Teachers are cashing in. That’s not something you hear too often, but now, with the help of one website many are calling ”addictive,” teachers are becoming better at their jobs as they fill up their wallets.
The reason? Teachers Pay Teachers is a website where educators buy and sell materials to use in the classroom.
“It’s a venue where teachers can share their ideas with the world, especially the creative ones. There are a ton of creative teachers out there,” said Hollywood teacher Summyr Siegel.
Siegel came up with a fun game to teach her fourth-graders multiplication and division. It’s like “go fish” but instead of fish, students look for a certain number. It’s just one of 31 things Siegel has for sale on the Teachers Pay Teachers website. Most of them cost between $2 to $3.
“I think it’s the perfect place where everyone can come and collaborate and say, ‘Oh, I didn’t think about teaching functions that way’ or ‘I didn’t think about teaching main idea that way,” Siegel said.
Caitlin Clabby, a kindergarten teacher in Weston, has made more than $20,000 selling her ideas since July. But these teachers aren’t just selling, they’re also buying. They say the entire Teachers Pay Teachers phenomenon is giving them more motivation in the classroom.
“It’s actually made me a better teacher. I’m able to go into the classroom and my lessons are now much more exciting for the students, more innovative,” Clabby said. “I’m excited to go in and share my new products with my kids because I know they’re going to love exactly what we’re doing.”
With the website’s popularity, also come its critics saying it’s like kids cheating, except it’s teachers, buying and selling their version of homework. The teachers NBC 6 talked to said there is nothing negative about the site.
“People who sell on there are not selling lesson plans,” Clabby said. “They’re selling units or activities that are used by teachers to enrich or enhance things that are already done in the classroom.”
Thousands of the lessons are free. Clabby offers one that has had more than 40,000 downloads, proving the site is more than helpful for teachers.
Clabby said it also helps her students.
“My kids love learning so much that when I show them a fictional book they say, ‘Oh man, this is fake. I want to learn. I love learning,'" Clabby said.
Clabby and Siegel said Teachers Pay Teachers has also given them a sense of financial security – a chance to cut back on long hours of taking on extra jobs, like tutoring, to pay the bills.
Both women just started using the website in the past year, but it has been up and running since 2006 – created by a teacher. Now, it has more than one million registered users and one Georgia woman has even made herself a millionaire selling her ideas.
“It’s limitless,” Siegel said. “There’s always ideas coming, and from every idea I see, it sparks a new idea that I can create."