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Selling resources or sharing for free?

I come across quite a few teachers on social media unhappy that teachers sell their resources on sites like TES. They say that this is against the spirit of teaching and that we should share freely.

There are a few points I'd like to make about this.

Sharing stuff for free is great. I did it for 10 years via frenchteacher.net and often still do via my site, my blog or on TES (to a very limited extent). We shared worksheets in our departments for years. But I have no objection at all to teachers earning money for the fruits of their labours.

Teachers are not paid like solicitors, doctors and accountants. If they put in extra time for the benefit of other teachers I see no problem with them being paid.  We are all used to buying from publishers and think nothing of it. A teacher who has written a resource effectively becomes a self-publisher. I, like many teachers, feel a little uncomfortable about being an entrepreneur, but you quickly get used to it. In my case, once I had retired from teaching, I wanted to keep writing but, frankly, it would have been daft to do it for nothing. It helps teachers a lot and supplements my pension.

Free resources are great, but they often come with errors and are variable in quality. When you are charging you have to be extra careful to produce something of quality. People will only buy if they think they are getting something better than, or beyond the scope of, free stuff.

Resources sold by teachers are often very good value and complement text book materials. They are often editable too.

It's a free world. No one is forcing a colleague to buy their resources. If you have an objection to paying for teacher-made resources (remember that text books are often written by practising teachers), then you don't have to buy. Up to around a third (rough estimate) of all English secondary school subscribe to frenchteacher.net. I don't see a huge difference between that and buying an individual's PowerPoint or worksheets.

So, to teachers who sell on TES I say, good on you, but I hope the resources are good! And to teachers who share for free, that's even better.

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