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How Teachers Can Earn Six-Figure Incomes Selling Lesson Plans Online

Teaching is a noble profession – it involves a combination of passion, vision and purpose to mold a nation’s future generation. Everyone knows a teacher’s importance in a student’s life, but the reality remains that compensation of teachers is one of the lowest.

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If you’re one of many teachers who’d love nothing but to continue teaching, but financial instability makes it hard to perform the job on a day to day basis, then learn from other teachers who are making a lucrative sideline selling lesson plans online.

The Idea behind Selling Lessons Plans

Unlike term paper industries wherein companies hire professional writers to write for students rushing to submit their homework, selling lesson plans online don’t target students who wish to cheat their way to graduation. Instead, teachers who join these websites and sell their lesson plans only sell to fellow teachers as well.

Teachers regularly spend hours preparing their class lessons in advance and update these plans to accommodate younger students and keep up with the times. Because many of these teacherpreneurs have tested their lesson plans with their own students, it allows other teachers to skip the trial-and-error phase and earn a better chance at making an impression on students with less time and effort. It’s a cool concept, where all teachers win, whether they’re the ones selling or buying.

5 Teacher Marketplaces to Check Out

Technically, teachers can join any marketplace like Etsy or create a website where you can sell your worksheets, printables, lesson plans and curriculum. But if you don’t have time to learn how to attract other teachers to your Etsy store or website, then it’s better to join these 5 marketplaces aimed at an audience made of teachers and educators:

1. Teachers Pay Teachers

TeachersPayTeachers was founded by former NYC public school teacher Paul Edelman in April 2006, sold it to Scholastic Inc. in December 2006, and then bought it back as a private business in March 2009. It is the biggest marketplace around with over 4 million teachers and 2.8 million free and paid resources available. TeachersPayTeachers is also home to many teachers enjoying six-figure incomes on the site.

TeachersPayTeachers has two kinds of seller accounts – basic (free) and premium (with a $59.95/year membership fee). Teachers with a basic seller account only has 200MB file size limit, paid only 55% of every sale, and must pay the site 30 cents per resource. Meanwhile, those with premium seller accounts has 1GB file size limit, receive 80% of every sale, and pay the site only 15 cents per resource sold. Payments are made monthly via PayPal or Dwolla.

There are tons of success stories made through TeachersPayTeachers. Kindergarten teacher Deanna Jump made her first $1 million in sales in 2012. California-based English teacher Laura Randazzo’s one-dollar “Whose Cell Phone Is This?” fictional character work sheet” has sold over 4,000 copies by 2015. Hadar Hartstein has earned more than $1 million through selling lesson plans within 6 years since joining the site.

And it’s not just the sellers that Teachers Pay Teachers are helping. Michigan-based middle-school teacher Samantha Cucu also talked to Business Insider about the marketplace and claimed that buying her educational materials online trimmed her school planning from 20 to 30 hours each week to just two hours.

2. Teachers Notebook

With Teachers Notebook, members can create their own free or premium shop where they could sell their teaching materials and take advantage of free marketing, promotional tools and 24/7 customer support.

Free shop owners receive 75% of the sale and pay $.30 transaction fee per item sold. Premium shop owners pay a one-time setup fee of $49.95, and then get to keep 85% of the sale without having to pay transaction fees. Payments are sent twice a month.

Teachers Notebook claims that some of its teacher shops are making $5,000 to $100,000 a year.

3. Teachwise

Teachwise is similar to both TeachersPayTeachers and Teachers Notebook. Two types of membership plans are available for teacherpreneurs – the basic and premium.

Basic members don’t have to pay annual fees, but every sale is deducted 25% service fee and 30 cent transaction fee. Premium members pay an annual fee of $44.95, but are deducted only 10% service fee and enjoy no transaction fee.

Payments are distributed via PayPal whenever there is at least $10 in a seller’s account. Basic members are paid bimonthly, while premium members receive payments weekly.

4. Educents

Educents is a favorite website among the homeschooling community. It is home to thousands of independent educators and active parents who create, review and share books, curriculum, science experiments, downloadable worksheets, and a wide range of educational products. Educents’ daily deal promo, which discounts items significantly lower within just a few hours a day, has been widely successful.

Educents allows its members to create their storefront without any annual fees, but deducts 15% commission on every regular-priced item (and 50% commission for daily-deal items) sold through the marketplace. Payments are sent via PayPal or direct deposit every 15th of the month for everything fulfilled in the previous calendar month.

5. Teacher Lingo

The site may look outdated, but Teacher Lingo is the only one with a tight-knit community thanks to its active message boards where teachers can seek advice from fellow teachers.

When it comes to selling lesson plans, Teacher Lingo also offers two kinds of membership – free and paid ($49/year). Sellers with a free account earn 65% of every item sold, while those with a premium account take home 85%. Payments are sent monthly via PayPal with a $20 minimum payout.

The Bottom Line

Selling lesson plans and other educational materials online is a great idea for teachers since they’ve been creating these resources for years on the job. Building an online store provides a potential passive income for teacher sellers, while helping fellow teachers prep for school with less time and effort.

This sideline does have one big caveat: copyright issues. Teachers currently employed by a school do have to ensure you hold copyright to the materials you sell online.  The National Education Association states: “If your employment contract assigns copyright ownership of materials produced for the classroom to the teacher, then you probably have a green light. Absent any written agreement, however, the Copyright Act of 1976 stipulates that materials created by teachers in the scope of their employment are deemed “works for hire” and, therefore, the school owns them.”

Aside from this legality and copyright issue, this ever-growing industry of sharing knowledge seems to have a bright future ahead.

1 thought on “How Teachers Can Earn Six-Figure Incomes Selling Lesson Plans Online”

  1. Wow! I can’t believe I never thought of this concept. Teachers have the perfect skillset to offer products and services online. They have the training, experience, proof of concept and testing to ensure great results.
    The platforms to highlight makes getting started easier. The only downside I see is the potential to lose great teachers to entrepreneurship. Thanks for the info.


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