Teacher salaries vary widely by location, level taught, type of institution and a slew of other factors. But the data are clear: Teaching isn’t typically a lucrative career. Even a high school teacher, which U.S. News & World Report rates as the best education job for 2018, earned a relatively modest median salary of $58,030 in 2016. That’s compared to the country’s median household income, which hit a new high of $59,039, in 2016.
Of course, that’s just the median. Some teachers make far less than that, which teachers unions across the country have called attention to with strikes and walkouts.
As summer break approaches, many of the nation’s educators are looking forward to a break from the classroom, but they don’t necessarily have the summer off. It’s common for teachers to work second jobs between school years to earn extra money.
In fact, teachers are 30 percent more likely to work second jobs than non-teachers, according to analysis from The Brookings Institution. Not all of those teachers work side jobs to make ends meet, but that’s the reality for many. Whether they’re looking for added cash flow or something different to do between academic terms, here are several ways teachers can boost their earnings this summer.
Work as a camp counselor. Students need something to do during the summer, too. Many parents opt to send their kids to summer camp, and there’s a variety of camps out there. Many of them are education-based, giving teachers the opportunity to practice their education skills in a different setting. But working as a camp counselor could also give educators a chance to exercise skills outside of their regular subjects, such as sports coaching or teaching a subject they don’t teach during the year.
Local park districts, churches, nonprofits or other organizations may put on day camps – or a series of camps throughout the summer – so it’s worthwhile to inquire about open positions. Be sure to ask about a paid role, as many of them may be looking for unpaid volunteers.
Babysit, housesit or petsit. Not every kid spends the summer at camp, and many camps don’t last the length of a regular school day, leaving working parents in need of extra help during the summer months. In fact, your work as a teacher may make you especially qualified to offer child care services. Some parents prefer that someone with a background in education watch their children, so their kids can continue learning outside the classroom.
Many families also go on extended vacations during the summer and will pay someone to watch their house or take care of their pets while they’re out of town. These aren’t necessarily consistent jobs, but off-duty teachers can still earn a decent amount of money doing them.
Teach summer school. If your school offers summer courses, consider teaching a class or two. Even if you don’t have the option through your regular job, you may be qualified (or can get qualified) to teach elsewhere, such as at a school that teaches English as a second language center or a community center that offers GED courses.
Lifeguard or give swim lessons. It’s pool and beach weather in most parts of the country, and if you’re qualified to lifeguard or teach swim lessons, now’s the time to do it. Inquire at local park districts or any private pools in your area.
Try out the gig economy. If you have a flexible schedule and don’t mind doing odd jobs, the internet is awash with earning potential. You can work with a third-party app, such as Uber, Lyft or TaskRabbit, or take a do-it-yourself approach by responding to Craigslist ads and local flyers – or post your own. Just keep an eye out for scams or any suspicious job posts.
Tutor. Who’s better suited to help kids with summer assignments than a teacher? Some students may be taking courses or simply need the extra work in between terms, and you’re in a great position to offer assistance. You might enjoy the change of pace when you get to work with students one-on-one, instead of standing in front of a full classroom. Summer is also a great time for students to study for entrance exams or college placement tests, so there may be many opportunities to tutor for those, too. If there’s a local offering of that exam, you could get paid to proctor it.
Develop your hobby. If you have something you love to do on the side, consider turning it into a business. Monetizing a hobby can be a great way to diversify your income stream and give you something else to dive into that’s not work. Teaching is a stressful job with long hours, so allow yourself to do something totally different in the summer. Just make sure you’re saving up for taxes if you’re taking in money from a side business.