Another Battle: Can Teachers Sell Lesson Plans?

from the so-first-we'll-learn-that-1+1-equals-2 dept

I missed this last month, but a friend sent over a NY Times article looking at the growing practice of teachers making additional money by selling lesson plans. Marketplaces are emerging, and teachers who have crafted smart and useful lesson plans are able to earn extra cash, while other teachers who are looking for help in crafting smart lesson plans, or understanding what kinds of lesson plans work gain the ability to learn from others, rather than starting from scratch. However, there's a problem (isn't there always?). Some school districts are upset that the teachers are selling lesson plans, believing they deserve some of the "cut." Thanks to our "ownership society," we've built up this belief that every idea must be "owned" and if anyone makes money, others come grabbing as well.

Of course, while the article doesn't go there, I would bet that a growing number of teachers are seeing value not just in "selling" lesson plans, but posting them publicly for free. In doing that, you can get better feedback and open a nice discussion among other teachers to share what they all have learned, and create a better overall lesson plan that helps everyone out (especially the students). In fact, the more you think about it, the more you realize that expecting teachers to keep coming up with their own lesson plans entirely separate from what thousands of other teachers are doing, seems positively backwards.


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  1.  
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    cc, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 1:00am

    No different from university lecturers demanding their lecture notes be destroyed when their students graduate (which is dumb).

    Should schools get some of the money? Yes! The schools pay the teachers to prepare for lessons, so the schools own any materials the teachers produce.

    Anyway, shouldn't lesson plans for schools come as part of the standard curriculum? They should even get (optional) Powerpoint slides, if you ask me.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 2:10am

    Re:

    But a public school is not a private entity. It is an extension of the people and/or government, and thus anything it produces SHOULD be in the public domain (excluding such private information gathered and stored as names, addresses, grades...).

    It's bad enough we don't pay these teachers enough, but you are suggesting that they are somehow paid too much by the suggestion that they aren't entitled to making money on the side.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 3:34am

    Are they salaried? Is this related to their job? Then it belongs to their employer unless it's part of their contract that it isn't.

     

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    Tom B, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 4:11am

    NO

    My wife is a teacher. She spends countless hours at home creating these lesson plans. Sure she's given "planning time" at work, but the planning time is used up by the school going to meetings or calling parents. Quit trying to get into her $40,000 a year pockets (that's w/ a Master's degree) and let her make some extra money.
    And no, teachers aren't "salaried" in the sense that most normal industries think.

     

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    Griff (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 4:11am

    Employer owns it

    I used to work for a big tech consultancy.

    My contract said anything I invent while employed (even while sat in the bath) belonged to them. Once, frustrated that an idea of mine was not going to be pursued by them, I tried to have them agree to release it so I could pursue it in my spare time. They weren't exactly reluctant on principle - it was just that the paperwork to do so legally was too much effort.

    If the teacher did it as part of the job then the school should own it. But if the school is paid for by the state then the state owns it. The school might even (with the "marketisation" of education) prefer that "competing" schools did not get access to these lesson plans but that really would be insane.
    But if the schools were fiercely competitive private schools we'd fully expect these things to be kept secret, wouldn't we ?

    What if the teacher instead claimed to have a separate evening job creating lesson plans for money and happened to use these products during the day too (at no cost to the school, which should be grateful, surely ?).

     

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    Tom B, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 4:16am

    Re: Employer owns it

    Again, this is not a "big tech consultancy". That company wants you to be innovative and makes money off the fact that you're going to create the next "ipod". Schools don't care if a teacher is innovative. They want to have fast turn around w/ students. That's their bottom line. So in a teacher's contract there is nothing that says "I own what you make" like other contracts have. Teachers aren't expected to provide a physical product that can be bought/sold.

     

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    Evan, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 4:51am

    Re:

    Yes! The schools pay the teachers to prepare for lessons, so the schools own any materials the teachers produce.

    Wrong. I have two friends who are teachers. The majority of their time OUTSIDE of school is spent grading papers and writing lesson plans. There isn't enough time in a school day for a teacher to be writing lesson plans while at school. Teachers get, at most, one prep period during the day.

    The schools do not PAY teachers to WRITE lesson plans, they PAY them to TEACH lessons. Lesson plans are written on the teacher's own time.

     

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    Evan, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 4:53am

    Re: NO

    Couldn't agree more.

     

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    Another AC, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 5:06am

    Makes no sense

    So if a teacher tutors outside of school hours, the district should get a cut of that too? What if they waitress on the weekends for extra cash? Do the people OWN these teachers as soon as they sign a contract?

