How Can Teachers Stay Afloat Financially During Summers?

The idea that teachers enjoy summers is probably one of the biggest misconceptions about this profession.

It is true that teachers get summer breaks, but many teachers are unable to use this time to relax and recharge for the next school year.

There are financial responsibilities to address. And with no paycheck coming in during the summer months, this can become a challenge for some teachers.

This paycheck gap may add to the financial strain many teachers experience due to the low annual pay and ever-increasing expenses.

But with the stressful routine during school days, it might be crucial for you to get some time to relax while the school is out, without worrying too much about your finances.

In this article, we are sharing some potentially valuable ideas that might help you maintain your financial position during the summers.

Here’s What You can do to Potentially Balance Your Finances During Summer

Teachers often have a high-stress job, waking up at 5 a.m. and handling kids all day long. Tackling this situation the entire school year may eventually weigh you down.

It might help if you could use your summer vacations to relieve some of this stress and prepare yourself to start the new school year afresh.

However, with no salary coming in during summers, this can feel like a dream.

But you owe yourself a break.

Here’s how you might be able to take a break, not just from regular school work but also from the extra financial stress during summers:

Build a Summers Savings Account

Enjoying your summer vacations, especially when you don’t want to do extra work, may become a challenge because of the paycheck gap.

With no money coming for two straight months, managing your living expenses might become strenuous, and splurging on luxuries or discretionary expenses, a dream.

That’s why accumulating savings to get you through the summer months might help.

Try and allocate a fixed amount of your salary to this savings account. It would be great if you could save the equivalent of two paychecks before the school goes out so you might be able to sit back and enjoy the summer-time with your loved ones.

Try and build a separate summer savings account so that you can deposit your money into it, and then it can disappear from your sight.

This suggestion stems from the idea that if you don’t see your money, you might be less tempted to spend it. And eventually, this may help build your savings.

Of course, saving hundreds or thousands of dollars every month might be unrealistic for some people.

What you might be able to do as an antidote is allocate as much as you realistically can to the summer-time savings fund and save the rest from your expenses.

Try and use all your gift cards so you can avail good discounts and direct the money you save to your account.

Moreover, since teachers are reported to spend an average of $750 on classroom supplies annually [1], getting donations to cover these expenses might also help you save more.

Have Your Income Spread Out Over 12 Months

Managing your finances and balancing your budget might become extremely challenging when your income stream dries up for two consecutive months.

The situation may become especially dire for single-income families since getting through two months of living expenses without a paycheck can be close to impossible.

Fortunately, many school districts offer their teachers an opportunity to have their income spread out over a 12-month period [2].

In this way, you get a steady paycheck every month, instead of just 9 or 10 months when the school is in.

With predicted cash flow, it might be easier for you to plan your finances and possibly avoid getting financially strained.

There’s one caveat to this route, though.

Your annual income will remain the same. That means, going this way, you will have less money to take home every month.

So, if you struggle with your monthly finances even when you don’t have your salary divided over 12 months, this may not be the best idea.

Consider Doing Summer Jobs

Summer jobs are prevalent among teachers and might potentially help you stay afloat financially during summers.

Picking up a second job during summer can account for up to 12% of a teacher’s income. This is probably why over 16% of them pickup non-school jobs during summers [3].

Here are a couple of jobs you can consider to make extra income without overworking or stressing yourself out:

Summer Classes

While going back to school right after the school year finishes might be frustrating for some teachers, it may not be so bad for you if you enjoy the classroom experience and the challenges it presents.

Many schools offer summer classes for different students.

Taking up one of these classes would help you get a sustainable paycheck without stepping out of your comfort zone or trying something new.

Summer schools tend to last six to eight weeks [4], so you may have to give up on relaxing during your summer break.

But on the plus side, teaching summer classes may earn you around $26.88 per hour [5].

Sell a Service Online

Online freelancing platforms have made remote work more accessible than it ever was. If you don’t feel like stepping out of your home for work during the summers, consider building an account on a freelancing platform and start selling your services online.

You can monetize many services like writing, graphic designing, proofreading, transcribing, data entry, and whatnot.

Do your research and see if there are any in-demand services that also align with your existing skillset. Then go ahead and try them before the summer starts so you might gain some momentum by the time you need an income.

ESL Instructor

An ESL teacher helps non-native English speakers with proper grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation, giving them the confidence to write and converse in the language.

This job also offers the flexibility of working remotely as you might be able to find and teach students online.

According to the British Council, there are 1.5 billion English-language learners worldwide [6]. This number is an indicator of how in-demand ESL teachers might be.

The earning potential of this side job seems promising as well since job websites claim ESL teachers tend to make around $18/hour [7].

However, you will have to complete ESL training and get TEFL or TESOL certifications before jumping into this side job [8].

Curriculum Developer

Most of the curriculum development happens over the summer [9]. This means it might be an excellent time to take on a side job as a curriculum writer or developer.

Curriculum developers create educational strategies to enhance teaching techniques and empower schools to meet the latest educational standards. They also help create an educational plan that teachers can follow for the rest of the year.

Being a teacher yourself, you may already have experience building curriculums. You can bring these classroom insights to the job and potentially grow as a curriculum developer.

Manage Your Finances

Having a good grip on your financial situation may also help you be more financially stable in the summers.

While this may not earn you more money, it might help you position yourself better to make sound financial decisions.

Knowing where you spend your money and how much you need to go through summers without breaking the bank might help you estimate an amount you need to have for the summer break.

This information may then guide you when choosing between savings for summer or getting a summer job.

Final Word

While summer vacations may seem like a luxury that teachers get to enjoy, the reality is this time might add to your financial strain.

There are a few things you might be able to do to potentially avoid the extra summer financial stress, like getting your income spread over 12-months or building a summer fund.

Picking summer jobs might also help you stay financially afloat during this time.

However, whatever route you choose, try and start by understanding your financial situation. How much are you really bringing in, and where is this money being spent.

Empowered with this information, you might get into a position for making better decisions for yourself and your family.

If you can’t seem to get a grip on your finances, try talking to a financial professional.

At Dayton and Sydney, we have financial strategists who can potentially help you sort your financial situation with plans tailored to your economic status and goals. Book a free, no-commitment consultation with one of our professionals today to get started!

This information has been obtained from outside sources and is provided for general informational purposes only.


[1] “2021 Teacher Spending Survey”, Melissa Hruza, Adopt a Classroom, July 29, 2021.

[2] “Do Teachers Get Paid During Their Breaks?”, Barbara Bean-Mellinger, Chron, June 28, 2018.

[3] “Almost One-Third of New Teachers Take on Second Jobs”, National Education Association, July 25, 2019.

[4] “What You Should Know about Summer School Teaching Jobs”, Suzanne Capek Tingley, Western Governors University

[5] “Average Summer School Teacher Salary”, Zippia.

[6] “How Many People Learn English?”, Kenneth Beare, ThoughtCo., Nov 18, 2019.

[7] “How Much Do ESL Teacher Jobs Pay per Hour?”, ZipRecruiter.

[8] “How to Become an ESL Teacher”, Indeed, Feb 23 2021.

[9] “Do Your Teachers have Content Knowledge and an Entrepreneurial Spirit? Use them!”, National Association of Secondary School Principals, Oct 2018.

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