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  • Rebecca Cothern

How will Teachers Spend their Summer?

Summer is upon us but just because the kids are out of school does not mean teachers get the summer off. The majority of teachers will spend their time working a second job, at professional development and in-service trainings, increasing their own education, and preparing lessons and classrooms for the fall.

When asked how they spend their summers teachers responded in some of the following ways. “I take my own 3 children to camps or outings.” “I plan for next year.” “I read professional texts to better my craft and stay on the cutting edge of new research based techniques in classroom management and engagement.” “I am a church volunteer.” Teachers are a busy group and no teacher just sits and relaxes all summer long.

In an online survey I conducted, 21 percent of teachers will take on a second job over the summer to support their teaching income. In a New Jersey Press Media survey, about 67 percent of New Jersey teachers work a second job over the summer. Teaching incomes are some of the lowest in the nation especially compared to careers that require similar education and training levels. The 2-3 month summer vacation provides some teachers with the ability to take on a second job to make financial ends meet.

Similarly, a survey commissioned by the Gates Foundation found that about a third of all teachers nationwide participate in intensive training, or professional development, over the summer. This supports the results from my online survey of teachers where 43 percent participate in professional development and in-service and 18 percent work on increasing their own education level.

Even if we are not going to a second job or mandatory meetings, teachers spend a lot of extra time in the classroom over the summer. 18 percent of teachers will update their classrooms (painting, fixing furnishings, and organizing the classroom). And an overwhelming 54 percent will write, plan, and prepare lessons for the next school year over the summer.

However, with all the extra work teachers do over the summer teachers are still able to take some time off to play and enjoy their vacation. 54 percent of teachers say that they take time to go on vacation, relax, and enjoy their summer break. So just remember, while enjoy summer with your kids, there’s a teacher somewhere still working in the classroom preparing to make your child’s next school year amazing.

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