    Well if this is the case then teachers should be compensated for this time or at least be able to claim time spent talking to parents, grading papers, creating these lesson plans, etc. etc. etc. against their taxes.

     

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    Michial Thompson, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 5:06am

    Look up the meaning of WORK FOR HIRE

    I don't give a rats ass if it's in your contract or not, if you create something while doing your duties as an employee, and you are compensated either through salary or hourly the person writing your check owns that work.

    The simple act of cashing the check is acceptance of this fact. Any iodiot that thinks otherwise is eventually going to spend many thousands of dollars finding this out the hard way...

    Good luck to those idiots that think that just because they invented something outside of the office that relates to their work that they own it. ESPECIALLY if they are salaried (meaning get paid a fixed amount without specified hours.)

     

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    NullOp, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 5:07am

    Figures...

    It comes as no surprise some school districts want a 'cut' of the proceeds. I do want to point out we don't have an ownership society we have a greedy society. Don't try to dress it up! Should teachers be allowed to sell lesson plans...of course! Theoretically, it could/should make for better and more effective teaching.

     

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    Oh Please - dont be silly, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 5:21am

    Re: Look up the meaning of WORK FOR HIRE

    You ever sell a house for more than you paid for it? Does your employer get a cut of that action? etc etc

     

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    Another AC, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 5:23am

    Re: Look up the meaning of WORK FOR HIRE

    What if they use different plans in the class than what they sell? What if it is for a different grade level?

    Show me where the law says that if you are paid by someone they own you and everything you do? Are the school districts directly paying towards their student loans or fronting money for the education?

    Oh and Teachers have specified hours, they choose to get things done on their own time.

     

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    Janitor - mopping up vomit, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 5:24am

    So what's next, lesson plans will be protected under copyright? You think Johnny is an under achiever now, just think of the possibilities.

     

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    Rob, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 5:25am

    Forget good work then..

    Typical.. Punish the folks who work a bit harder and creating a better product by taking any incentive (in this case extra $$) away from them. We have bad teachers (as we have bad employees) because they lack incentive to do any better. Teachers can get away with a bare minimum and still get a paycheck. As an administrator I would love to have the bragging rights that my teachers create lesson plans that other teachers buy...They are that good!..
    My Wife is on her 7th year teaching and it amazes me the comparison between the hours or work she puts in each night and weekends preparing and other teachers who "Coast" along with the same old stuff..

     

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    Wes, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 5:29am

    Re: Look up the meaning of WORK FOR HIRE

    It really would be interesting to see this tested in the courts. I would hope that it wouldn't pass the test of being a work for hire. These lesson plans are creative ways that teachers come up with to teach the material. And practically speaking they are always doing the work on their own time.

    I think of it this way: If a physics teacher invents a perpetual motion device at home and then uses that device at school during a lesson to help his students understand the concept, does the school own the invention?

     

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    taoareyou (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 5:33am

    I'm curious

    If a Lit Teacher writes a poem (one evening at home) that they then share in class as a teaching aid, do they have any right of ownership? What if an art teacher paints a painting on the weekends and brings it in to class as an example of specific techniques. Does he not have any rights to the art he created? If he sells it later, does he owe the school a cut?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 6:05am

    Re: Re: Look up the meaning of WORK FOR HIRE

    Another AC:

    I agree completely with you, and not the other AC. As yet another individual pointed out, teachers are NOT paid to develop lesson plans, which are kind of like fancy notes, they are paid to teach. So, if a teacher creates a lesson plan, more than likely on personal time, then not only does the lesson plan NOT fall under work for hire, it was never paid for by the school.

    Lesson plans created by teachers, particularly if created on their own time, belong to the teachers. The school districts can kiss off. My bet is that courts will side with the teachers.

    However...expect schools to start asking teachers to sign contracts saying anything they create to assist them in teaching belongs to the school. It is coming.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 6:19am

    Re: I'm curious

    Nothing like trying to confuse things.

    What a lit teacher does in their own time, creating non-work related material has nothing to do with their work. They have all the rights to their own non-work creations. It doesn't matter if they share it in class, they are just granting rights for that moment of use.

    Lesson plans are an integral part of the work they do, developed for their work and more often honed AT their work.

    If they were building fences on the weekend, the schools would have no rights. But in developing teaching materials (especially if the materials relate to their exact current curriculum) pretty much looks like the work they are contracts to the school to perform. At that point, the school certainly has some rights, as teachers are in a 'work for hire' situation.

