July 29, 2016

Teachers Sharing Resources

This is a hard post to write, but it comes from my heart. I am a mommy to a precious five year old named Blake. My husband is a lineman, so he works out of town. So most of the time, it's just me and Blake. As a teacher, my income is minimal. My husband has a good income, but he has to use a lot of it to pay for housing while he is on the road. In order to keep our home and have food on the table, I had to pick up extra jobs. Right now, I spend most of my time creating resources for Teachers Pay Teachers. I also do photography on the side. This summer, I've had multiple yard sales to help pay bills. I'm not asking for sympathy - I don't mind hard work to help my family, and the good Lord has blessed us with so much. But. . . do I feel guilty for taking time away from my son because I have to work? Yes, I do. Is it sad that he brings me my laptop at night and asks me if I have to work some more? Yes, it is. But that's just how it is right now. I'm working hard so that in the future, we can relax a little bit and not have to worry about money. So when you read my post, please don't get defensive, or think I am trying to single you out. I just feel the need to shed some light on the subject. Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts.


We've all heard the saying - "Good teachers beg, borrow, and steal." I've said it a million times!! We all know that teachers are grossly underpaid, so we have to share ideas, borrow materials, and work together. I send out e-mails all the time asking to borrow a book, or manipulatives, or this, or that - all sorts of things. And I'm happy to share my resources when people ask for them. That's what good teachers do.

HOWEVER, the last part of that saying - stealing - that is where I have to disagree with this statement.

Let's talk about that - stealing. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines stealing in three ways:
  1. to take (something that does not belong to you) in a way that is wrong or illegal
  2. to take (something that you are not supposed to have) without asking for permission
  3. to wrongly take and use (another person's ideas, words, etc.) 
Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 29 July 2016.

As a teacher, I have collected some great resources. Lately, most of my resources are digital. So when a colleague comes in and says, "Hey, Monica! That looks great! Can you send that to me?" What am I supposed to do? I paid for that resource and it's mine to share with whomever I choose, right? WRONG! When I purchased these products, they came with a Terms of Use that says I have purchased one license to use for my classroom. That means that if I share it, I am violating the Terms of Use and breaking the law. To put it bluntly - I am stealing.

Stealing Is:
  • copying a digital resource (on paper) and giving it to someone
  • e-mailing a copy of a digital resource to someone
  • putting a digital resource into Google drive and sharing the link with someone
  • putting a digital resource onto a local server so that others can access it
  • putting a digital resource onto a hard drive or jump drive and giving it to others
  • creating a shared folder in your Google drive and sharing it with your teammates/colleagues
  • posting a resource online (whether free or paid)
  • posting a resource on your school web site
But no one gets hurt, right?

Wrong. 
  1. We are teachers. We are supposed to practice and model ethical behavior. We are hurting our students (and our colleagues) if we model inappropriate behavior.
  2. I am a seller on Teachers Pay Teachers. I use the money I earn in my store to help support my family. If we share resources, instead of others buying them, we are potentially taking money from other sellers' stores, hurting their families financially. If you aren't a seller, you may not know the time (and money) that go into creating products. Sellers take hours (sometimes days and weeks) creating a product, plus they have to pay for digital papers, clip art, and borders that go into the product.
  3. I cannot create my products without the amazing talent of the artists that I purchase from. Those artists work hard to provide clip art, papers, and borders. It isn't fair (or legal) to share their work.
So what can I do?

If someone asks you for a resource, you can still help them without breaking any Terms of Use violations. Not only this, but you are also supporting other teachers and their families.
  1. Send them a link to the resource - this way, your colleague can have and use the same thing you are using. You will both have a license, making it legal, and helping to support another teacher's family.
  2. Offer to purchase an extra license for them - on Teachers Pay Teachers, you have the option to purchase an additional license of a product - or more than one! Usually, the extra license is half of the price of the original. Your colleague can give you the money. Then you can purchase the extra license and send the product to them.
  3. If you've given away things in the past, you can make it right. Go back to your purchases on Teachers Pay Teachers. If you've given away a few copies of something, go and purchase a couple of extra licenses.
  4. If you have a shared Google drive folder, stop sharing immediately. Go into the folder, and click "share." If you have shared it with someone, their name will show up. Simply click the "x" beside his/her name and they will no longer have access to your files.
  5. If you have posted any resources online, free or paid, take them down.
I'm going to be honest. This is a touchy subject. It's easy to say "ok" when someone asks you to share, but it's much harder to say, "I'm sorry, I can't." If this is you, just be honest with your co-workers. Explain to them that it's illegal to share resources, but tell them you will be happy to send a link so they can purchase the product, or offer to buy them a license at a reduced cost. By abiding to a seller's Terms of Use, you are modeling ethical behavior and helping other teachers and their families.

A Special Note to my Customers
To each of you that have purchased something from my store, my family and I want to thank you. Lately, I have had several customers to purchase additional licenses. I want to thank you for your honesty.