Thursday, November 1, 2012

Teachers Pay Teachers

I'm probably on the wrong side of this, but there is something that just BOTHERS me about those sites that invites (encourages) teachers to sell their lessons.  I know that there are a number of teachers that don't get paid well.  I also know that some things that teachers create on their own time take up a lot of time; time they don't get compensated for.  However...

Education is a profession about giving to others.  Everything we do is (supposed to be) about giving to others, assisting others, building others up.  Sharing.  Not making a buck.  So when I see things on Pinterest that make me go, "Hey, that looks pretty cool!" only to find out that I have to pay for it make me irritated.  I'm doubly irritated if it is a glorified worksheet.  Or a new 'twist' on an old graphic organizer.

Most of the stuff that is sold on sites like Teachers Pay Teachers are glorified worksheets or graphic organizers.  That's the kind of stuff that should be given away!  I understand that purchasing these items supports other teachers and their creativity, but we should be finding less ways to keep kiddos enslaved in traditional education, and more ways to engage them with alternative activities.  Most of the sheets that are sold on these sites can be quickly reproduced with Word, Pages, Publisher, or Adobe.  I get that some of those fancy schmancy worksheets have some really cute clipart on them.  But, if we need cutesy clip art to fool kiddos into learning then we are not teaching, and that worksheet is not worth their time. 

Do I pay for anything I find in these places?  No.  Is there anything that I would pay for in these spots?  Yes.  If a teacher makes something that can help me organize my classroom I will buy it.  I'd buy book basket labels, word wall signs, bulletin board signs.  Things like that I might buy because I'd pay for it in a teacher store or teacher catalog.  Yet, I no longer buy those things either.  Why?  Because I'm all about creating anchor charts with my kiddos.  While the gist of the lesson may be similar from year to year, the charts are never the same because the kiddos that contribute to the learning process are different.

I'm all for supporting my fellow educators.  I think that in today's tech-centric world there are so many FREE ways to do this, that it is just unconscionable to request demand others pay.  You want others to use your stuff?  Create a blog or website and post it there.  Create a pinboard and post it there.  Share it on Twitter or Facebook.  Create a public Dropbox folder or Evernote notebook.  It will get repinned, retweeted, liked.  It will get shared with other educators and into the hands of other kiddos.  It will get used.  In my eyes that is how we can support each others with resources.