     

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    mikez (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 6:19am

    not all teachers are under contract

    Many issues at play here. Not all teachers are under contract, teachers at private schools and some public charter schools are at will employees without a contract, so the issue of contractual obligation doesn't apply in all cases.

    As a teacher of 9 years I can say teachers are provided a curriculum of what subject matter they need to teach. They are entirely on their own to figure out HOW to teach it. Lesson plans are written and discarded all the time and modified. They go with the teacher when they change jobs, because not every lesson plan can work for every teacher, or even every class. I was never paid to write lesson plans, I was paid to teach. Planning periods are used to update grade books, do paperwork, call parents, and prepare for lessons, not write lesson plans.

     

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    Christopher (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 6:25am

    Why not go the distance the other way?

    Whatever I invent is mine, and my employer can go jump off a cliff. Show me the user requirements document that says I was hired to create the next iPod and I won't try to walk away with it... otherwise, GFY.

    Teachers create lesson plans to help manage their own workload. It's a personal productivity device, it's not owned by the state or the school district. Now, if you were hired by the district/ state SPECIFICALLY to create lesson plans, I'd say you're stuck. However, teachers are paid to teach. The formulation of that strategy is their own creation, not subject to control by external entities.

    Put another way, what if a teacher can effectively teach without a lesson plan? If it's optional, and it isn't part of their rating as a teacher, then again, the state/ district should jump off a cliff right after the greedy corporation.

    Pardon my language, but the response should be, "Go f#@k yourself, you're not getting a f#@king dime, and if you try, I'll sue the district into the f#@king ground, you greedy c#$%ks$@#$@#$ng pigs."

     

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  22.  
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    Tyanna, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 6:38am

    There are a lot of people in the comments that seem to think that b/c a teacher is on a 'salary' that means that the school owns what they produce.

    First off, teachers are not in a technical field and thus the idea if IP isn't the same. This is further proven by the fact that the school board already tells the teacher what they have to teach. A teacher is given a list of things that their students must learn by the end of the year. In some cases, they are told when in the year they should be teaching it.

    So, they haven't come up with the material. What they have come up with is a way to present the material to their students in an engaging manner so that they learn it.

    I would like to point out that teachers DO NOT have to do this. Remember back to school. I'm sure you remember the class that was so boring that you just wanted to skip. And I'm sure you remember the classes that you couldn't wait to go to. Spending that extra time to make the subject engaging is what separates a bad/average teacher to a great/amazing teacher.

    But they aren't given money depending on how great of a teacher they are, or how engaging their lesson plans are. So why shouldn't they make a few extra bucks on something they put a lot of work into that the school board doesn't even care about. Perhaps if the pay was based more on how much a teacher put into teaching, they wouldn't have to sell their lesson plans on the side!

     

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  23.  
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    No Dog In The Fight, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 6:45am

    All I know is I want whatever keeps the teachers happiest. My child's education (future child's education) is in their hands. If making money on the side keeps them happy to come to work and do a good job teaching my child, SO BE IT! If they despise their jobs because of the low pay and the schools continue to tie their hands on getting some extra scratch, then have we really accomplished anything for the sake of the kids???

     

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    No Dog In The Fight, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 6:45am

    All I know is I want whatever keeps the teachers happiest. My child's education (future child's education) is in their hands. If making money on the side keeps them happy to come to work and do a good job teaching my child, SO BE IT! If they despise their jobs because of the low pay and the schools continue to tie their hands on getting some extra scratch, then have we really accomplished anything for the sake of the kids???

     

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  25.  
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    Crabby (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 7:02am

    Re:

    @Tyanna:

    I have to agree that teachers who go the extra mile should be able to profit off of their own hard work. Bureaucracy doesn't promote merit, and (in a fantasy world) it would be nice to see the lazy folks slip away while those who put out an effort are rewarded. Maybe if the hardworking teachers could profit by their extra effort, more of the mediocre teachers would take an interest and start putting out more of an effort. Enthusiasm can be very contagious if it is encouraged.

     

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  26.  
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    Michael, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 7:17am

    Re:

    I completely agree that teachers should be able to make some extra money and that their innovation creating unique lesson plans should be rewarded.

    That being said, the school systems have a point here. Although it seems wrong to me, our laws seem to currently suggest that if someone comes up with an idea during the course of their work for a company, that idea is often owned by the company. If these teachers would have come up with these lesson plans had they not been teachers, this may be a different discussion. However, it seems questionable to say that the work they were being paid to do did not have a significant impact on their ability to come up with the lesson plans.

