Education

What They Did on Their Summer Vacations

By Theresa Johnston — August 17, 2001 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

As they unpack their markers and roll books this fall, many teachers will have left behind lab rats, sheet music, Army fatigues—trappings of double lives they lead as researchers, musicians, and military officers during the short summer months. Certainly it’s more common for educators to spend their “vacations” teaching lanyard-weaving at camps or gritting their teeth through baby-sitting, house-painting, and waitressing jobs to supplement less-than-satisfying teaching salaries. But some see the June-to-September break as their chance to slip into new identities and take full advantage of it, hailing the opportunity as one of teaching’s unheralded perks.

Their Stories

An Officer And An
Educator
:
“It is an ideal second job for an educator,” says teacher Teri Coles of her job as an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve.
A Binary Lifestyle : Self-taught webmeister Kenneth Wong swaps the classroom for Silicon Valley.
Taking Care Of Business: English teacher Amy Stevens parlays her interpretive skills to manage an art gallery every summer.

“It’s a change of scenery, absolutely,” says Susanne Cousineau of her summer fellowship at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. “And I’m learning things that I can use in my own classroom.”

As a special education teacher in Campbell, California’s Westmont High School, Cousineau rarely gets to sit down during the school year. “Usually,” she says, “I’m maneuvering around a classroom, or speaking with colleagues, or having my time cut into pieces.” But when summer comes, Cousineau jets off to an entirely different universe: the NASA/Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California, where she works on a Web site to promote aviation careers. “It’s so nice to sit at a computer station and be able to concentrate,” she marveled this July. “The adult world is OK.” Plus, says Cousineau, the job “gives me what I call my ‘mad’ money, so I can go on trips and [do] other things besides living from paycheck to paycheck.”

Though it’s difficult to find up-to-date figures on the subject, the National Education Association estimates that, for teachers, switching careers in the summer may be as common as switching on the air conditioner: Approximately 20 percent of teachers surveyed held non-school summer jobs between 1971 and 1996. We tracked down some of these career chameleons to find out how they spent their summer vacations. Along the way, we discovered a curious phenomenon: Educators’ alter egos have a funny way of seeping into the classroom come fall.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Deepen the Reach and Impact of Your Leadership
This webinar offers new and veteran leaders a unique opportunity to listen and interact with four of the most influential educational thinkers in North America. With their expert insights, you will learn the key elements
Content provided by Solution Tree
Science K-12 Essentials Forum Teaching Science Today: Challenges and Solutions
Join this event which will tackle handling controversy in the classroom, and making science education relevant for all students.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Stronger Together: Integrating Social and Emotional Supports in an Equity-Based MTSS
Decades of research have shown that when schools implement evidence-based social and emotional supports and programming, academic achievement increases. The impact of these supports – particularly for students of color, students from low-income communities, English
Content provided by Illuminate Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: January 12, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education School Bus Driver Retires After 48 Years Behind Wheel
Charles City school bus driver Betty Flick sat behind the wheel for the final time last week, wrapping up a 48-year career for the district.
3 min read
Charles City school bus driver Betty Flick poses with one of her farewell signs. Flick has been driving for Charles City School District for 48 years.
Betty Flick quickly fell in love with the job and with the kids, which is what has had her stay in the district for this long.
Courtesy of Abby Koch/Globe Gazette
Education Briefly Stated: December 1, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: November 17, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read