Teachers are incredibly dedicated professionals, and reap the reward of knowing that their work impacts generations of children. But while that is a feeling you can’t put a dollar value to, it doesn’t pay the bills, and teachers are notoriously underpaid. A new online marketplace called Teachers Pay Teachers is ready to change that, and already has shown some incredible results.
A kindergarten teacher from Georgia named Deanna Jump used the website to sell years of her lesson plans to other teachers, and has so far earned $700,000 doing it. The site was created by Paul Edelman, who spent four years teaching public school in New York City. Speaking to Mashable about his marketplace, he commented that teachers create material for their classes that’s incredibly valuable, and could be sold as a supplement to their salaries. Success would mean that teachers could make a better living, while also increasing the overall quality of materials used in classrooms across the country.
In a teacher’s first two years taking advantage of the marketplace, they would purchase lesson plans on the site that they wanted to use. Most of that purchase would end up reimbursed by the school system, leading to a net gain for all involved. But as of Wednesday, the site will now offer the option of purchase orders, so schools could pick and choose the lesson plans they want and buy them for their teachers. With that addition, Edelman expects the primary users of Teachers Pay Teachers to move from individual educators to the schools themselves.
Teachers interested in using the site don’t have to be concerned about any limits in the offerings. You can find lesson plans for seniors in high school all the way down to pre-K children. Math, science, social studies and language arts and English are currently the most popular lesson plans purchased. There are 700,000 users registered on Teachers Pay Teachers, the majority of which are buyers. Only 10,000 users are registered as sellers. According to the founder’s information, around 6,000 of those 10,000 sellers are earning some amount of income from their efforts on the site. Teachers Pay Teachers takes a commission on all the sales, but even after that teachers have earned around $7 million to date selling their educational materials. The teachers set their own prices on the lesson plans, title each offering, and can also adjust what they upload based on a feedback and commentary system. The average lesson plan sells for between $5 and $10, though many plans are available free of charge.
There’s also a social media aspect to the site, as users follow their favorite content posters. The successful Ms. Jump currently has around 12,000 followers, each of which receives a note when she posted new content. Traffic is also driven to Teachers Pay Teachers from all the largest social media sites. Facebook and Twitter are strong promotional partners, but Pinterest drives the most traffic back to the site out of all of them. The sales are very much focused on the United States, with 93% of them based here. Canada is next, with 5%, then 1% from Australia and the final 1% from the rest of the world. It doesn’t take earning an online masters in accounting to understand that this is a great deal for all involved. Anything that takes a bit of the financial burden off of teachers while improving the quality of education for our children in a fantastic service.