Teachers Pay Teachers and other similar websites sell lesson plans used by teachers to other teachers, and they are popular because they have been tested in real-life situations.
Forty-four of the 50 United States have adopted the Common Core Initiative for teaching K-12 school children English and mathematics skills in the six years since the teaching program was developed.
It takes longer than six years for textbook developers to create teaching materials, because those materials are often put through series of tests and evaluations before they are published. So, many teachers have had to rely on other sources to create teaching materials.
What they are relying on, in many cases, is other teachers.
Many teachers are now selling their own lesson plans on a variety of websites, and they are selling them to other teachers. Sites like Teachers Pay Teachers, Teacher’s Notebook, BetterLesson.com and others offer lesson plans for different age groups, and the plans are surprisingly inexpensive, in part because teachers are often buying the plans themselves rather than asking for the schools to find the funds necessary to pay for the teaching plans.
According to a Slate.com story written by Madeleine Cummings of the Teachers Project, an initiative at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, there is a first-grade teacher in Long Island named Erica Bohrer, who has made more than $400,000 selling her lesson plans, which she promotes at night after teaching school children all day long.
Bohrer is quoted explaining why Teachers Pay Teachers has worked so well. It’s because teachers “are getting something that has been tested out on real kids.”
Teachers Pay Teachers began in 2006 but boomed with the adoption of Common Core. To date more than $150 million has traded hands from teachers needing lesson plans to those offering these plans on the site.
According to the Education Week Research Center, 87 percent of teachers said they trust other teachers in regards to curriculum materials, while less than two-thirds trust so-called experts, including curriculum publishers.
Lesson plans often go for less than $5.00 for instruction, although there are additional costs for teaching materials. Each teaching plan explains how the class or project aligns with Common Core standards. There are also booklets available to help teachers track the progress of students in both the English and math standards.
Many educational organizations say published materials fail to meet standards set by Common Core, but other experts say teachers are not trained in the proper methods of developing curriculum.
According to the Center on Education Policy, a nonprofit educational organization, in two-thirds of districts in the country using Common Core, teachers are developing their own materials to match the standards of Common Core. Center on Education Policy deputy director Diane Rentner said the reason is not that teachers trust teachers more than publishers, but that “there was nothing else out there.”
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.