    I don't agree with the schools that are doing this, but the schools systems can make a pretty good case that they should be treated like any other industry and the work being produced by their employees - in the performance of their job functions - is work for hire and they are entitled to exclusive rights to it. A court ruling against the schools may be setting a precedent that could have a huge ripple effect in other areas.

     

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  27.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 8:02am

    Re:

    It's not as clear-cut as that.

    If the employee used company time or equipment to develop the plans, then the employer can make a claim of ownership. If not, then not. (If these teachers are like the ones I personally know, then they didn't develop those plans on the school's time or using the school's equipment.)

    This assumes there is no contract specifying otherwise, of course, but you should NEVER sign a contract that gives the employer blanket rights to your work.

     

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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 8:11am

    Re: Employer owns it

    Well, I guess that any farmhand that works a shift in a farm should give up anything that they invent in their own time, since the farm owns everything that they make, since farming is a competitive market and all that.

    Hey, if I work in a repair shop, and one day I invent a new kind of shock absorber at home, the repair shop owns it? Because, you know, they are paying me. To fix cars. And change oil. And stuff... so therefore by your logic if I design a complete car from scratch they should own it.

    Or, maybe, just maybe, if I worked as a CAR DESIGNER in an CAR DESIGN company, any CAR that I DESIGN would belong to them? Since, you know, they pay me to DESIGN CARS?

     

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  29.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 8:12am

    Re: Re: Look up the meaning of WORK FOR HIRE

    "It really would be interesting to see this tested in the courts."

    This has a large body of court rulings about it. The AC is right in a sense, but wrong as stated.

    In general, the courts rule that the employer owns the work if the company paid for it. "Paid for it" obviously means direct payment such as wages, but also indirect payment such as providing the resources used in developing the work. this is where it can get a little vague, as "resources" can, under certain circumstances, include specialized knowledge.

    If, however, you develop something on your own time (salaried or not, doesn't matter), using your own equipment and resources, your employer has no claim on it unless you've given him such contractually.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 8:24am

    I think a lot of people are obsessing over ownership and missing the fact that a lot of money is spent on lesson plans and curriculum development that has been done and redone countless times. I used to work in the public school system and was given 40 hours to create a Computer Curriculum that was created by my predecessor and was no doubt be recreated by my successor. That's in the same school, I can't even imagine how much time is duplicated throughout the nation. Granted a computer curriculum may need more adjustment than a math or history curriculum but the redundancy is nothing short of astonishing. I no longer work for the school so I don't really care but a cooperative website set up by the Department of Education that can allow teachers to share lesson plans that fit in the guidelines of National prescribed curriculum would save enormous amounts of time and money. This is time that most teachers are putting in outside of there salaried positions.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 8:30am

    Re:

    They should get standardized lesson plans as part of the curriculum, yes.

    But when they don't, you are saying the school should get a cut of what the educator does on thier own time because it didn't come with or was not adequet to educate the students, right?

    But if the school had bought a better book the educator wouldn't have to do it.

    So when you figure out a tool to make your job easier, because what your boss gives you is works but not well, you are saying that your boss owns that tool, right?

    Yes, educators do get time off and we are all jealious but they also have to put in a lot of personal time. The first time they teach a class, for example, they need to setup thier lesson plans... on thier own time. If they instead were given the same old class every year, they would be able to recylce thier previous materials with no sacrifice of personal time.

    So I don't understand how anyone can say that it is not thier own IP able to be done with as they wish.

     

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  32.  
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    Dan, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 8:42am

    Lame anologies

    I have not seen so many lame analogies in a long time. If this product is a derivative of the primary duties for employment, they should be considered part and parcel of said duties. This teacher chose this employment, if some other endeavor is better suited they could choose to follow that as an alternative career. You cannot piggyback on your present job, with an private enterprise, without some push back from your employer. There is much talk of incentive pay for teachers, I am all for this concept as it should elevate the quality of education and improve the lives of those so employed.

     

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    Eric, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 8:44am

    State Employee

    I think John Fenderson explained it the best. And as a person who WORKS for the state, I can say that the state owns the programs I've written to make our network work better. I've written code for a kiosk system and any office in the state has a right to that code for free.

    I think one of things forgotten about w/ teachers is that they get 3 months a year off. The time they spend at home grading papers and such is because they get 3 months off a year. Also teachers can make their after hours work as hard or as easy as they like. Don't complain about all the after hour work grading papers if you're the one giving yourself the work.

