Who Profits From Online Lesson Plans?


Who Benefits From Online Lesson Plans?From administrators to department heads to teachers, we can all benefit from sharing digital resources. The abundance of online lesson plans and classroom resources available is revolutionizing the lesson preparation process. It’s no secret that good teachers spend many hours out of school grading papers, preparing lessons, speaking to parents and more. So why shouldn’t the global teaching community come together to share resources, thus saving valuable time and letting students all over the world benefit from great ideas? Maybe because things aren’t as simple as they sound. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. 

As an EFL teacher, I am constantly looking for great handouts and resources to reinforce grammar lessons in fun and practical ways. I have found lots of great ideas online which I may never have thought of myself. Rather than spending hours typing up my own worksheets, I can simply sift through the abundance of material online and find printable PDFs which often include just the type of exercises I am looking for. 

While I have found the internet to be an incredibly valuable resource for lesson preparation, I often come across sites which require me to pay for materials. As more and more educators opt to sell online lesson plans, other teachers have to make the choice to pay up or miss out. Sites like teacherspayteachers.com allow educators to sell their lesson plans so their colleagues can benefit from all of the hard work and preparation that others have put in. The teachers who are selling materials can benefit from some supplementary income (which in some cases has already added up to tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars!) for materials which they have prepared anyway, and other educators who may not have the time, creativity or resources to prepare their own lessons from scratch can get access to great materials. In theory this sounds like a win-win situation, but the reality is more complex. 

Many teachers try to earn supplementary income through tutoring, summer work and taking on additional roles in the school setting, so why should selling lesson plans be looked at any differently? The problem lies on the other side of the equation, with the educators who have to pay to access resources. When sharing lesson plans becomes a cash business, the goodwill of the teaching community becomes a for-profit enterprise. Rather than passing along lesson plans to colleagues, or making a few extra copies to share, teachers will start asking their colleagues to pay for materials that they previously would have shared generously with no expectation of monetary compensation. 

The additional question of who is paying for the lesson plans also looms large in this discussion. If teachers have to buy lesson plans, why shouldn’t the school foot the bill? Do administrators and principals need to add an item to the school budget so teachers can buy lesson plans from each other? Will teachers who don’t have the time or experience to prepare on their own be expected to find online lesson plans and fund their purchases on their own? 

Should educators be allowed or encouraged to sell lesson plans online? What has your experience been with buying lesson plans online? Is this a good thing for the education community? Who should be paying when classroom resources come with a price tag? We’d love to have your input. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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