At 2:45 pm on June 28th I walked out of my school to enjoy the summer off. Let's see I don't have to report back to my school until August 31st. A whole two months! However, there is this nasty program called summer school and unfortunatly, I am teaching in it. Yes summer school is voluntary but when the cost of living in NYC metro area is 5.1%, the rent controlled apartments went up 4.25%, and the next teacher raise is only 3.15%. I must volunteer if I am to pay my bills and send my children through college.
When do I start summer school? June 29th, yes the day after regular school ended! Not even one day off between the two. For the many of you teachers who have not experienced the joy of summer school teaching. Let's just say it's known as "blood money" as it drains you like no other job in the school system. What is it like teaching summer school? Let me explain by going step by step into the joys of summer school teaching.
First, you get per sesson pay, about $38 per hour which is equal to a 2nd year teacher salary and a pay rate much lower than the average summer school teacher makes during the year.
Second, most summer school classrooms are not air conditioned and you must work in hot & humid classrooms and scream over the noisy industrial fans that DOE provides us with. Some teachers actually have to shut off the fan so they can be heard by the students!
Third, In the high schools you teach three back-to-back 90 minute periods with only a 5 minute break between each class. Need to go to the bathroom? Forget-about-it, you don't have the time plus god forbid an administrator leaves his/her air conditioned office and sees you away from the class. A letter-to-the-file will certainly be issued and you can't even grieve it!
Fourth, classroom supplies are usually not available and even copying paper is scarce. You want to photocopy something? Good luck in finding a working copying machine that teachers can use.
Experienced summer school teachers know to bring their own supplies and hope they last.
Fifth, class size limitations are thrown out the door in summer school. I once had 52 students in one of my classes. They were sitting on the window sills, the floor, and even the lab desk. Hopefully, after they get their July metro card 25% of them won't show up again and the class sizes drop into the low 30s.
Sixth, since the administration is unfamilar with the summer school teachers they will do as little as possible to help you with disruptive students. Further, they get pissed off that they must leave their air conditioned office to listen to your complaint and if they do take the student out of your class that day, you can bet the student will be back tomorrow.
Finally, the last day of summer school is August 18th and that gives you 12 days to have a vacation since all teachers report on August 31st. Yes to all you unbelieving teachers I said Thursday August 31st. Thanks Randi.
Do you really want to teacher summer school? Only if you are really desperate for the money.