    And I don't care HOW you use your planning time, if they give you time during your work day TO MAKE PLANS, then if the teacher makes lessons plans the state should own it. It doesn't matter that you use that time to grade papers or call parents. That time was specifically set aside to make lesson plans. If you choose to use that time for something else that is your choice. The plans should also be made free to all other PUBLIC schools in that state.

    Last time I knew, teachers HAD to have a lesson plan turned in to the school, at least in the states I've lived in.

     

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    taoareyou (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 8:54am

    Re: not all teachers are under contract

    So if a teacher creates plans for how they want to teach a class "on their own time", those plans do not belong to them, but if they create a teaching aid like a poem or a painting "on their own time", those things do. Is this your stance? Because that is certainly not confusing, right?

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 8:55am

    Re: Re:

    "It's bad enough we don't pay these teachers enough, but you are suggesting that they are somehow paid too much by the suggestion that they aren't entitled to making money on the side."

    ^^ THIS ^^

     

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    taoareyou (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 9:00am

    Re: State Employee

    Yes, it is the fault of teachers for wanting to do more than the minimum. Don't assign homework, and you won't have to grade papers. Don't make lesson plans, just read from the required book each day, picking up where you left off.

    But, if they do that, they will have to work during the summer break right? Because the summer break exists because teachers spend time during the session after hours grading papers and making lesson plans.

    Hmm, well if the teach will have to work, I suppose all their students will need to come to class since they will probably need it anyway.

     

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    Burgos, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 9:19am

    Re: Re: I'm curious

    "Lesson plans are an integral part of the work they do, developed for their work and more often honed AT their work."

    To use your own words: Nothing like trying to confuse things.

    Poetry is integral to a lit teacher's work. Painting is integral to an art teacher's work. Both teachers hone their skills AT their work.

    For a lit teacher, it may not be so difficult to write a few short verses in iambic pentameter and use those verses as a teaching aid for a poetry lesson. What you're saying is the school owns those verses and if they happen to be published, according to current copyright laws, the school should receive royalties (i.e., a cut on every sale of a copy of its property).

    Wrong.

    If this was the norm, then every textbook out there that was written by teacher is the intellectual property of the school that employs that teacher. Clearly, this is not the case.

     

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    Burgos, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 9:33am

    Re: Lame anologies

    By your logic, when an economics professor writes a textbook about economics (clearly a derivative of her teaching duties) the school, by default, has full rights to the textbook.

    Lame? Lame.

     

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    Jarred Masterson, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 9:53am

    Re: Look up the meaning of WORK FOR HIRE

    You are a moron and under your view you could assume that since I employ a nanny that if she were to babysit someone else's kid on the weekend then I deserve a cut of it! Utter nonsense!

    ". ESPECIALLY if they are salaried (meaning get paid a fixed amount without specified hours.)"

    No one in the public school system has a contract that doesn't specify their hours idiot. That is why I have to be here no later than 7:30 AM, I can't leave until 4:30 PM, and I don't have to come in between the dates of May 30th and August 10th.

    Every teachers spend hundreds of hours a year beyond what their contract state they owe, writing lesson plans, grading papers and in many cases preforming "extra duties" like working concession stands and going on class field trips after their normal hours. They aren't compensated for this time and their salaries are already among the lowest in our society. And now fascists like you want to make sure that they aren't even afforded the opportunity of making some extra income from their endeavors? You sir, disgust me!

     

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    vic williams, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 10:42am

    Teamwork developing lesson plans, or whatever

    Hi,

    Teachers most often work alone. When developing lesson plans for general use they need to be tested, revised, and used by more than one teacher. They need a development team. Most of the time in my experience various teachers want to be paid for lesson plans and for helping things along. That generates frictions and teachers continue to work alone - with some excellent teaching results and a LOT of indifferent results. If you want a better education system then you need to work on such parts of the system.

     

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    Dave, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 12:46pm

    Education Schmeducation

    Maybe schools are technically entitled to money from any lesson plan used on their premises. But this doesn't mean that they aren't a joke. Anybody who has been anywhere near a school administration knows that they treat teachers like crap. They're underpaid (after all, they're mainly women), and expected to work lots of hours at home for this mediocre money. They're pressured to do social promotion for sucky students to keep those funding dollars coming in (oh, and getting rid of the problem youth), and lots of other fun stuff.

