Graham Wilson is an Author on TES and publishes resources as erhgiez. Read on to discover his motivation for creating lesson materials from scratch and his top tips for making your resources look professional.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I have been teaching for seven years and I currently work at an independent school in London, leading science for KS2 and KS3. I started out as a supply teacher in Leeds and found that this allowed me to experience many different learning environments and establish my teaching style quickly. I have also been a cook, fishmonger and IT support tech.
One thing that stands out to me from my PGCE was when I was under the tutelage of an older member of staff, who criticised me for making my own resources. This teacher’s lessons were always the same: “Textbooks open to page 75, questions 1-8”. Watching these lessons quickly showed me the benefits of creating engaging resources.
I’m at my happiest when a resource I spent Sunday afternoon tailor-making works perfectly and engages students in a way that a “one size fits all” resource often does not.
Where do you start when making resources?
Sometimes while teaching, I'll have an on-the-spot idea for a lesson or activity. If it works, then I will commit it to paper for future use. I like to plan every lesson as if it were being observed so it can be time-consuming.
For a scheme of work, usually between six to eight lessons, I do detailed planning with objectives and success criteria. At this point, I normally send the ideas out to the rest of the department for critique, before creating a presentation to go with the lessons.
You’ve been sharing resources on TES for several years. What made you want to try selling some of your resources?
I was curious to see if selling resources on TES was a viable option for making money and I tested the waters with some smaller resources. It was evident that some topics are much more popular than others and people are more likely to spend money on standard resources, such as assessments, card sorts and posters.
Why do you think it’s important for teachers to be a part of a collaborative community?
You can easily fill up a teaching day with lessons and marking and it is often in-depth planning that is done last, or not at all. Most teachers might find the time to plan an outstanding lesson or create an inspired resource if they're being observed, but there are not enough hours in the week to spend several hours on a single lesson.
Thankfully, TES offers up a lot of resources that have been hand-crafted by passionate teachers. Their time and effort is often the saviour of many across the world. Although, I think we have to be careful that we don’t spend all our time sifting through this sea of resources to find the idea that works for our lesson.
This is where TES premium resources help. With paid content, there is the expectation that it is well-constructed and thought-out. The time saved from either making the same resource or finding a similar resource are worth the, often cheap, entry fee.
What tips would you give a teacher who is considering publishing their resources on TES?
In order to get noticed, a resource should look professional, especially if people are paying for it. There are a few quick tips I normally use to make a resource look professional in a few minutes:
- Use coloured boxes to highlight titles. Gradient shading can be eye-catching too.
- Apply shadow to pictures to make them leap from the page.
If you are just starting out, try making a general resource that is adaptable and can be used again. These could get more views and probably more paying customers, giving you positive reinforcement to make more.
My final piece of advice? Authors should be creating content for the love of teaching, and if you can put in that extra little bit of time to make it look professional, then I am sure it will be popular.
erhgiez's TES Shop
If you're interested in becoming a resources author, but don't know where to start, email our TES Authors Team for a friendly nudge in the right direction.