Monday, November 23, 2009

Selling Lessons

I read this New York Times article about teachers who make money selling lessons online.

The article mentions two websites, “Teachers Pay Teachers,” and, “We Are Teachers.”  Some of the numbers in the article are astounding.

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.

Kelly Gionti, a teacher at the High School for Law, Advocacy and Community Justice in Manhattan, has sold $2,544 worth of unit plans for “The Catcher in the Rye” and “The Great Gatsby,” among others, helping finance trips to Rome and Ireland, as well as class supplies.

Margaret Whisnant, a retired teacher in North Carolina, earns an average of $750 a month from lessons based on her three decades of teaching middle school classics like “The Outsiders,” enough to pay for new kitchen counters and appliances.

Lisa Michalek, 40, who taught for six years in Rochester and now works for Aventa Learning, a for-profit online education company, said she spent about five hours a week tweaking old lesson plans and creating new ones, like an earth science curriculum that sells for $59.95.

Reading these statistics, one cannot help but feel inspired to sell one’s own lessons.  However, like lottery commercials, the few winners are mentioned while the thousands of losers are ignored.

What boggles my mind is that people are willing to pay for lessons on the internet when there is so much free material available.  Maybe some teachers are too busy or too lazy to search for free quality lessons.  Admittedly, it can be a time-consuming treasure hunt.  Maybe some teachers think that free lessons must not be quality lessons.  Paying money reassures them that they are receiving a quality product.

Photo by DisneyKrayzie.


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