Teaching requires a lot of preparation and lesson resource creation. You need to create a cohesive and fun lesson plan, create online or physical resources, and prepare it in time. Doing this five days a week can be demanding, so online teaching resource marketplaces are becoming very popular in education spaces.
Teachers Pay Teachers is an example of an online teaching resource marketplace, and it has the distinction of being a platform for teachers by teachers. However, are the features on Teachers Pay Teachers up to a high standard – especially for teaching technology subjects – and how do they compare to other types of platforms like Zenva Schools?
Continue reading to find out everything you need about Teachers Pay Teachers, including the features, pros and cons, and more. Additionally, find out what Teachers Pay Teachers can improve.
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What Is Teachers Pay Teachers?
Teachers Pay Teachers is essentially an online shop for teaching resources. It has a very similar website layout to an online retail site like Amazon. Teachers can find teaching resources on the site and share resources they create. Essentially, it is an online teaching community for teachers to help each other improve and make better lesson plans.
They have a vast community of teachers – over 7 million teachers are on the platform as of this post. The teaching community includes 85% of PreK-12 teachers in the U.S.
Who Is The Teachers Pay Teachers’ Target Audience?
As you might expect, Teachers Pay Teachers is primarily for teachers. Of course, they design the resources to be accessible for students, but the site itself is for teachers. They created the site’s layout to give teachers a clear impression of everything they can access.
They also target schools because they have a school-funded subscription. The subscription includes access to over 4 million teaching resources.
However, this is not entirely dissimilar to other platforms. For example, Zenva Schools also targets teachers, though providing more than just content. This includes features such as classroom management, analytics, and more. So while the platform is for teachers, a broader focus on schools themselves may be more in line with what some teachers are looking for.
Who Created Teachers Pay Teachers?
Paul Edelman, a former teacher in New York, created Teachers Pay Teachers. While he worked at multiple schools in the public school system in New York, he found a common problem among them. He found that it was difficult to find teaching resources and other education-based content. He also found it challenging to share these teacher resources with other teachers.
So, he created a platform for teachers to find and share teaching resources; he initially started the idea as a small information exchange for teachers, but it grew into a vast online marketplace with multiple resources.
What Are Teacher Pay Teachers’ Main Values?
Teachers Pay Teachers express their central values through their goals. They define two primary goals on their site, including:
- Unlocking collective knowledge for teachers: One of the main goals of Teacher Pay Teachers is to treat teachers as a collective. If one teacher succeeds with a new idea or resource, then all teachers can (by using the shared resources).
- Transforming the education process one classroom at a time: Teachers Pay Teachers love the idea of using their platform to change the way teachers approach creating a lesson plan. However, they know that this idea isn’t immediately achievable, so they aim to implement their platform classroom by classroom until they achieve this.
This being said, these are not unusual goals for similar platforms, and some platforms take it a bit further. As one example, Zenva Schools wants to not only help teachers succeed by providing easy-to-use resources, but students as well. Zenva Schools achieves this by not just making material that’s useful for passing grades in school, but for providing lifelong skills in coding.
What Does Teachers Pay Teachers Offer For Teachers?
You now know how Teachers Pay Teachers started and what their goals are, but what do they physically and actually offer to teachers?
Here are the main types of content that Teachers Pay Teachers can offer teachers.
Multiple Courses On Several Subjects
Teachers Pay Teachers offer a massive amount of courses on their site, with a large selection of subjects. The subjects you can access on Teachers Pay Teachers include:
- Arts & Music
- English Language Arts
- World Language
- Social Studies – History
- Holidays / Seasonal
They offer these subjects to multiple student grade levels, amounting to millions of different teaching resources.
However, for technology teachers, there is no specific focus there – everything is grouped under the generic STEM categories one usually finds for schools.
By comparison, Zenva Schools offers a specific focus on digital technologies, teaching everything from the basics of computers to coding principles with the popular Python language. As such, Teachers Pay Teachers, while offering tons of content, is not necessarily the best at any one topic.
While most teaching content on Teachers Pay Teachers is paid content, there are over 800,000 free resources – which is impressive if you want to try out the service. However, the free content on the site is relatively limited, mainly including printouts and tools like unique fonts (which are not the most useful for actually providing educational material).
Thus, while it’s worth noting, you will get more via the paid content when it comes to this platform. So, it doesn’t stand out so much compared to platforms like Zenva Schools.
Multiple Resource Types
As well as there being numerous subjects on Teachers Pay Teachers, they also have multiple types of teaching resources.
