TES Teacher Survey: The Summer Edition

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As the intense year-end exam period ends and graduation time begins, many students can’t wait for summertime rest, relaxation, and a vacation state of mind. But do teachers view summer ‘break’ in the same way?  Do teachers veg out during long summer days—like many of their students?  Of course not.  

At TES, we know that our teacher community is busy year-round, planning lessons, pursuing voluntary PD—or a host of other interests and experiences that enrich their lives and bring new ideas and energy to the classroom.

Our latest TES Teacher Survey: Summer Edition asked teachers how they were spending their summer.  Spoiler alert: our teachers are busy! We heard from over 800 educators in the United States, across a wide-range of subjects and grade levels.  Here’s what we learned:

No more pencils, no more books? 

While some may find time to unwind (and we wish that all of our educators had a break!) most teachers spend their summers in professional development programs.

  • Only 1 in 2 teachers have the luxury of relaxing during the summer; the other half continue to teach (tutor, summer school, etc.), whereas 12% earn extra income from a non-teaching side job.
  • In some cases, professional development is a must -- 20% of teachers say that professional development courses during the summer are mandatory. 45% say their school considers it optional, and 35% say it’s not required at all.

Testing Time!

During the school year’s home stretch, students face exams. And teachers grade them!   Of course, beyond tests and quizzes, “do nows” and “exit slips,” students and teachers grapple with high stakes and standardized tests each year.   One thing most teachers won’t miss this summer is testing:

  • 81% of teachers believe students are being tested too much.
  • 44% believe 3-4 days is the adequate amount of testing per year, and 27% believe just 1-2 days is enough.

Stocking Up!

Many teachers spend their summer preparing for the school year ahead, even if it requires funds from their own pocket.

  • The majority of teachers (nearly 30%) spend $101-200 out of pocket to prep for the school year.  26% spend between $201-400, and 18% spend a whopping $400 or more!
  • What are they buying? Nearly half (46%) of teachers say they spend the most on classroom supplies, followed by content or educational resources (25%)
  • But as they say, the most valuable resource is time: most teachers (39%) spend more than 15 summer days preparing for the upcoming school year. 27% spend 10-15 days. 

TES Teacher Summer Survey