#Vamoose I’m off! @TeacherToolkit is NOW FOR SALE


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@TeacherToolkit

In 2010, Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit from a simple Twitter account through which he rapidly became the 'most followed teacher on social media in the UK'. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday...
Read more about @TeacherToolkit

If you are a regular reader of my blog and tweets; then you will be fully aware of my journey, regarding sharing teacher-resources.

For over two decades, I have been creating teacher resources for my own classroom. For over 15 years, I have been creating resources for other teachers. For over 10 years, I have been creating resources for other departments and finally; for just over 5 years, I have been creating whole-school resources.

Every single document created freely as part of my own role at school; including countless documents created at home for the benefit of my students and my practice in the classroom.

In terms of legality, these resources are created whilst employed by my school (at that time), so it goes without question; that these (resources) are the intellectual property of the school. They are not mine! (Do not forget this fact during your school employment.)

All shared freely with others.

Changing times:

We are engrained with the notions of a) creating and sharing teacher resources freely amongst ourselves and b) paying for materials from companies – agencies and service-providers – purchasing and creating new resources from other peoples’ ideas; our own experiences; templates; curriculum guides; exemplar schemes and plans; and items such as stationery and books. Payment is often, 99% at the expense of public-funds controlled by the school budget and the various budget holders within the institution.

As teachers, we commit to a lifetime of creating our own resources to benefit our students; to support our own ability to teach and support learning; as well as share ideas with other colleagues in and out of schools.

TES profile page
My TES profile page

It was sometime in December 2006, that I decided to upload my very first teacher resource onto the TES website. A fabulous place for sharing your own ideas; thoughts and searching for other last-minute ideas for your classroom. It was here I first ventured out into the big wide world of sharing my own work – despite it often being school IP – with others to contribute; share and seek feedback.

Before many of us took to Twitter and blogging, it was incredibly difficult to receive feedback in 2006 with the wider community. The social-media epoch has provided us all with a platform for our very own resources to reach the four corners of the globe!

Fast forward 8 years and my 33 resources had collectively gathered 660,000 views and over 450,000 downloads. As recognition of my sharing resources with the TES, they shortlisted me for their ‘ Resource Contributor of the Year Award 2013′. I was very flattered indeed.

TES Award - Shortlist - Resource Contributer of the Year 2013
@TeacherToolkit nominated

Fast forward:

With the outburst of social-media, it has been even easier to share resources; whether these be your own; other teachers; or companies well-known for producing materials to support teachers and educational institutions. As a result, I started to use the TES website less and less because I could find, pretty much the same, online in other websites; teacher blogs and via Twitter. This has been the case for the past 3 years at least.

Other factors also played their part in this landmark blogpost. One factor shred below.

Vamoose-scandal: the summer of 2013:

As my first book was soon to be published and I was now advertising this on my own website, the TES did this to all my existing teacher resources on their own website. They simply, removed all (further-reading) blog-references from each of my resources (that linked back to my own website). I had no decision in the process and I was very aggrieved by their decision. A ‘conglomerate giant’ played through my mind; dictating what mere-teachers could and couldn’t do …

I was left with the following options:

  • stop sharing any further resources with other websites.
  • remove the link on my own website that promotes the purchasing of my book. (explicitly referenced to TES terms and conditions)
  • or, continue to upload resources to TES Resources, but do not include any links that re-direct the viewer back to my website.
  • start uploading resources to my own website for my audience to download.
  • move my resources to another forum.

I now had the tools and the audience to take control of this issue for myself. It has since taken me 6 months to make this decision.

Now and henceforth…

Over the past two years, I have been creating many resources as a result of blogging, writing and of course, my own classroom teaching. Almost all of this work is created exclusively at home and after school-hours; giving me full intellectual property over all my own resources. Without doubt, I continue to share these resources with colleagues; and also on my blog (for free) with thousands of other teachers across the UK and beyond; and reference links to material via Twitter. Without my own day-to-day teaching and leadership practice, I would have NO inspiration whatsoever to create teacher-resources; other than my experience!

