- Courtesy of Emma Oliver
- Emma Oliver is a middle school mathematics teacher in Atlanta, Georgia.
- To make extra money on the side, she sells classroom materials on an online education-based marketplace called Teachers Pay Teachers.
- She makes thousands of dollars off the site by selling lesson plans and activity sheets.
- Teachers Pay Teachers is used by two-thirds of US teachers and has more than 3 million resources available.
An Atlanta teacher is considering leaving her job for an educational product-based website where she made $11,000 from lesson plan materials in just one month.
Emma Oliver, a 28-year-old middle school mathematics teacher at Wesley International Academy in Atlanta, Georgia, is one of thousands of educators to use the website Teachers Pay Teachers to supplement their income.
The website is an online marketplace where teachers can buy and sell original lesson plans and course materials from and to other teachers.
Oliver learned of the website when she first entered the profession in 2012, and soon decided to sell her own materials.
“I started uploading a couple things here and there, and made a couple sales, and then I was encouraged and kept doing it, and would make $50 a month, then a couple hundred a month and then a couple thousand a month,” Oliver told INSIDER, calling the website an “Etsy for teachers.”
Teachers Pay Teachers was first founded in 2006 by Paul Edelman, and it has grown into a site that more than two-thirds of US teachers actively use with more than 3 million resources available, according to Forbes.
Oliver uses the site to mainly sell language arts lesson plans, worksheets, education activities. She has a blog and Instagram to promote her page.
Her page, Read Relevant, features tips and tricks for language arts teachers, as well as vibrant and educational curriculum materials for teachers to buy.
- Read Relevant/Emma Oliver
In her page profile, Oliver tells buyers that she loves young adult literature and enjoys “creating resources for teachers to bring culturally-response, high-interest lessons to the classroom.”
Last month, she says she earned $11,000 from her Teachers Pay Teachers page – far more than she brought in from her teacher salary, which she told INSIDER is about $50,000 a year. The average teacher salary in the state of Georgia is 55,532.
But Oliver was quick to say that Teachers Pay Teachers wasn’t a “get-rich-quick scheme.”
“You have to be aware of copyright, and you can’t just upload everything you use because it has to be original,” she said. “So it is a lot of work, which is why people pay for it. These things are worth the while.”
Oliver’s products range in price. Several worksheets and activities are free, and most items range between $3 and $10. The most expensive items on her page are Common Core language arts test resource bundles, which cost $25.
Oliver said that there is a lot of pressure on teachers today, and there are so many factors that teachers can’t control in their students environments, including living situations, and who’s in the classroom.
And, she said, building a lifelong career in education is difficult.
“I work really hard and I like teaching,”she told INSIDER. “I think it’s important, but teaching is just kind of a dead-end job unless you’re trying to become an administrator, which I’m not. There’s very, very little room to grow your salary. It doesn’t even keep up with the cost of living or healthcare. I’ve had years where I’ve made less the following year because healthcare went up or whatever. So it’s depressing.”
- Read Relevant/Emma Oliver
Teachers Pay Teachers has about three million items for teachers to buy, with prices ranging from free to several hundred dollars. The average cost of an item is $5, according to The Detroit News.
While some teachers are paying out of pocket for their classroom materials, earlier this year, Teachers Pay Teachers set up a program that allows school administrators to use school funds to pay for education materials on the website.
The program allows teachers to set up wish lists and make purchases with school funds.
While Teachers Pay Teachers would not reveal to INSIDER how much the average teacher makes on the site, it has shared blog posts celebrating educators who made more than $1 million.
Oliver says she’s planning to soon leave teaching to start a full-time career as a curriculum creator and lesson planner for her Teachers Pay Teachers page. While her timeline is unclear, she’s looking toward the future with positivity.
“It’s exciting,” she told INSIDER of her Teachers Pay Teachers journey. “It’s really cool.”