The time that all freelancers fear is almost up on us.
When you go for jobs they tend to be September to June but you may be able to pick up something in July for resits or marking. Yet, there is nothing in August. It’s the holidays when people on FT permanent contracts get paid for well, being on holiday. I know, I’ve been there but I never appreciated it.
August is generally a no teaching month and as a freelancer that means no money. Yes, it makes sense to go off and travel or see family but costs are high over the summer months. From years of ELT teaching I’ve learned to take holidays when it’s cheap i.e. to have an ‘alternative existence’. This became even more so when I took up early morning, lunch, late evening and weekend work. When your only day off is Tuesday you have to say goodbye long weekends. However, it’s actually BETTER! You can do more things with less traffic and cheaper prices in the week. Shhh!
Some schools an unis have longer holidays though. There are those that finish in May or June and those that go back in October or even November. This can mean a BIG break with no work or pay. Another reason why teaching in France is not for the faint of heart. Thus, you see people running round town, taking buses, trains and bikes to teach at 2 or 3 places every day. Why? Because they have to work as much as possible when there is work to make up for when there isn’t. Of course, when you go for interviews and people ask “how will you fit in this position into your timetable?” or “do you have enough availability?” you have to show that you can do the job. this “we want FT but will only pay for PT employees’ is common.
I’ve also noticed that every PT job seems to be on Thursdays more often than not. Is this some secret agreement between schools?
Moving back to my original point, the average freelancer seems to have to have a ‘whole year’ plan in mind to make up for Xmas and summer when there is no work. I see many teachers quite teaching or locations because they just can’t afford these gaps. Perhaps they don’t finance properly or just don’t make enough. Maybe schools and unis should provide work of some description or holiday pay. Here in France some contracts seem to give you an ‘end of contract’ bonus but the same type of contract at a uni doesn’t. Doesn’t seem ‘legal’ to me. Those 9 month contracts would give freelancers a nice bonus to help them through the summer and they could just be ‘teach 100 hours’ contracts. Problem here is that some contracts can’t be renewed or can only be so many times so freelancers seem in a limbo state of ‘my word is my bond’ or on a ‘service provider’ sort of basis.
How do you survive August then?