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Teachers make money selling materials online

Forums help teachers distribute their material and pick up ideas from other educators

Teacherspayteachers.com currently has about 300,000 items for sale plus more than 50,000 free items.

Kristine Nannini spent her summer creating wall charts and student data sheets for her fifth grade class—and making $24,000 online by selling those same materials to other teachers.

Teachers like Nannini are making extra money providing materials to their cash-strapped and time-limited colleagues on curriculum sharing sites like teacherspayteachers.com, providing an alternative to more traditional — and generally more expensive — school supply stores. Many districts, teachers and parents say these sites are saving teachers time and money, and giving educators a quick way to make extra income.

There is a lot of money to potentially be made. Deanna Jump, a first-grade teacher at Central Fellowship Christian Academy in Macon, Ga., is teacherspayteachers.com‘s top seller, earning about $1 million in sales over the past two years. She believes the site has been successful because educators are looking for new ways to engage their students, and the materials are relatively inexpensive and move beyond textbooks

“I want kids to be so excited about what they’re learning that they can’t wait to tell mom and dad,” she says.

Dozens of Internet forums have been created to help teachers distribute their material and pick up ideas from other educators. Teacherspayteachers.com is one of the biggest. It was started by a former teacher in New York in 2006 and quickly grew. Others followed, like the sharemylesson.com run by the American Federation of Teachers, the nation’s second largest teachers union, where free curriculum ideas and materials are offered.

While most characterize these sites as an inexpensive way for teachers to supplement textbook materials, some teachers may get pushback from administrators for their entrepreneurial efforts.

Seattle Public Schools’ recently revised its ethics policy, with the new policy prohibiting teachers from selling anything they developed on district time, said district spokeswoman Teresa Wippel.

“Anything created on their own time could also cross a gray line, depending on the item and how closely tied it is to classroom work,” she said.

Teacherspayteachers.com currently has about 300,000 items for sale plus more than 50,000 free items.

All told, more than 1 million teachers have bought or sold items on teacherspayteachers.com since it began. Teachers had $5 million in sales during August and September, Edelman said. After paying the site fees, teachers have collectively earned more than $14 million on the site since it was founded.

At all of the websites, the quality varies. Jump said she learned over the years that her colleagues — and their students — are only interested in professional-looking materials that offer the kind of information and instruction they need. Teachers are able to rate items offered for purchase or distribution.

Teachers often spend their own money on classroom supplies, despite receiving a few hundred dollars a year for that purpose from their districts. Increasingly, teachers say, they are going to these curriculum sharing sites to look for materials like the ones Nannini and Jump made available because their funds go further than at traditional school supply stores.

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Comments:

  1. trent

    October 14, 2012 at 1:43 am

    It is unfortunate the districts are changing their policy regarding selling of materials developed during employment time! It is truly only hurting the students of tomorrow when the districts stops the teachers from developing and sharing. If the districts are having issues with the development and distribution of these materials for profit, then perhaps they need to find a way within their districts to reward the teachers for keeping such materials in house. The appoach currently is rewarding the teachers to not develop materials and not rewarding them for sharing among other teachers. Yes teachers are professionals, but if this is a way to increase the level of education within different systems is there really a cost to this appoach? Let those profit from such great ideas, its only helping the students and rewarding teachers for great ideas!!!

    The other side of the coin is, what if the teacher spends all of their time building materials and then selling it online, not focused on the students and their development? This could and can happen. How do we as professionals deal with this possible issue? Perhaps districts can place safe guards to make sure that a teachers first priority is the students and not profit. Though reviews and performance evaluations teachers can be held accountable to the students they service.

    It is an interesting debate, one in which needs careful reflection! If at all possible, try not to stop teachers from developing materials that will help produce quality products. Find way to reward the development and not stop it!

  2. jessica_ruby

    October 18, 2012 at 4:42 am

    Thanks for sharing this information! I believe teachers play a important role in every student’s life.Teachers help in developing and building a student’s personality. Hence, these kinds of online materials passed by teachers will help the students in understanding their subject well and in a proper manner.

  3. dannsmith

    October 18, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Your post become a great source to get make money information for teachers. I am also suggesting teachers to use Info Products for making money purposes.