I am not a creative person. My amazingly artistic daughter will completely agree with that statement, right Jay?! My mother and grandfather were both artists but me? Nope, that ship sailed without me. My biggest wish is that my mother would have lived long enough to meet her youngest granddaughter, as they would have had so much to talk about. I know she is up there, pumping her fist and yelling “FINALLY!!!!”.
What I can do well, is imitate. I spend hours searching for ideas online, copying them and using them with my students. Some teachers freely share what they do, and many go as far as to put their creations out there for anyone to download and use. Others use sites like Teachers Pay Teachers to sell their materials.
So who has the right answer? I will admit, I love to find free materials that I can use on the web. I mean, who doesn’t right? I even know some teacher authors who upload both the PDF and Publisher version so that I can tweak their creation to make it fit my students better. I love the collaboration that comes from sharing and accepting input to make something better. But is this going above and beyond? Are other professions expected to share their materials with the world at no charge?
I find the backlash against teachers asking to be paid for something they created surprising. Again, I fall back on my artistic daughter. She is a wonderful artist and will happily create art, but she should be paid for her time and effort. Her graphic designs reside in several local restaurants and ski centers. All of them paid her in some way, whether through gift cards, money or scholarships to help her attend college. She is also a musician who both performs and writes her own music. The cd’s she has recorded cost her time, money and much heart and angst. Should she be expected to give this away? As a young and relatively unknown performer, she often does but think about people like Keith Urban, Beyonce or Josh Groban. They expect to be compensated for their work, and they should be. So why do we hold teachers to a different standard?
Megan Hayes-Golding has this to say about teachers sharing materials. You can view the entire post here.
We (MTBos) share freely to help other teachers out, we share freely because we know we get more than we take, we share freely because we understand more users help make a better product.
Lisa Nielsen of The Innovative Educator, shared this tweet during the 2016 ISTE conference:
A.J. Juliano holds a different opinion. You can view his entire post here.
If a teacher creates something of value and wants to sell it to another teacher, they should not only be allowed to do so, but also encouraged to do so. Teachers should not be scolded for making “extra money” by developing great lessons, resources, and guides that improve teaching and learning…they should be applauded.
Personally, I have no issues with teachers selling their materials. I have bought and used MANY items on Teachers Pay Teachers and met some wonderful people that I can now proudly call my friends. Many have tweaked something for me to make it better fit my classroom for no extra charge, and several have sent me free materials because they thought I could use them (and no, I did not ask for them, they are all just amazing people who are happy to share as well as sell). As a non-creative but very imitative teacher, I happily exist in both worlds. What say you?