I’m tired of the rhetoric. I’m exhausted from the conversation. I’m so over the “ethical debate”. If a teacher creates something of value and wants to sell it to another teacher, they should not only be allowed to do so, but also encouraged to do so.
Teachers should not be scolded for making “extra money” by developing great lessons, resources, and guides that improve teaching and learning…they should be applauded. I realize that not every resource sold on TeachersPayTeachers is improving teaching and learning, but in that case they rarely sell.
I think what really irks me is the notion that teachers should not be making “extra” money through their profession. Why not? Are teachers who speak at conferences not allowed to make “extra” money because that would ruin their “ethics”? Are teachers who write books not allowed to accept royalties because that would be “selling out”? Are teachers who do consulting work for the state or other schools supposed to do this for “free” because taking a payment would make them feel wrong?
Many teachers I know have no problem with educators making money from speaking, writing, and consulting. Yet, they feel differently about Teachers Pay Teachers. If you are a teacher, get mad at the companies that charge thousands for canned curriculum resources, not a fellow teacher who put hard work into developing something worth sharing.
I personally just wrote a whole guide on helping teachers who want to tutor. Why? Because tutoring is an amazing way to make extra money in our profession, especially when you are tutoring for yourself and not a company like Kaplan or Huntingdon who takes 75% of your pay. It took me over 80 hours to write, create, and build this guide and video course. Should I just give it away for free?
Teachers Pay Teachers represents a shift in the way we think about education. Technology has made it possible for sites like BetterLesson and ModernLessons to share thousands of teacher resources for free, and I love those sites. Teachers Pay Teachers is different because it is educators supporting other educators for their hard work. Maybe you haven’t noticed…but this type of thing happens in the design community, the programming community, and the business community. In fact, it happens in almost every professional community…except teaching.
Here’s why Teachers Pay Teachers is great:
1. It gives curricular power back to the teachers!
Teachers Pay Teachers is just the start in my opinion. Imagine a teaching profession where all of our curriculum was actually written by teachers (not by a company). And then imagine a profession where those teachers were compensated (like they should be) for their curriculum writing. This is happening now on that site, with teachers like Deanna Jump making over $100,000 in sales per month thanks to all of the units she had personally created.
Best yet, as teachers we are the ones choosing which curriculum plans, unit plans, and resources work for our students. If a resource is selling on Teachers Pay Teachers that means it has been tested, used, and approved by real teachers.
2. It’s the best form of “merit pay” we’ve got.
I’m not a big fan of most of the “merit pay” programs for teachers out there, but this works as a form of merit pay because it pays those teachers who are creating resources of value. I don’t have many items up on TeachersPayTeachers, but when someone buys a Twitter or Pinterest PowerPoint Template I made, and writes how great it worked with their class…I’m excited. I’ve also given these templates away for free at various times on my blog or if you sign up for my email list, because I believe they do have value in the classroom.
When merit pay is solely based on our students’ standardized test performances, then that is what teachers will focus on. This type of “merit pay” is based on creating valuable resources and plans for fellow teachers…I like that idea much better.
3. It’s creating a much needed culture of “teacherpreneurs”.
I’m hoping that more teachers who sell their work on TeachersPayTeachers begin to sell their work on their own websites. TPT still takes a good amount of royalties away from the teachers, and by selling on their own site, they can reclaim the money they deserve.
There are a variety of definitions of “teacherpreneurs” out there right now, but I see it as a word describing teachers who are entrepreneurial in their thinking, planning, creating, and sharing. These teachers often go above and beyond. They speak at conferences. They write blogs and books. They do consulting work. They share and sell best practices and resources. They tutor. They create websites and apps. They fuel change in our practice and lead by “doing”.
Please don’t hate on teachers who are making extra money with their hard work. There is no “scam” taking place here, and most of the teachers who sell resources on TPT have many free items available. More importantly, if we want to keep great teachers and “teacherpreneurs” in our profession, paying for their hard work should be encouraged and applauded, not dismissed and looked down on.