This month marks the 10-year anniversary of Teachers Pay Teachers, a website that has radically improved my life both professionally and personally.
Way back in 2006, former New York teacher Paul Edelman knew he could solve one of our profession’s biggest problems – over-exhausted teachers having to recreate the wheel in terms of curriculum development as they planned their daily lessons. What if, he thought, he could build a community where teachers shared their most successful classroom lessons? The result was Teachers Pay Teachers, a platform that connects us with the ideas and classroom-tested resources we need to best serve our students and maintain our sanity.
I was, admittedly, late to the party, hearing about TpT for the first time in 2012. I had moved to a classroom that had a SmartBoard (I inherited Room H-9 when Margo Johnson, one of my mentors, retired. Miss you, Margo!) and was looking for ideas and resources to use with the interactive software. A Google search led me to TpT, which had just what I needed, and it didn’t take long for my husband to suggest that I also open a shop. Our entire marriage, he’d watched me spend evenings and weekends building lesson materials for my own classes and I had a hard drive crammed with 15 years’ worth of work. I’d shared my materials with colleagues on campus, but otherwise those files pretty much just sat dormant in my laptop until I revisited the curriculum with the following year’s classes.
All of that changed when I opened my shop in January 2013. When I made my first sale on January 6, you never saw someone so happy to earn 60 cents! I jumped around the living room, electrified by the idea that another teacher out there in the cyberworld had seen value in something I’d made.
Well, the past three years have been a rocketship ride, as I’ve grown my store, built this blog, figured out social media (sort of), and made teacher-friends around the globe. My work has improved (a few of my embarrassingly ugly early items were quickly scrubbed once I figured out what I was doing) and my students love the innovative ideas I’m now courageous enough to try.
Edelman believes that empowerment is one of the greatest things in the world – and I have to agree. Too often, teachers’ voices aren’t valued, either by politicians who think they know best how to run our schools or administrators who love to bring in marbled-mouthed edu-speakers who bury us with statistics. But you and I and Paul know the truth. Teachers are the ones who best-know how to reach our students. We just need the time and resources to get the job done; TpT supplies both of these necessary tools.
So happy birthday to my most-favorite website in the whole wide world! TpT, you inspire me.
Teach on, everyone. (And, if you’re like me and just started spring break, enjoy your vacation. Good grief, we’ve earned it!)