Summer Opportunities for Teachers
As the school year comes to an end, both teachers and students will be counting down the days until summer vacation. Unless you work at a year-round school, which has its pros and cons, summer vacation gives teachers time to relax a little, recharge their batteries and develop next year’s curriculum. Contrary to what some may believe, teachers do not have it easy and often spend vacation time pursuing professional development, writing lessons and grading student assignments. If you are a teacher looking forward to your summer respite, the good news is summer is right around the corner! Take a break. You deserve it! At the same time, there are a number of things you can do over the summer to build your skills, too, so you aren’t “rusty” when your new crop of students enters your classroom.
Take Time for Professional Development
If you are working toward an additional teaching certificate or master’s degree, or you just want to learn something new, the summer is the perfect time to take classes. Because you have the summer off, you can take in-person courses or enjoy the flexibility of online course offerings. The USC Rossier School of Education has an array of certificate and advanced degree options that can be completed online at your convenience.
Teachers should definitely take advantage of summertime professional development opportunities. Summer workshops are offered across the nation in both online and in-person formats. Summer is the time to embrace new technology tools or learn ways to increase student achievement.
Summer is the perfect time for traveling! If you have a passport and a passion for helping others, there are many travel opportunities for teachers that do not cost a cent. Edutopiahas a list of international workshops and teaching tours that will grant teachers life-changing summers. The application process can be a bit cumbersome but opportunities include volunteering for the Peace Corps Response (short-term assignments), joining study tours of Korea or Japan and becoming a Teacher at Sea. You can travel the world (for nothing) while still enriching the lives of others.
Get a Summer Job
Summer is a prime time for increasing your income, especially if you are not getting paid for two months. Careerealism gives seven excellent suggestions for summer jobs for teachers. They include:
- Teach abroad — Programs like Abbey Road will enable you to travel expense free, with a salary to boot. Learn more about international teaching and earning your TESOL certification.
- Summer camps — Teachers are ideal candidates for summer camp counselors and program directors. You can work at a local day camp or experience another state at a sleep-away camp.
- Tutor — You can tutor at a public school or sign up with a site like WyzAnt to become a private tutor.
- Summer school — You can always teach summer school at a local public school. The weeks and hours tend to be shorter, so you still get time to yourself.
- Literacy coaching — If you have a passion for reading, work for the Institute of Reading Development. The Institute offers a chance for you to teach reading classes and mentor parents on how to build their children’s literacy skills.
- Get outside — If you are physically fit and love the outdoors, apply to give bike or kayak tours or work at a conservation center.
While some of these opportunities will pay you, some of the activities (like professional development) can be costly. When deciding what opportunities you wish to pursue, you should also check if funding is available. Fund For Teachers is the go-to site with the latest grant, award and development funding sources.
Cara Clarke is a teacher, writer, wife and mother of four. She lives on the island of Kauai where she teachers Middle School English and Special Education.