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09 September 2015 @ 05:00 pm
Share-ing vs. Sharing  
I must admit I was a tad confused when I saw this headline in the NYT: A Sharing Economy Where Teachers Win (you can read the article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/06/technology/a-sharing-economy-where-teachers-win.html?smid=tw-share&_r=1). . I thought perhaps there had been wide scale pay raises finally and hoped they would reach me here in Texas soon. But, no. This piece was all about the "teacherpreneur." I loathe this term. I loathe it almost as much as I despise the concept of teachers selling ideas.

Maybe it is my advanced age, but one of the things I love about this profession is its willingness to share. Post a request on Facebook or Twitter and watch folks chime is with suggestions, answers, help. Want a guide to help you use GNs in the classroom? Download it free from publishers' web sites. Looking for a fresh way to tackle a new unit (or old unit for that matter) of study? Social media platforms are standing by.

But Teachers Pay Teachers is about the Benjamins. It boasts about the teachers who have earned 6 and 9 figures selling worksheets. And what it does not boast about is even more disturbing. Some folks are posting the work of others and selling it for a fee. My friend Donalyn Miller recently found another spate of her own pages from her books at this site. When she sent an email asking that they be removed and that, perhaps, closer attention to copyright infringement be paid, the response was less than what one would hope for.

I browsed some of the offerings at the web site and found tons of skill and drill sheets and worksheets and the like. Honestly, I do not need someone else to provide these as most textbooks have skill and drill galore. Grammar sheets? I guess we are teaching grammar in isolation despite research to the contrary. Anchor charts, Bingo, busy work for kids who finish their work too soon, and dictionary drills: there is so much here that flies in the face of pedagogy, so much that is frankly depressing for me to see. And then the descriptions with their grammatical errors (hey, if you are writing your ad for self-made materials in ELA, use a proofreader and avoid phrases such as "off of," please). It breaks my heart.

I have no problem with teachers making money, none whatsoever. I wonder, though, whatever happened to sharing? Simply sharing?
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