A handful of teachers earn big money selling curriculum

Dec 10, 2015 by

Chery Akaba-McCumber has created educational games for her students ever since she started teaching 32 years ago, but now she gets paid to share them.

The first-grade teacher at John Still K-8 School in south Sacramento has joined a growing number of teachers who sell lesson plans and classroom materials through curriculum marketplaces online.

While the Internet made it easier to sell materials to colleagues thousands of miles away, the cottage industry really took off starting in 2010 when national Common Core State Standards were first published. The challenging standards, which emphasize problem-solving skills over memorization, sent many teachers scrambling to find ideas proven to work in the classroom.

Teachers Pay Teachers is the largest online marketplace for educators, with 1.8 million resources available on the site, said Adam Freed, the company’s chief executive officer. About 3.7 million people have downloaded a product from the site in the last year, he said.

Products generally cost between $2 and $12, with some resources offered for free. The stores have names like “A Cupcake for the Teacher,” “The Inspired Apple” and “Teaching in Room 6.”

The company earned $78 million in 2014. It has paid over $175 million to teachers, who get 85 percent of the proceeds of each sale, since it started in 2006, Freed said. The site has been lucrative for some teachers; 16 have made $1 million or more, according to Teachers Pay Teachers.

“Our big challenge is keeping up with the growth,” Freed said.

Akaba-McCumber said teachers are searching on their own because Common Core lesson plans suitable for their classrooms aren’t always available locally.

“They say teach the Common Core, but they don’t give you the material,” Akaba-McCumber said. “Teachers are now providing Common Core curriculum online. It’s like this underground movement. When you figure out something good you share it with your friends.”

Source: Sacramento area teachers make extra money selling lesson plans, curriculum online | The Sacramento Bee

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