This has been a draft for over a year! I am keen to share my thoughts on this, but I am nervous about actually publishing it because I know that it will be unpopular. I hate the idea of being controversial! Having said that, I do welcome debate.
First of all, let me be clear: this is a discussion and maybe a debate. It is not an attack on anyone who buys or sells on Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT). My issue is with the big idea, not individuals. When I taught in England, I struggled every month to get by financially. I don’t blame anyone who wants to make a bit more money. In fact, I kind of admire your entrepreneurship. Likewise, I admire teachers who are willing to spend their own money on their students. Again, please do not read this as an attack.
Many other teachers have criticised the quality of TPT resources, generally stating that they lack individuality and creativity. For me, even these posts are missing the point. I’m not going to discuss this matter. I went to the site for the first time today, so I’m hardly qualified to judge its quality. Also, I have highly-respected colleagues who use this site. I know that they would ignore the rubbish and only pay for quality. My issue would still exist even if the resources were the best in the world.
For me, it’s the payment part. Something about teachers paying each other really doesn’t sit well with me. We work in a profession that relies on collaboration and sharing. We would be unsuccessful without it (or certainly much less successful). I’m a firm believer that we’re all in this together and that we all make each other better for the sake of our students. I care about your students. I don’t know them, but I want them to succeed. If I can support you in any way, I’m more than happy to.
“The most valuable resource that all teachers have is each other.”
Robert John Meehan
The following description was taken directly from the TPT website:
“Teachers Pay Teachers (or TPT, as we call it) is a community of millions of educators who come together to share their work, their insights, and their inspiration with one another. We are the first and largest open marketplace where teachers share, sell, and buy original educational resources. That means immediate access to a world of expertise and more time to focus on students and teaching.”
Teachers Pay Teachers
Although most of the above ideas sound good, I would argue that many other platforms can make the same claims without the need for payment. If payment is required, I don’t believe that it can be called sharing. Time and time again, I have written about using social media to connect with other educators around the world. This has been a game-changer. I absolutely love sharing my ideas on social media and, obviously, I am an enthusiastic blogger. I love sharing and I love learning from others. TPT raises a concerning question: if other people are making money, why should I do it for free? Imagine if all teachers started to think this way. How sad! My PLN means the world to me, especially my Twitter connections and fellow bloggers. If any of them started charging for their ideas, I’d be devastated.
“To have thousands of fellow minds in your pocket via a mobile device is to have an immensely unfair advantage over humans who think alone.”
I am also part of many Facebook and Google+ groups for teachers. Many of these have tens of thousands of members. They are a fantastic source of inspiration and support. I share my new blog posts in these groups and sometimes feel guilty in case it is interpreted as self-promotion (I suppose it is) or even spamming. However, I think that my ideas are worthwhile and potentially beneficial for fellow teachers. I wouldn’t share them if I didn’t. If members are interested, they can obviously read my posts for free. It concerns me that TPT promotions are increasingly common in these groups. The group members cannot benefit from these posts without paying. Granted, the resources are usually very cheap, but my point is that they should be free. The people who set up these groups did so (I assume) because they believe in the power and importance of teachers collaborating. When resources require money, it is not collaboration in my eyes.
“Education thrives on partnership and collaboration – within schools, between schools, and with other groups and organisations.”
Sir. Ken Robinson
TPT is described on the site as a ‘movement’. This suggests that it is gaining momentum and popularity. Like I said, TPT posts seem to be appearing more frequently, so the movement is probably real. This terrifies me! Is this the future of teacher collaboration? For teachers who use TPT regularly, I urge you to develop your PLN across multiple free platforms. I passionately believe that you can find resources, ideas and inspiration for free. In fact, I know it. For teachers who sell on TPT, why not try blogging? You can get your ideas out there without charging and you can still make money through advertising. The small amount of pocket money that I make is an additional reward for my efforts, but it comes from Amazon, not my colleagues.
The following quote sums up my post nicely. I believe that teachers have a responsibility to share and have the right to be shared with. Again, I ask if the word ‘sharing’ can be used if payment is required.
“When you are not sharing your brilliant ideas, you are doing a disservice to others.”
Perhaps I’m missing the point. I’d be very interested in opposing viewpoints. I am open-minded to other ideas and I realise that many people will disagree with me. I welcome respectful, professional debate. I might even come to the conclusion that I was wrong! Try me.
What is your stance on TPT? Please leave your thoughts below. For more discussions and blog updates, please follow my Facebook page.
On my business educator website, someone posted an idea that was fantastic. I clicked on the link and saw a full video and resources for this incredible idea. It solved a huge problem for me–I had been stressing about how I was going to come up with a project for my students to do in the fall. Then I clicked on the “download lesson” and got sent to a TPT link. My first thought? GOOD. This is a great idea, and if he is also going to provide not just an idea but the resources, worksheets, videos and process for me so I don’t have to do all that work–I am happy to pay for it. I work in a district that would reimburse me for it, but I probably won’t bother. He just saved me HOURS of time. I also know that if I pay for it, it’s probably a higher quality of resource. I don’t understand why teachers feel that someone else should do all the work and they should just benefit from that because they have the same job. It’s not true in other industries. Idea sharing is one thing–RESOURCE sharing is another.
Thanks for sharing your experience and perspective. I guess I wasn’t thinking of resources that take hours of time to make. I agree that this becomes a different discussion. Somewhere there’s a line between things that can be shared freely within our collaborative profession (a quick worksheet, for example) and someone’s blood, sweat and tears that they deserve to be paid for (like book). I don’t know where that line is.
Thanks for challenging and pushing my thinking!
This is tough. People should be compensated for their hard work. But at the same time, when education is put behind a paywall, it becomes inequitable, where only those with means can benefit.
I feel TPT is a symptom of a bigger problem in education and society, but it still rubs me the wrong way. (I too share my lesson materials for free, and I will certainly toot my own horn about them being top notch lessons!)
Thanks for sharing these interesting points! What do you think is the bigger problem in education and society?
Adam, you have made some valid points in your post. I believe the pandemic has shown us how important it is to work as one support system. Evidence of this was the plethora of free webinars, workshops, and access to many resources and websites.
Although I have used TPT in my 25 years of teaching by either taking ideas or paying for an engagement that might help me in teaching, I agree that sharing our ideas, activities, and techniques will help us reach all the learners and serve their needs in a better way.
Thank you for sharing your perspective in this interesting and complex debate. Indeed, the pandemic has shone new light on the need for collaboration and support.
I Agree, In Belgium we have something like TPT, but we don’t have to pay (klascement). When you join you get some points. With those points you can ‘buy’ resources. You can earn new points by commenting on resources or more points when you upload resources yourself.
Thanks for sharing that. It sounds like a cool idea! Teachers are still rewarded for engagement and content creation but there’s no need to involve money. I like that.
I agree with you completely!!! Lets maintain the dignity and respect our profession holds. We can share ideas with each other and grow in turn. Each time we share we also learn new things. I can see the kind of resistance from the people about this blog but i really think it makes sense. ‘Teachers’ they say its a noble profession of giving to the society and creating leaders for tomorrow. It doesn’t take much in supporting other fellow educators by sharing our resources and in turn using their ideas as well.
Much appreciate your thoughts.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I’m pleased that this blog post resonates with you. I agree with your perspective. For me, it’s about sharing and supporting each other so that we can all learn and grow together. I’m not sure when or why money started to get involved. I think it’s a shame.
Having said that, I wouldn’t expect authors to give away their books for free or PD providers to train people for free. The line is definitely a little blurry and I’m not sure how to explain it.
What do you think?
I do agree with your essay. I started teaching in 1986 and we ALWAYS shared. I was used to sharing within my large urban district when I was a school librarian. In 2016 my job was on the “cut” list so I left and took a part-time non benefited job as a K-5 Technology Teacher. No Curriculum, nothing. I took a $40,000 dollar a year pay cut when I accepted my new job so $ was tight. I searched high and low for free things online, nothing! I finally caved during a TPT sale and gave myself a birthday present of some curriculum. I am now full time and only will use my allotted school budget for TPT and have recently set up the TPT FundMe page. So far I have no contributions. I “get” that teachers want to make extra money
Thanks for sharing your experience. I completely understand that people want to make more money, especially underpaid teachers. I would never discourage that. But I do feel disappointed that the sharing culture is being gradually replaced by more and more sites (not just TPT) that put prices on resources.
Hi Adam Hill,
Well from years we have all bought books and paid for them, so the real problem here is not money, because money is just a tool for exchanging value, and we all agree that these resources have great value.
Who pays the books? The schools, children’s parents or the government (normally not the teachers). And this is the point, and as far as I know many schools also pay these resources.
But there are times that the teacher chooses freely to buy an item and thus saves a lot of time. In other words: they buy time.
If there is no problem buying a publisher that makes books, or a company that makes videos or any other educational material, there is also no problem in paying a teacher (teachers do not work for free obviously).
Actually I prefer to buy it from a teacher, because is a seal of guarantee, and also is the big opportunity to act as a Free Agent and learn about new opportunities, making great products that will improve the world and earn a better life from these seeds that you have given to the world.
In other words, I invite you to open your own store and discover how wonderful it is, because if others have succeeded you will be next.
My best wishes!
Thanks for sharing your perspective. I think we see it differently because I’m not in the habit of buying resources from books either. I just make my own resources because I know exactly what my kids need and making my own is quicker than searching to see if someone else has made something that matches those needs. I’m also in the habit of sharing what I do online. The teachers I’m connected with all have the same approach. Therefore, I don’t see money as a tool for exchanging value in this case. I see it as exchanging a valuable resource for other valuable resources. A constant give and take on online platforms. No money involved.
I do get your perspective though. I can see how buying from teachers is a more attractive idea than purchasing published worksheets. I’m just not in that habit.
Really appreciate your input!
I started my TpT store when I had a blog and was asked repeatedly for the lesson plans. It was tiresome to keep emailing them to folks. At the time, Google Docs, Dropbox, etc. were too problematic for sharing. When TPT started, they promoted themselves as a platform for sharing, so I jumped on it. The reason we had to charge a fee was to keep the platform alive. If we don’t charge a small fee, they can’t stay in business. I charged the minimum they suggested and didn’t expect to make much, but teachers have downloaded 4,000 of my lessons. That’s a lot of sharing. That fact that they are a business doesn’t bother me anymore than other organizations like museums, or businesses that need to charge money to stay alive.
