Paul Edelman is encouraging teachers to sell what they normally share for nothing: their very best lesson plans.
I'm not quite sure what to think about this idea. On one hand, I understand the investment of time, thought, and purpose into crafting something of high quality in the classroom. All of those things are worth something. But on the other hand, we're talking about the needs of kids here. And if you have something that truly gets to the heart of learning, wouldn't you want kids to have access to that through their teachers? Will this site be just another "gate" that keeps the best instruction out of the hands of the poorest classrooms?
The site, teacherspayteachers.com, aims to be an eBay for educators. For a $29.95 yearly fee, sellers can post their work and set their prices. Buyers rate the products.
"It's a way to pat teachers on the back, to value what they do," Edelman said. "They create the material night after night. The best way to value that is to put a price on it."
Lots of Web sites offer lesson plans that can be purchased or downloaded for free. Yet Edelman says they don't cover a fraction of what teachers themselves have come up with. By offering them a way to make a buck, the 33-year-old former teacher says he's found a niche.
He's banking on it. Edelman cashed in his retirement fund and maxed his credit cards to launch the business in April. He keeps 15 percent of every sale, but he knows the only way he will really make money is by getting "teacher-authors" to pay the membership fee.