Being a teacher is truly one of the most rewarding experiences in life. But when June rolls around, it’s not always easy to believe that that’s actually true. You may have had a hard last month with tests, or you may have had a really hard year dealing with problem kids, problem administrators, or worse—problem parents.
The good news is that you get a few months off to clear your head and get excited for a new year and some new great opportunities. But you may also be looking for work still, and the looming possibility of having to work summer school may really be getting you down in the doldrums (please, no more elementary school book allusions!).
Want to here more good news? You don’t have to work summer school. There are plenty of jobs out there—even still—that can keep you out of the classroom until the fall. It may involve you getting a little creative, and it may mean humbling yourself to a position you may feel like you’re above. But don’t worry, it’s going to be an adventure that will grow you and help you prepare to be even stronger for next semester.
It seems as though most teachers were born to be freelance writers. You’ve learned how to turn papers around in no time when it comes to grading. You’ve got an eye for detail, a knack for creativity, and enough life experience to outpace most of your peers.
While you may not be able to land a book deal in the offseason, you can certainly be copywriting online. You get to work from home, craft your own hours, and enjoy summer for what you want it to be—all while keeping your thinking brain sharp.
Check out UpWork, where you can create a profile for yourself and start landing some freelance gigs right away. They have tons of clients, rates that can actually pay the bills, and quality control that keeps you from wasting time on bad clients.
If you’re ready to get out and stretch your legs a little bit, there’s always the possibility of giving tours. Whether it’s at a local museum or your favorite park, what may start as a volunteer position can quickly become full time and paid if you have the right experience.
There are plenty of places in major cities that desperately need tour guides, and will pay great hourly rates. And if you want to get up and go somewhere knew and more “high profile, you could take another service-oriented job working a cool destination. When you start to open your imagination, the possibilities for a new, adventurous job this summer are endless.
OK, so maybe you’re not sick of kids, you just need a change of scenery. There are plenty of camps (day or overnight) that need competent counselors who still have their energy but know how to reign in a group of 15 balls of energy.
Camp is a great way to get outdoors, have some fun, and still work on some of those skills you’ve been refining in the classroom. There are sports camps, art camps, and even science or math camps that you can use what you know to your advantage.
It also can present an opportunity to be more targeted with your teaching. If you start your own specialized camp for one of your favorite hobbies, you may get to work with a smaller group that allows you more one-on-one teaching time.
Let’s face it: some of us just need some extra cash this summer. The fastest way to ensure that is taking a serving job at a local restaurant. It may not be glamorous, and you may not want people you know seeing you there—but serving is hard, honorable work that can get you the extra bucks you need to make this summer everything you wanted it to be.
The hours might also be extra appealing for spending time with family or friends during the day when they’re off. Give yourself room to imagine taking that kind of a position and you may find that it was more fun that you could have guessed. You’ll learn about food, meet great new people, and you definitely won’t be broke by August.
Finally, this is one that’s definitely not on a lot of these lists. With the way our economy is changing, you can actually become a cab driver of sorts for the summer. If you work in a college town or near a major city, the chances are Uber has invaded your territory. The best thing you can do is capitalize on it.
Whether it’s them or another ride-sharing service, you may be able to use your own car and get paid to drive people where they need to be. You get to choose your own hours, meet some fun new people (and maybe a few bad eggs), and you’re sure to come out with a lot of great stories.
Don’t let this summer get you stuck in a box you don’t want to be in. Take charge of the possibilities that you have for summer work, leave the classroom behind for a few weeks, and find the adventure you’ve been looking for.