    In fact, many schools already have detailed curricula that they expect you to use. While this may actually help the teacher with prep, it's a dis-incentive to creativity; if the teacher doesn't even own the stuff they invent above and beyond the curriculum, or are given grief for teaching outside the box, why should they even bother?

    But of course schools claim to applaud teacher creativity - yeah, it's great as long as they don't have to pay for it, and it makes them look good.

    And let's not forget the teacher unions, which strive to maintain the status quo at all costs, so that incompetent teachers have lifetime employment. Hooray!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    icon
    Nick Coghlan (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 1:06pm

    Lesson plans distributed for free

    A personally interesting case on the "posting them publicly for free" front for me is that the IPT program at my old school predates the existence of a formal state syllabus. The school IPT teachers essentially wrote their own text book, which has been freely available online since the Web started back in the early 90's.

     

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  43.  
    identicon
    Eric, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 1:15pm

    Quit complaining, if you don't like it.. don't be a teacher

    If teachers don't like all the hours they work and how they are treated.. then quit. It's pretty simple. Everyone makes choices in life, quit complaining. I have zero empathy for people. People dig their own holes and then complain when they can't get out of it.

    People are already realizing that teaching blows as a job and there is a teaching shortage in certain places. Let the market make things better. If there are no people who want to be teachers then the market will most likely improve to get people to be teachers. If you don't want to be a teacher, go work at McDonald's.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    icon
    Steven (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 1:52pm

    Re: Look up the meaning of WORK FOR HIRE

    Just as any FYI. I'm a software developer. I am paid a salary, as opposed to an hourly wage.

    Software I create on my own time for me is mine. My company has no rights to it at all.

    Some places may have language in the contract signed upon being hired, but certainly not all, and I'd be surprised if it was most. Even then most rulings require that the ownership is only on things directly related to the job or resources gained from having the job.

    As an aside, you may want to look up the meaning of work for hire. It specifically pertains to the work the company hires you to perform, not anything to may do from the date of hire.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    icon
    Ronald J Riley (profile), Dec 16th, 2009 @ 5:05pm

    Asset Thieves

    "if anyone makes money, others come grabbing as well."

    The law is pretty clear that the teacher's lesson plan is their property and it should stay that way. The people doing the grabbing are just like those who want to grab inventors property rights and TechDIRT seems to be run by and heavily populated by entitlement minded asset thieves who suffer from the "Little Person Syndrome":)

    Ronald J. Riley,

    I am speaking only on my own behalf.
    Affiliations:
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    Dan Callahan, Dec 16th, 2009 @ 5:19pm

    Teachers are already sharing

    "Of course, while the article doesn't go there, I would bet that a growing number of teachers are seeing value not just in "selling" lesson plans, but posting them publicly for free. In doing that, you can get better feedback and open a nice discussion among other teachers to share what they all have learned, and create a better overall lesson plan that helps everyone out (especially the students)."

    Curriki is a great clearinghouse of completely free lesson plans, along with a commenting and rating system.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Tom B, Dec 17th, 2009 @ 4:14am

    Re: State Employee

    Once again someone is coming up with a industry standard example...FROM ANOTHER INDUSTRY. Ok, so you worked for the state, you also wrote code for a kiosk system, implying you were in a technical field, where they pay you to be innovative. They want you to save them money in this case, because you are doing the work and they don't have to by a COTS product to solve an issue. This doesn't translate to a teacher and what they produce and what their job duties require of them.

    Furthermore, if you want to dip into the "3 months" teachers get off, then you are now required to work on holidays and weekends. Oh, that's not fair right? Well, the goddamn kids aren't in school, so what are they going to work for? Ok, year-round school now, right?

    "Don't complain about all the after hour work grading papers..." Seriously? That's your stance? "Don't give my kid homework if you don't want to grade it" is the stance you're taking? I can't believe someone would even suggest that my wife wants to sit home and grade papers instead of playing with our own 2 children. Are you bitter? Did you have a teacher not like you? School isn't just about what is taught in a class. Parent's have to be involved as well. If a parent isn't involved it reflects on the child's classroom demeanor and grades. So by this simple statement alone, you're insinuating that you're child will not be successful in school.

    They don't give you planning time "TO MAKE PLANS" they give you planning time to prepare. You cannot write lesson plans in 30-40 minutes. Impossible. A full day of teaching requires several hours of preparation. Not to mention grading papers, calling parents and having meetings with the school administration.

