Online lesson plans help Arizona teachers save time, make money

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Teachers are going online to get help with lesson plans. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Teachers are going online to get help with lesson plans. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The online sale of lesson plans and teaching materials has become a booming business. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) The online sale of lesson plans and teaching materials has become a booming business. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Teacher-authors offer some items on the website for free, but most are priced at a few dollars. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Teacher-authors offer some items on the website for free, but most are priced at a few dollars. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
QUEEN CREEK, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Arizona teachers face plenty of challenges, from low pay to long hours spent planning for the next day’s lesson.

Now, some teachers are boosting their income and saving hours of prep time by buying and selling their lesson plans online.

The online sale of lesson plans and teaching materials has become a booming business, driven by higher standards and other teachers willing to pay out of their own pockets for classroom-tested material. Top sites include Teachwise, Teacher's Notebook and Teachers Pay Teachers.

“When you walk into a classroom and all it has is desks in it, it's really intimidating,” said Jamie Sears, a former teacher who has an online store on TeachersPayTeachers.com.

Sears, of Queen Creek, said she was initially attracted to the website as a first-year teacher while working in a school that did not provide the curriculum.

“Teachers Pay Teachers saved me!” she said.

Teacher-authors offer some items on the website for free, but most are priced at a few dollars. Users leave comments and reviews so materials get better and better, Sears said.

"A lot of teachers are not given the curriculum they need, especially with the adoption of Common Core,” said Linda Kamp of Gilbert, another seller on the site.

Kamp said she started buying materials on the website in 2011 and started selling some of her own creations about a year later.

“It's a nice supplement to your income because teachers don't really make that much,” she said.

Teachers Pay Teachers launched a decade ago and now has 80,000 contributors. At least a dozen have earned a million dollars through the website, the company said.

But sellers like Sears and Kamp insist teachers don’t turn to the website as a way to make money. Instead, they say veteran teachers offer materials as a way to help newer ones and ultimately improve the classroom experience for kids.

“Every resource that I make touches thousands of students,” Sears said. “When I was teaching, I was touching 24 really fantastic kids each day. Now I'm touching thousands, so I like to think I'm still helping kids every single day even if I don't see their faces.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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