Thanks for sharing your experience. It’s great that you are putting your ideas out there to help others and I understand that TpT needs money to stay afloat, but I still don’t understand why you need TpT at all. It seems like you could cut out the middle man. Why not just share the documents on your blog instead?
Thanks again for your input. It’s always useful to learn from different perspectives.
Good article – I enjoyed reading about your thoughts on this. I feel the same way for the most part except that I feel the payment between teachers is totally cool. The sharing and collaboration among teachers is not going anywhere – TPT is an ADDITIONAL and optional resource that can literally only bring new ideas into the classroom. No doubt that it would be awesome if this was free and you didn’t have to pay. But we’re not required to use TPT in anyway – so that makes it each individuals choice to purchase the additional resource. Now that teacher has new ideas and those ideas will spread among her piers.
I know what I am about to write doesn’t have the same “team” aspect as teachers but hear me out. Authors of scholarly articles work very, very, very hard to get something published. Many times in order to read about their research, it must be purchased. Teachers work their butts off making quality lesson plans and an “8 hour” workday for a teacher is unheard of. So why not help that hard worker out by throwing them a few bucks for a good lesson to teach the kids and it also saves you time.
Like I said before, purchasing things from TPT is not required and does not hurt collaboration, it can only put new ideas into the leaders of our youth.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I can understand what you’re saying even though I still have a different perspective on this. In my eyes, it’s not collaboration. But my perspective is from someone who has never used the site. It’s probably a very friendly, supportive platform and I’m all for that. I also appreciate what you’re saying about the work that teachers put in. However, knowing that many, many teachers are sharing and collaborating for free, it seems wrong that others are charging. I’ve only been teaching a few years but I remember a time when charging each other was unheard of. I just think it’s a shame that we are going down this route rather than creating an online culture of sharing and collaborating with no money involved.
Thanks again for sharing your perspective on this, and happy new year!
I’m coming to this about a year late but after reading through the comments, I’m concerned that you are forgetting something crucial. In every form of artistry, there is very little left that is truly original, and in just about every other sector of professional life people are valued and paid for their time, but in teaching there seems to be this mentality that giving ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally all day to other people’s children and then spending so much of our own time and our families’ time is just a part of the charity we give as teachers without being deserving of adequate compensation, and that should be extended to include those resources we create on our time and budget. Time is money, and as teachers (at least here in the US) we are making 50% less than our peers who hold similar degrees and experience in other fields as it is. The vast majority of us aren’t being paid enough to afford paying back student loans we took for the required degrees (in my state, at least a Master’s degree) let alone receiving any kind of financial assistance as is available with some employers. We complete a five month unpaid internship before graduating which does not allow us time to work outside of that required experience. And I don’t know where all of you are located that you have lots of money to spend on resources of any type because even working in a “generous” district that finds ways to cut other things so we can have some of what we need, I easily spend $1000+ every single year (mostly not on TPT but on basics like supplies for low income kids or classroom necessities or printer paper/ink), and that’s pretty much the norm from discussing with my colleagues across the state and the country. If someone wants a few dollars to save me hours of time for something that I can easily adapt to my classroom, I’ll gladly fork it over because I understand the struggle of trying to survive with a family on a teaching income and not having the time or energy to get any other kind of second job. Every other sector values professionals for their time monetarily, and completely dismissing the entire idea of teacher entrepreneurship furthers the rhetoric that teachers are not valued and education is not valued. I’m not saying everything should be sold; I’m not a high volume teacher-author (just enough to fund my purchases and maybe a coffee once in awhile) and I frequently share ideas and creations freely on Twitter and even in my TPT store. The vast majority of what I share is freely given (and if you catch me in person I’ll likely just email you paid products for free), but those things that I spent large amounts of time on or that fill a marketplace gap are sold for a very nominal fee. Maybe one day I’ll be able to increase my product volume so that it covers all of my yearly classroom out-of-pocket expenses or even help pay my god-awful student loans, but that’s dependent on time I just don’t have right now.
To look at this from another angle, consider my personal situation: I am a teacher of world languages, and there just aren’t many resources out there for us that we don’t have to spend hours upon hours adapting. I have five preps per day and I’m often up until 1:30am creating things to use that are tailored to my students so the quality of my teaching suffers because of the need to create resources. Publishers often ignore research-based methods in language acquisition because they aren’t always easy to package in flashy manners to make money, and we aren’t a huge marketshare like math or English. What few appropriate resources that are available from publishers are usually tailored towards Spanish only, leaving out the rest of us. Additionally, publishers aren’t the ones doing the heavy lifting of evolving language teaching and standards – we are. I’ve made so many friends that are considered nationwide and worldwide experts in teaching for language acquisition, and only two or three of them have been picked up by publishers for the reasons above. That’s why I hand-over-fist trust a reputable teacher-author way before I trust a mass publisher. That person has been (or more often, still is) in the trenches of advancing our profession, and (s)he has invested so much time, money, training, knowledge, and above all, experience. (S)he has likely engaged in every episode of Tea with BVP and poured over BVP and Krashen’s research (among many others) to make sure we are all doing the right thing. Usually, (s)he has given the ideas themselves and parts of the resources freely already in crafting the finished product. Does (s)he not deserve to be compensated? Take my money for quality resources, I say (because it’s coming out of most of our own pockets anyway), and TPT can have their 15% cut, too – they do host the files, arrange the payments and invoicing, offer tons of resources on their website and build community through their forums. That’s a very small cut in the business of publishing content. Etsy – a massive maker marketplace – takes way, way more from their creators. What’s available isn’t just worksheets anymore, although every once in awhile that’s not a bad thing! It’s interactive notebooks and reading passages written by the sellers and connected activities and examples of work and possible avenues to explore in your lessons and so much more. It’s also very rarely plug and chug, so teacher-authors know the resources have to be adaptable. Teaching is an art form, and teacher-authors deserve commiserate compensation. There is a balance to sharing and selling, and the vast majority of teacher authors (even the high volume ones!) do this very well.
I wish you all the best in your journey, and I hope you will consider these points in exploring TPT.
Thank you for sharing your perspective in this debate. I agree with a lot of what you say and can even appreciate the points that I don’t agree with. I totally agree that teachers are underpaid in the US and that teacher-made resources are usually more beneficial than mass-produced ones. We are, as you say, experts in our field. We know what’s best. And don’t get me wrong – I don’t discourage teacher entrepreneurs. On the contrary!
It’s interesting that you spend most of your TPT earnings on more TPT purchases. I imagine this is the same for most TPT users. It’s less about making money and more about funding the resources you need. But, to me, this raises the question again of why money is involved. If there’s a culture of buy and sell (almost equally), then why not just give and receive instead? Especially if money is an issue for most teachers. Why involve it at all?
Most of the comments here are from US teachers. I have never taught there and have little knowledge of the situation. I’m obviously missing something. I recognise that I am in the minority here and I can fully appreciate the different perspectives (when they are shared respectfully). Thank you for adding to the discussion with your valid points.
I am coming into this discussion a year or so late as a consumer of products on Teachers Pay Teachers, but not a seller – although I have contemplated putting some things on – simply to recoup what I have spent.
I have NEVER purchased something on TPT that I have not needed to alter or that I have used in its entirety. Just as I have NEVER used something I created during a previous year the following year (on different students) without needing to modify it one way or another.
Additionally, TPT is my last go to. I go there for the “extras” I want in a unit that I have neither the energy or resources to create myself and that I cannot find from other teachers who are willing to share free of charge.. (If you haven’t seen firstgradewowblogspot you must check her out!). TPT exists for the same reason a myriad of other marketplaces exist, because there is a market. If it didn’t exist we (teachers) would move forward without it – just as we have for decades and centuries before.
I will end with a concern. There are a host of “producers” on TPT who have made it a full time job. They are no longer in contact with students, they are no longer current on standards, strategies, research based practices, etc…, but their product looks awesome! This has caused debate and concern as I see teachers replace research based practices, curriculum, and student learning below what they purchase or find there. Just like grocery shopping, read the label and use your critical thinking skills. Just because it says “aligned to common core standards” does not mean that standard has been looked at or broken down by the creator, or that they know what learning targets your individual students need. That is our job as educators and nothing we purchase anywhere can /should do that better than us.
You raise some really good points here. Thank you for sharing your experience and concerns. I’m not sure what the solutions are apart from to keep doing what you’re doing, which is using TPT responsibly and critically. I agree that there is a market for TPT. This is obvious from its success and popularity. But a year later, and despite the many comments and disagreements, I maintain my position that it just doesn’t seem right. I still dislike the idea of teachers charging each other. When I see resources shared on Facebook with a price tag attached (and, to be fair, it’s not just TPT), it frustrates me because those are the same resources that should be shared for free in the name of teacher collaboration. But that’s just my opinion. I recognise that it’s an unpopular one!
Thanks again for your input.
Every teacher I know what’s to create the most engaging/fun/provoking/interesting resources. This is especially prevalent when the teacher is being observed. It is looked upon negatively if a resource isn’t created by the teacher themselves or for the particular class being seen. Maybe getting away from this stigma and focussing on the learning taking place rather then the tools to measure or extract this could help with the situation you describe? Maybe then there could/would be a more open and collaborative, sharing atmosphere within the profession.
Interesting ideas here on both your post and the comments.
Thank you for your comment and feedback. I agree that the comments are worth reading. It’s an interesting debate and I can appreciate all perspectives.
Thanks again. I’ll check out your blog.
I am a TpT author (I’ve only done it a few months). I am more than happy to share my ideas and resources with the people I work with or come in contact with professionally. My problem with sharing openly to ALL teachers. Unfortunately, although most teachers are as passionate and invested as I am, there are plenty who aren’t, and it’s these types of teachers who I struggle to share all my, what I think, are amazing ideas and resources with. These are the teachers that put in the bare minimum. Show up unprepared, don’t work after hours etc. I’m more than happy to take money from any of them. All schools are paying for publications that are written and designed for our curriculum, how is it any different? I think teachers like the idea that they can find what they need at the last minute and it’s ready to go (provided they choose a quality product).
