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Disappointing NY Times Article On Teachers & “A Sharing Economy”

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A Sharing Economy Where Teachers Win is the headline of a pretty disappointing article in The New York Times today.

It takes an extremely narrow view of the idea of teacher sharing by focusing entirely on TeachersPayTeachers.com, and makes no mention of the thousands of teachers who share resources for free on social media and on sites listed at The Best Places To Find Free (And Good) Lesson Plans On The Internet.

It then re-emphasized this focus on money by defining “teacherpreneur” as a teacher who is selling their lesson plans, instead of the teacher/leader definition that is used more broadly (see The Best Resources On Being A Teacherpreneur).

I’ve got nothing against teachers selling their wares online (though it is disappointing to see sites like Teachers Pay Teachers not doing more to prevent plagiarized materials from being sold there) or through published books (of course, I’ve written eight of them). I just would have expected The Times to offer a less narrow view of the “teachers helping teachers” universe.

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

One Comment

  1. Larry. I could not agree more with you! This version is takes a very narrow and problematic view of teacherpreneurism. I have just finishing putting together a 13K word review of how teachers lead — drawing on research evidence, case examples, and interviews and alike – and TeachersPayTeachers can undermine the kind of collaboration necessary for the spread of teaching expertise needed for the public schools of today and tomorrow.

    Imagine if doctors sold their “lesson plans” to other practitioners — as opposed to working together.

    In our work at CTQ we promote our concept of teacherpreneurs – classroom experts who have time and space (and yes recognition and reward) for incubating and executing THEIR ideas. The concept of teacherpreneurism is not primarily about making more money but spreading their expertise and LEADING reforms, not being the target of them. This does not mean some teachers should be paid considerably – or even a lot more than other teaching colleagues. Ariel Sacks, a charter school teacher in Brooklyn, NY, who worked with me on Teaching 2030, draws on a current corporate example to suggest one way to restructure the teaching profession and create growing numbers of teacherpreneurs: “In order to break away from the hierarchical structures that keep us losing great teachers and moving at a snail’s pace, we’ll need to carve out significant time, like Google’s 20% (employee innovation time), or even up to 50% for some, to expand teachers’ roles as leaders and innovators who are able to respond better and faster to the needs of students.”

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