One of the first open marketplaces for lesson plans and other teacher-created materials, TeachersPayTeachers is essentially a very good idea. Founded by Paul Edelman way back, nearly half a century ago in 2006, it was acquired by Scholastic and then re-purchased by Paul. With somewhat of an eBay model, teachers who create curriculum sell their work to other teachers in the market to save time or get some fresh stuff for their classes. With over 525,000 registered users and growing, thousands of teachers have discovered that earning a supplemental income is a very real possibility, with significant earnings happening for more than a few. Still, more than 10 percent of the offerings there are free, and the site is a win-win in so many ways. We got a lot of positive comments on the benefits of this site after we ran an interview with its founder. So, to find out more about it, we talked to someone who uses the site, Donna Glynn, a kindergarten teacher from Baltz Elementary School in the Redclay School District in Delaware, who has been teaching for 17 years. She graduated Temple University, has a Masters in Reading Supervision, and is special-education certified. Donna has spoken nationally at the I Teach Kindergarten and The National Singapore Math conference in Vegas and other conferences and workshops.
Victor: From your perspective and very briefly, what is TeachersPayTeachers?
Donna: Teacherspayteachers is a wonderful online resource where teachers come together to buy and sell teacher-created materials.
Victor: What prompted you to join?
Donna: I was encouraged to sell my materials on TPT by another seller who was already selling. I began selling to make a little extra spending money so that I could purchase things for my classroom. I feel very fortunate for all my wonderful followers that I have and how much they have supported me.
Victor: Where you a buyer or seller first?
Donna: I was a buyer first and loved the products I purchased.
Victor: How did it go at first?
Donna: I started selling November 5, 2010. Starting around the holidays was a wonderful experience because many people were looking for holiday items. Thanksgiving and Christmas were very big sellers for me and many people began to notice my items I had listed. I gradually added more each month. I had a website and my friend started a blog for me to interact with other teachers and post my centers that I had created and was using in my classroom. When I began to post on my blog, people could really see what the activities looked like and how the students were interacting with them in the classroom.
Victor: What did it change for you?
Donna: I have met so many wonderful people through joining Teacherspayteachers. My teaching and my students learning has increased because I can look online for classroom activities that others have created that I know are used in other kindergarten or first grade classrooms. They are successful because teachers are writing and creating them. They are tested in the classroom. I can buy and create exactly what someone is looking for, rather than purchasing a book where I may only use a few pages from it. I love the graphics and how I can adapt the activities to the Common Core Standards.
Victor: How did it change you as a teacher?
Donna: I realized that I was not alone. I was able to connect with so many other teachers that teach the same grade with the same goals I share for my students. It is a wonderful place to purchase and sell items, but it has also become a family. We are able to connect with each other and meet up at conferences or even give conferences together. If anyone needs anything or advice—we are only a click away to asking a question. Everyone is always willing to go the extra mile to help each other. With some of the profits, I have been able to purchase things for my classroom that my children need. I have become a much stronger teacher and have a wonderful understanding of what my district and state wants us to accomplish, how other states are doing it—and what is successful. When I present at national conferences—I have presented at the I Teach Kindergarten Conferences and National Singapore Conference in Vegas and also at the Frog Street Press Conference in Texas as well as The Read Aloud Conference—I love when people come up and tell me that their students really benefited from what I created and it helped them so much. That is what teaching is all about. Helping each other and creating an environment where children love to go to school and want to continue to higher education.
Victor: Advice about selling?
Donna: Do not hesitate to sell. It is rewarding—and remember how many children and teachers will benefit from your creations. I would be happy to help in any way to get you started. The first thing you will need to do is sign up.
After you sign up, you can begin to post your items. It will be the best thing you ever did. Many times, once new people begin to post on TPT, we will begin to blog about your items, which helps you to get a following. When people follow you on TPT, they will receive an email when you post new items. So, if you like something or someone’s items, then make sure you click the ‘follow’ button to be kept up to date on their listings.
Victor: Anything else you’d like to share with other teachers?
Donna: You are not alone. There are so many people who want to help you get started and answer questions. You can always email me and I would be happy to help you and answer any of your questions. I also have a Facebook page. Teacherspayteachers is a wonderful way to supplement your income and have fun at the same time.
Victor: Excellent! Thanks, Donna!
Victor Rivero tells the story of 21st-century education transformation. He is the editor-in-chief of EdTech Digest, a magazine about education transformed through technology. Innovative CEOs, founders and educators: enter the EdTech Digest Awards Program.