Preparing for a new school year is overwhelming whether you are a new teacher, a veteran teacher, or a teacher in the middle of your career.
For me, I’m starting the school year in a new district, so I have a lot to do, such as setting up my classroom, organizing my classroom library, and planning.
One of the things I am always on the lookout for is resources. I am not one to take an idea, lesson, assignment, etc. and use it as is because that’s not a reality. What may work in my friend’s classroom in Texas probably will not work exactly as planned in my classroom in Michigan.
Because of this, I like to sample and take bits and pieces from here and there. I utilize my colleagues’ ideas on Twitter and Instagram as a starting point and go from there. Lately, though, I have been falling into a trap.
I will be scrolling through stories, hashtags, or my feed on either platform and will see a resource that I like, such as a syllabus template, an Of Mice and Men intro activity, or a culture-building activity. When I see a great looking resource, I’ll think to myself, “That looks awesome, but I would change x, y, and/or z.”
When I get to the last page of the post, end of the story, or go to click on the link for the resource, I will be led to the trap … a Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT) page … where I can BUY the resource.
Many thoughts go through my head when I come across teachers selling products to other teachers:
- Why can’t you just share it with me?
- Why can’t I have access to the Word document lesson plan or resource, so I can use your great idea and modify it for my students?
- Can I just make this on my own?
- The answer is yes to most of the products.
- Is this really worth $?
I get it though. Teachers at the beginning of their career, like me and the colleagues I follow on social media, do not make a ton of money, so I understand how and why others are looking for ways to make more money in addition to their salary from teaching. I know this because I work year round at a Biggby Coffee in order to make ends meet.
BUT, we shouldn’t put up a paywall to keep our resources away from others. Preservice teachers and teachers often struggle and live paycheck to paycheck. Why should a fellow teacher’s resource not be accessible to them simply because they need to pay their bills or buy groceries first?
I located another great resource this week – a reading survey/inventory activity for the first day(s) of school – but was hesitant to look into it because of all the TpT links and traps I was coming across.
This educator did something different. They posted in their Instagram story that if anyone is interested in the resource to message them and they will share it.
And guess what I did? I emailed this educator and now I have the resource in a Word doc ready for me to revise for my students FOR FREE! Sharing is caring.
Sharing and collaboration are what education thrives on.
I love going to conferences sponsored by the Michigan Council of Teachers of English, the National Council of Teachers of English, and the National Writing Project because teachers are there to learn, grow, share, and collaborate with one another. I have yet to have another teacher say to me at a conference or convention:
“Yeah, I’ll send you my graphic organizer for three dollars.”
No one does that.
It’s unprofessional, rude, and a buzz kill.
And, if you’re not willing to say this statement out loud or in person, why type it out online?
Here’s my point: When it comes to resources for our students, I’m all about sharing. Sharing is caring, and if we care about our students, I believe we need to stop charging each other for resources.
This year spend more time investing in your students by working with your department, collaborate on Twitter, go to a conference, and/or pick up a professional book. Share, share, share quality resources with others! Tweak, change, and revise those resources to get the most learning from your students.
In the coming months, I will be updating this website with resources that I’ve created for my classroom and they will be free. Stay tuned!