I hate, yes hate, TeachersPayTeachers.com
Post date: Mar 22, 2017 7:50:30 PM
Those of you who know me know I'm actively, vocally against the who idea behind TeachersPayTeachers. My previous dislike (now hatred) goes way back. Very early on the site owner tried to sell pictures she had taken of a movie set to the teachers who produced materials on the website. She presented this in an email to all her producers as a gift to them to help work within copyright. Then she SOLD THE PICTURES. These are the producers who make the site work. She could have just provided the pictures and made the money on the back end from their ridiculous percentage cuts. Nope, she tried to sell them. That was my first clue that the site exists not to help educators but to make money for a select few.
Please understand, I'm as capitalist as they come. I mean, I have an infatuation with Ayn Rand for goodness' sake. I, however, am not for capitalism veiled in lies that takes advantage of our kids. In the spirit of providing perfect information here are more reasons why I now hate, yes hate, TeachersPayTeachers.com.
1. These People
Apparently there are some sellers on TpT who realized how great of a teacher I am and decided to steal my lessons and sell them themselves.
One guy has a perfect 4.0 rating (I'm flattered) and calls himself "A Social Studies Professional." He has over 23000 ratings and 4000+ followers on the site. That's a lot of teachers, and an exponentially larger amount of students, who have been ripped off by the site and this guy.
He claims it was all accidental but that just makes my point all the more. I've seen very few actual "new" ideas on TPT. Everything is a remix of someone else's idea. Ideas that are shared freely and then stamped with some clipart and given a price tag. It's disgusting.
Another took some of my CYOA ideas, made them a heck of a lot worse (I mean, at least she didn't blatantly copy the sheets I guess) and then decided to sell them. I'll be interested to see if she responds. I'm sure she'll claim that somehow it was an accident and that she came up with assignments exactly like mine with the exact same names all on her own.
2. "Free" Stuff
TpT defenders tell me frequently that there is plenty of good, free material on it if you really search. I'm sure they are right. My problem is that the TpT owners make it as hard as possible to both list and find free materials. As a producer I am constantly reminded when I post a free item that I should probably not list it free if it is over a certain size (more than a page).
As a consumer I have to go through multiple clicks to change the search parameters to show free items.
Compare this to any legitimate app store like Apple's who literally have an entire section dedicated to their most popular free offerings. Good luck finding such a thing on TpT.
3. Normalization of Bad Behavior
"Kids who don't share on the playground get a lecture. Teachers who don't share get paid!" That would be an appropriate tag line for TpT. TpT makes it okay for teachers to not share, in fact it is a lauded act now. "I paid for a cruise!" one marketing email from TpT blasted to it's producers. Congratulations, you profited off your colleagues and their students. You also likely deprived many other students of access to your great lesson.
Are we in education in this together or not? Do we really care about kids or not? We manage to all wear black to protest a Secretary of Ed we fear is trying to profit off kids and then we turn around and do it ourselves? We wear red to protest budget cuts then force our colleagues to pay for ideas that could help their students? Something just isn't adding up.
It's sad that Twitter, which used to be my main form of PD and connection is now basically unusable for those things. The tags I'd previously relied on, particularly #sschat, have become nothing but marketing vessels for various TpT Sellers. Where I used to be able to ask for ideas and get great discussions going I'm now offered $4 lessons that I could have made myself.
I don't know what I hope to gain by finally posting this - just venting at least I guess - but I'm ready for a movement. There are TONS of great, free resources out there that I hope people will start to use. Please stop using TpT and support them instead. Even better, go produce for them and share your awesome ideas. We need them!
And keep an eye on the Daughters of the American Revolution at http://www.dar.org/ as they will soon be seeking help on creating their own open, free database on American History lessons. I'll be taking part for sure and I hope many others will too.