You Own Everything I Do.... said no teacher ever!

There is a lot of hype lately about teachers profiting from the educational resources they make and then sell on sites such as Teachers Pay Teachers.  Articles such as the one linked HERE (article no longer available) are what triggered this particular blog post by me.  You may want to take a moment to read that article, as well as this recent article:  ARTICLE HERE

Keep in mind, the resources are made after school hours and built using the teacher’s own personal technology that the teacher purchased with her own money.  Despite that, there still seems to be a question as to whether the teacher owns the resources created.  The mere thought of teachers having to give their intellectual property over to the system they work for seems ludicrous, therefore I have decided to address the issue.
Before I go on, I want to say that my coworkers and schools have been completely supportive thus far of my efforts to make materials, which I do sell.  Some I use and others I do not.  This is not the case for many across the county, which is why I felt the need to write this blog post. 

Why do I find this insanely ridiculous?  Well, let me create an analogy….

Just like a baker bakes, a teacher teaches.  A baker specializes in cakes and a teacher specializes in writing up lesson plans to teach. So, let’s say that the baker’s boss has mandated he bake a chocolate cake.  The baker then goes to gather the butter and the flour and everything needed, but unfortunately there is no butter.

Despite the fact that there is no butter, the cake still must be made. The baker decides to tell his boss that he needs some butter to make the cake.  The boss says there is no money to buy any butter, but you must still bake the cake. Being the great baker that he was, the baker  decides to buy a churn to make the butter to then be able to bake the cake.  So, who owns the churn?   Does the baker have to give it to the boss simply because he used it to bake the cake that would be sold at the bakery? 

I say the baker gets the churn and not the boss. After all, the baker bought it.  The boss made no effort to help get the resources needed to get the job done.

What if that baker then decides to make a few cakes on the side for friends to earn some extra cash?  After all, he has this great churn to make the butter, which he did buy with his own money.  He will bake the cakes on the weekends and at night when he is not working his regular bakery job.  But wait!  Does the baker now have to give his boss from his day job the money from the sale of those cakes?  He didn’t use his boss’ recipes nor his equipment.

Should teachers have to give school systems things they buy with their own money?  If a teacher decides to create resources in the summer time or in the evenings, or on weekends, and they use their own materials to accomplish the task, should they then have to  turn over all profits from those materials to their school system?

To help make my point even more clear, let me ask this question.  Should a police officer who decides to make extra cash to support his family by working security at school events or at the mall have to give his earnings back to his police force simply because he is a police officer for his day job?

What about a teacher that tutors on the side?  They can tutor kids in their own home but they must give all profits to their school system? It simply doesn’t make a lick of sense.

It has even come to my attention that some school systems are allowing their teachers to make resources, but those resources made by the teachers can not be used in their own classroom if they are going to also sell the item for profit.  Really? So you can have a teacher that sees year after year kids struggling with a particular topic.  That teacher gets an idea of something she could make that she thinks teachers across the country could benefit from if they are in the same situation. That teacher goes home and at 10 pm when her own kids have gone to bed, she makes the product. She is in her own home using her own computer. She can make the product and earn money, but she can't use it with any child in her own class.  Basically, you could have some of the best teachers spending their own time after work making resources to benefit  students and they can't even use those to help their own students excel?  How does that make sense?

Let's face it, teachers don't make much money.  It's hard to get by on a teacher's salary.  Why not let teachers try to make some extra cash to support their family.  Allow them to use their expertise to do so. Once again, not doing so makes absolutely no sense.

Wouldn't it be great if everyone just thanked teachers for all of their hard work. Appreciate the fact that they are going above and beyond to develop activities instead of just accepting the fact that the resources are not available. For a change, let the teachers have the compensation they  truly deserve.  Have you thanked a teacher today? :-)

In closing, thank you for supporting my creative efforts over the past couple of years.  I enjoy making and creating lessons, and my students love using them as much as I love making them.  I am honored that so many people across the world buy my products and put them to use in their own classrooms.  Thank you for your support.  You are appreciated.

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