Teachers are selling lesson plans (finally)


flickr: idovermani

Well it's about time. As the son of a teacher, I've seen first hand how crazy lesson planning can make a person. It can take hours, days or even weeks to craft an interesting pitch about mediterranean trade routes for a class of third-graders. And what happens to these little gems? They collect dust.

Now teachers are turning to the internet in an effort to share -- and profit -- from the fruits of their labor. And as expected, most teachers see nothing but upside from the budding market. From the New York Times:

"Teachers Pay Teachers, one of the largest such sites, with more than 200,000 registered users, has recorded $600,000 in sales since it was started in 2006 -- $450,000 of that in the past year, said its founder, Paul Edelman, a former New York City teacher. The top seller, a high school English teacher in California, has made $36,000 in sales.

Yes. $36,000 in sales. And teachers aren't riding the wave alone; even a football coach in Virgina is getting in on the action. The unnamed former Fairfax County coach was caught by officals selling instructional DVDs and playbooks.

It should be mentioned that a portion of the money generated by selling plans usually ends up right back in the classroom. Teachers are buying books, supplies and even cookies for their students. This doesn't seem to be enough for Robert Lowry, the deputy director at the NY Council of Superintendents who says this:

"To the extent that school district resources are used, then I think it's fair to ask whether the district should share in the proceeds"

Not quite sure I follow. So basically if a teacher toils for hours at home to create a lesson, and sells it online.... you deserve a piece? I'd prefer teachers spent it on mortgages, remodeling kitchens, and trips to Italy.


11 2009

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