The NYTimes asks whether teachers should be able to sell their lesson plans online. I ask, why has this not been done before and encouraged?
Between Craigslist and eBay, the Internet is well established as a marketplace where one person’s trash is transformed into another’s treasure. Now, thousands of teachers are cashing in on a commodity they used to give away, selling lesson plans online for exercises as simple as M&M sorting and as sophisticated as Shakespeare.
The humble lesson plan has gained value as focus on testing and individualized instruction has increased. At the same time, the Internet has diminished the isolation of classroom teachers. Just about every imaginable lesson for preschool through college is now up for sale — on individual teachers’ blogs as well as commercial sites where buyers can review and grade the material.
Teachers Pay Teachers, one of the largest such sites, with more than 200,000 registered users, has recorded $600,000 in sales since it was started in 2006 — $450,000 of that in the past year, said its founder, Paul Edelman, a former New York City teacher. The top seller, a high school English teacher in California, has made $36,000 in sales.
Another site, We Are Teachers, went online last year with a “knowledge marketplace” that includes lesson plans and online tutoring.
In an era where our students are struggling to learn the basics and teachers are overwhelmed by the demands of the classroom, why wouldn’t we encourage efficiencies in teaching where teachers with best practice lessons are rewarded for their creativity and innovative efforts?
Shouldn’t our best teachers be rewarded for their abilities?
Shouldn’t other teachers benefit from the expanded support that they can use to prepare for their classes?
Shouldn’t our students have access to the programs developed by the best minds in the teaching profession?
I don’t see how this is a challenge to anything other than allowing for mediocrity in the name of trying hard. I want education to get better and more efficient…I see a marketplace for teacher ideas (especially if feedback around performance is incorporated) that creates richer and more interesting lessons to better educate our youth.