    You, sir, are misinformed and need to take a professional day to sit with a teacher and enjoy the 10-12 hrs of work a day, and at the end of it- you can also be under-appreciated and under-paid. I hope you enjoy it!

     

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  48.  
    identicon
    Eric, Dec 17th, 2009 @ 5:48am

    again.. quit complaining...

    If it's a such a horrid job Tom B.. then they should quit. I'm not bitter, the people complaining are bitter. My point was people are complaining about the job they are PAID to do. If you go above and beyond to do good for the children, that's YOUR problem. I don't care if you can't write lesson plans in 30-40 mins, they still give you TIME to do it. Take it up w/ the school district if you have a problem with it.

    Everyone is always whining, it's a entitlement society.. just like the schools feel they are entitled to money from the lessons plans (which I don't think they should be entitled to, I personally think the plans should be made free because they were made on tax payer money).. the teachers feel they are entitled to a bunch of things. I think the teaching profession is in a horrid condition.. thus I would never GO INTO TEACHING!!. I just wish people would take responsibility for their choices in life.

    I'm not saying teaching is fair, I'm saying you chose that as your profession and you should have known this going in. If you're complaining about grading papers don't give the kids so much homework. My point isn't about being a GOOD teacher, my point is that there are things teachers CAN do about it. If they chose to go above and beyond, that's their choice.

     

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  49.  
    identicon
    Eric55555, Dec 17th, 2009 @ 8:56am

    Re: Why not go the distance the other way?

    Well stated -

    last time I checked most teachers had to work at home after hours - with no pay - making lesson plans, crafts, and buying goods from their own wallet to be able to provide some basic class tools to assist in their job -

    I think the teachers should charge for this to the school district.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    icon
    Ronald J Riley (profile), Dec 18th, 2009 @ 8:46am

    Exceptional Teachers

    Many teachers are drones, burned out and just marking time until they retire. But some are really good teachers who love to learn and love to see others learn. Those are the ones creating exceptional lesson plans.

    School administrators are often washed up jocks who just didn't make the grade. Many go into teaching so that they can continue to relive their glory days being big fish in little ponds. They often are the dredges of the teaching profession and become classic examples of the "Peter Principle" in that they go into administration.

    They use their position to lavish fund sports while leaving teachers without need supplies. Many of those teachers buy supplies which should have been supplied personally.

    Their lesson plans are their property and if they can sell them and recoup some of the money their have spent over the years on supplies or the value of the time they have spent doing things above and beyond their duty why shouldn't they do so?

    The problem with many TechDIRT members is that they do not understand property rights, ethics, or morality. It seems that TechDIRT has far too many members do not recognize that it is OK to use what is conferred to public domain by the owner but not OK to use that which is not.

    Ronald J. Riley,

    I am speaking only on my own behalf.
    Affiliations:
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Dawn Kruger, Jan 22nd, 2010 @ 10:24am

    intellectual property rights for teachers

    Just curious. If I work for two school districts, who owns my lesson plans?

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    research papers, Feb 10th, 2010 @ 6:52am

    cute

    Heck yeah! I mean why not sell your idea? If it is successful and efficient than no other way to spend your money. I mean teachers do buy their lesson plans at their own risk.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    icon
    Antonio (profile), Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 10:23am

    Master of vocation

    I think a teacher has to be first vocation, and whether to help their students must do to be happy to give something that should come from the heart and not think about money, if you want to gain more working class axtra

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    identicon
    goldleaf, Apr 8th, 2010 @ 12:13pm

    why would we ever bother to make yours better by giving you free publicity? If you can't take the time to actually read the site and understand the process, why should we take the time to hype up your Promotional Chocolates fake news? However, instead of just sending the usual note that PR people tend to do, this individual sent us FOUR press releases in a row, all using CAPITAL LETTERS and all marked URGENT.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    identicon
    rashood, Jun 2nd, 2010 @ 3:41am

    They often are the dredges of the teaching profession and become classic examples of the "Peter Principle" in that they go into administration. associate degree | nursing degree

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    identicon
    Soccer Merchandise, Jun 17th, 2010 @ 6:32am

    The information contained in this article gives me inspiration will be a thing, ... I thank you for the author .... Soccer Gear

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    identicon
    Answer guy, Jul 23rd, 2010 @ 3:54pm

    Whether a lesson plan is a work made for hire is fact-driven. The test was laid out in Shaul v. Cherry Valley, 363 F.3d 177 (2nd Circ. 2004).

