No, Selling to Teachers Isn’t Immoral…

Every now and again, when promoting a resource or a great site like TES or Teachers Pay Teachers, someone will complain that it is morally wrong to sell educational resources on such sites, that sites like TES or Teachers Pay Teachers are destroying the education system, or that all resources should be shared freely.

This article is a categorical response to such people.

1) You are not entitled to other people’s time. You are not entitled to the fruits of other people’s labour.

2) If freely sharing resources solved the demand for materials: there would be no market for the resources made by premium authors.

3) Companies such as Boardworks have been selling educational resources for years. There’s nothing immoral about it. Nobody is forcing you or your department to buy it: you can try and find free resources or spend your own time making new resources.

4) Sites like TES and TpT allow for Independent Educational Resource makers to sell their products. Do not assume that the sites are only teachers selling to teachers. Some people make their living creating high quality resources and selling them to schools for a reasonable price: without such sites, they would either not be making resources (that save teachers time and help students learn) or be working for large organisations like Boardworks.

5) Many of the products are being bought by independent fee-supported schools: they are for profit businesses and selling resources to them is perfectly reasonable.

6) Sites like TES and TpT increase the quality of resources and drive innovation: they allow people to make resources as a full-time job. No longer is it just teachers uploading a lesson they threw together before first period: now it is people who spend hours making perfect lessons with detailed lesson plans, because they can do it as a full-time job and be adequately rewarded for it.

7) The fact that you don’t like paying for something, does not make the person selling it “evil” or “immoral” that they might ask for payment. Once again: nobody is forcing you to buy it. A good is being offered to you: you choose whether to gain access to it or not. You live in a capitalist society, get over it.

8) If charging money for goods and services is immoral: that renders 90% of the jobs in society immoral. Selling medicine to the NHS is not immoral: so long as it is a good product and a reasonable price – you can’t expect people to work for free! Likewise, so long as it’s a high quality product at a reasonable price: selling to the state education system is fine.

9) Sites like TES and TpT allow for outstanding (but underpaid) teachers to be financially rewarded for their work. By sharing resources in this way, the overall performance of the education system is improved.

10) It is not a resource author’s fault of problem if your department won’t pay for a resource and you choose to buy it out of your own pocket. I’m sure all authors would prefer schools and their departments to be using their budgets on their products.

11) If you think about it hard enough, and really dedicate your mind to it, there isn’t a single job or profession which you cannot dress up as being immoral. There are plenty  articles online about how Mother Teresa was, in fact, evil; any plenty of arguments for why teaching is itself an immoral profession (“just another brick in the wall” etc).

12) Authors on TES and TpT are, fundamentally, selling TIME. They are selling teachers their time back. A teacher might buy a microwave to save time, this doesn’t make the microwave manufacturer or retailer evil. The business model of the microwave manufacture rests on the business of people’s’ lives; just as the TES author’s rests on the business of teachers lives. Saving people time is a good thing, it is a service, for which authors are entitled to charge a price for. If spending £3 for a good lesson gets a teacher 4 hours of their free time back, it’s a no-brainer: and if they’d rather use their spare time to make lessons and resources, that’s their choice.


If you can think of any more arguments do feel free to post below.

If you would like to leave your post with The Morality Police and start making some money, sign-up with TES or Teachers Pay Teachers 


3 thoughts on “No, Selling to Teachers Isn’t Immoral…

  1. Great post. To the point and very true. I was at a teacher convention recently and mentioned that I sell resources online. After listening to the usual moaning I respindled with my own argument:

    I think the thing a lot of these people don’t realise is we are selling our time and knowledge. If a teacher has a lesson she needs but wants to spend the weekend with her daughter instead, so I in turn don’t spend the weekend with my daughter. I stay up late to complete her lesson spend my own money on clip art and create her lesson for her. But then if I don’t hand that lesson over for free I’m immoral? Seriously? why is my time not important enough to charge for?

    The teacher then agreed that in that situation I was ‘probably’ not immoral bit others are?!?! My point is, you just can explain this things to some people. They want things for free and anyone who doesn’t give them is a monster….


  2. Good article. I think those that complain think that teachers should share resources, irrespective of school etc. However some of the teachers creating resources are doing so in retirement, or those resources would not be made without the financial incentive. There is also some evidence that when people are paid to do work, they do a better job, leading to better resources for teaching as a whole.


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