Teachers Pay Teachers

I once told Dann that I’d always equated the term “business owner” with pantsuits and briefcases. I recall saying something along the lines of “I always thought that if I wanted to own a business it meant I had to become a stock broker” and him cracking up because, for as long as I’ve known him, he’s been a business owner as 1/3 of an indie band.


Have you heard of Teachers Pay Teachers? I first discovered it in 2012 when I was searching online for curricular materials to use in my classroom while teaching Catching Fire as a whole class novel. I came across a comprehensive packet of materials, ready to use, and paid $10 for the entire thing. It saved me hours I would otherwise have spent creating vocabulary lists, writing questions, and dreaming up other ways of getting my students to engage with the text and/or assess their understanding of it. At the time, it was $10 incredibly well spent.

After we moved to Seattle (and I was jobless and pregnant), I started to look into creating my own Teachers Pay Teachers store. I always enjoyed the process of figuring out how to teach a thing, how to get at what a student really understood. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more satisfied than I did when a lesson I created worked, when I could hear my students talking about the things I wanted them to talk about, asking the questions I hoped they would ask, then doing the work they were responsible for doing. I figured I might be able to create something useful for the TpT marketplace, and I started by finding a customer who was in need of questions for something called Battle of the Books. Since March, I’ve written questions for the eight books pictured above, and I’ve made almost $40. I’m literally reading books, writing questions about them, uploading the questions to my store, and getting paid.

When I checked my email for the first time after baby Abe was born, I had a notification from TpT that I had sold a product. We were still in the hospital and Dann said “You just made money while giving birth.” It was the first time it happened, and it sort of blew my mind. Now every time I get one of those emails I tell myself “You just made money while sleeping.” or “You just made money while going for a walk." I think I might be a business owner, and I don't even own a briefcase.

I'm still pretty new and inexperienced in the TpT world, but I'm excited to see where it leads. So far, if nothing else, I've read some great new books (Rain Reign was a particular favorite - written by Ann M. Martin of Babysitters Club fame!) and made a few dollars. Go check out my store, tell your teacher friends about it, and shoot me an email if you're interested in hiring me!