My journey with Teachers Pay Teachers began selfishly, to be honest. My husband and I were looking to make some extra money, so in the spring of 2016 I uploaded my unit on All the King’s Men from my AP® Lit class, since that seemed like the most obscure novel that I teach. Of course I needed to upload a free item first, so I chose my Hamlet soliloquy study handout that I also created for AP®. Then, like so many others on TpT, I kind of forgot about it. Months later I uploaded some Hamlet and Things Fall Apart materials, and once or twice I sold something, but because I was on the free plan the money I made was barely measurable. In the late summer of 2017 I became more intentional because our finances were in a wreck, and hospital bills from my daughter were starting to move to collections. My All the King’s Men item had only sold a couple of times, but my freebie had been downloaded over 100 times, so I realized that I was able to make something that people wanted. I uploaded more and more of my classroom materials on the site, but I still did it for a desire to make money.
Once the school year had started, I was struggling terribly to teach research to my current group of sophomore English students. I went on TpT for the first time as a shopper, not a seller, in hopes that they had some MLA formatting quizzes that I could use. I bought one and was very disappointed with it. Not only was it out of date, but it wasn’t editable, so I couldn’t make the necessary changes to it. As so many teachers must, I was forced to write one myself. A few days later I uploaded some of my own MLA materials to the site and for the first time I began to get more downloads, and my first feedback.
The most important part of this story is that I learned a lesson from searching for that MLA Quiz (which I eventually created and sold myself). I shouldn’t sell on TpT simply to make money, but rather to help other struggling teachers looking for practical and creative resources for their classrooms. This is why I don’t gouge by buyers with prices. This why I bundle products and throw sales. This is why I ask for feedback and want subscribers’ ideas. Please know that I do this for other educators, and I want to know what you are looking for! Please let me know if you have any ideas or needs for your AP® or ELA classroom. I may not be able to create something for you, but I can at least do my best to help you find a solution! You can visit my store by clicking here!