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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teachers pay teachers store
For more fun and creative ideas for the classroom, click the above picture to go to my store


  1. Love this! The butter-churning part is RIGHT ON the mark! Just shared it on my facebook page. Thank you, Molly!

    Tammy @ Teaching FSL

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  3. You go, girl!

    I'm really tired of having the discussion about how much money teachers make and whether or not they deserve it. I'm over it...done.

    I'm also tired of hearing about who owns my work. I'm well aware of who owns my work. My corporation owns my work and I own my corporation. Done.

    No one wants socialism until it's time to talk about education. Then all of a sudden, it's about sharing resources.

    We charge a nominal fee for hours of our effort, years of expertise, and our technical skills creating a product. We could work for the big publishing companies or we can work for ourselves.

    I'm a darn good teacher and I make darn good educational resources (not lesson plans). I'm really hoping no one tries to run me out of teaching because I've taken extra initiative to start my own business and expand the availability of quality resources.

  4. Well said! I will definitely be sharing this with others!!

    Mindful Rambles

  5. Amazing beyond belief!

    Jennifer Smith-Sloane

  6. Tweeted and pinned! Districts need to know that if they try to fight teachers on this issue, they've got a long battle ahead of them.

  7. Very well said Molly! I love your analogies. Being a baker without a churn is what initially led me to creating products. Since discovering TPT I have used dozens of products purchased from other teachers to enhance learning in my classroom. I see it as a win, win when I sell a product. My students are using quality materials and I can continue teaching because I now have a little extra change in my pocket. Thank you so much for responding to that awful article.

    Second Grade Math Maniac

  8. Thanks guys! I hate that this even has to be a topic at all.

  9. "No one wants socialism until it's time to talk about education. Then all of a sudden, it's about sharing resources." Love this quote, Science Penguin! And Molly, what a wonderful analogy! Thank you!


  10. Great post! And let's be real - teachers are underpaid and if we have to work an "extra job" we deserve every penny of that money! I can't believe anyone would even think to attack teachers on this matter. Teachers are the most underappreciated and underpaid group of professionals in the nation. Which is why most teachers leave before their fifth year...

    I wrote a post about the crazy difference in pay between my husband (high school degree) and myself (Masters degree). It's ridiculous!
    Are Teachers Underpaid?

    Don't know if I did the link right- still learning. But I feel better now that I vented!


  11. What a great analogy & a great post! Thanks for standing up for teachers & putting it out there. We work so hard for what we do earn, and I cannot understand why some think teachers should be penalized for putting their expertise into practice (or turning it into some extra money!).

    Also,I think TpT has made for better instruction in the classroom. Why is that not a good thing?? :)

    Thanks again!
    First Grade Fairytales


  12. That is the best analogy I have seen! Wonderful! I will repost and pin the heck out of this!

    Thank You for taking the time to do this!


  13. To all TpT sellers and teacher-bloggers: As a homeschooling Mum, I love you guys!!! And I think it is brilliant that you have this opportunity to make extra money and help each other out. "My Purchases" on TpT totals 266 units and graphics to date. I have learnt so much from your blogs and products. Sometimes I print out your unit cover pages and stick them on my kitchen wall, just coz they are so pretty!! Don't listen to the nay-sayers. Listen to your heart, your kids and anyone else who really matters. You guys rock!! Thanks for everything!

  14. Yes! Thank you for saying this so eloquently!

  15. Very well said! I hope that this gets read again and again!

    Terri Izatt


If your comment is made on a post that was written over 10 days ago, moderation is needed due to the amount of SPAM comments I am getting. Some can be totally inappropriate.....Thank you for taking the time to respond to my blog posts. What you have to share is important. I look forward to posting what you have to say as soon as I can. ~Molly