I received an email the other day from a teacher asking about Teachers Pay Teachers. She commented on how it feels like a Parent/Teacher store thing, just online. She asked why I would use it as a form of income. I'm not sure I've ever really explained WHY I am part of such a HUGE global community. So, I thought I would explain...
First of all, what is TeachersPayTeachers.com? It's a GLOBAL community of teachers who share and/or sell products for the classroom. It ranges from pre-k to college, though I haven't run across much past high school material. It can be for public schools, private schools, religious schools, and even home school. It spans several continents, which honestly is just cool!
What TpT (Teachers Pay Teachers) is not. It is not for huge companies. It is not ALWAYS beneficial. It is not for the lazy teacher. It is not there to teach. It is not going to replace the teacher. I just is not!
So, why am I'm sharing this? Because I've been asked to. Why do I believe in TpT? Because I've benefited from it. Before I was creating my own products, I was using OTHER teachers' items. Were they ALL worth the money? Not always. But, in most cases, the products helped me in my own teaching. Sometimes a concept would arise that I just couldn't think of a creative way to teach it ... you know, an engaging method or activity that would help solidify the learning.
As a teacher, your energy is spent after the day, but you still have more to do - planning, grading, parent calling, writing IEPs, brainstorming behavior plans, etc.
TpT came out my first year teaching - to those who didn't know this was my first year: portable, 28 4th graders, 7 L/A books, 9 math books, 5 science books, no SS books, NO teaching manuals, and I had been home schooled k-12. I was the essences of CLUELESS. Maybe God knew I would need this site ... I don't know. Either way, it was after that year that someone mentioned this website. Being fresh out of college, I had zero money. I had no debt, but I also had no money. I was living on my own for the first time and was on a budget. I didn't have extra money for the classroom, but still I spent it. That year I spent well over $500 the first semester buying books from the educational stores around town. Worksheets. I bought worksheets that kind of covered what I needed. Sad, but true. (On a side note, those kids survived my teaching)
This site seemed too good to be true. I would go on and actually learned about workstations, assessments, behavior charts, and ... well pretty much everything. It was as good, if not better than 80% of my courses in college. How? Because these were CURRENT teachers ... in classrooms ... all over the world, going through the same challenges I was. It was God's blessing to me!
I didn't buy a THING for 2 years, but they had over 1million FREEBIES! Once again, it was a blessing. After I had been teaching a few years, I started researching TpT. It seemed too good to be true. How could I be a teacher like Deanna Jump who cleared over $1,000,000. in sales? Not me. "Ain't nobody got time for that!" So I put it off.
I went on teaching, but found that with standards changing and new textbooks being adopted every few years made it more and more difficult. I hated basals. I hated textbooks. My kids hated sitting ALL day. So, I chose to start making activities for my kids that met them where they were, and in a manner that they would enjoy.
In the spring of 2013, my hubby saw how much I was making for my class, and he being a teacher at the time made a comment about "too bad you can't sell your brain." I laughed it off ... for the time being. When May 2013 came around, I had created sooooo many items (good and bad) that I wondered if people would like to use them too! My team at school had been encouraging me to join TpT after I had been creating various stuff for our students. So, June 2013 came around and I decided to make a store on TpT. And just like that .... I made $2.50 in the WHOLE month. Yep, I was rolling in the dough. Ooh wait.
I had high dreams of fandoms and an income that would allow me to stop working and stay home with future kids of my own. Nope.
I had forgotten one important fact that I had been teaching my students for years ... Anything worth doing is usually hard and takes time and endurance. I kept on. I made back the fee from TpT within a few months ... well, 6 months. After that, it was an actual earning. In my first year on TpT I earned over $2,000. I know ... that was less than a monthly check from teaching, but I was rather proud.
Okay, fast forward to today. In less than 3 years, God has grown my TpT from being the #56,348 seller on the site to being #3704 on the site. Praise HIS name.
My husband and I chose for me to stay home after our son was born at the end of 2014. Since Spring of last year, I decided to kick it into high-gear, and really try to create more useful products for you.
Why do I do this?
1. I love teaching. It's been my passion for decades - spanning back to teaching at church in high school.
2. I love creating. I know, it's weird. You'd think after you left teaching, your brain would stop thinking in the classroom. Maybe some people can. I am not one of those people.
3. I have the time... sort of. I have a little more time flexibility than I did while I was in the classroom. Some days chose to use my son's nap time for TpT instead of my house ... judge me ;)
4. I have a desire to help. I remember my first year and cringe. I don't want ANY teacher to feel that way. If I can help, I want to.
5. I have a family. I want to honor my husband and our household by being the Proverbs 31 woman/wife. She worked from home doing SO many things. While I see her as an impossibility for myself, I can still try emulate her. I want my son (and future kiddos) to know that Mommie loves them so much, and you can do whatever you put your heart into.
I have chosen to put my heart into this TpT thing because it serves others. I don't want people taking advantage of teachers by selling books/products to them that are overpriced and don't really benefit the students. I want to put out useful products for teachers at a decent (And pretty cheap) price. TpT helps me do that. In turn, I help the people I hold so dear to my heart: you the teacher!
So, this is why I'm For The Teacher!