As the weather warms up, it can be tough to tell who’s looking forward to summer the most: the students or the teachers. but two or three months off can be a daunting proposition when bills still need to be paid, or you’re seeking to keep busy during the summer months. What options are there for teachers looking to work over the summer, and how can you access those opportunities?
There are plenty of openings for teachers to pick up extra money and experience over the summer. If your school district offers summer school classes, that’s a perennial option, but there are also lots of opportunities just beyond the school parking lot.
Now, more than ever, teachers are in demand for a number of seasonal careers, because they bring not only specialized knowledge to all sorts of educational settings (or non-educational, if you truly want and need a break), but also lots of great people skills that translate across disciplines. Let’s explore some of the best options for teachers who want to keep working through the summer.
You can take the teacher out of the classroom, but can you ever really take the classroom out of the teacher? There are many opportunities to keep the pedagogy flowing over summer break.
Many kids need help with their schoolwork year-round, whether they’re in summer school or just working to catch up before the next school year. Tutoring is great because it has flexible hours (typically arranged directly with the student and his or her parents), and often allows teachers to work close to home, if not in the home. These days, tutoring has moved from living rooms and libraries to the internet, so teachers can tutor students and earn extra money from anywhere (you can even work with students from that well-earned beach vacation spot). Tutoring also allows you to keep those classroom skills in fighting shape, especially in areas where kids frequently need extra help (english, math, science, and computers). Some great resources for getting started in tutoring include:
Test prep tutoring
In addition to subject-specific tutoring, there are lots of opportunities to work with students prepping for the sat and act. Companies like Kaplan test prep and Princeton review are constantly hiring tutors, class instructors, and exam proctors who can help students study, practice, and strategize for their upcoming exams. the companies typically offer training in specific exam prep, though personal experience comes in handy, especially if you’re not so far removed from being that sat student yourself. They generally need stable, experienced professionals with flexible schedules to meet student needs.
Teaching in the community
Summer programs often need experienced teachers to step in and work with students over the summer, in non-traditional schools and programs. These may include community and youth centers, healthcare facilities, or adult learning centers. Teachers who can work with special needs students are especially in demand, even when school’s not in session.
Going back to college
No, not for keggers and sleeping through 8 a.m. classes (i know, i miss it too!). Many colleges and universities offer summer programs for pre-college students, and need academic and administrative staff on site. These are located all over the country, so be sure to check higher-ed schools near you for teaching and staffing opportunities. Or if you’re willing to travel and live on or near campus, you can use it as a working vacation with new scenery. some examples of these kinds of programs:
Working with English language learners
Teaching English as a second language (ESL) is another great opportunity for teachers looking for seasonal or part-time work. It may involve one-on-one tutoring for adults trying to improve their English language skills, or teaching courses. your local community center, community colleges, or government may offer classes over the summer, so check with them to see what openings are available.
Working with adults may be outside of your usual teaching comfort zone, but many teachers find it to be a rewarding experience outside of school hours. As with tutoring, there are also opportunities to work online with students, outside of a traditional classroom setting. Or if you’re feeling extra adventurous this summer, you could teach English abroad. Opportunities abound, stateside or otherwise!
Teaching online college courses
Like tutoring, teaching college-level classes has gone high-tech. remote teaching jobs are all the rage, and it’s something you can do close to home. Schools like University of Phoenix, Southern New Hampshire University, and others recruit well-qualified online instructors from all over the country. These classes typically allow for a flexible schedule, and allow you to teach from anywhere, as long as you have a strong WiFi signal.
The great outdoors
If you’re looking forward to summer because you get to spend it outside of those classroom walls and soaking up nature, there are ways to parlay your teaching skills into outdoorsy-type jobs as well.
Despite what pop culture may have led us to believe, kids do learn more than basic popsicle stick crafts at camp. Many camps (either sleep-away camps or day camps), especially ones that specialize in specific subjects (like stem/technology), often seek teachers to teach classes, but also to act as camp counselors who work with kids on social, physical, and educational activities.
As a teacher, you already know what it’s like to be responsible for people, and to keep an eagle eye on the goings-on around you. Why not take that vigilance and sense of duty to the beach or local public pool? If you’re a strong swimmer and are certified in first aid (or willing to take the necessary classes), this could be a way to spend the summer outdoors while earning extra money.
Thinking outside the box
Maybe you don’t want to do anything related to teaching for the summer, to give yourself a true break and recharge for the upcoming school year (august comes so fast, doesn’t it?). If you’re looking for paying opportunities outside of the teaching arena, there are always options for someone with great people skills and organizational skills.
Local sports and culture
If your town has museums, historical centers, or outdoor arts venues, there may be seasonal employment opportunities in the box office, giving tours, or working at events. You might roll your eyes at seasonal tourists, but they could actually be your ticket to a fast-paced summer job if you live in an area that draws lots of visitors over the summer. Besides, jobs like these often come with free access to games, plays, concerts, or other events, which is a great perk any time of year. If you have a major or minor league baseball team near you, check the team’s website for any seasonal game-day jobs. after all, what’s more “summer” than hanging out at the ballpark?
If you have a dog, you already know that you’ll be spending a good deal of your time outside—so why not turn it into a business for the summer? Or if you don’t have a dog of your own and enjoy canine company, what could be better than hanging out with a dog buddy and then dropping him off at home? And getting paid for it? Dog walking and pet sitting businesses can be very profitable, especially if you live in or near an urban area. And unlike students, pets are unlikely to give baloney excuses about humans eating their homework. Social media can help you spread your (temporary) pet whisperer brand far and wide, until school starts back up again.
We all have that great american novel inside us somewhere, right? What about articles, blog entries as well? Summer could be a great time to kick off your freelance writing or editing career, if you have awesome language skills (English teachers, looking at you. Math teachers who always secretly wanted to write, also looking at you!) and the desire to start your own business, writing and editing could be a great way to spend the summer. If you’re unsure of where to start, sites like the freelancers’ union and the write life have a roadmap for you. Once you’re up and running, you can wade into resources like mediabistro’s freelance marketplace and look for paying gigs in writing and editing.
As the clock ticks closer to that final bell of the year, are you ready to make it a great summer with exciting new opportunities? good luck, and i’ll expect a full essay on what you did over your summer vacation, due on my desk by September 1.