By Teachers, For Teachers
When I was growing up, one of the more interesting places in my hometown was a teacher’s resource store called The Chalkboard. Because both my parents taught, we were frequent customers. I loved examining all their merchandise, especially classroom oddities like wombat calendars, alternative lesson plans featuring E.T. teaching astronomy, or videos telling educators how to thematically enhance classroom activities during the Olympics.
Imagine an online version of The Chalkboard and you’ve got Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT), an online marketplace similar to Amazon.com where around 700,000 teachers buy and sell original resources like lesson plans, worksheets, posters, bulletin board ideas and more (many are available for free).
Some specific products include an interactive math journal, which contains organizational ideas and assessment plans ($14.99); a music listening worksheet bundle, made up of 30 different worksheets designed to get kids to write about what they’re hearing ($7); and a set of 65 games called “Brain Breaks for the Classroom,” which “can be used as transitions, breaks in the middle of an activity, something to raise or lower the energy of the group, team-building exercises, and more! ($5.75).”
Teachers Pay Teachers works simply: Interested educators create an account (membership tiers are outlined below), and begin shopping for what they need. If they’re curious about how well a lesson works, a helpful comment section features honest, positive and negative feedback. Meanwhile, a star rating system gives members the opportunity to rank resources.
The products on Teachers Pay Teachers are organized by grade level, subject, price, resource type and – most importantly during these budget-strapped times – price.
Speaking of budgets, recent news reports have extolled the more capitalistic virtues of TPT: Indeed, Deanna Jump, a Georgia instructor, recently became a millionaire selling her wares on the web site, and 26 others have raked in excess of $100,000, according to site founder Paul Edelman. That’s certainly a lucrative second-job option.
These prolific earners (and their ideas) are splashed proudly upon the “Featured Authors” section of the home page. While it’s certainly nice to put face to a name on any website, it might make more sense from a teacher’s standpoint to feature popular lesson plans instead—sometimes it’s a bit difficult to find what you need. For example, a teacher interested in a video tutorial on The Physics of Everything needs to search within a category buried beneath reams of paper worksheets. But this is a small complaint to make against a huge website packed full of great ideas.
And packed with content it is. The website is perhaps too busy design-wise, which could be intimidating to a stressed-out teacher with limited Internet experience. It could take a cue from recent incarnations of Ebay.com, whose simplicity is elegant and calming. Happily, there is a TPT app that makes browsing easier on the go.
Teachers of every age and/or subject group will benefit from pairing their current TeachHUB toolkit with the lessons and resources laid out on Teachers Pay Teachers. As a duo, you’re guaranteed to find inspiration for different teaching styles and perhaps infuse some newfound creativity into that five-year-old grammar lesson.
Editor’s note: Before selling any of your classroom ideas on TPT, it’s a good idea to check your district’s policy on intellectual property. Some districts might contend that the items you create while on their payroll are their property.