By Emma Wulfhorst
STUDENTS DREAM OF summer vacation – the end of early mornings, tedious classes and homework – and they know exactly what they will be doing for the next three months. But do they know what their teachers will be doing?
Many teachers continue to work over the summer, many with their schools or tutoring, while others delve into areas outside of education. Some of these teachers’ summer jobs are as interesting and unusual.
Because Monmouth County has so many seashore towns, some teachers spend their summers as lifeguards on beaches or at various beach clubs. Andrew Forrest, an English teacher for 16 years at Red Bank Regional High School, has done both. He grew up in Shrewsbury and spent his childhood summers on the beach. When he turned 17 he became a lifeguard at the Little Monmouth Beach Club in Monmouth Beach and continued for six more years until he became assistant manager. Since 2008 Forrest has been assistant manager at Chapel Beach Club in Sea Bright.
In this role, Forrest helps with scheduling, staffing and other general work around the beach club and says he especially appreciates how well the beach club schedule coordinates with his teaching schedule and how understanding the Chapel staff is if work overlaps.
Jeff Johnson, the campus minister at Saint John Vianney High School in Holmdel has a secret life in the summer as well. For the past 10 years Johnson and his brother Mark, also in education as the swim coach at Drew University, spent their summers cooking up homemade Southern barbecue food for fun and occasionally bringing to friend’s parties. The popularity of their food quickly increased and four years ago the Johnson brothers formed Boss Hog Barbecue, now a profitable business.
Serving Middlesex and Monmouth counties, this summer Boss Hog Barbecue will cater some 30 parties. Johnson is excited about the success of the business and enjoys spending his summers with his brother, doing what they love.
Another teacher whose summers are spent far from the classroom is John Schneider, a teacher since 1998 who recently joined Mater Dei Prep’s staff last year, teaching multiple science courses for the high school. Schneider’s first unusual summer job began before he even started teaching. His bachelor’s of science in marine biology and longtime love of being on the water steered him to a summer job as a yacht captain. Schneider started his career of operating vessels for private and corporate owners in 1987. “I was licensed to operate Inspected Vessels, those certified by the USCG [United States Coast Guard] as ‘passenger carrying,’ up to 200 tons, 200 miles offshore,” he said.
This job put him front and center for some important historical events. Specifically, he was on the water when TWA flight 800 exploded and crashed 12 minutes after take-off from John F. Kennedy International Airport in 1996. “I was–by radio–privy to some of the Coast Guard communications during the event,” he said.
After Schneider began teaching in 1998, he continued working as a captain until 2002 when he relocated to South Jersey. Schneider’s current summer job is with Delta Airlines where he began working in 2012 to make a little extra money. At Delta Schneider checks in passengers at the ticket counter or loads bags on to the airplanes. He said on some busy Saturdays in the summer, he has moved up to as many as 1,000 bags in a day.
One of the main benefits of this summer job, according to Schneider, is the ability to travel free.
Schneider believes it is important for teachers to have summer jobs outside of the classroom, “My experiences give me ‘life cred,’” he said, “I think that when teachers come to the profession as a bit older adults, they bring more to the table.”
This is true for the other teachers as well; for Andrew Forrest, working at the beach club has taught him valuable managing skills and Jeff Johnson learned what it takes to run a successful business.
So when school resumes this coming September and teachers reappear from their summer lives, they bring with them important experiences and lessons from these other jobs. “It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you do it. In the pursuit, lies the joy,” said Schneider, “That is the lesson I work at impar
ting to my students.”
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