Summer Has Arrived

Sumer is icumen in

By NAfME Member Audrey Carballo


School is over for most of us. We have entered grades, conferred with parents, filled out recommendations, and met with administrators for our end of the year evaluations. As the memories of endless boxes filled with personal belongings schlepped home or shoved into closets fades into our distant collective consciousness, we ask ourselves — what do we do now?

Most teachers are employed on a 10-month contract. Few are lucky enough to be employed on a 12-month basis. This means, not only do we have to be experts at our musical craft but we need a little financial wizardry to help us figure out how we are going to pay our bills during the ten weeks we are not earning a paycheck until the next school year starts.


Boy In Harry Potter Haloween Disguise Funny Flat Vector Illustration On Dark Background


Expecto Financio!  I imagine Harry teaching at Hogwarts. During the summer he would conjure up a patronus in the shape of a debit card that has endless monetary resources. Of course, someone stashed away riches at Gringotts for the boy wizard. We (mere educators) are not as fortunate. Figure out how much money you need to live on during the summer. Take into account any travel plans and ‘extras’.  From the number of paychecks you get during the year, take a reasonable amount out of each one until your total goal is reached. BAM! You can now eat during the summer!

Ask if your school district will spread your pay over 12 months instead of 10. But be careful-they’ll get the interest on your money, not you. I recommend going through a bank or credit union. In case of an emergency, you would be able to get to that money if you need it. And, you’ll be earning that interest-not your school district or Charter school business account.


Computer key - New Job
Jürgen François/iStock/Thinkstock


If you’re looking for summer work, here are a few things to keep in mind. Numerous students find themselves in some sort of camp or daily activity because, let’s face it-parents still have to work. Those summer positions are highly coveted and are often snatched up weeks-even months before the camp actually starts. It’s hard to break in if you don’t know someone or have an inside track. Private lessons are another revenue stream for the summer but it’s not as steady as during the school year. Younger and beginning students who aren’t as dedicated (or whose parents aren’t as serious about the instruction) will most likely ask you to ‘take the summer off’ of lessons.

Students who come from divorced parents sometimes find their time split between one parent or the other which can impact lessons as well. Student vacations can put a sizable dent into your summer earnings as well. Start looking early on. Make inquiries at the local, City and County levels soon after the new year has passed. If you’ve got enough gumption, look into starting your own program. Some local cities welcome self-starters into their arena of summer offerings, provided you have done all of the legwork ahead of time.


inspirational message enjoy the little things


With that being said, not a lot of other professions get 10 weeks off to rest, reflect and rejuvenate themselves before they come back to work the following year. No matter how many years you’ve been an educator, teaching is still a creative process because no class or ensemble is ever the same as the one before it. There will always be challenges, obstacles and problems to overcome. Summer is the time for those to melt away and let your soul and spirit renew itself. You might take a guitar class or finally finish your degree? Perhaps travel to a far off city or country tweaks your senses and invigorates your creative muse. Spending quality time with friends and family can chase away the cacophony of impending bureaucracy.


Woman on the airfield


And before you can blink your eye, summer is over and fall is upon us. A new school year has arrived and with it comes the promise of making a world full of beautiful music.

Here’s looking at you, kid…


About the author:

Audrey Carballo

Last fall, Audrey Carballo, a 34-year NAfME member, began her 34th year as a music educator for the Miami-Dade County Public Schools system, the fourth largest school system in the country. Her teaching experiences include general music, exploratory music, and chorus to regular and exceptional students in elementary, middle school, high school, and exceptional student settings.

She has been an Assessor for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and currently serves on the National Education Association Member Advisory Board Panel and as the Union Steward and Chairperson of the Educational Excellence School Advisory Board Council at her school. Recently, Audrey was the Children’s Choir Director for the Miami Music Project, which is an El Sistema program spearheaded by the world renowned conductor, James Judd.

One of her most rewarding experiences has been with the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired. In addition to teaching Broadcast Journalism classes, and giving private lessons in voice, composition, theory and piano, her duties included being the Vocal and Advanced Theory instructor for their Better Chance Music Production Program. Audrey was one of the co-authors of an article published in the Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness titled, “A New Synthesis of Sound and Tactile Music Code Instruction: Implementation Issues of a Pilot Online Braille Music Curriculum.”

Audrey collaborated with Jin Ho Choi (another instructor at the Lighthouse) for nine months, creating their Braille Music Distance Learning course.

Foll ow Audrey on Twitter @scarlettfeenix.

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