Thank you for your comment. I appreciate you offering your perspective. I don’t like to make a distinction between colleagues who I know and colleagues I don’t. I don’t see how that matters. I see your point about lazy teachers and it might seem unfair, but those kids deserve our sharing as well (even if the teachers don’t). I think we should look beyond the lazy minority and stay focused on the children.
I think the idea of ready-made, one-size-fits-all resources for last minute lessons is a whole other issue. Even quality resources should be personalised for our unique classes and contexts. I’m sure many TPT users do this, but there will be some who don’t. No lesson should be last minute and no resource should be used thoughtlessly.
Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. You’ll see in the other comments that most people agree with you and I am very much in the minority!
I would not have posted what I just worked 5 hours fixing for teachers pay teachers, if it were to give it away for free.
Thanks for sharing your perspective. I appreciate that five hours is a lot of work. Is it something you were working on specifically for TPT, or did you make it for your students?
I spent 40 hours making it. I spent 5 additional hours putting them together and making a cover for TPT. I made it years ago for my dad who taught 5th grade and asked me to come teach art to his students because I got a BA in Art. I then used those to teach art lessons at other schools which asked me to. I made them in 2003, 2005 and 2007. I just barely fixed it up to sell on TPT.
While i spend lots of time preparing my resources to the best of my ability, if i know that something i have used or created could be improved further, i will before i share it. freely.
So many comments!! I did not read them; I just wanted to share Teachers GIVE Teachers: @TsGiveTs on Twitter. Another GREAT way for teachers to share.
NOW WE’RE TALKING! A place for teachers to share HyperDocs sounds absolutely awesome. I have had a quick glance and I am definitely going to explore further. I love this idea! The #Give1Take1 idea will ensure that it is a collaborative place rather than a space for some people to just take. This has been an argument for charging on TPT. Is it a strict rule to give and take or just a guideline? Also, I’m curious about the name. Was it purposely named Teachers Give Teachers as a direct challenge and statement against TPT? It seems like it.
Thanks again for introducing me to this. I will definitely get involved! Watch this space!
Interesting post! Your altruism is commendable. I can’t agree though because I believe people should be paid for their work. If it’s valuable, then people should spend a little on it.
Let me come at this from the perspective of the buyer. When I get things for free, I treat it like it’s free. When I pay for things, I treat it with more care and consideration. When my parents bought me my first laptop, I took care of it, for the most part. But now that I have purchased my own, I consider every little thing I put on it and how it is used. The same goes for free books versus purchased books. I read with a lot more investment when I have spent the money.
If I am going to put something out there that I worked on, I want people to make an investment in it. I want it to be treated with love and care, like the things I purchase. I don’t want it treated as “free.” It’s valuable.
On the other hand, I don’t want to over pay for the value. So I don’t think things should be priced too high. If they are, then you’re just being greedy. Where is that line of value vs. over priced? I don’t know. But ethically, one should tread lightly and deliver maximum value.
I am confident that I have not convinced you in the slightest, based on your other replies, but I did get the opportunity to write this down and sharpen my thinking on the topic, so thank you for posing the question!
Thank you for your comment. Please don’t think that my opinion cannot be changed or challenged. You have offered yet more arguments in this fascinating debate and I remain open minded. I wrote this fully suspecting that I would be in the minority and I was right. I also suspected that I was missing something (something that the millions of TPT users see).
I think you have highlighted a key point. If we do charge, how much do we charge? Who decides on what counts as value for money? When I checked out the site (admittedly, not in great depth), I was surprised by the higher than expected prices. Does TPT offer any guidelines on this?
Thanks again for your insight.
Adam, TPT does not have orice guidelines. However, it is a supply and demand market on there. If 10 other teachers have a very similar resource, the best for the lowest price will be the one that sells. Buyers are shopping by looking at all of the ones available when they search for something.
Also, just last nigt when I uploaded something, I did not know whether I priced it well. I searched and found that two things are on there about pricing. One is free. The other is 99 cents. They are price guides. All of them seem stuck on a per page pricing system which is about 15, 25 or 30 cents per page.
Thank you for sharing your insight. In fact, thank you for all of your comments! What’s your name? I couldn’t find it on your site.
I am Lisa Jackson.
“When I get things for free, I treat it like it’s free. When I pay for things, I treat it with more care and consideration.”
…how much do you pay for love?
when i get things for free, i feel blessed that someone would give me something so wonderful and valuable. i treat it with the respect it deserves because i can recognise the effort that has gone into it, having now created many of my own resources.
perhaps your perspective of free resources would change if you were a creater, not just a buyer? have a go! it’s so rewarding to get great feedback on resources you have given freely – when you have made someone’s life easier (we’re in a profession that is very time poor) and student outcomes better. and you’ve not demanded that the receiver be in a particular socio-economic bracket.
the other thing i find that is rewarding in creating my own resources is the things i learn from having to make them. i learn better how to use the programs, better how to explain a concept, better how to deliver this content to students (it is so easy now-a-days to just make all your slide backgrounds blue, for those students who may not have yet discovered they have Irlen syndrome or dyslexia, for example, or to make them any other colour if you have a student with that particular requirement). when you just pay-and-use i think you’re missing out on a way to connect with your students.
my 2c. 🙂
Thanks for your input. I think we share the same perspective in this debate. I think one of the reasons that TPT seems wrong to me is that I have always been in the habit of making my own resources. I agree that this helps me to become familiar with different tools and I can also put more thought into my own students rather than downloading something generic. To me, making my own resources is quicker and more beneficial than searching the internet for them. I also agree with everything you said about sharing your resources for free. I would always treat free resources with the respect and appreciation that they deserve and I am always thrilled to find out that my own shared resources are useful to others.
Thanks again for joining the discussion with some great points!
I am a former teacher turned fulltime curriculum writer. I sell my resources exclusively through TpT. I moved from the classroom to being a fulltime writer simply because I could not keep up with the demand. I’ve read enough heartfelt emails and feedback to know that what I do is worth doing, and worth paying for.
Most TpT sellers are VERY passionate about what they do. They are working on their nights and weekends on resources that they may never use, so that they may help out other teachers and thousands of students that they don’t teach. I think that’s the side of TpT sellers that many people do not realize. If strangers started emailing you to ask you to create an activity, write a unit, or even a full curriculum (like in my case!) for them, would you just say yes? Would you give up a day, week, or year or your life creating something for others for free? I think most people would say no.
Keep in mind, we also commit to continually updating these resources too. I’m actually in the middle of several revamps now while continuing to work on a brand new curriculum. Even though I may never use the resources I create, I frequently tweak them through feedback with the thousands of teachers I am connected with. I never stop working. Ever.
I think you may also interested in knowing that the TpT platform IS shifting more towards schools and districts. I’m very excited in that I’m seeing more and more schools and districts pay for my curriculum rather than it coming out of a teacher’s pocket.
You can read more about that here:
I know my situation may not be the same as everyone else, but I thought I’d give some insight into certain cases that you may not have considered. I’m proud of what I do. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be awake at 4am right now working on this unit just because. I want to make a difference, and TpT has given me a platform to do so.
Thank you for contributing your comments to this debate. You offer a unique perspective that I had not considered. Thank you for that. Firstly, I apologise that my reply has taken so long! When I first started blogging, I decided that every commenter deserves a personal response for their time and consideration. When I made this decision, i did not expect so many comments! Still, I stay true to my word (it’s just a little late).
Your perspective is unique because you are no longer in the classroom. If I am interpreting your message correctly, TPT is now your livelihood and your primary profession. Am I right? If you are spending as much time as you say on making resources for others, then I suppose this is a different debate. My argument was about teachers who are still in the classroom who make resources for their own class and then sell them to others. It just seems wrong for a resource that has already been made. Why not just share it for free? I understand that many freebies are available on TPT, but I would hope for more. It has also come to my attention that people are writing long documents. Again, this is a different argument. My issue is about day-to-day resources such as worksheets. The debate is, admittedly, not as black and white as I’d thought.
Thank for for sharing the information about schools and districts. This seems like a positive step. However, as Dan points out bellow, there is still an issue with the name and the central TPT idea. I encourage you to read through the comments below. It is a fascinating debate and I thank you for your contribution.
That is a very positive step for TPT to take! I am excited!
I fully agree with you. Thank you for saying it. I don’t dislike TpT, I just won’t buy from it (I think I did once, actually). I am a beg, borrow and steal kind of teacher. I firmly believe that we are a unique breed that relies on each other to do what’s best for kids. I have no problem sharing resources and ideas freely with others. Also as a PBL teacher/ believer, you can’t “package” something nice and neat and have it fit all classrooms and all situations. Besides, I kind of like creating my own things.
Thank you for your comment. I appreciate your support in this post that has very much divided opinions. We must recognise that most people disagree with us, however!
Like I have said many times in this comment section, it would be wrong for me to criticise the products that are for sale on TPT because I have not conducted enough research to create an informed opinion.
I certainly agree that we should all be ‘beg, borrow and steal’ teachers. In fact, I would add a few more words: beg, borrow, steal, share, support, create, advise, collaborate, etc. etc. Perhaps it is curricula or culture that separates people on this, but I have always thought that the teaching profession should be like this. That’s why, despite the many arguments for TPT, it still doesn’t sit right. I stick by what I wrote here.
Hey! I have purchased from TPT for about seven years now, and sole for around 4. I respectfully have to disagree with you. I am disappointed that you are speaking without ever actually buying or using a research. Many of the items I create are more engaging for my students than say a textbook. Some resources I have created have cost hundreds of dollars in graphics and several months (i.e. Hundreds of hours) to create. My time is valuable. I hardly think it’s asking too much to charge for my time. On a different note, what are your thoughts then on publishing companies? Pearson, McGraw-Hill? What about The Parent Teacher store? This is a good conversation to have, but I would ask that maybe you spend a week of your summer break creating a product that could be listed (not a lesson plan, but a 25-50 page high-quality product -most of mine are 150+ pages) and then write a follow-up article. I have a feeling your opinion would change. 🙂
Perhaps this is why our opinions differ. I have never been in the habit of buying resources in shops or online. I have always been able to access or create what I need freely. Thus, when teachers start charging for their sharing, it seems like a big shift in the profession. I suppose if you have always paid for things (from companies such as the ones you mention), it seems like a shift that supports your colleagues and offers more value for money. I can appreciate that.
