Do you want to make money as a teacher? Of course you do.
You know how hard it is to make money as a teacher? We already work enough unpaid hours grading papers, calling parents, and writing lesson plans. Why not profit off of it?
These and other questions came up today because a frequent commenter asked me on my Facebook page what I thought about this topic. I said I’d leave it up to my folk on the Facebook page. You can read the comments for yourself. I liked most of the nuanced responses.
Before I give my own, here’s something to consider about this whole discussion. Teachers are often asked to take the altruistic, heroic roles for whatever reason. It’s bad enough that we have too many pockets of society that say teachers get paid too much already, even though I know more than a handful of teachers who take on side jobs just to make ends meet. The idea that teachers shouldn’t get paid more, shouldn’t even ask to get paid more, or try to sell their wares comes from a false dichotomy that makes teachers seeking to make money in any ethical way look like they’re not interested in anything but themselves.
Having said that, I don’t think lesson plans are the way to go. If anything, lesson plans seem to have an ephemeral value; I can’t use them exactly the way I used them before. If anything, lesson plans don’t translate well to other years, especially if the unit or learning arc look different year to year. You can even make an argument for things like group projects, performance tasks, or other assessment materials because a) publishers already try to sell that to us and b) good ones that come right from teachers are hard to come by.
Even then, I’ve shared most of my wares freely either directly on this site or indirectly via my school’s website. Lesson plans ought to come from the teacher, and with an understanding of what the teachers’ particular students need. That comes from experience and expertise, something I think all teachers should get paid for. I get it if a third-party vendor comes in and helps teachers who don’t know how to approach assessment or building a collaborative culture, but, if there are enough experts in the district, why not pay them for their expertise like you would somebody else? Especially with so many people who profit off of teachers’ labor.
These are just questions swimming around. I welcome other thoughts on this. Please.