Here are the teaching resources you can access on Teachers Pay Teachers:
- Independent Work Packets
- Lesson Plans
- Math Centers
- Literacy Center Ideas
It is worth noting, though, that often these resources will be created by multiple people. Thus, teachers still have to do some picking and choosing to construct the proper lesson for whatever subject they’re teaching. This can take a lot more time compared to platforms like Zenva Schools – which offers lesson plans, interactive activities, quizzes, and more for each single course on the platform.
Because they want the teachers on their platform to adapt their resources to the way they teach, Teachers Pay Teachers have multiple formats to use the resources in, online and offline. The formats on Teachers Pay Teachers include:
- Easel by TpT
- Google Apps
However, for teachers in the technology space, there are definitely some gaps here. In those cases, platforms like Zenva Schools can be more appropriate. To example, Zenva Schools offers source code for all its coding courses for teachers and students to download – regardless of format delivery. This is in addition to downloadable PDF files for lesson summaries and slide presentations, as well as editable word documents for lesson plans.
The main feature and service that Teacher Pay Teachers builds its business on is the content sharing feature. They implemented this feature because they wanted to create a network of teachers who share excellent content and improve teaching standards in a classroom.
They give any teacher who uses the platform the opportunity to share the content on the platform and explain how they used it and why it was an effective part of their lesson.
How To Use Teachers Pay Teachers
There are two main ways to use Teachers Pay Teachers.
The first way is to use it as a teaching resource marketplace. You can access all the resources and pay for them individually. You can search for them via subject, resource type, or format.
The other way to use Teachers Pay Teachers is to go for the school-funded subscription. When a school pays for the full Teachers Pay Teachers package, they access over 4 million teaching resources without needing to pay for each individually.
However, while access to the resources is great, it is worth noting Teachers Pay Teachers don’t offer many other features. To contrast, Zenva Schools is a “subscription” based service, but offers more than just content, including classroom management tools and analytics. There’s also no hassles in extra charges to consider.
Are There Any Teachers Pay Teachers Features That Require Improvement?
The main downsides to Teachers Pay Teachers link closely to each other.
For one, they favour quantity over quality. Having many teaching resources is a double-edged sword, as it means that some of them will feel inferior and redundant. The numbers sound impressive, but the number of resources that are high quality is lower.
The second notable issue is that the website layout is too cluttered. This is sadly unavoidable because of the large number of resources on the site. However, there isn’t much point in having millions of resources if the method to find them is clunky and convoluted.
Other similar education platforms don’t have these sorts of weaknesses. For example, Zenva Schools offers a limited selection of courses focused on technology. This means that the site can have a cleaner UI that is easier to navigate. With a bonus of having a course finder tool, teachers don’t even have to guess at where to start.
In addition, Zenva Schools develops all their content in-house with industry experts, and also has teachers involved to review and map the courses to various curriculum standards. Thus, quality here is a lot more ensured despite the smaller scope.
What Is The Pricing Structure Of Teachers Pay Teachers?
The pricing structure of Teachers Pay Teachers is different depending on how you use it. If you use it as an online marketplace (without the school subscription package), you need to pay for every teaching resource individually. Some resources are free, but the highest-priced ones can go over $10.
If you use the service often, paying for every item individually can make the marketplace very expensive compared to a subscription service. Additionally, for fields like technology that are constantly evolving, you’re inevitably going to have to buy new resources every few years to keep up with the evolving industry.
If you pay for the school subscription on Teachers Pay Teachers, you get around 4 million teaching resources. However, this quote is based on many unknown factors, and not very transparent on the site.
In this light, there are plenty of other platforms with better pricing structures. Zenva Schools offers only a “subscription” service for schools. For a reasonable price per student per year, though, schools get access to a lot, including a variety of digital technologies courses, pre-mapped lesson plans, bonus activities, and student management tools.
Final Summary Of What Teachers Pay Teachers Can Provide For Schools
In conclusion, Teachers Pay Teachers can offer value if you like the sound of the resource-sharing system. There are tons of resources for every subject, and you get complete freedom in how you want to construct your classroom’s lessons.
However, past resources, Teachers Pay Teachers doesn’t offer much else. Additionally, there is just no easy way to find the perfect resources that are immediately matched to your wants while also being curriculum standard appropriate.
If you want an alternative that can offer you high-quality teaching resources with less clutter, Zenva Schools is a great option – particularly for technology classrooms. Not only do you get amazing, expert-designed content, but tons of other features that make using it in the classroom smooth as butter.
That being said, don’t discount Teachers Pay Teachers altogether. If you’re looking for a supplement for regular classroom activities, this can be a great platform in that regard.
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