According to the New York Times there’s a storm a brewin’ in our nations schools. America’s teachers are trying to pull a fast one. They are coming up with creative and insightful activities and lesson plans then–cover junior’s sensitive eyes–trying to make a buck by selling them online! Craigslist, eBay and God knows how many seedy little online dungeons with names like “The Scarlet Letter Grade” and “Catch Her in the Rye” are awash with study guides for “Great Expectations” and lesson plans for making a Mars rover out of marshmallows (If there’s life on Mars, why not bring S’Mores?). Needless to say, such elocution pollution has no place in America’s classroom. As Joseph McDonald, professor at NYU puts it “Teachers swapping ideas with one another, that’s a great thing, but somebody asking 75 cents for a word puzzle reduces the power of the learning community and is ultimately destructive to the profession.” And Professor McDonald should know. He as written and co-written several books on education, the proceeds from which have almost certainly reverted to NYU. Robert N. Lowry, deputy director of the New York State Council of School Superintendents, sort of agrees. He doesn’t share Professor McDonald’s view that such sharing of materials should be untainted by lucre, he just wants the school board to get its cut.
So teachers–you licentious locutors, you curricular Caligulas–here is how it goes. It is okay for you to spend $200-$300 a month on nonreimbursed supplies for your classroom. It is not however okay for you to profit in the marketplace from ideas that spring from your own creativity and experience. It is okay for you to spend two hours baking and another six hours selling cupcakes in a hot sweaty gym on your own time so that the “Lavender Lavaliers” can rent a bus for the Swing Choir sectionals. You are a teacher. It’s a calling not a job. It is unreasonable however to profit from your own sense of enterprise without giving the folks in the suits and ties a “little taste.”
You got that straight now? Have you been taking notes? Let me say it to you one more time: You may teach Horatio Alger; you may not be Horatio Alger. You may teach perseverance (in many states you are forced to), but you may not demonstrate perseverance in any endeavor that enriches only you and yours. You may extol in your students the rewards of hard work and creativity. You are however enjoined from reaping those rewards yourself.
But hey, no hard feelings. we get it. We can see how you might have been momentarily confused. Just pony up half of your earnings to date and all will be forgiven.
And do it fast. We need to reseed the practice field.