8 Tips to Expertly Use Teachers Pay Teachers

Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT) has become the marketplace for nearly everything teaching. Whether its curriculum, vocabulary cards, or even PD materials, TPT has got it. Because TPT has become such a huge player in education resource sphere, we sat down on Make It ‘Til Friday with Ciera Harris, a former teacher and now full-time TPT seller, to ask her what tips she would give beginning teachers. Here’s some of the highlights from our conversation:

1. Use TPT to Fill in The Holes
TPT is the perfect tool to occasionally fill in those instructional gaps that you might have. For example, let’s say you need a quick activity or station developed that you weren’t planning for. TPT probably has it. It’s even got entire curriculums that you can buy.

2. TPT Doesn’t Teach You How to Teach 
A product isn’t a pedagogy. Period.

3. Google, then TPT
When it comes to teaching a skill, a good idea is to a Google Search first to find articles, websites, blogs, and other sources that can give you the content knowledge you need beforehand. Likely, what will happen eventually is that one of these sources will explain how they taught it, and voila, you’re at TPT. A lot of sellers have blogs for this reason.

4. Free Resources Are Free For A Reason
Simply put, it’s a quality issue. If you likely pay even a small bit of money ($5, let’s say), you’ll probably end up with a better product.

5. Do Product Research Before Buying
Just like you would do for a purchase on Amazon, don’t buy a product without reading reviews and checking out samples. This also goes for what appears on the first screen of results--take your time and go into the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th pages before trying another search query. You may find a product out there that isn’t as well known, but fits your teaching philosophy better (and might be just a better product all around)

6. Popular Doesn’t Equal Quality
Take care with sellers and products that are REALLY POPULAR. Sometimes, as these sellers become removed from the classroom, (especially YOUR classroom), the greater the chance becomes that 1) it’s inapplicable to your room 2) has less evidence-based, sound pedagogy behind it. Of course, the vast majority of popular sellers DO distribute quality products backed up by sound learning science. At the end of the day, just remember, TPT is there to help you meet the needs of YOUR classroom and students. Do what’s best for them!

7. Follow Copyright
Teachers are the masters of stealing and sharing, but remember, some of these sellers live off of the income that TPT provides. Think of it this way: sharing resources illegally ultimately devalues the efforts of the seller--your fellow teachers.

8. Don’t Start Selling Products Right Away
Take some serious time to get used to the TPT environment and becomes immersed in the TPT community before you start selling. There’s a huge amount of thinking and vision that actually has to go into making products for TPT, and you’ll want to have a good familiarity with how it works before you take the “selling” step.

When you are ready to sell:

  • Consider the name and purpose of your store carefully
  • Make products that you have a knack for or specialize in
  • Join a TPT sellers community--there’s many out there, depending on subject, grade-level, etc.
  • Give it time -- it will take many months before people begin buying products. And when they do, listen to the reviews!

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  1. As I am teacher I agree with you. But not at all points. Thanks

  2. Yes, this is true but this is not only thing that will work you have to self study of how to teach effectively

  3. Interesting points. I'd like to address your assertion that 'free' items on TPT imply inferior quality. I have downloaded numerous excellent items from TPT that are free. As a teacher in South Africa (and, previously, in the Middle East), I am acutely aware of the challenges that face teachers outside the USA (the dollar exchange rate being just one of them!). For this reason, the products in my own store are all free. I view TPT as a means to give back to my colleagues who do not have access to many resources or who have a zero budget for classroom purchases. I realise that not everyone will have such an altruistic approach to TPT. In a nutshell: free does not mean bad!


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