Monday, February 24, 2014

Buying from Teachers Pay Teachers

As I've been talking with my teacher friends and teachers I meet while subbing I've realized that a lot of teachers are unaware of what Teachers Pay Teachers can offer them.  So here's a guide to using Teachers Pay Teachers for buyers!

Who is TPT for? Is it just for elementary school teachers?
Teachers Pay Teachers is for EVERYONE.  The site has recently hit 3 million users so yes, there are materials for just about every topic, grade level, and even country you may need.  We have sellers from around the world, every grade level from preschool to college, speech language pathologists, special education teachers, counselors and so many more areas!

I repeat- TPT is not just for elementary teachers. The middle and secondary areas of the site are
BOOMING right now!

How does it work?  Are real teachers really making the stuff?
As far as I've seen the sellers are all teachers whether they are currently teaching, retired, or job searching.  The vast majority of materials have been tried in the classroom and are designed with a teacher's eye unlike many of the products we find with our textbooks!

Seller's list their products for any price they feel is appropriate.  (Typically much cheaper than in a store.)  If they have a free store then they get a smaller percentage of the purchase.  However, most sellers with established stores pay a yearly fee and they earn 85% of every sale.  This is what I love as a buyer- I love knowing that I'm supporting another teacher instead of big business.

What other perks are there?
There are a lot of perks to TPT.  One, that I see a lot of buyers not utilizing, is the TPT credits program.  If you purchase a product you should rate it.  Use it and see how it goes and then leave feedback.  By leaving feedback you earn credits that can be used for future products- this can be huge as you can save them up for when your favorite seller is having a sale or one of the (typically) quarterly site wide sales.  Here's the explanation from the site,

"You get one TpT Credit for every $ you spend on TpT. Thing is, you only get the Credits after you Provide Feedback -- both a fair rating and a fair comment -- on the items that you purchase. We will round up for you, too! If you provide fair feedback on a $4.75 item, you will earn 5 credits. Every 100 Credits is worth $5 that you can apply towards future TpT purchases, but there is no need to wait until you have 100 to redeem them. 50 credits is worth $2.50, for example." 

The other great thing about the feedback feature is you can also see what others think.  As a seller we really appreciate thoughtful feedback- tell us what really works well or what didn't; it helps us make better products!  You can also leave questions in the questions section on a site.  Before you rate a product as terrible (Which should be a rare occurrence) try contacting the seller- most will respond very quickly and work hard to fix whatever the issue is! 

You can also wish-list items if you don't know for sure that you want them.  Keep them on standby until you're sure or there is a sale going on.

Why should I buy things when there are so many free items?

I'm not going to lie.  I started using TPT to download all the awesome free items.  I think you should too, but don't be afraid to spend a little there as well.  Often times we see things and think "I could make that" and maybe you could, but what is your time worth?  I love making things for my classes, but why spend an hour or so on an activity for my students that someone has already made and I can buy it for $2.  

Whatever you decide, I think you should check it out.  

Thanks for reading!

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