What Can Teachers Sell?

Sharing

Teachers, and the Department, love sharing. You can share using email, USB, cloud storage, social media or any other system. Yes, you can even share on The Wheel, and it is free to do so. Sharing is a massively beneficial notion in education. We teachers love to help others, but there is always a proviso. Do not just take. You have to prove you are a hardworking teacher who isn’t looking to cut corners or find an easy way out. There are certainly some teachers who are hoarders and only share to people they trust, others are only slightly conservative on what they do with their notes, activities, lesson plans and units. One reason is that they have been able to attend Professional Development (PD) and feel as though they have right to that new idea, the other is that they have spent tireless hours redefining and redeveloping their work. As soon as someone feels like they are always giving and giving, or you add a dollar value to the resource, things start to change. That beautiful idea of everyone being together and sharing freely is quickly squashed.

There are plenty of teachers that make claims of sharing and making their resources accessible to everyone. The thing is, they only share with people they meet. They are not willing to help the person they do not know. Is it selfish? Maybe. But it is also the whole…I don’t know you, you work it out yourself. Australians love to pull down any tall poppy. Many teachers hate standing out from the crowd. Sharing a resource, on a larger scale, frightens many teachers. They fear not being accepted. They fear the unknown and they fear that someone will say to them that it is no good. Why? Why do we fear an unknown? What would happen if everyone loved it? What would happen if other teachers came to you for advice?

Your first resource

Do you want to go beyond sharing with the possibility of making a little bit of extra money? We often call this a “side hustle”. You can also call yourself a “teacherpreneur” or “edupreneur” too, but most of you just say “I sell stuff”. What can YOU sell and what is viable?

What's your NICHE?

The first thing to look into is your “niche”. That is, what do you teach and what do you teach well? What one thing in your arsenal is your go to resource or activity? What is that one thing others go, “can I get a copy of that? I need it.” Or “That’s what I’ve been looking for! What a great idea.” If you have any teacher ever telling you something like this, THAT is your first resource. We have talked about selling resources that you use within your school in another blog post. To cut things short, it is a massive grey area. If you use it regularly, the chances are the Department owns the intellectual property to it. If you are casual, or you have used it in other circumstances prior to teaching, then you have a case to sell. On the other hand, if it is based on training or part of your every day employment with the Department, tread very carefully.

How can you sell THAT resource?

What is it about your resource, your lesson plan, your activity, your unit that makes others say “Can I get a copy of that?” The core essence of the task is what other teachers want. Are you able to keep this element and design something similar? For instance, you have developed a worksheet on counting by 2’s that uses safari animals. Can you alter the worksheet to counting by 5’s or using another theme? Is there another angle you can take?

Don’t have THAT activity or worksheet to sell immediately? Below is a general overview of what types of things teachers looking for?

To answer this straight out – anything!! But realistically, it depends on your subject, age group and employment.

Casual Teachers Needs

Casual teachers are looking for short activities that require very little resources. It must be either self-contained, require minimal photocopying and/or cater to a variety of needs. Not much to ask for? So what about a series of ideas to help break up the lesson? 5-minute wonders? Top short breaks? Or activities that can be done on a whiteboard, smart board or projector? Literacy and numeracy activities are always a great go-to option, as well as ones based on popular movies, TV shows or books. Comprehension tasks, numeracy activities that utilise student involvement, or fill in the blank story starters. Think about what you would like to have had in your arsenal when arriving at a school. There are a few bundles for “Relief teacher for the day”, “Survival guide” or “Casual day activities” teachers can download full of activities that last an entire day! Do you have a series of activities that could be sold individually and then bundled into a survival guide for casual teachers?

Permanent Teachers

Permanent teachers have their own room and their own space, so their needs will differ.

Primary teachers are always looking for better ways to organise kids work, marks, or their classroom. They love anchor charts, displays, reward charts and merits. Primary teachers want their rooms to be unique, theme-based and brightly coloured. Designing your resources where the theme can be changed, or bundle the same resource in several different themes is an easy way to not having to recreate the wheel. Cute always sells, but the content is king! Do you have programs, units, themes, literacy and novel work, numeracy, or tasks that help solve a problem or teach students a concept in a unique way?

High School teachers are a lot less subtle. They want content. They want content in a way they don’t have time to do. They want worksheets that help explain the work in a new way. They want to be able to give it to the students without much direction and have the answer sheet attached! So fill in the missing words, a redesign of the syllabus with work for students, booklets, and guides. The biggest seller for High School teachers at this point is anything to do with the new syllabus being rolled out across Australia. There is very little out there for nearly all subjects. Be the first to share content on the new syllabus and you will have a very successful resource.

Taking the leap to start selling is not as hard as you think. Yes there is time involved, but what you produce is only going to direct your own teaching. As teachers we all hear of the idea about doing it once. After working with a teacher that spent a year getting all of his course online using Moodle, we all thought he was mad. Now, he can just sit back and help students as all the content is there, the self marking quizzes are there, the assignments and assessments are there which are partially marked. He now has time to individually cater for students, or spend time developing better activities as the students always have work to do, week by week. One year of working a few extra hours has saved him many, many hours of work in the long run.

Time is not entirely an issue. For many it is the fear of doing something different and standing out from the rest. The Wheel isn't just a marketplace, it is a community of educational leaders willing to help you on your newest venture.