When I wrote this post, I was typically thinking about the simple worksheets that are sold on TPT. My argument was that similar resources can be found freely. Admittedly, I did not consider 150+ page documents. This makes me rethink and I thank you for stretching my thinking on this matter. One day soon, I just might take you up on your offer. Watch this space!
I buy and sell on TPT. The downside is the high number of US material (I’m Australian) but there are many high quality resources available that have saved me a lot of time that I have instead spent with my family.
I sell because as a single mum of young kids returning to teaching would cost me money as the cost of childcare for my kids is more than I would earn. With TPT I can work at night and spend the day with my kids. I can use the skulls and knowledge I have to help other teachers.
The issue with sharing is that it is never equal. Someone always ends up giving and there are many who only take and never give.
Creating on TPT requires purchasing fonts and graphics – so yes, I want to be paid to cover that and the many many hours that I spend on each resource. I have bills to pay too!
It is not just teachers you use the site – if you had researched properly rather than glanced you would know that schools and districts can be registered to purchase – so it won’t cost those teachers anything. If you don’t want to pay – go elsewhere. You are free to pay or not.
On another note I do concur about the comments about trademark and copyright infringing resources. I go to great lengths to research both and gain permissions but there are many who don’t. This is sometimes because they don’t understand Fair Use, trademark and copyright but there are many who are aware and don’t care. Yes, I have an issue with that.
In history people have adapred to their circumstances to make ends meet – for some sellers TPT is pocket money for others like me, it is my only source of income. I do maintain a blog but do not run adds as they are annoying but I share ideas on their free of charge – without ads my blog does not make an income but again, it costs money to maintain.
I strongly feel that anyone who writes a blog post after visiting a website once or twice needs to consider if they know enough about the site to comment about. I would have respected your post more had you actually downloaded a sample of free and purchased some resources. Without that research your post is subjective.
Apologies for any spelling errors – typing on a phone with young kids and a strange autocorrect makes it difficult! 🙂
Thank you for sharing your points. I fully respect your opinions and you have made some excellent points.
I agree that I should have researched about TPT further (hindsight is a wonderful thing). I have been open about this and that’s why it would be utterly wrong for me to judge the quality of the resources. I would never do that. However, I question the big idea of teachers selling resources to teachers. I don’t think extensive research is necessary for this (the clue is in the name). I do, however, admit to learning one or two things about the site since I have published this, so I agree with your point to an extent.
Since publishing this, I have heard several points about unique family contexts (single parents, juggling multiple jobs, bereavement, etc.). This is why I would never criticise individuals. Who am I to say that these people shouldn’t do what they can to get by? I really want to separate the idea and the people. I recognise that TPT buyers and sellers are passionate teachers who deserve extra cash and recognition for their hard work (often under difficult circumstances). I have no idea how teachers balance work with their own children, so I genuinely admire you.
You make a good point about paid graphics, fonts, etc. The whole point of this post was to find arguments that I had missed. Thank you for pointing this out. You certainly shouldn’t be losing money!
All things considered, I still stick by my opinions. I welcome an ongoing discussion though because I honestly appreciate your views. We can respectfully agree to disagree.
Here’s my take, as someone who has been a public school teacher for 25 years. The system is totally underfunded, I get that. However, in a perfect world, teachers would be paid properly and then sharing would be free. I used to share my creations with other teachers freely. And I still share with my colleagues at school for free. But now with the internet we have access to millions of other teachers, and so sharing with a few teachers I work with for free seems right and worth it, but sharing for free with millions of other teachers around the world doesn’t. Right now I spend more time per week on my store, than I do in the classroom. My products are top quality. If I was simply whipping up a worksheet or a unit for my classroom I would probably use images and ideas that were taken from others, and this is illegal when you are making a profit. I spend a lot of time and money making sure I have the licenses for my images, and the ideas are my own. I make sure my pages are perfectly balanced, engaging, eye-catching, and educationally sound. I would not take this time if I were making things for free. Besides, TPT is actually spending a lot of time and money researching site licenses for schools. This is the next direction the whole website is going towards. They are actively marketing the site to school districts and setting up processess online where school boards can buy a license and the teachers can log in and have access to an updated product. This isn’t active yet, but it will be in the future.
Hi s anderson,
Thank you for sharing your insights. You have made some interesting points that I hadn’t thought of, so I thank you for that.
It’s great that TPT seems to be moving in the right direction. These seem like positive steps and I look forward to learning more as these ideas take shape.
I’m not very knowledgeable about the legal issues around TPT but many other people have raised this concern. It is great that you are responsible and I’m sure that many buyers on TPT appreciate your efforts. Like I said, I admire your entrepreneurship. As I have said in response to other comments, I really want to make the distinction clear between the TPT idea and the TPT people. I do not criticise or judge the people. I admire your efforts and enjoy learning from your in this debates.
There is, however, one point that we clearly disagree on. To me, colleagues around the world are deserving of my ideas and resources just as much as the colleagues in my own setting. The basis of this opinion is the idea that all children, whether I know them or not, are deserving of something that can help them.
Thank you once again for your comment It is wonderful that we can disagree with one another respectfully and continue what has proven to be a fascinating and thought-provoking debate (for me anyway).
I believe in sharing for the greater good. I also feel it is not the teachers responsibility to fund their entire classroom and curriculum. I’ve spent so much of my own personal money on my classroom. Mostly out of want and being picky, but some out of need. I have purchased things on TPT that are great and I’ve found some items that I wasted my money on. I appreciate the effort and time other teachers put into their creations and I know that in order to comply with copyright laws they must charge something in order to recuperate their money.
This is where I am personally struggling, I admin 2 Facebook groups where I share all my resources for free, but in order to offer more things, I would need to purchase clip art and font licenses. This would have to come out of my pocket. Teachers tell me often I should sell my stuff, but I am a very firm on giving it away. I would rather eat the cost just so others could benefit from the resources because most of us already have serious financial obligations to deal with and shouldn’t add work issues to it.
As for ads in groups, I find it annoying. I’ve also noticed that groups that allow self promotion are also less active. Most posts are just ads for TPT or a blog instead of members engaged in discussions. In my groups, sharing your tpt is not discouraged but it is only allowed if someone is looking for a specific resource to meet their needs. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
Thank you for your comment. I very much appreciate your belief that sharing and receiving should be free in this profession. That is my point throughout this post. However, I don’t think that you should be losing money. Please clarify (because I’m not very knowledgeable about legal issues), why do you need to pay for fonts and images? Aren’t there enough free images and fonts available? I personally use Pixabay mostly but Google images can also be filtered to show free images. Please elaborate on this because it is potentially a strong argument for TPT that I have not considered.
I assume that you are the admin of a group that I shared this post in. Is that how you found it? This post received so many angry and nasty comments on Facebook that I decided to leave the groups (with a heavy heart). I was deeply saddened by the nastiness and personal attacks that I received in response to this. I really wish that educators could disagree with one another respectfully and with dignity (like all of the people who commented here). Sadly, this wasn’t the case for a minority of teachers on Facebook.
Thanks again for your points.
While I completely understand the point you are trying to make, I think there are a few misconceptions about TpT and teaching in America.
To start, TpT is not a stockpile of “lesson plans” as many suggest. They are resources that have been well developed, researched, aligned to fit varied state and national standards, and created in ways to make it easier for individual teachers to teach the content without having to modify or adapt (often boring) textbook materials.
There is also the teacher experience you get when purchasing from established TpT sellers. Some of us were the original teacher bloggers and we do share our expertise and we work really hard to find valuable tips to pass on to our followers.
And then there is the money aspect. As a classroom teacher, I spent my nights and weekends creating quality resources I could not find from the publishers or I could not afford the ones I did find. That’s where TpT has filled the gap. Teachers can buy single resources they can’t find or afford elsewhere.
Finally, many schools do support teachers and TpT. Some states (FL) provide teachers a debit card at the beginning of the year for them to use on resources of their choice. They can get much more bang for their buck on TpT. In addition, TpT also accepts school purchase orders and provides discounted multiple licenses so schools are making the purchases for resources that actually work well in their classes for their students!
As a teacher that did not want to teach from a textbook or with worksheets, TpT is a lifesaver. Those who know how to create (and it is a skill all do not have) give back precious time to those who don’t!
Finally, for those who do TpT the right way, we spend the same time (and money) as publishers do to make things right for other teachers. Why isn’t that work valued as well?
Thanks for your comment and apologies for the delayed reply. I’m sure that you can appreciate how time-consuming it has been to reply to all of these comments! This post has sparked a lot of passionate opinions, most in disagreement. That’s absolutely fine. It’s important that we can debate such things in a professional manner. I very much appreciate your contribution.
Like I said, I have not and will not judge the quality of TPT resources and materials. I fully recognise that the site offers many quality resource that a lot of time and effort has gone into. If this post has proved anything, it is that sellers on TPT are extremely passionate. I appreciate that your resources, and many other on there, are well researched and beneficial to students. I admire the time and effort that you put it.
It’s interesting that you refer to TPT sellers who do it the right way. Is this implying that there are others doing it the wrong way? Please elaborate. I acknowledge that this debate is not as black and white as I had first thought. Let’s explore the grey areas.
Thanks again for your contribution and perspective.
I have an account on TpT but my account is for the sole purpose of locating sellers who are violating copyrights on my company’s work. Not all sellers, but many do not understand that just because you use or tweak published work in your classroom does not mean you now own it, can say your authored it and can profit on it. Every time I go through items on TpT (I do this only once every two or three weeks) I find products posted that are plagiarized or taken from books our company publishes. TpT will take down the products when cease and desist letters are sent, but the problem is much bigger and pervasive than that. The sellers should not be claiming copyrighted work as their own. On my end, I am only checking for items from our company’s catalog. I imagine there are loads of other plagiarized work there. When speaking with people from other publishers we often use the term “cesspool of copyright infringement” when referring to TpT. I am not sure if the sellers don’t understand copyright or just don’t care because it is all about the money for them. But I bet if someone took one of the seller’s products and used the majority of it and sold it the original designer would be up in arms. Why it is that they think taking things from our books are any different? TpT is a big headache for us.
