teaching. Summer school is a great way for students to make up missing credits, but it's also a great way for teachers to try out new lessons, keep busy, and make some extra money. Summer school is often an ideal situation, as well, because the days are usually shorter, and sometimes school doesn't meet on Fridays, giving teachers long weekends to rest and recharge.
The sad truth is that many teachers in America don't make enough money to make ends meet. While teachers can opt to split up their paychecks so they are still paid regularly in the summer (or they can get a lump sum of their remaining paychecks at the end of the school year), it is a good time for many teachers to work second jobs at longer hours in order to make enough money to keep up with the bills, or to have extra money for summer fun like vacations and other trips to see family and friends.
While some teachers prefer to teach summer school as their summer job, many other teachers want to take a break from teaching and flex their intellectual muscles in different ways. An English teacher, for example, might take a summer job writing for a news outlet. A math teacher might take a job working for an accountant. Still more teachers might take jobs at local restaurants or coffee shops, so don't be surprised if you walk into your local Starbucks and see your teacher behind the counter.
Classes and Professional Development
By state law, teachers have to keep up with their professional development in order to keep their certification valid. Each state is different, but they all require a set number of hours to be spent on professional development each year. Fitting in these classes during the school year can be difficult, so many teachers use summer vacation time to catch up on professional development hours while learning something fun and useful. Some teachers also spend the summer working on graduate credit hours that will advance them in their careers.
Vacation, Home, and Family Time
Of course, the best part of summer vacation is having the time to spend with family and friends. If they have the money, teachers have ample summer time to take trips all over, which is a wonderful thing to do to reconnect with family after a long and grueling school year. Teachers may also spend the summer entertaining and hosting parties to see old friends, or they might spend a lot of time on housework. Gardening and tackling all of those house projects that piled up during the school year are great ways to spend the summer.