However, for the past 6 months, myself and 3 or 4 other well-know bloggers and tweeters have been considering pay-per-download resources. There is a business plan and a 100-day implementation strategy in place; to set-up our own business so that ALL teachers can create their own small incentives as a result of sharing their own materials. As we are all too busy and far-from business entrepreneurs, we have not yet got the idea off the ground!

Here are some current alternatives in the UK and USA. One that has existed for many years and the other, that coincidentally appeared on my timeline when I had my TES-spat last summer.

Teachers Pay Teachers:

“We believe that real teachers create the most relevant and engaging educational resources. Our open marketplace model supercharges resource quality, quantity, and availability. Bringing educators together forms a powerful community that shares best practices, raises the bar for all, and compensates our best curriculum developers (sometimes spectacularly). In the end, everyone wins, especially students. And that’s what it’s all about.”

TeachersPayTeachersRead about this teacher who made $1 million by selling her upbeat lesson plans!

“A first-grade teacher turns her homework into a million-dollar idea.

For years, the 43-year-old educator struggled financially, barely making enough to pay the bills, where she earns about $55,000 a year. She decided to use TeachersPayTeachers about three years ago after much urging from a fellow colleague.Within two years, she earned her first million by creating 93 separate lesson plans and selling 161,000 copies for $8 each.”

 Resourceasaurus.co.uk

“At resourceasaurus.co.uk, Primary & Secondary teachers can buy, sell & share both digital and tangible resources with each other. You get your own page, linked to the marketplace, where you can create a profile, upload digital files for IWBs, Apple & Android tablets or paper-based resources in whatever format you choose (if we don’t accept it yet, get in touch and we will). You set the price & you keep the IP of your resources. Customers can leave reviews & share links on social media such as Twitter, Pinterest & Facebook, helping spread the word about you and your excellent resources.”

Resourceasarus

@TeacherToolkit Ltd.

As a result of creating my own @TeacherToolkit blog and utilising my design expertise to create my own Twitter-brand; using experience of leading whole-school CPD and attending and speaking at TeachMeets; my first book came along … A world very far removed from my own background.

I would now consider myself a Teacherpreneur! I have the confidence to present my own educational vision; values and ideas for the classroom in almost any public setting. They may not suit everyone, but I now know I have the capacity to share freely, and to consider other alternatives.

And so, let this mark the day, that this is the time I now offer my first resource for sale. I am convinced I am not the first ever practising teacher to do this; and I do believe some will already be doing this via their own companies and websites (as well as their own teaching careers; particularity those in part-time teaching employment). I will of course continue to share resources freely beyond my own role in school. This is inherently the genetic make-up of a ‘teacher-profile’ by default.

All I am doing here; is providing transparency and my own thinking-process behind my decision to sell the occasional resource that many of use slave over creating for ourselves; that may have use far beyond our own classrooms! I could have naturally, keep this all private; uploaded this page and added the PayPal button you now see in the right hand side of my website.

But, I’d like to consider myself a little bit of a rule-breaker, in terms of setting the boundaries for all teachers. Uncharted territory. Let’s face it! Teaching is far-removed from radical thinking; but there is scope for all of us to be creative; innovative and entrepreneurial.

Each and everyone of us …

VamooseI know this will not be favourable amongst some; people will vote with their feet and computer-mice and fail to click “pay-per-download” on any practicising teacher-websites that publicly sell their materials.

But, I am convinced; we can challenge the conglomerate companies (as well as consultancies) out there and again, provide another example to ourselves; that teachers can share grassroots material and share great ideas… and more importantly, all be rewarded for doing so. After-all, we all need to make a living; and who’d be the one to challenge me and state:

“You are a well-paid teacher! Why do you need to earn more money beyond your salary? Keep sharing your well-designed classroom resources for free! Let The TES, and other consultancies reap the rewards of our hard graft and chalkface inspiration!”