Hey Andrew! It’s not TpT. And it certainly isn’t fair to label TpT as you did. Most shop owners care. Most of them know and do it the right way. Some don’t. And it is a problem. On the other hand, I am an individual blogger and quite a few of big publishers have been ripping off my content and my intellectual property, designs and ideas for years (published in books, magazines or just plastered all over the internet). I too could say they all just don’t care because it’s all about the money for them. Publishers are a big headache for me. There is a difference though… It’s annoying for you to send in a cease and desist letter BUT TpT takes the resource down. You know what happens in my case? I get a well then sue us, which they know I can’t afford. So yeah things are different.
All the best.
Thank you for raising these important points from both sides. Someone below made the good point that very few teaching ideas are original anyway. Teachers are constantly taking ideas from one another (and so they should be). I agree that it seems wrong to charge for unoriginal ideas, even if they have been tweaked a little or presented differently. How many TPT sellers can honestly claim that their ideas are purely their own?
Thanks again for raising this issue. I regret that I am unable to offer any knowledge on this matter. I just don’t know enough about legal matters in terms of resources and tweaking. It seems like you are both doing it correctly from your perspectives. Is it unrealistic to expect all others to be doing it correctly?
Thank you for raising these important points.
Andrew, wow! That is crazy that you have to do that as part of your job (or your whole job eould make it even crazier)! I am not too surprised, though, because yesterday, I deleted a page from my art lessons because it had a picture of “Madonna and Child” to explain implied line, which I had used to teach my own kids. I knew it was not good to have that. All the other pages had illustrations made by me. I then went on to see what other art teachers had posted on TPT and I saw that 80% of the art teachers had stolen artwork from the internet in their resources. How they feel good about that is beyond me. I am a graphic designer and an artist myself, so I would never use the work of another person for gain like that. It is so wrong.
This is a really important issue. Thank you for adding to Andrew’s point. It is definitely stealing, but I wonder if the teachers are aware of this? Do they know that they are not allowed (in most cases) to simply use images from the internet? It’s possible that they don’t know. I often see internet images in presentations, blogs, etc. I think the whole profession needs to be educated on this issue. We need to be making sure that our students understand as well!
I use Pixabay for free images usually. I also filter Google images sometimes and use the “labelled for reuse” ones.
Should TPT monitor this? Does the organisation need to take responsibility? Perhaps it does, I’m not sure.
TPT makes a seller say (with a checkbox) that either the images are their own, they have permission to use them and have credited the people who owns the images, or something else (I don’t remember). However, TPT does not monitor it. I wish they would, because I am competing in selling my art lesson worksheets at Relaxed Mormon Homeschool store, with art teachers who have art from Picasso, et. al., in their lessons. They do not have permission. There is no way they do. There are web sites that will sell printed images by famous artists, like artposters.com, but even those should not even be photocopied. My art teachers were always careful to get the ones which had permission for being printed and sold. Even textbook makers have to get permission to use images, from the museum which has the original piece. Even those museums had to get permission to do such a thing, from the people who own the rights to the piece.
This is not just a problem in the teaching world. It is just a worldwide problem!
This is absolutely a worldwide problem. I agree. I suppose it would be quite difficult to monitor. They are taking responsibility by making sellers tick the box. It’s shocking that teachers are checking the box dishonestly! I sympathise with you. It must be difficult to compete with these sellers as an art teacher! At least you can hold your head high as a responsible seller. You remind me of the famous quote (although I don’t know who first said it): “Wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it. Right is right even if nobody is doing it.”
Thanks. That is very kind of you to say.
I looked at your blog. Have you ever discussed an Alfie Kohn or Constance Kamii book? Let me know about it when you do! If you have never read their books, I recommend you pick one written by each of them and read them.
We haven’t, but I’ve heard of them and I’m definitely interested. I’ll add these options to the poll when we choose the next book.
Thanks for the recommendations!
I think that you and I are looking towards the same end goal of teachers having a forum to get great resources into one another’s hands but I have an opposite opinion of how they should get there.
Imagine TPT was an entirely free forum. What would stop me from going in and helping myself to relevant resources without contributing anything of my own?
By adding $ amounts we have a way of controlling “equal contribution”. If you want to partake in the resources available on the site you have two choices, contribute with your own money or contribute with your time.
I personally chose the latter. I opened my own store and have only spent money that I have made when purchasing other resources on the website.
If you don’t want to put in the time of creating products and running a store you are still able to access the resources- but instead of investing time you are required to invest money.
Even when sharing, you can’t get something for nothing. If it wasn’t you, someone put in the time to create that resource. The payment feature is just and easy way of allowing equal investment all around and allowing each participant to decide, will you invest in this community with time or money?
Thank you for sharing this. The whole point of writing this post was to find out what the millions of TPT teachers see that I don’t. I guessed that I was missing something. Over the past couple of days, I have heard many, many arguments for why TPT is a good thing. I disagree with most of them (respectfully), but I can really get your point. Thank you for being the first comment that genuinely makes me rethink. I love how debates and discussions have this power.
Having said that, I am going to stubbornly stick by what I said (for now anyway). I still don’t think that it’s the right way forward. We can’t make choices based on lazy teachers who don’t share. Like I have said in response to many comments below, we should look past the teachers and do what’s right for the kids.
The debate is ongoing, however. With more thought-provoking points like yours, I might just change my mind.
Susan, you make a very good point. I love it but choose to sell on there, too, so that the money I get from my own things, I can spend. If you put it that way, it is much like trading. If I were to be in a public school and trade with teachers next door and across the hall, what I made, for what they made, this would be the collaboration Adam wants so badly. However, I do not have teachers next door or across the hall–I am a homeschool mom. Even public school teachers probably do not have teachers next door and across the hall that have just exactly what they need. Maybe they need something for teaching “The Witch of Blackbird Pond,” buy they want something specifically to add fun to it, so they want a crossword puzzle or word search. They do not have a teacher in the same school who is even reading that book with their class, or who ever has read it with their class. They can go to “the teacher across the (not hall) world” on TPT and get it for fifty cents. It does not put muhc money into the pocket of the teacher across the world, but it is something, anyway.
Things like that are sometimes free on TPT, anyway. Usually, one page things are free.
The sad thing is, were TPT not to exist, the teacher looking for the crossword puzzle would not find it, and would be staying after school for 2 extra hours creating a crossword puzzle or word search. THIS is what my dad did in his many years of teaching, which meant he did not come home on time very often. It left his family sad.
Good points! Everybody wants to benefit from collaboration, especially those with families. We shouldn’t be reinventing the wheel. But again, I go back to my issue with payments. Why must money be involved? Online spaces have solved this problem without the need to exchange money. If I need something, I can ask on a Facebook group or on Twitter. I can use the many free resource sites that have been around way longer than TPT. Surely there are free websites that will generate a word search for you? Type ‘free word search generator’ into Google. Although, I question the educational benefits of word searches, even if they are fun and attractive.
Like I said, there are many sites available with free resources. Admittedly, the quality will vary but isn’t that the same on TPT? There are many excellent sites that I use regularly for free. For example, nrich,com for maths problems. I have never felt the need to pay for resources because I can either make them myself or find them for free.
Thanks for your contributions. The debate continues…
My perspective is that of someone who has taught over 30 years. The reason I create and purchase materials on TpT is simple. When I started teaching, only publishing companies had the resources to create and sell instructional materials, and they came at a hefty price. If I were to make a custom resource to help students learn a standard, I had to buy a black and white clip art collection book from a publisher, make a photo copy, cut and paste the images on a page I had typed with instructions, then back to the copy machine to make copies for student use. Just one instructional page took hours, so like most teachers I purchased resource books from publishing outlets. Biggest problem with that: You might have to buy 50, 100 or more pages you would never use just to have the ones you needed. I have spent hundreds of dollars on resource books that only provided maybe 20% of what could actually benefit my students. This problem exists today with textbook companies that sell entire volumes for grade level teaching. When I taught sixth grade social studies, at least 1/3 of the 5th grade book addressed the sixth grade standards. My colleagues and I always mused about how great it would be if we could buy individual units that actually covered the standards of the grades we taught.
When I make a purchase, I look at the credentials of the seller, their social media connections, whether they have a blog, and whether they are actively building their PLN. As a co-moderator of a popular teacher chat, a blogger, and experienced teacher, I have something to offer, as many qualified sellers do. I tend to wonder if we would be having this discussion had teachers always had the creating/publishing resources to sell their units as big publishers did. Teachers as publishers, the rule rather than the exception?
The digital age has made my life much better. I know I have saved a lot of money by buying only the specific units needed, and I prefer purchasing materials from other teachers who have field tested their products.
Thank you for the open discussion opportunity.
Thank you for sharing your ideas. Just like Akasha in an older comment, I really appreciate the closing line of your comment. It is fantastic that you are able to discuss and debate professionally and respectfully even though you don’t necessarily agree with me. Education needs more people to debate with dignity. This is how we can move forward as a profession and as individuals.
I understand many of your viewpoints and can see where you are coming from. Like I said, it’s interesting to hear opposing arguments that I hadn’t thought of. I totally get what you are saying about unnecessary pages of textbooks and unnecessary costs. I guess it’s an important new perspective because I have never bought books like these. Maybe it’s because of a different subject matter, culture or the fact that my schools have offered these kinds of books without me having to buy them myself. It’s a good point and I accept it.
While I agree that the digital age has revolutionised the profession through PLNs, blogging and sharing resources, I think that we should keep the sharing free of charge. Just my opinion. I acknowledge that many, many people disagree with me!
Thank you for the interesting and thought-provoking discussion.
Maggie, Amen! My parents are recently retired teachers, so I know that what you say about textbooks and clip art books is true. It makes me laugh because I remember the frustrations my parents shared with me. Thanks for bringing back the memories. My poor parents. This digital age would have made things so much easier.
I completely agree. I love opportunities to share, such as edcamps, and I have always loved the supportive nature of teaching networks.
