Distributing Knowledge: Lesson Plans

My mother is a teacher and has been for quite some time. A public school teacher. A public high school teacher. She’s great at it (even earning herself a Fullbright Fellowship to go on a six-week teaching exchange in Morocco one year).  Needless to say – the lady is one tough cookie and endlessly optimistic (which I think you just have to be in this line of work; the hours are long, the pay is notoriously low, and let’s face it – not all of us are at our best as teenagers). Many of my memories of her are coming home to a woman hunched over the kitchen table drafting, redrafting, and finalizing her lesson plans – one of the most underappreciated investments a teacher makes with his/her time. It is the backbone of their whole day, their whole approach, the calling card of their teaching style and it very rarely happens during teaching hours.

I wonder what my mother would make of this site: TeachersPayTeachers (TPT) – which is an open-source marketplace for original teaching materials (mostly lesson plans) that have been created by teachers for other teachers. They’ve got more than 40,000 resources and more than 1,000,000 registered users.

Deanna Jump posts lesson plans that are meant to teach Pre-K through 5th grade – most of the materials for $10 or less. Deanna Jump has been teaching for more than 15 years and posts when new materials are available on her blog. And Jump has now crossed the $1 million mark in revenue earned from TPT (which takes a percentage of sales).

You hear that, Mom? Those 20+ years of lesson plans – they could be your retirement plan!

What this, to me, indicates is that like so many things, there is very little time to collaborate or interact in the real world – a problem that has perhaps been going on for some time. The solution is once again answered by a virtual tool. No time to date? Get online and find someone. Can’t figure out which charity to give to? Ask the web. Need to find some time to truly collaborate with colleagues who are in the same field as you, teaching the same subject as you, the same age group as you? Well, now there’s TPT. And what I like most about it is that it rewards teachers for their work.

Do you think that sharing lesson plans might have unforeseen consequences (both good and bad)? Do you think there are other ways that teachers might be able to collaborate nationally and globally?

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