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Do Teachers Get Paid in The Summer? (Quick Facts)

Projections estimate a total of 3,909,000 teachers in the United States by 2029 in both private and public schools, thus increasing the student-to-teacher ratio. If you’re looking to join the numbers above, you have to answer certain questions.

One of them is tied around the famed ‘easy schedule’ that teachers have, especially around summer. Having the summer off is a great benefit, but will your payments take a break as well?

One thing is sure, teachers get paid, but the way and manner employers go about it can be confusing for some. Besides, summer is a long stretch, so surviving without a paycheck in those months takes some innovation.

Perhaps you’re new to the profession, thinking about getting into it, or looking to learn some facts about how teachers are paid. Whatever the case, this article will unravel the question with answers you can identify with.

Do Teachers Get Paid in the Summer?

The first answer, No. Teachers do not get paid in the summer mostly because there are no active classes. What teachers often do is take up the option to spread their pay for ten months of work over 12 months. However, you can’t call this getting paid during the summer vacation. Also, they have contracts specifying their paychecks for the number of working days per year.

If you’ve always thought that teachers receive payment over a two-month vacation every summer, the myth is busted. Moreover, because of the structure of the payment, teachers do a lot of unpaid work during the summer making preparations for lectures.

Spreading ten months to twelve can greatly benefit many teachers, though. They can use it to cover up for the summer periods by ensuring they receive steady paychecks throughout the year.

Without getting paid in the summer, things can get a bit hard for teachers. It’s even harder for teachers dedicated to the profession with no other source of income.

But splitting payments to cover every month helps them cover basic expenses, such as rent, food, and utilities. For example, a ten-month pay of $60,000 at $6000 per month can be spread to $5000 per month for twelve months.

Benefits in the Teaching Profession 

Teachers have many responsibilities, with some of them going the extra mile to satisfy employers and students. As a result, some teachers take on more hours that do not reflect in their paychecks. However, there are some benefits teachers enjoy over some professionals, including:

  • State-sponsored pension: Education is largely the concern of the state government, so teachers benefit from the state-sponsored pension program. Of course, you’d have to contribute a part of your paycheck to the fund, but that means drawing from it upon your retirement. Many profit-driven companies do not offer pensions to workers.
  • Health and dental insurance benefits: Since teachers are not self-employed, they have some of the best rates for good health and dental insurance.
  • Flexible schedule: Although hours off depends on the job’s nature or description, you can have some time off to yourself. Many schools start early and close by 3 pm. Barring some extra-curricular activities you sign up for or have to attend, you can do some things for yourself. For example, you can look after your kids or take care of some personal interests.  
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Earning Over the Summer

When the summer starts, it becomes a question of what to do. Sure, you might have opted for a twelve-month payout over your ten-month contract. However, summer vacation often comes with some extra expenses. Thankfully, teachers have other skills that can detach them some extra money.

female teacher holding money

Teachers can start summer teaching classes to help students cope better with new sessions. They can do that at a community college, or sign up to teach summer classes where they currently work. Other than that, some teachers have private businesses to run or start. For example, some teachers take up research work paid per hour.

Another way teachers earn over the summer is through lesson plans and curriculum planning. Some teachers have a knack for them and could use them to earn more money. It’s a win-win for the profession, especially when other teachers find the educational resources helpful.

Do Teachers Get Paid During Winter Breaks? 

No. The winter break holiday, like the summer break, is mostly unpaid. Throughout the year teachers are expected to work for about 180-190 days.

If you don’t choose to spread your payment over the year, you’ll get paid for only the days you’re contracted for. That means summer holidays, winter holidays, and spring breaks without a paycheck.

Even with this information, the annual salary of a teacher spread over twelve months still goes above the national average income for all jobs. However, the extra unpaid hours are not far from regular full-time jobs.

