Teachers Pay Teachers- Helping or Hindering?

Since our class discussion this past Tuesday, I have spent a lot of time thinking about Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT) and the debate around free/open resource sharing. Janelle had similar thoughts to mine and is planning on looking into some of the STF policy.


Personally, I have purchased a few items from TpT. When the site first became popular, my first thought was that teachers should work together and openly share resources, I thought paying for these resources defeated that. But over the years, when I found myself needing a good resource and didn’t have time to create one myself, I would purchase things on TpT. But until our class discussion I never considered the fact that not only is the site is really a barrier to openly sharing resources, but there is some question on who actually owns the content being created. Is it the teacher or the school division they work for?

While doing some research I found some interesting articles of success stories from teachers who have made significant amounts of money from TpT. Deanna Jump is a Kindergarten teacher who has made headlines because she is now a millionaire from selling her products on the site.

But is this idea of paying for resources taking away from creating a network where teachers can openly share resources and materials? An article Selling Out With Teachers Pay Teachers states,

“This introduces a dangerous incentive for teachers, dangling the possibility of huge profits in return for abandoning a free and open exchange of ideas to help students succeed.”

I can see both sides of the debate, if teachers are going to purchase resource materials it is better for that money to go to real teachers who create them rather than big publishing companies. And teachers know how much time and effort can go into creating some of these resources. But if everyone wants money for their resources and ideas-that is not creating a collaborative network where everyone could benefit.

What are your thoughts on this debate? Do you purchase or sell resources on Teachers Pay Teachers? Would you rather see teachers getting paid for their resources or sharing them freely with other educators?


10 thoughts on “Teachers Pay Teachers- Helping or Hindering?

    • Amy says:

      Teachers in the US don’t get paid very well so this is definitely something that helps them! I think it is definitely a good option for teachers looking to make some extra money. Again it just makes me wonder what things would look like if teacher resource sharing was more of a free and open network.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. lifelonglearner1blog says:

    I appreciate the research you did on this topic. And you raise some good points. Is we have helped make a fellow teacher a millionaire $4 at a time maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Especially if we have the same opportunity. We deserve some of the same fortune other people enjoy in other professions! Maybe there is a way we can move the profession forward and empower teachers through avenues such as TpT.
    But even as I type this I’m just not sure. …

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Erin Benjamin says:

    I’ve contemplated these questions several times over the past week. I am a huge fan of TpT. I access a lot of the free materials available but have also bought quite a few TpT resources as well. I view the buying of a Tpt resource the same as if I were to go to the local teacher store and buy a resource, except that this directly supports the teacher.

    Do I wish that these resources were all free? Absolutely! I do, however, recognize the financial struggle that many teachers experience and think that this is a way to provide additional income to those families. The demands of teaching today have also left me drained and overwhelmed at times, and having the option to buy a fantastic $3.00 resource rather than spending days creating one has been so beneficial.

    I wish that everyone could be in a situation to provide all of these resources for free, but we just don’t know the economic situation of all of these families. Maybe they need this extra money to pay some of their expenses. The time some of these teachers pour into making their resources is unbelievable, and I know I don’t mind paying for them. I would love to have teachers provide these resources for free but I also appreciate the fact that I can access them for a fraction of what they would cost in teacher stories.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Amy says:

    I feel the same way as you Erin! I would rather my money go to teachers than publishing companies. This is the first time I have really considered the other side of this issue and open education. It is definitely an interesting debate!


  4. loganpetlak says:

    As you say, it’s a tough line. It’s a weird balance between student learning and the idealist vision of our profession versus the reality that may plague underpaid teachers in other parts of the world. I would never think to get or ask for money for my resources I’ve created, but it’s like any other worker using their skills to make extra money (carpenter doing side-jobs, etc)… Opened my eyes, thanks for sharing Amy!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. DanielleG says:

    Interesting post Amy! I have also been thinking of this topic since last weeks class and I shared some of my thoughts about TPT with some of my colleagues at school.
    I download and purchase some resources from the website from time to time, but it is not my first “go to”. I too, like many have commented, would love if more of these great resources were free for us to use, but I also agree that I don’t mind supporting a teacher instead of a large company.

    Correct me if I’m wrong.. but wouldn’t a site like TPT be a step in the right direction towards open education? Yes, many of the resources cost a small fee but at least they are being shared instead of only saved on one teachers USB!


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