Summer is barely half over, but already back-to-school sales are flooding the marketplace, with store shelves brimming with school-related goodies, everything from binders and notebook paper to pens, pencils, and backpacks.

Indeed, Deloitte projects that overall K-12 spending this year will top out at $27.8 billion, for an average of $519 per student. And for families with college-bound students, the price tag is expected to slightly surpass the $25 billion mark, for an average of $1,362 per student.

At the same time, the July 12 issue of USA Today headlined with, “I do not have two or three months off,” referring to the summer break during which many teachers must work to make ends meet.

In fact, data from the National Survey of Teachers and Principals revealed that some 20% of teachers must work a second job during the school year, and then follow that up by working in the summer, too.

They’re also reworking lesson plans, taking classes, and attending conferences, too.

Says teacher Quinci Darcus, “To be a good teacher, you have to be willing to learn more… It’s really not a break.”

Michael Steele, Education Department Chair at the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee puts it this way, “It’s the notion that we are off, that we are not doing anything. All of that work is completely invisible because we are not in front of the classroom teaching kids.”

Is it surprising then that a National Education Association study found that, although 41% of new college grads reported that, while at some point they’d considered a teaching career, just 17% followed through and became educators?

All this begs the question: Would you encourage your child to pursue a career in teaching?

~ With my many thanks, would love to know… ~ Carol (@schoolwisebooks.)