Unpaid Summer Requirements for Teachers

Some misconceptions are making the rounds, including that teachers get a free two-month summer vacation every year. While that’s not entirely untrue, teachers are faced with many unpaid responsibilities during the summer. Also, these responsibilities or requirements are largely unpaid but need to be done.

  • Lesson planning: As simple as it sounds, lesson plans take some doing, and with curriculum requirements changing all the time, lessons must be updated. When there’s an upcoming school year, teachers must update their lesson plans. If you’re a new teacher or swapping subjects, you’re required to spend time developing your curriculum for the new school year.
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The best time to do this is the summertime because mixing it up during full sessions can get tiring quickly. Besides, many schools vet lesson plans and must approve them before teachers can proceed.

  • Prepping the classroom: Many schools leave the setting of the classroom to teachers. Of course, they’re not getting for it! The teachers spend quality time preparing their classrooms for new sessions. More often than not, they have to make payments from their pockets.
  • Continuing Education: A good number of states require teachers to take continuing education classes to maintain their teaching certification. Some states fix a certain number of hours and yearly terms for teachers to update their certifications. Some school districts pay for continuing education classes, but none of them pay to cover the time it takes.

Apart from these unpaid requirements, many teachers use the summer to work on special certifications and advanced degrees. Some of them require college coursework and are best handled in summer when classes won’t clash with their time off.

Are Teachers Paid Overtime? 

In most cases, teachers are not paid overtime. If a teacher decides to take kids out for camp, organize sports training, or summer school, they can get paid for the additional work. However, if you decide to stay after school to prepare for the next day’s work, you’re not getting any overtime pay.

It has become a norm for teachers to go beyond their job descriptions to create the best atmosphere for learning, and not get paid for it. Many states stick to the ten-month payment period.

Also, different school districts mean different payment levels, so you can expect different attitudes to overtime work. Generally speaking, there’s no formal setting for overtime compensation.

If you’re lucky to reach tenure and remain for some years, you stand a higher chance of earning improved salaries.

How Many Days off Should Teachers Expect?

On a closer look, teachers get about 70 – 75 days off per year. That is the equivalent of 15 work weeks. Compared to the average professional, many teachers work 180 – 190 days. Others have to do around 230 days.

Of the days teachers work, 5 – 10 days of personal or sick leave are expected during the school year. Other holidays, winter break, spring break, and summer vacation follows.

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These dates seem like extra time off for the teachers, but truth is that they do a lot of activities without pay. Grading and lesson plans are examples of such activities.

Summer Jobs That Might Interest Teachers

There are more than a handful of jobs teachers can manage out there, and they have nothing to do with teaching. That’s because teaching is quite a task, so teachers might need something different and unrelated to classroom chores.

Thankfully, there are many freelancing jobs available for the short term, with a good number of them you can do at home. Some of the jobs are:

  • Freelance writing: Writing is natural for many people and if you’re a teacher with such passion, you can earn some money writing. Whether you opt for research writing or other gigs, you can make some money in the summer. Some websites are also willing to pay you to complete surveys and other small tasks online. You can also blog on the side and monetize it along the way.
  • Bookkeeping: Some side hustles just might turn into full-time jobs, especially if you’re very good at them. Bookkeeping is one of them. It’s ideal for teachers without a paycheck in the summer.
  • Driving: Whether that’s for a food delivery business or ridesharing service, you can take your car out for a spin to earn some extra cash.


Teaching is still an honorable profession. Teachers have formed and shaped many lives, and that will not stop anytime soon.

However, many argue that teachers deserve more than what they’re getting from their employers. A 12-month payout of their salary is an ideal situation to help them get through the summer, but more can be done.

All is not lost though as teachers enjoy some benefits, including more time than the average professional and better health insurance than private employees.

Now that you know that teachers do not get paid in the summer, you’re better informed to enter the profession or appreciate your teachers more. Either way, there’s more to being a teacher than the paychecks on offer.

About Martin Vernon

A lifelong learner, educator, and advocate for education as a means for individual and social change. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you have a great day!

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