As TPT state: everyone wins, especially students! … and if you don’t like it; don’t buy it! Simple.

99% of all my resources will remain free and shared openly!

Oh, and don’t forget! 500,000+ downloads in over 140+ countries, speaks for itself.

Download:

You can download my first pay-per-download resource by clicking this link and reading my very own Terms and Conditions.

@TeacherToolkit is NOW FOR SALE. Why not come and join me?

Vamoose: I’m off!

Vamoose

Jim Knight Vamoose



8 thoughts on “#Vamoose I’m off! @TeacherToolkit is NOW FOR SALE

  1. Oh Ross, I could say so much… I’ve trodden this path and have fresh wounds still… A couple of thoughts and then we must talk! Why do so many in education misunderstand the business world ( not you. ) We can have moral purpose when selling things. You were paid as a teacher, you will be paid as a product salesman. I was paid as a teacher, officer etc and then became a self-employed consultant. We all need to earn, in order to live. What you describe is a cultural rift between assumed different systems “public service” and “private industry” but these are not opposites. It is not four legs good and two legs bad… The key issue is the moral purpose of the individual…. Honest teachers…. Honest, business people…. Egocentric teachers…. Egocentric business people… We know that labels are often daft….

    1. Jo John. Thank you for your comment. You have hit the nail on the head. Free resources; some paid; some private; some shared openly – all benefiting me, the teacher; the student; the school. When I spend hours at home creating resources for myself… now I have a forum to host them myself… I can now offer these freely (or not) and retain all my own IP. Makes sense in my opinion. I have no problems with others not liking it and not wanting to buy. That’s fine. We all have choices and I’m quite happy to share mine publicly.

    1. Hi Ian. Regarding your own blog; a very interesting post, full of balanced view that captures the joy(s) of blogging. I agree with you. Blogging/Tweeting has given “me a chance to polish my writing, which has meant a few freelance opportunities, and I’ve been involved with resources and reviews”.

      The feedback has – at times – been incredible – beyond the walls of my own classroom (and sometimes much further!) I will always blog, regardless of free/paid resources; books and conferences. The feedback is invaluable and as you state; we contribute to each others’ pedagogy and practice. I assume you, like me, take all manner of feedback received and do what I can to improve and engage my own readers; improving my own practice as well (I hope) as others as a result.

      From my perspective. after having popular resources bamboozled by other websites; I now feel I am in a position to host my own resources on my own website … this makes me very happy indeed, as I no longer need to worry about statistics and IP/Moral Rights and unwanted emails soliciting and stipulating what/what not content, can and cannot be used and so forth. I upload it to my blog. I own it. Job done. Simple. I do think many other bloggers will do the same in the long term once if they do come across my TES #Vamoose story (in July 2013) as an example. Many will not be bothered one iota and simple share 2-3 resources regardless. That’s great. I used to feel like this too until all my own resources were modified; uploaded elsewhere; removed and so forth.

      I aim to continue to offer my resources to anyone and everyone who wants them; for free on my own blog.

      I should also add…. that if I am going to do this forever and a day; I need to also build up my blog to include a pay-per-download function for resources that I would (and have been) privately selling onto others,… In most cases, where an incredible amount of time has been invested in creating these for others to a set brief.

      The issue – or problem – appears to be a moral one. If I was NOT a ‘current classroom’ teacher, selling resources to other teachers and schools; what would be the perception? I’m a consultant. Therefore one may expect me to sell goods to you? Whether this be your own cash; or funds used from school budgets. The issue with selling a resource, appears to lie with one simple fact; that I am a ‘teacher’ selling to schools/teachers.

  2. Hi Ross,
    Your resources are excellent; your contribution to the way CPD is evolving is profound, so….. quite right that you are leading the way to a new mix of teacher/writer/trainer/leader making superb use of social media – and being rewarded for your outstanding resources. Very best of luck with the new venture.

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