Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems

April 29, 2016 at 1:30 pm (Uncategorized)

Ten years ago the internet was an amazing and ever expanding resource for teachers it still is.  Even the least engaged students often remember when you put the two minute clip from youtube on that showed the strange situation experiment in action.  The kid with no ability to analyse can still get a grade from obsessively learning key words on memrise to try and beat their friends in the ratings.  And most importantly – when a teacher has had no time to plan Thursday morning’s lesson because on Monday night they got called into an unexpected progress meeting, on Tuesday they lost all their PPA time to doing catch up with the students who were identified as not performing well enough in Monday’s meeting, then had parents evening all night and by the time they got home on Wednesday they just do not have the strength or energy to plan when they get home.

In the past you would go online to TES and look for a resource, produced and provided by teachers, find one you like, download it, tweak it to sort your style and class and then off you go.  But now when you do that on TES you are very likely to  find you have to pay for it.  Teachers are monetising their resources. And honestly I don’t know how I feel about that morally.  Of course it’s fair enough you would say.  Especially as this started mostly in the USA where teachers are paid so poorly they often have to take a second job to maintain a living (see Breaking Bad for a deeply factual portrayal).  But the real problem is not who is profiting from the resources but who is paying for the resources.  Others have made the point that it should be the school department who provide the money to buy lessons and resources but that is not the case or two reasons.  Firstly in the time it takes to get a school budget approval or reclaim petty cash you could have made the resource yourself.  Secondly UK schools have no money.  Seriously.  I don’t know how much you follow this but increases in contributions to national insurance and pensions, combined with no real funding increase means schools are broke.  Teachers are being made redundant, teachers who leave are not being replaced and CPD courses are not being paid for because schools do not have the money.  In that environment you cannot expect somebody to sign a document to give you the money to download a resource of TES.  As the costs are small it becomes like micropayments.  A drip drip effect means teachers end up shelling out more and more.

That is why I cannot quite be comfortable with teachers selling their individual resources.  By all means if you have a good enough load of resources – write a book, put the whole lot together into a package that a school department will shell out for but don’t use micropayments to get a little bit here and a little bit there for a worksheet or a powerpoint.  Excellent free resource sharing sites exist like Resourcd.com  – that’s what day to day resources should be going on, not being charged £1.50 for a powerpoint on TES.

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