TES in the News: A Marketplace for Teachers to Sell, Share and Shine
Compiled by Emily Schickli, Marketing Communications Manager
Excerpts from EdSurge’s article by Patrícia Gomes
TES and a few of our authors were featured in a recent EdSurge piece that showcases the next big thing for teachers to build their networks and enhance their salaries: marketplaces for educators. (Hey, we’ve got one of those!)
Millions of teachers are avid buyers and sellers in a booming number of marketplaces for teacher-made materials. A recent EdSurge survey identified 9 marketplaces where teachers can sell their creations. Another 6 allow them to share and download resources for free or are open education resources platforms. Together, those marketplaces list more than 26 million free or paid products and serve 15 million users—although some of the resources and users are part of more than one platform. (Marketplaces for education providers where teachers are not allowed to upload classrooms materials were not considered).
Four of the 14 platforms in our survey were launched within the past six months—three of them by startups based in the San Francisco Bay Area. TES, a British company, opened its marketplace for US teachers in August—following the steps of TES UK and TES Australia, similar efforts that launched in 2006 and 2013 respectively.
Calling All Teachers
One of the main inquiries of the piece is how marketplaces for materials created by educators became so viral, but as Gomes notes, “content is king.” Both new and veteran teachers are looking for high quality content with which to supplement their own curricula, whether they’ve been teaching the same subject and grades for years or recently switched schools. With the majority of public schools in the US adopting the Common Core State Standards, these marketplaces have even more of a place than ever; many teachers are left with new standards to meet without the new material that aligns with them.
Moreover, new teachers especially benefit from resource marketplaces. Gomes writes:
These resources can be a lifeline especially for those who are new to the profession. “The life of a first-year teacher is very hard. You have so much to learn, and there are so many adjustments that have to be made,” says Sue Summers, who has taught middle-school Spanish for 19 years and is currently at Horace Mann Middle School in Wausau, WI. “I remember my first year as a teacher and wish I had this type of support back then.”
What’s a Teacherpreneur?
Just exactly who is the teacher-author, or “teacherpreneur,” gracing the digital halls of these marketplaces? While all educators are more than welcome to upload content to share and sell online, Gomes reports that:
Teachers who sell resources typically have several years of experience and “a specific knowledge, a desire to become a stronger teacher [by improving their lessons with other teachers’ feedback], who also want to see their classroom materials outside the boundaries of their school,” says Elena Balint, chief marketing officer of Share My Lesson, a network where teachers share their lessons freely among one another.
Once authors upload their content to the marketplace, it can be tempting to just let it be. Selling materials successfully, however, involves some TLC. Check out our Author Boot Camp for tips on how to market lessons and resources in the marketplace.
As Gomes elaborates,
Selling materials made from passion can be uncomfortable for some. But top marketplace sellers say teachers should be compensated for their time. Summers sets her prices based on how much time it took for her to create the resource. “When you go to a live performance and like it, you may not realize the amount of effort there was behind the scenes,” she says. “Creating material is the same. People don't always see how much work it took.”
All the marketplaces we surveyed allow sellers to set the prices of their products. But many teachers say they keep the price low—often under $5—out of empathy, knowing that the buyers are often fellow professionals paying out of their own pocket.
"My rule of thumb is to think about what I would like to pay if I were looking for a similar resource. I put myself in my buyer's shoes. I also take into account if the ideas are editable [meaning buyers can manipulate the content], if “extras” are involved [for instance, professionally recorded standards-based songs], and how hard was the creation process," says [Kelley] Dolling, [now a first-grade teacher at Antelope Elementary School in northern California and a seller].
Publishing and selling resources online doesn’t just benefit the teachers purchasing the materials. In fact, educators who sell their resources online not only develop both their network and brand but also supplement their income. at the same time as they get an additional source of income.
“I’m getting paid for something I would do anyway, which is creating lessons,” says John Hughes, a former elementary school teacher and current principal at Cottonwood Elementary in Orangeville, UT. He sells his materials via five marketplaces: Educents, Teachers Pay Teachers, Teacher’s Notebook, Teachwise and TES.
Marketplaces also offer a brand-building opportunity that can lead to invitations to conferences and networking opportunities. “Those that I teach and work with would probably not describe me any different in the four years that I have been selling,” says Hughes. “On the flip side, I have had access to better networking with other educational professionals.”
As any teacherpreneur will tell you, resource marketplaces offer many benefits. In summary, Gomes states:
Teaching is an art. And while the profession pays teachers modestly for their performance in classrooms, online marketplaces offer them an opportunity to be compensated both financially and socially. Going from the isolation of the classroom to becoming a famous online brand may seem scary at the outset. But veteran teacher-sellers assure: you will get used to the fame.
For more information about resource marketplaces, check out this infographic from EdSurge:
This article can be read in full on EdSurge.