Thursday, December 8, 2011

Creating for Pay?

Over the last month, I’ve become increasingly addicted to Pinterest.  It’s silly really, but there are so many good art/craft/recipe/home/style ideas it’s not even funny.  However, I think what has taken up most of my time has been the school/lesson ideas.  I’ve been teaching second grade for a million eleven years and have been looking for some fresh inspiration.  Pinterest has it, and since creating an account I’ve spent so much time online looking for great ideas. 

Through my searches, I stumbled upon some lesson and activity sites that host teachers who create materials and want to sell them.  This floored me a bit.  I’m not sure why, since people sell everything these days, but seeing teachers selling ideas seems so strange for some reason.

The teaching profession has always been about sharing ideas.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve handed a colleague a lesson and said, “FYI, I tried this with my kids, and it went well, feel free to use it.”.  In fact, just today I receive an envelope from my district writing partner that included some materials she wanted to share, while at the same time I also emailed off about six lessons to other 2nd grade teams in town.  Since teaching is about the kids, and not about who created what, it doesn’t matter where it came from…if it’s good, shouldn’t all kids have access to it?

It also might irritate me a bit that some of the things I saw on the websites were materials that I have given away at presentations, for free.  Sure, I’m probably not the only one who had those ideas, but posting activity instructions that are identical, word-for-word, to the ones I created and gave out doesn’t seem quite ethical.  Actually, I could care less about them being posted, or even shared as someone else’s ideas, but making money off of someone else’s ideas isn’t right.

Or maybe I’m just bitter that the thousands of files I have saved on my computers at home and school haven’t made me any money.  Perhaps I should get on that…


  1. Teachers gotta eat too.
    It's all very well going all 'Vocation', but how much are the Jesuits charging at Lyo-Marymount and they are supposed to be in that business.

  2. Hey, I was just going to say that you were jealous or bitter but you beat me too it. Listen, if there is nothing illegal to it, I might do it too. Just like roaringforties just wrote, "Teachers gotta eat too". And so do their boyfriends for that matter.

  3. You're both right, but the ironic thing is that these sites' sole demographic isn't really the one who has the disposal income to buy lessons and turn this into any kind of industry. Mine goes to paying the mortgage and the electric bill, and after all that is said and done there isn't any $$ left to feed the boyfriends let alone buy lesson ideas. Maybe one day, when business takes over the educating, the corporations will pay zillions of dollars for them.

  4. Oh I don't know about that now. On my travels through the 'tinternet I met many a well educated mother that has decided to do the hat-trick of giving up a high profession in her 30s, punch out three or four kids and then decide to home school.
    Basically the Oprah demographic.
    I expect if you could put an App together to give the high achieving mother some comfort when she has a fractious eight year old boy refusing to understand fractions. A six year old girl with an ability to do a china syndrome on a supermarket floor and a three year old with a simian willingness to fling poop with a sharpshooters eye.
    If a bunch of women decked out like mary poppins can make a fortune taming and training the middle class I see no reason why you or someone like you cannot make a few shillings with an older cohort.

  5. @vince-that is a brilliant idea! I may have to ponder that one further. :)

  6. I have created so many lessons and passed them on without a second thought...but when a teacher passed on my lesson (handwritten dittos included) as her own, now that pissed me off!

    I think it would be fun to put my ideas to print for sale...perhaps when I retire?

  7. @Marey - I think that made me take pause the most...if it' not something you created, ya shouldn't be selling it.

  8. Everyone has a good point but passing on ideas as your own is for the birds.

  9. I'm the sharing kind too. I collect ideas about everywhere, and where I can, I will refer to the original. But sometimes that's just hard, because it became a blend of what you find elsewhere and your own stuff. But I'm with you on the ethics of selling stuff that isn't yours. I think that's not okay.
    It would'nt stop me from sharing things though. Selling would mean that copyright and stuff should be checked, and as I stated above, sometimes I just grab things and forget where I got them from. Sharing at least means no hassle.
    But maybe that's just laziness talking.