Tips for Teachers: Financial Planning for the Summer
by Seth Sosebee
For teachers, the joy of having summers off is quickly tempered by the lack of a paycheck. Many teachers work second jobs over the summer months, which means you’re not alone if you feel the strain of only 10 months’ pay. Here are a few common questions and answers that will help you plan for your summer, either with careful budgeting or finding a part-time role.
1. Do teachers get paid in the summer?
Typically, no. Unfortunately, payments for mortgages, utilities and student loans don’t stop during July and August. Unfortunately, that means we have to tighten our budget during the time off. When friends ask if we have any summer vacation plans, it always makes me cringe. “Not this summer” is my standard reply.
2. What do teachers do in the summer?
Personally, I stare at the calendar and wait for my next paycheck. Joking aside, unless we are fortunate enough to have partners who can support us through the summer, many teachers have two options over the summer: rely on savings or work a second job.
- Saving for the summer (hopefully)
Many teachers successfully set aside a large enough chunk of their paychecks during the school year. Then they move money from their savings into their checking accounts throughout the summer, as circumstances dictate. This strategy can be problematic for many teachers. Why? Because life happens. Even careful budgeting cannot always account for unseen expenses.Here’s an example. A teacher could set up an automatic transfer of $600 per month to their savings account during the school year. Doing the basic math, $600 per month equals $6,000 for the two-month dry period. Theoretically, $6,000 would be enough to live on for two months.But what if you’re suddenly faced with replacing brakes and rotors on your car? In my case, a thunderstorm left a large tree branch swinging ominously above the brand-new roof of my home, forcing me to pay a hefty sum to a tree service. In many cases, simply saving and budgeting during the school year puts teachers at risk if unforeseen expenses arise during summer.
- Using a “summer cash” program
Many credit unions and banks offer a “summer cash” program for teachers. These automatically place a percentage of each school-year paycheck into a separate summer account. That money is deposited into your checking account during July and August.
While this means smaller paychecks throughout the school year, placing money in an account separate from your checking and savings adds a firewall between yourself and the precious summer funds.
3. Summer jobs for teachers
Teachers often hear from those outside of the profession that educators are lucky to work only 10 months out of the year, but that isn’t true for many. A more accurate statement would be that teachers only work 10 months per year in the classroom. A recent study found about “one in six” teachers rely on second jobs. Here are some great second jobs for teachers over the summer:
Certified teachers can make a few hundred dollars per week, depending on what subject they teach, their qualifications and location. Knowledge Table has a free online calculator for helping tutors choose what to charge per hour.
- Teaching summer school
Many schools offer classes over the summer to students that need extra help, or those in danger of not passing their grade. Those classes need teachers, which could be you. A well-written, professional resume can show administrators that you’re a veteran teacher ready to get started on day one of summer school.
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- Test prep instructor
According to Glassdoor.com, test preparation centers like Sylvan pay up to $21 per hour for certified teachers to help students prepare for the SAT and ACT.
- Driving for rideshare companies
Depending on where you live, you can make $200 or $300 dollars per shift on nights and weekends driving for a company like Lyft, Via, Uber or Juno.
- Teaching English abroad
Committing to teaching English in a different country can pay well and give you the opportunity to explore a new place each summer.
Whichever route you take, an up-to-date resume that reflects your skills and experience can help you stand out as you apply to your side hustle. Access tips on how to write a resume so you create a new one in no time at all.
Other considerations for part-time summer jobs for teachers
Here are a few other tips for teachers searching for a summer job:
- Start looking early
I recommend beginning your search just after the new year. Side jobs for teachers may take several months to find—at least the ones you will be happy with.
- Use your network
Friends and acquaintances can help you find summer work that incorporates your prior experience. Whether it be coaching, freelance writing or swinging a hammer for a construction company, there is a good chance you know someone willing to hire you.
- Emphasize your strengths
Looking for a second job can be stressful, especially as you balance it with the demands of your primary job. When working on your application, focus on your experience in the classroom and your enthusiasm for the job for which you’re applying. Emphasizing the positive — your proven skills and background in education — will catch the potential employer’s eye. Learn how to write a cover letter that will get you noticed.