I would never sell lesson plans for two reasons. 1. If it’s a good lesson all teachers (and more importantly their students) deserve it. It should not only be accessible depending on financial situation.
2. I didn’t plan it for your students. So if I give a lesson plan I don’t expect it to be taught in the same way, I expect it to be adapted to your students. I can’t justify receiving money for a half finished lesson plan, not when the majority of my lessons come from ideas I’ve ‘magpied’ from others, or been advised in trying.
Let’s not capitalise teaching; keep it as a community of sharing and encourage support. It doesn’t feel like governments want to support teachers so let’s support each other.
(Thanks for the blog BTW, great, free sharing!😃)
Good points well made. I totally agree with you. However, we need to acknowledge that we are in the minority here. What are we missing?
I think it’s an excellent point that teachers’ ideas are rarely original. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with magpied ideas or adapted lesson plans, but I agree that it seems wrong to charge for these.
I wholeheartedly agree that all kids deserve the great resources. Many critics of this post have pointed out that many lazy teachers don’t deserve them when they don’t share themselves. While this might be true, I think that we should look past the teachers and focus on the kids.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
I have read a lot of comments but not all of them.
In 2005 I started teaching ICT to years 1-6. Our school had very little planning apart from the QCA there was very little online. It took me lot of time and research to complete the whole school planning. I thought if I couldn’t find planning then others must also be struggling, so I put mine on TES. In those days you could only share for free and I did. But a few years ago due to cut backs I lost my role. I had been at the school over 20 years, school couldn’t afford to pay my redundancy so I took early retirement. I still make resources for old colleagues so they can keep me up to date. The sad fact is I need to make some money, after giving tens of thousands of free resources away is it wrong to try and earn a little money. I still share free resources on line and have a lot more free downloads than paid ones. I love making resources, I would miss the challenge of creating the resources my friends ask for and love sharing things that will benefit children.
There must be other people out there who can no longer work, have ideas and experience but need an income.
I hope I don’t offend anyone with these comments.
Thank you for sharing your experience and perspective. You didn’t offend at all. Thanks for stretching my thinking and contributing to the conversation.
Dear Mr. Blowers, How, then, can a person like me get to use your resources. I cannot. Why? Because I cannot find them. You are not a teacher I know personally. This is why TPT is great. Some total stranger from the other side of the world can create something and I can use it for my homeschool! I love it!
I love the idea of sharing and, I have to be honest TPT was one of the first and is one of the most successful sharing sites. But why can’t the site be free? All children, all students deserve the greatest resources available, not just the students whose teachers can and are willing to pay. Many teachers put resources on free sites or use TPT but put no charge on their resources. I fully support them in their sharing and believe that sharing should be for all, not for money!
I hope that clarifies my position a little!
Do you have your lessons that you share with teachers in your school, available go anyone the world over, for free? If not, that is my point. I cannot access it, if thqt is the case, so for me, what you do is not free for me, because I cannot get it.
For any lesson plans or resources I have shared in the past online they are available free and worldwide.
I believe that teachers should wish to share resources for the bettering of education worldwide and not for financial gain.
Yes it is better to make resources available for some (if they can afford it/ wish to purchase it) than for nobody at all, but I cannot see of any reason that sharing cannot be free.
Great discussion. I just want to chip in in response to one of Lisa’s comments:
“You are not a teacher I know personally. This is why TPT is great. Some total stranger from the other side of the world can create something and I can use it for my homeschool! I love it!”
The digital age has made this possible without the need to know each other personally and, more importantly, without the need for payment. I am connected with literally thousands of educators around the world, most of whom I do not know personally. We are constantly sharing (through blogs and Twitter predominantly). Lisa, are you on Twitter? I can’t recommend it enough. I go back to the argument that TPT is only unique because of payments. The idea of teachers sharing and collaborating online is widespread across many free platforms.
I am undecided on the whole TPT. I’ve used them before. I tend to get the free stuff, but will admit to having paid for some resources. But I do get upset with some things I see there. The Sisters (Daily Five) have a book, offer workshops and one thing they always state is the idea of making anchor charts with students. With the CAFE board they discuss how much more meaningful it is for students to be writing the goals for the CAFE board. And there is research to support how children retain more when they create something. Now there are all these Daily Five resources out there which do not support what the Sisters state, and why is another teacher making money off someone else’s hard work? Same goes with Visible Thinking. I’ve been to a few workshops, attended Project Zero, and each time I go and our group does a routine together, it’s not on a template or worksheet. So why are teachers creating worksheets for this? I could go on.
I’ll be honest, I never considered the whole collaboration point you mentioned. I’ve learnt lots from you and other blogs I follow. And many of them share their resources (for free). Through these blogs, I feel like I get to know you all. You are all part of my PLN and I know we have the same thoughts, values and ideas about education. You all contribute so much more than TPT.
And now my rant, which as I re-read it, I notice is a ramble, is over.
You make some excellent points here. Somebody else has made the point about originality. Most teaching ideas are taken from other teachers, or at least created by combing other ideas (absolutely nothing wrong with this). Very few are original ideas, so how can we claim credit for them? This is a good point but, like I said, I can’t really comment on the resources themselves because I haven’t used them or even taken a good look around the site. It would be wrong for me to criticise their quality. Like I said, my issue is with the payment.
As you know, I feel the same about my PLN. I think that discussions, ideas and theories are more important than day-to-day resources anyway. Let’s focus on the ‘why’ and ‘how’ rather than the ‘what’.
Tima, having read 5 books by Constance Kamii, I agree that it is better for children to illustrate their own work rather than have cute ilustrations all over a worksheet, already put there for them. Amen! I like to get out a blank sheet for my younger kids and have them, for math, draw 5 dinosaurs. Then I say, great. Now draw 8 apples. This is great for them. They retain it better. I can do addition and subtraction this way, too. One thing I do not like about TPT is too many illustrations all over the place on math worksheets!
Hi Adam, I can name the service, it is Deepening Understanding, I just didn’t want to use the blog for free advertising. All your suggestions for making extra money are good but being paid to create resources is something that fits in with my life (I couldn’t keep up with a blog and I’m not sure I have enough to offer) I don’t see how a subscription service is any different from spending money on educational books or other resources, if I write a book, I would expect to be paid for it. As for TPT, I have paid for 2 resources and found them to be of a very good quality and perfect for my teaching. I will share any planning and resources I create for my everyday teaching with colleagues but don’t have a problem with paying for resources.
We do need discussions like this though. 🙂
I really appreciate your perspective and can fully understandn it. After such a difficult day responding to several unpleasant comments (not on here), I really appreciate your ability to disagree professionally and respectfully. I love how you acknowledge the need for these discussions. I agree that debates and different perspectives are important for driving education forward. I promise that this post was not intended to criticise or offend.
Thanks again for insightful thoughts.
Gill, I agree. I would love to write a whole book, but since I only make tiny tpbits of this and that here and there, it is nice to be able to sell them without writing a whole book, which I would never do. I do not have time for finishing a whole book. The other teacher sellers on TPT likewise do not have time to have their own curriculum website or write a book.
I don’t like the idea that this sort of system is generally encouraging teachers to spend their own money on resources. If I had an easy way to bill the school and a budget to spend from then i would have less of an issue. For example I’m happy to use ZIG ZAG in the UK to buy resources made by teachers however I want to be able to see resources before I pay for them and TES does not give you that option. I have had money refunded and resources taken down for containing copyright materials. I don’t think that people that are creating these resources are all aware of the implications of using copyright materials and then selling them on – or even sharing them for free. I try to use copyright free materials in my own planning but I have to say that I don’t always have the time or are able to find suitable quality images.
I’m waiting for boardworks/doddlelearn to set up a test case against one of the authors that have used their resources. The teachers will find them selves up against well funded lawyers and won’t just be expected to turnover a percentage of their earnings from the resources but may be asked to pay for the perceived loss of earnings of the company (could be substantial).
I think that it is down to us all to judge the quality of the resources that we choose to use paid or unpaid but that the bigger issue if funding for resources in education and the lack of sharing between staff in schools (even within the same subject in the same institution – maybe time related here, but not always) I share as much of my work as I can especially when I can prove that I/my school hold the copyright, another issue as your school could claim that unless you have specific clauses in your contract that as a business they own the copyright to anything that you create for your paid work with them.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. Firstly, I use Pixabay for free images and sometimes filter Google images (tools > usage rights > labelled for reuse). Pixabay generally has better quality images, though. I think that you’ll find this site useful.
It’s difficult for me to comment on your legal points because I’m not knowledgeable in this area! I do think that teachers need to consider it when selling resources (on any site). I think the school contract agreement on resources is common. Legally, the school owns the property in most cases. I can’t imagine schools ever taking action against teachers though. Has it ever happened?
Once again, I really appreciate your insight. Thanks again!
I don’t actually see how TpT is any different to subscription services such as Twinkl or TeachStarter. You pay them a given sum and access their resources for a given period of time. Pay extra money and you can access more resources.
The only difference with TpT is that you pay for each resource, and I see no issue in this.
Teachers are, as I’m sure everyone is sick of hearing, over worked and under-paid. So why is it a problem that they make some additional income through selling the high quality resources they work tirelessly to create for their classroom.
I appreciate your viewpoint that teaching is supposed to be collaborative, and I agree to an extent. However I can also see the flipside – why should I always be the one spending time making a resource to then share it with an endless list of people via various Facebook groups, who as an aside regularly do not give so little as a thank you.
I create resources and sell them on TpT, however that does not mean I am not a collaborative teacher. I share with my immediate colleagues and friends whom I know in other schools, however would you expect a new textbook for free just because someone had made it? Probably not. Therefore I don’t think every teacher who creates resources, unit plans, assessments, classroom decorations or any other plethora of things needed in the classroom can be expected to give it all away for free to any other teacher who asks for it.
The problem is that the model expects teachers to pay rather than the school. They have to pay because, as you said, teachers are over worked and under paid. It’s preying on precisely this.
TPT accepts purchase orders…So it’s not just relying on teachers to pay out of their pocket.
Do you think teacher who write books or speak at conferences should be paid? Should that be for free as well?
