I Teach Kindergarten and I Don’t Like Teachers Pay Teachers
EDIT: To better represent my purpose of this post I have changed the image (meaning I admit the first one was a mistake.) This post it truly meant to be about a conversation so please take a minute to read the comments. The discussion happening is just as interesting (maybe more) as the actual post. I have posted a follow up response to this post HERE
You read that right, I am not a fan of Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT). Please let me explain…
First off I do not like black and white statements so please don’t take this post as a claim that I have issues with everything on the site. Also, if you sell products there or buy from the site this is not attack on you personally, I am simply asking you to think and consider my points.
#1. I think teachers are selling things that work in their classroom. Amazing things no doubt, but the skills, format, imagery and wording is built around what works for their kids or their population. I feel I do my best teaching when I meet the needs of the kids in my classroom. TPT sells almost everything in a PDF format making it impossible for me to change things (even slightly) to meet the needs of my class.
#2 I think TPT is creating what I call the “laminating culture” among teachers. We all work hard for the little money we get. When we spend $5 on a unit that unit is going to be laminated and used for several years. Why is it being used? Is it because it meets the needs of the kids in the class that year? Or because the kids in the class show an interest in the topic? Sadly, I think they often get used over and over because they cost money and they are easy.
#3 I think cute is overrated. Maybe it is because I am a male teacher but I talked about this with many people at I Teach K this week and it seems a lot of people agree with me. My question is who are we making these activities for? I know teachers need to feel happy and excited about what they are using but often I think early childhood rooms are designed to impress parents and other teacher friends (I have written about my class theme here.) I’m sorry but kids don’t need polka dots, owls, and bubbly fonts to have fun and learn. I would go as far to say they don’t even notice. I have never had a kid tell me great job on the design of my handout or activity.
#4 I think real images are more valuable than clip art. When I make something for my class I use creativecommons.org to find real images of butterflies, elephants, sunflowers and fire trucks. My class is not growing up in a world of DJ inkers.
Maybe you agree with me and maybe you don’t but I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.