I started on Teachers Pay Teachers as a seller and quickly became a buyer for my high school students. Over time, I became a buyer for my own children.
Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT) is an open marketplace for teachers. It feels a bit like Amazon or an educational Etsy. Teachers post products they’ve made and used with their own students. Educators range from pre-K to college professors. It’s awesome for teachers and it’s awesome for parents too.
Before you click away and think that I’m trying to sell you something, I promise not to link to my products. I’m a parent and I use TpT weekly with my own children. I’m writing this a parent, not a seller. Honestly.
TpT has thousands upon thousands of products – many of which are free! (I’ll talk more about pricing later). Why? Educators want children to learn and they want to provide learning opportunities for every child. TpT provides enriched learning tools, not only for teachers but for parents too. As a mother, here are five reasons I believe every parent should use Teachers Pay Teachers.
I stand in awe of my friends who homeschool. It’s not right for my family, but it definitely is for some. I see lessons outdoors, science trips to the zoo, research done in back yards, and library trips for research reports.
The cool thing about TpT is that teachers love those ideas and create materials for alongside them. Homeschooling parents use TpT to supplement their purchased curriculums or student-directed learning. Many parents homeschool for religious studies. TpT has that too.
2. Standardized test prep.
Every Sunday, I receive an update from one website of parents asking for tutors. The email is endless and most tutors are asking for $30 per hour, minimum. The tutors are probably worth it and if your child needs that one-on-one attention (and you can afford it!) – great! Other times, students only need a review with a few reminders, and sometimes parents can only swing a fraction of a tutor’s cost.
The beauty of TpT? Materials made by different teachers from different experiences that will fit different children. It’s cliche, but because TpT has such a variety of products and creators, you have a strong chance of finding what works for your child’s needs. If your high schooler is studying for the ACT or SAT, TpT has supplemental materials made by those very same tutors. When I teach ACT prep classes, this is the product I use for writing.
3. Different approaches to reinforce learning.
I have taught “Julius Caesar” dozens of times – starting with student teaching and covering multiple classes a semester. I love this play and my unit is huge. I have purchased materials, books, and complete unit plans along with creating my own materials. I approach the 8 intelligences, provide group reviews, partner activities, research opportunities, and act out portions of the play. I love teaching “Julius Caesar” so much that I must scale back my unit! I make every effort to reach students because I know they all don’t love Caesar like I do.
So one year I was shocked during parent-teacher conferences when a parent told me that she brought a supplemental unit for home! What!
Her daughter likes writing – lots – and journaled as different characters. That would be massively time consuming in a regular class, especially as some of my students struggle to remember character names and who has recently died. The parent’s unit sounded fun and I was thrilled that the child related to the characters in a unique way.
But. That unit worked better at home, for one student. Perfect.
4. Different approaches to teach a concept.
My second grade son dislikes spelling. Writing the words a few times and simple practice we’ve done, but his weekly spelling list requires attention. His teacher has sent home no fewer than 20 possible studying alternatives for his spelling words. Still? It is not his strength (which is ok) but I must help him. Pulling ideas from TpT has given us more options. Whether he adjusted to practice or likes the changes, it is working.
We are lucky! His teacher will email me back by the end of the day with new ideas and she is attentive to his needs in class.
Not every teacher is this way, for whatever reason. I’m not saying a teacher isn’t trying. She may believe she is differentiating enough. Maybe the normal teacher is ill and a long-term substitute is teaching who doesn’t have an understanding of the class yet. And, unfortunately, some teachers may not realize or understand that a child needs a different presentation or teachers cannot afford to make or purchase materials. Every school and every classroom has a unique situation that means a parent will go searching for extra materials.
5. Summer learning.
As I mentioned, I don’t homeschool my three children. However, we do schoolwork on weekdays during the summer. Parents know that “the summer slide” happens. Last summer, I combatted that with materials I purchased from TpT. Ty’s math book was from Scholastic. He also worked on early number puzzles as well as magic squares.
My little girl, Za, was headed to kindergarten and needed number practice. Here she is tracing numbers and ordering them with a product from The Moffatt Girls.
I’ve already purchased this summer’s ELA activities for Ty and am still deciding for Za. I’ll probably talk to her teacher and see what she suggests and go from there.
As a parent, I love being on TpT because I feel like I am working with teachers – which is what education should be – a collaborative venture. I use free products, sure! Before I buy an activity, I research the seller. Every seller on TpT has at least one free item, which will give parents an idea of that seller’s style and quality. Download the freebies, please! Find what works for you and your children.
Parents should use TpT because of the variety and flexibility. It has broadened my teaching scope with high school students as a teacher, sure! It has also given me tools to work with my own elementary kids. TpT is our go-to place for extra learning materials that my family needs for whatever reason. I believe other parents will find it useful too.
Have you used TpT with your own children or nieces and nephews? Share below other ways TpT works for parents – and not inside a typical classroom.