I concur on the first point with the only reservation that the model is called ‘teachers pay teachers’ not ‘purchase orders pay teachers’. The name betrays the core model expected.
The problem isn’t with teachers not getting rewarded for their work, rather that other teachers are expected to pay.
Conference bookings work differently. They are very rarely booked by individual teachers. As for book publishing, the model assumes that you are paying for a collection of resources that have been carefully edited and curated and are still largely bought by organizations rather than teachers who may fall foul of copyright issues arising from buying single copies.
The problem with books is the middle man – the publisher – who takes a cut for editing, publishing and marketing. The problem with TPT is that the middle man simply hosts passively without support but still takes a large cut.
The name of TPT is designed to show teachers that their purchases support fellow teachers, rather than gain’t corporations. It’s not meant to showcase that teachers are trying to take advantage of one another.
Who do you mean by the middle man in TPT? There really is no middle man.
Do TPT take a cut of the advertised price?
Currently, if you’re a premium seller, TPT takes 15%. Premium sellers pay 60 dollars annually.
That makes them the middle man.
Ok, I see what you mean. But most people wouldn’t consider 15% a huge cut. It’s far more generous than other industries.
Alas, I think we’ve moved away from the main issue we’re discussing. It’s been great discussing this with you and I do genuinely hope that you make a success out of your resources – it’s obvious you spend a lot of time and energy on them. ☺️🆒
Dan, There is no way I could sell without a middle man. We need the middle man. Also, POPT or “Purchase Orders Pay Teachers” would not be very marketable as a company name. I do not buy with purchase order money. I am a homeschool mom. However, it could not be “Homeschool Moms Pay Teachers,” because only about 2% of us on there are homeschool moms.
My parents were both elementary school teachers. They are retired now. They got a certain amount of money each year with which to buy supplies and order workbooks and textbooks. They can use the money on TPT if they wish, instead of on textbooks and workbooks from a publishing company. This helps the teachers instead of a mammoth corporation.
Another good point, but I have never felt the need to pay corporations either. I’m just not in the habit of paying for resources. I’ve never needed to. We should definitely be helping each other out within the profession, but why pay each other? Why not share freely?
Thank you for sharing your stance in this interesting debate. I really appreciate your thoughts.
Through blogging and Twitter, I have developed some fantastic professional connections and I now consider all teachers around the world as colleagues. Just because I don’t know them personally, I am still willing to share my ideas and resources freely just like the colleagues in my setting. I don’t distinguish.
It’s a fair point that some teachers share lots and many not at all. I understand that this seems wrong. However, I think that we should look past the lazy teachers and focus on their students. They are just as deserving as others who have hardworking teachers. If we have things that could benefit other kids, then I think that it’s our duty to share.
Admittedly, I didn’t consider Twinkl or other subscription services because I have never paid for them. On the rare occasions that I look at these sites, I look only for the free resources. In all the years that I have been teaching, I can’t remember ever paying for resources online. that’s why it seems particularly strange that teachers are now charging each other.
By the way, I would never say that you are uncollaborative. The fact that you have engaged in this post respectfully, despite disagreeing with it, shows that you are collaborative and supportive. Like I said, this is not about individuals. It’s about the idea.Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
Great post Adam, thanks!
Pandora’s box has definitely been opened for these resources and I’m really concerned too.
If the model changed from teachers pay teachers to SCHOOLS pay teachers, I’d be more happy.
Why do teachers buy these resources? They’re overworked, time poor and not resourced well enough by their school. Therefore, the TPT model seems very exploitative. If it was the schools that pay, that would be much fairer.
Another issue I have is the price. On TPT and Tes there are regularly prices exceeding £10 or even £20. The resources may be the prettiest and zippiest you could ever imagine with more bells and whistles on than a retro bike convention, but you can easily buy whole books full of resources that have been published and edited for much less than that with equal or better quality.
Like you though, the collaboration issue is my biggest contention. Again, teachers seem to be shooting themselves in the foot. If they’re going to buy it, people will sell it. It takes two to be a mug here: one to sell and one to buy. However, like you, I’m voting with my feet. The more people who vocally model free collaboration the better and I’m glad you’ve raised these points.
Thank you for support and for voicing your opinions in this debate. It does seem that we are in the minority! Although I agree with you, I can’t comment on the quality/price of resources because I have never really taken a good look. However, these do appear to be common criticisms.
You raise some really good points (just like the other commenters do) and it will be interesting to see if people respond to you. I think that this is an interesting and worthwhile debate, as long as it remains professional and respectful.
Adam, I am a homeschool mom and have purchased things on TPT for my homeschool. I got a power point presentation with worksheets set of lessons on world history which I think would never have been created, sere TPT not to exist. Or, if it would have been created anyway, some teacher half a world away would have shared it with maybe her own school. I’d have to stick to a boring textbook. I think you really should check it out. There are some really dumb and crappy things on there and some really awesome ones. I bought something for teaching art history. It was really dumb. I gave it one star because I paid $25 for pretty much nothing. I graduated with a BA and thought it would help. It did not. I should have paid more attention and noticed nothing great was in the “preview.” If nothing great is in a preview, nothing great is in the product! But, really, I also pay for other resources online. I pay annually for http://www.themathworksheetsite.com and it is dirt cheap, but it helps a ton with homeschooling 6 kids!
As for the things I make, I make things for my kids and then get extra money for selling on TPT. The money I earn, I use to buy on TPT, things I could never even think of myself. I use it to supplement my weak subjects. I haven’t the time, and if I hired a tutor or teacher of a subject locally, it costs money. It is not free. I pay a speech and debate teacher and a science teacher, to teach my kids. I pay them a lot of money. TPT is much cheaper because I am doing the teaching myself. The good thing is that I am not spending that many more hours on the computer creating something.
I have no idea why http://thehelpfulgarden.blogspot.com does not charge money, but I have used her resources like crazy. I would be willing to buy her things on TPT, but she does not sell them.
Thank you for sharing your sites. I checked them out. I then typed ‘free maths worksheet generator’ into Google and found many sites that offer the same. Does your paid one offer something better? Again, I’d urge you to check out sites like nrich.com. Move away from low-level thinking worksheets to cognitively complex problems and investigations.
Perhaps the blogger you mention makes money indirectly, such as through advertising. This is very common for bloggers. I don’t want to make assumptions because I haven’t looked in great depth yet. You can still get small rewards for blogging efforts, but teachers are not being charged for access. Teachers sharing online for free is more common than teachers selling to each other. It would be sad if this became the new norm. I value my Twitter PLN greatly and, like I said, I’d be terribly sad if we suddenly started charging each other.
Thanks again for all of your comments! I appreciate the opportunity to discuss this with you. It’s a complex debate.
Dear Dan, I have read “Education 2030 Incheon Declaration” and wrote a blog post on it. You should read it, too. The plan is to increase teacher pay all over the world to the level of a doctor. There is also much evil in the plan, so don’t get too excited.
One more point about the middle man of TPT and the charge of them being passive. This is so far from the truth. The TPT team regularly hosts webinars, forums, and discussions on a wide variety of topics that cover the range of issues sellers may have. TPT provides sellers with ongoing communication in emails, announcements, etc as to future changes. Sellers are welcomed, and encouraged to not only give feedback regarding proposals on a wide variety of topics, but also asked to give our own ideas and suggestions. Many of the suggestions put forth by the sellers have been adopted by the team. They listen and respond to us in a timely manner. Is it perfect? Of course not. But they work very hard to try to keep us in the loop and make our voices heard and implemented in a very real way. I don’t like all the decisions, but I appreciate being able to offer my opinion. I can’t say the same for my experiences as a teacher, working for a school.
I like TPT for all the FREE resources that are on there. It is fairly easy to find things that match narrow criterea (for example I need some practice work for a small group of students around a specific spelling problem) and I can often find something adequate that is free on TPT.
Thanks for your comment. Like I said, I hadn’t actually been to TPT before today. Perhaps I should have done more research before writing this. I didn’t realise that there are many free resources. It’s good that you can use the site to access these or at least use the paid products as inspiration for your own. Having said that, I stick by my opinions. It still seems wrong for teachers to charge each other for resources (on this site or any other).
Thanks very much for sharing your insight!
I agree with a lot that you say. I have “browsed” though TPT for several years and there is some very good things that are offered. That said, there is (or was when I was teaching) very little that was truly innovative or constructivist (PYP-aimed). Most things on offer were simply “pretty packs of worksheets” on a particular theme. There are some super-organized teachers out there with fantastic graphic art skills who contribute but at the end of they, adding and subtracting apples because September’s “theme” is “Apples”, is still a worksheet no matter how pretty it is. Many of the worksheets I noticed have lots of pretty pictures, fonts and layouts but only about 3 or 4 questions if you were going to use it – that is a pretty great waste of photocopy paper! The other thing I noticed (while teaching in international schools) is that most of the materials are very US-based and I guess worksheets are still popular as it tends to be a fairly rigid and test-driven system that varies from State to State. As a Canadian, there was very little that was “Canadian-based” (or British or anything else-based), i.e. a lot of images of stars, stripes, eagles, American money, American history topics, etc. So…. the idea of TPT is a good one with good intentions and I understand that teachers need to supplement their incomes but…..collaboration and sharing is part of the art and collegiality of teaching (not to mention that TPT makes money out of this too). The “Central Idea” though (to use PYP terminology) is perhaps to better use our time fighting for for respectable pay one can live on as a teacher and to encourage and bring innovation into our schools…we just don’t NEED any more worksheets, no matter how cute they are.
Thank you for your comment and for contributing to this debate. I don’t disagree with you, but I can’t comment on the quality of TPT resources when I have barely looked at the site. This does seem to be a common criticism, though. I noticed in my brief glance of products that the word ‘cute’ comes up a lot in the item descriptions. Do we need cute resources?
The issue of underpaid teachers has come up a lot in this debate. I think that this is a real issue and should be addressed, but I don’t think that we should be selling resources to each other as the solution. If teachers are already struggling financially, why charge them for resources? I agree with Dan that it seems exploitative.
Thanks again for sharing your insight.
I have had similar thoughts on TPT, that we should share and raise the level for all students. Here is why I am a TPT user.
