Many teachers feel the need to supplement their income, often assuming part-time employment in addition to full-time teaching careers. But according to Education News, teachers have begun finding ways to profit from their existing curriculum and materials that they have created for classroom use. They are selling them online, and this practice is gaining momentum. Not only are teachers able to earn a little extra income, they are able to purchase materials that are less costly simply by purchasing them from other teachers. This latest trend is occurring on an open marketplace called TeachersPayTeachers.
How It Works
The Huffington Post states that a number of open markets on the Internet have been created for teachers to share and sell their materials. TeachersPayTeachers, started in 2006 by a former New York teacher, is the largest and most popular of these sites. The site has around 300,000 items for sale and about 50,000 materials for free. During August and September alone, teachers sold more than $5 million in lesson plans, classroom activities, examinations, supplies and other items.
The website collects fees from sales, and teachers are saving money by purchasing items from the site--so everybody wins. Education News reports that teachers find the prices of the materials sold by other teachers to be far more reasonable than what they would spend through traditional outlets.
Kristine Nannini, a fifth grade teacher in Michigan, made over $24,000 last summer by selling wall charts. Deanna Jump, a first grade teacher and the site’s top seller, has made more than $1 million in a two-year period. The Huffington Post says that Jump sells mainly science curriculum materials, and instead of keeping all of her earnings, she has split them amongst her family, school and charities. She even purchased a smart board for another classroom.
Some schools are uncomfortable with the idea of teachers profiting from materials that are potentially created during working time. The Huffington Post reports that Seattle Public Schools adopted a policy that prohibits educators from selling materials that are created during school hours. Since there is no way to differentiate between what was created during free time and what was created during work hours, Seattle school spokeswoman Teresa Wippel commented, "Anything created on their own time could also cross a gray line, depending on the item and how closely tied it is to classroom work.”
All in all, this is a growing trend, and more teachers are jumping on the selling and sharing bandwagon. TeachersPayTeachers offers materials for every grade, from pre-K to college, and in every subject area. Teachers can set their own prices and promote items through social media outlets like Facebook. Teachers can also rate and review products they have purchased, similar to other marketplaces like Amazon.