I’ve mentioned once or twice before that I’m a teacher. I’m proud of that fact. I love what I do and I love being someone who can impact the minds of the future. Everyday, my students surprise me more and more with just how brilliant they are.
What I don’t love. The pay. Yes, we get summers off. However, that term is very relative as many of us conduct summer school and then have to attend multi-day professional developments, however, I do like the fact that I know when my vacation days are going to occur. What hurts is the sheer number of extra hours we put in for little or no monetary results.
To be fair, if any of us truly did it for the money, we’d never have gone into teaching. However, when dealing with student loans, car payments and the raising cost of living, not to mention having to buy supplies for students, a little extra can go a long way.
Let it never be said that Teachers are not the creative sorts. We are. I wish that I can say I have it bad. I really don’t. Texas is not terrible when it comes to teacher pay. It’s not great, but it’s not terrible. I know other states have it worse. You hear about all these teachers who put in 12-14 hour days at their schools only to turn around and go to their second or third jobs.
I’ve been lucky that I do not need to have a second job to make ends meat, but that’s not to say that I don’t know many others who do. Knowing this, I’ve made it my mission to get rid of as much debt as soon as possible. Teaching, thankfully, is a pretty stable job. Lots of flexibility in how you can use your certifications, and if you don’t think that your school districts won’t find away to use it, you’ve got another things coming.
For instance, I’m a History teacher but I also teach English during the summer. I got a tested subject this year, however last year I worked in the English tutorials. Why? Simple. I have an ESL (English as a Second Language) Certification. It’s supplemental (additional) but is quickly becoming require across all disciplines, and a key reason why I got to teach outside of my content area. I’m not the only one and I’m not even the worst of the stories that I’ve heard. Yet, we as teachers still get it done. Why? Because we love the kids and we love what we do.
Anyways, back to the money. I’ve told you that we’ve gotten creative. One website that many of us Teachers use is TeacherPayTeacher (TPT). We are all constantly coming up with new material for us to use in the classroom. With as many teachers around the world who all teach the same if not similar subject it’s great to have a community in which people can ban together and share their knowledge.
Now, it’s not free. Not even close. Think of this site as a Flee market for teachers and what is being sold is content for our class. Think of the class, and there is probably something already created for it. If not, then you might have found a niche that needed to be filled. There are some free material on the site, but it’s usually just a taste of some of the items teachers have to sell.
I love it. It helps when you have multiple preps for subjects you’ve never taught and suddenly found yourself needing material. I created my store last May after using it for several months.
Yes, part of this post is to promote my store. If you are a teacher and you teach either AP Psychology or Sociology and need some material, stop on by and see if there is anything that you might need for your classroom. If not, or if there is another subject you teach, feel free to look around at some of the other stores, there might be something for you.
Regardless, I don’t make a lot of money at it (I totaled about $32 in annual sales in 2018 and I started in May!). Last month I was over the moon as I made just over $25 in profit! I know, laugh it up. I was still doing the little dance when the month ended. I’d like to challenge any of you to sell your first product and not do a little dance of excitement over it. I joke, but it is an amazing form of passive money making. Most, if not all, of the products I have listed on TPT I use in the classroom. Not only did my materials make life just a little bit easier for other teachers, but I made a little bit of money for it. Most, with the exceptions of my PowerPoint, because by golly I worked hard on those, are no more than $3.00.
Because if you are looking on TPT, it means you either lost track of time and need something to fill in a lesson or you are so lost that you are looking for just that little bit of guidance to help you survive just one more week, or even one more class period. Plus, I know, rarely does $3.00 break the bank. I want my materials to be used. I worked hard on them and they are good and therefore others can benefit from what I created.
My experience with TPT has been a good one. I enjoy it. I don’t have to do much beyond setting up the store and uploading a number of different products to sell. TPT does take a commission price. which is a bit high, around 60%, however considering I wasn’t making anything on these items as they were just sitting on my flash drive, any money I make off of them is money well earned. There is not much work that needs to be put on it. The one issue is that all work must be your original intellectual property. You are selling for a profit. You also need a PayPal account however that’s so that they can transfer your monthly sales. There might be a way to make even more money off of TPT, but I’m not nearly invested enough to focus on that. I’m fine making my $15-20 (if I’m lucky) a month. Would I like to make more? Yes. Do I absolutely need it? Thankfully no.
It was not the first, nor I doubt the last, time I’ve shared material. Good teaching communities, and to a point good schools, have teachers who are more than willing to share everything that they have with one another. Especially the young teachers.
Because each year this field is becoming just that bit more difficult and the quitting rate of teachers have hit an all time high. I wish I could say that it was going down, but it’s not. I’ve been in the field for 5 years and I’am considered a veteran. Most teachers don’t make it to 5 years because they tend to burn out and enter the private sector. I’m exhausted. I work 12-14 hour days and then go home to grade or find new resources for my students to use. I’m even learning accounting on the side. Not because I want to become a CPA, but because I have students who want to compete against other High School students in the field and we don’t have the class or a teacher who would be willing to help. The same goes for Copy editing, and a number of other fields.
Yet, at the end of the day. I love my job. TPT makes it a little easier. I managed to bring my debt down by $25 dollars last month. I know it’s funny to get excited about that. I do. However, I am proud that I manage to accomplish that. I’m hoping that February will be a bit better. Honestly, I doubt it with how it’s been going so far. (I’ve made $6.00 so far). In the end, that’s not the point. It’s a little bit extra that helps me manage my debt and brings me one step closer. What more can a person ask for?
If you all have tried TPT and know of any good stores or if you have never heard of it and want to give it a try as either a buyer or a seller. I’d love to hear about your experience with the site. Please leave me a comment below.