I am the only teacher at my grade level and we do not use a canned curriculum. I research and create everything my students do. Many of the books in my library are over 20 years old and our access to technology is inconsistent.
I am thankful for the resources that I find on TPT. The teachers spend a lot of time designing products that are visually engaging for my students. One of my favorite products that I have used are the biomes lapbook,https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Biomes-Lapbook-Biomes-Research-Informational-Writing-Biomes-Project-2121775 t
I would have had the students research the same content, but they really enjoyed completing it in the layout that Kiki’s Classroom provided. So, I paid her for her thoughtful design and I spent my time culling resources for my students to use as research and developing their speech and math aspects of the unit.
I have finished teaching a novel study unit on The City of Ember. I have considered putting my unit resources up to share with others. I spent months developing them and saw growth in my students ability to identify elements of literature,visualize scenes, and identify a variety of characters points of view. Yet, I am hesitant to share it on TPT because it is not very graphically engaging and I would need to develop a lot of contextualizing materials to make it clear for a different teacher. I feel like the teachers who use the site often have high standards for design and ease of use that I may not be able to meet and respond to their queries.
In preparing for the exhibition, I had local artists teach workshops to my 5th graders. When I contacted them, I made it clear that I would pay them for their time and materials. My students learned from professionals how they express themselves and developed techniques to improve their painting, bookbinding, acting, and writing skills. I couldn’t have done the same quality work and I paid the artists for their skills.
The teachers I shop with spend a lot of time and skill developing high quality, engaging resources and create clear guides on how to implement them. They enhance my teaching abilities and my students often use the resources repeatedly. I am happy to pay them for their work just as I would pay any other graphic designer or artist.
Thank you for opening the discussion
I really like your closing line here. “Thank you for opening the discussion” shows that you are willing to discuss this respectfully and that you appreciate my views even though they are somewhat different to your own. I like to think that I am similarly understanding and open-minded so we can have a great discussion. Thank you for that. I have learnt the hard way that others are less professional (not on here).
Though I understand your viewpoint, I still think that such resources should be available freely. If I have created something that could benefit other teachers and, more to the point, other children, then I see it as my duty to share it. You make a fair point when you compare to other professionals, but I see this is a separate thing. It’s understandable that you would pay them for their expertise, but day-to-day classroom resources are different and, in my opinion, should be shared freely to support others.
We can agree to disagree respectfully. I really appreciate your opinions.
I use TPT regularly and I have absolutely no issue with paying for resources. It’s not the only website that requires payment. Take TeachThis or Teach Starter for example, or even Twinkl. These websites all require payment, and it is well deserved. I don’t have the time to make these wonderful resources and will happily pay someone for their hard work and creativity. Not to mention that many of them have to pay for the copyright license to use clip art or fonts for their products. If I have the time to make a resource I happily share it with my coworkers, however it is nowhere as good as the resources I pay for and didn’t cost me anything to create.
Thank you for your comment. You offer some interesting new perspectives that I had no considered. If for whatever reason, people have had to pay money for resources, then they are well within their right to charge for them. Fair point.
However, I still disagree with paying just for resources that were free to make. We can appreciate and acknowledge time and effort without payments, in my opinion. If we all created and shared freely, we could support one another and save each other a lot of time without spending money. I realise that I am perhaps living in a dream world. Several people have pointed this out already! Sharing with colleagues online is, for me, no different to sharing with those in my school. I would never dream of charging them, so why others?
Thanks again for your insights. I appreciate them very much. We can keep the debate going whilst agreeing to disagree.
I don’t mind paying for some things, because the quality is very high and can be used many times and shared with all my colleagues. Some of the things on TPT would have taken hours. Time is valuable, so I’m willing to pay for a quality product that took somebody a long time to create.
TPT started in America where teacher salaries are low and it is not uncommon for teachers to work a second job. Many teachers who sell their resources put many hours into creating them. They give their ideas away freely on their blogs, but earn money from the resources that took them a long time to create. I have no problem in paying for something that took a long time. Especially if I’m buying from people who need some extra cash to top up their salary.
I do have a problem with the amount of profit big companies make from printing text books and school resource books. That’s a whole different can of worms, and annoys me much more than individuals trying to get some extra money for individual resources.
Hi WarmSand (Sadie, is it?),
Thank you for your comment. You raise some interesting points. Firstly, I kind of get the money thing like I said. When I was struggling for money I probably would have done the same. However, I still think that there are others ways to make extra cash that, in my opinion, are more appropriate than selling resources.
I get the argument about big companies profiting from education and I don’t really have a good counterpoint for it. I don’t know what to say. But, for me, that seems normal and TPT doesn’t! I realise that my argument here is weak, but like I said, TPT just doesn’t sit well.
I understand that buying resources rather than making your own saves time. However, my point is that teachers should be willing to share these freely. We could all save each other time by sharing and collaborating freely. Why involve money?
Thanks again for your interesting points. Food for thought!
Hi Adam, please give some suggestions as to how a busy teacher and mum can make extra cash – I’d love to hear them. (I am a resource creator for a subscription service and I have responded to this blog with a reply to Nico’s post)
I have responded to your other comment. Apologies for the delay. I have had a lot of comments to respond to on Facebook!
Fantastic post! Very thought provoking. I had never thought about TPT in this light before but I have to say you make some really good points that I agree with. That’s not to say when I’m pushed for time I won’t be having a sneaky look for stuff on TPT …
I appreciate your feedback. This post will be very unpopular and I’m sure it’ll get lots of criticism, but TPT just doesn’t sit well with me. Come back and look at the comments section over the next few days for all of the different viewpoints!
Like I said, I have never actually used TPT myself. Please share your experiences. What do you use it for and how often? I’m really curious.
Thank you so much for writing this! I agree with you on this point. I really dislike the idea of teachers having to pay money for resources, and I dislike the idea of teachers making money from other teachers for their resources.
I am well aware of the incredible amount of time and effort that goes into our planning, particularly when we need to make something from scratch. I even understand the desire to make a bit of return on that time and effort.
But, as you say, teaching should be a truly collaborative profession. No one should be doing this job in isolation, and charging people for the privilege of using your fantastic ideas is unfair in my mind. It’s unfair to the teacher, but it’s even more unfair to the students. I don’t have spare cash to spend on buying resources, so why should my students miss out? Because it’s them that this affects the most. Not me. Sure, it would save me some time and effort, but then that means I’d have more to spend in other areas. It’s certainly got nothing to do with laziness.
We are in this job to educate young people. Should we not be open to gifting our ideas, resources, etc to other teachers so that the students get the best possible education?
I know a fair few teachers who don’t like sharing their resources, even with other teachers in their own school, because of some sort of selfish ownership bias. They put the hard work in, and they don’t seem to want others to miss out on doing the hard work themselves. It’s almost as though they are putting their own effort output above the needs of the students in other classes.
Every resource I’ve ever created or adapted I’ve given freely to any teacher who has asked. I don’t care that I spent hours on it, if I can save another teacher some time and stress then that’s fantastic! I have almost 50GB worth of resources, and I have made the entire lot available to every teacher I’ve come across who was interested. I just haven’t put it up online because I haven’t put the thought into designing my website to allow it. Plus, a lot of the resources are adapted from other sources and I’m not entirely sure on the legality of sharing them on the internet.
Anyway, enough ranting from me. Again, thank you so much for writing this piece!
Thank you for your fantastic comment. I agree with you on every point (it seems like you could have written this blog post and done a better job of it). Well said!
I have also come across teachers who are reluctant to share. I have never understood this. Why should only one class benefit? Like I said in the post, I want all children to succeed. My students are no more important than any others. If I have something that could help other students, I see it as my duty to share it.
Like I said to Sadie in another comment, I understand that buying resources can save a lot of time. However, teachers should be trying to save each others time freely. We can help one another without exchanging money. Even if I have put a lot of time into something (especially if I have put a lot of time into something), I am more than happy to share. Why not?
My ideas and inspiration are free for you to access and use, but you pay for my designs and solutions. Seems pretty clear and acceptable to me.
Please clarify. Do you mean on TPT or your blog? What do you mean by ‘designs and solutions’? I’m very interested in your thoughts but I’m not sure what you mean.
I am more than happy to connect, contribute, and converse on my blog, twitter, and Facebook. But if I create a product, design a course, use my knowledge and skills to synthesize something new or different, I should be able to get compensated. (Most things that I produce are also designed and produced with expensive hardware.) I hope that clarifies it a bit.
I agree. I am a member of many teaching forums/groups and will willingly offer ideas, advice, support and inspiration – I also contribute planning etc to the files sections of said groups, however, I also supplement my income by creating resources for a well-known subscription service. I subscribe to a couple of online services too because I need a life and don’t want to spend all my days making resources. It’s a balance and quite acceptable until our salaries are increased to reflect our status and workload.
Thanks for your contributions to this discussion. It is certainly interesting and eye-opening for me! What do you mean by a subscription service? It seems like you don’t want to name it, but do you mean something along the lines of Twikl or TES? Do you use TPT? It’s hard for me to comment on this because I’m not really sure what kind of resources you make. My issue with TPT is that the majority of day-to-day resources are similar to what other teachers are sharing for free on other platforms.
I understand that a work/life balance is important and TPT can help with that. Like I said, I’m not criticising individuals. Especially teachers with children of their own (I don’t know how you do it!). I think, for the sake of everyone’s time, more teachers should be sharing for free. This would help everyone out. I’m not against using other people’s resources to save time, I just don’t like the idea of paying for them.
To respond to your other comment about making money, admittedly, I didn’t consider how difficult that would be as a parent. This certainly makes things more challenging and I can understand why teachers might use TPT as a way to make money from home. Like I said though, I make additional money through my blogging because of the advertising. Granted, it isn’t much right now but it will grow as my blog grows. I think that this is totally different to TPT because I am not making money off my fellow teachers. If they choose to follow the link and buy the product, that’s their choice (and the price is the same even if they go to Amazon directly). They can enjoy my blog either way. My money comes from Amazon rather than other teachers. As for other ways, I was thinking of tutoring mainly, but this would be difficult to balance with family life. Maybe online tutoring?
Thanks again for your thought-provoking contributions.