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Many teachers looking to snag extra cash during the summer months go the usual route: instructing summer school or tutoring. Others want something new — and different.
For these educators, summer is the perfect time to blow off some steam, said former social studies teacher Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. "It gives you time for renewal and reflection," she said.
Yet most teachers will need to supplement their income, said Carl Korn, the press secretary for New York State United Teachers.
Depending on your experience level and where you live, you could be making only $35,000 annually as a young teacher, he said, which is hardly enough for those paying off student loan debt. Unsurprisingly, teachers working over the summer is fast becoming the rule, not the exception, said Weingarten.
If you need the dough but it hurts to imagine grading tests all summer, there's good news: We have got some fun, off-beat jobs you might consider instead — ones that will spice up (or cool down) your summer, and get you out of the classroom.
— By CNBC's Josh Weiss
Posted on 25 May, 2016
Average pay: $13 per hour
Teachers in suburban and rural areas often take on jobs at summer camps — or they might do something handy, like house painting, said Korn. But one fun job that's both mental and physical is teaching white-water-rafting, he said, which is a popular choice for educators living near the Adirondack Mountains, for example.
Becoming a river instructor isn't easy, and takes training in boat use, CPR and first aid. But it's a job that's well-suited to a teacher, Korn said.
"They're used to dealing with groups and [are] very mature people," said Nanette Shovea, a kayak instructor and former river guide at Adirondack River Outfitters.
Getting trained ahead of time can help, she said: "They can get their certification on the weekends leading up to the vacation."
Average pay: $17 per hour
The transition from lesson planning to party planning isn't such a far-fetched idea, said Marisa Lainer, a former art teacher and founding partner of LA Party Stylists.
"Teachers are patient and used to multitasking," she told CNBC. "They would get to be creative and have fun with kids outside of the classroom setting, which can be limiting."
Lainer entered the party-planning world after she found a large number of parents were looking for professionals who could teach art lessons and lead fun activities at their children's birthday parties, she said.
"They would ask my opinions about how to decorate the party in creative ways, and it turned into full-blown event design over the years," Lainer said.
Average pay: $12 per hour
If a love of learning is what got you hooked on teaching, you might want a summer job that keeps your brain stimulated. There are educators who go on archaeological digs in the Middle East, and art teachers who lead photography camps, Weingarten said.
Alternatively, science-, art-, or history-minded folks might consider working as a museum tour guide, researcher, docent or educator.
You don't even need to stay close to home. Getting experience in a different city, state or even country can be good for teachers, said Weingarten, and "hugely helpful to their teaching as well as the world views they bring back to their classrooms," she said.
Average pay: $14 per hour
Teaching skills are very transferable: Employers in tough industries like retail and dining are especially inclined to hire teachers, in part because of their organizational talents and patience, said Joe Weinlick, a senior vice president at career networking company Beyond.
"We do like to look at people with education backgrounds when hiring," said Laurel Johnston, senior director of sales at education product retailer Excelligence.
Sales representatives with teaching experience are well equipped to work with clients like schools and parks, said Johnston. They can be a trustworthy source for teachers making big classroom purchases or looking for professional development services over the summer, she said.
Top talent may even be called on to present at major conferences like that held by the National Head Start Association, Johnston said.
Average pay: $11 per hour
If rafting sounds too intense for you, cooling off in the pool might be more your speed.
Indeed, many elementary, special education and physical education teachers take up the mantle of swim instructor over the summer, said Happy Swimmers USA owner Jenn Tyler.
"[They] are really patient with the kids and know how to work with them," he told CNBC.
Hopeful instructors looking to join the Happy Swimmers team get some training in-house, he said, but they must have previous swim instructing experience.
Out of the company's 200-person staff nationwide, about 10 percent of Happy Swimmers instructors are teachers, Tyler said.