    Lesson plans and other materials are a work made for hire if (1) the product falls within the kind of work the employee is employed to perform, (2) the production occurs within authorized work hours, and (3) it is actuated, at least in part, to serve the employer.

    In Shaul, the court ruled that lesson plans drafted by a teacher in his home after school hours, which were designed to be used in class, were works made for hire and belonged to the district.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    identicon
    generosity examples, Aug 6th, 2010 @ 2:44pm

    the question that needs to be resolve first is who owns the lesson plan? is the teacher of the one who paid him to do a lesson plan? inspirational stories of champions

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59.  
    identicon
    lisa alloju, Aug 19th, 2010 @ 6:09am

    underpaid

    why do teachers have to resort to this? are they underpaid?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60.  
    identicon
    Kevin, Oct 13th, 2010 @ 7:03pm

    Re: Look up the meaning of WORK FOR HIRE

    What rights does a teacher have to his or her lesson plans when a school system demands that they be logged into a software such as Atlas or TechPaths and the tells the teacher that your wonderful lessons no longer belong to you but to your employer!?? THEY SHOULD HAVE ALL OF THEM! Master teachers are creating lessons for the lazy and incompetent and then being told the process, steps, devices, organizers, PowerPoint presentations of notes as well as exercises, and other electronic creations do not belong to them as creator, but to their corporate educational employer. If respecting copyright is important for student and teacher and if whatever a student creates in a classroom is their intellectual property then what of the teacher's lesson plans? Teachers are artists and craftsmen, not technicians working in factory, or for some fortune 500 company pulling in 6 figures. I want all teachers and professors to unite against school systems and universities which are imposing the “logic” of the business world in the academic setting. It is time to bring law suits against aggressor school systems. Creativity is increase by the right of OWNERSHIP! If you want inventive, daring, compelling teachers who provide innovative classroom environments then you have to give them not only respect but the rights to their work. To HELL with making public what belongs to the creative genius of a teacher. If I write a poem, have an article published in a newspaper, contribute to a textbook, if I paint a painting, take a picture, I have the rights to those creations. It is no different for the teacher’s lesson plans. The moron who thinks teaching is nothing more than mechanical pushing of paper which does not involve creativity in sparking learning could never spend a week in a classroom nor do the work of a teacher… ever! So I say to you take your lazy ass out of the business world and try it dimwit! Expect a pay cut with a seven day a week job which also includes all the extra duties a teacher must perform in a school for kids outside of the classroom. You think we have every holiday off? Yes, to correct papers, plan lessons, attend school functions. You think we have the summer free? Yes, to take continuing education courses, study, LESSON PLAN, read, create curriculum. PLEASE get your head out of your corporate revolving back door!

     

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  61.  
    identicon
    newest jordan shoes, Nov 8th, 2010 @ 11:31pm

    newest jordan shoes

    Thanks SEOMoz for letting CRE tell your story so we could learn how to think like human beings instead of bots.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62.  
    icon
    willbates (profile), Nov 12th, 2010 @ 2:52am

    Or is it more of a case of lazy teachers who can't be bothered to do their preparation properly? In any case, if they created those lesson plans in work time whilst being paid by the school then it is act actually not theirs to sell, it is the schools!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63.  
    identicon
    Roy White, Nov 13th, 2010 @ 6:43am

    I dont think teachers can do just as how this resume writing services write your resume.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
    identicon
    Wonder File Reviews, Jan 23rd, 2011 @ 7:10pm

    hahaha. They well sell lesson plan? what the... I dont think they are that effective if they do it like that. Wonder File Reviews

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    identicon
    Staubsauger mit Wasserfilter, Mar 17th, 2011 @ 3:11am

    Re:

    Staubsauger gegen Schmutz Nass-Trockensauger

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66.  
    identicon
    Bloating Relief, Apr 21st, 2011 @ 9:30am

    Hi Mike dont know if this practice has spread to the UK yet but with all the coming budget cuts im sure it wont be long.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67.  
    identicon
    zipon, Apr 28th, 2011 @ 10:59pm

    The ability to learn more from other pipz.sole e95

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 26th, 2011 @ 10:42am

    How is a teacher asking 75 cents for a word puzzle theyve created any different from a major textbook company asking hundreds of thousands of dollars from a school district for pre-made workbooks and supplemental materials? Most Language Arts teachers (myself included) do not use the materials that come with our textbooks because they take a cookie-cutter approach to the readings. Not everyone across the country can relate to these canned lessons in the exact same ways. Over the course of teaching for 20 years, I've discovered a number of strategies through trial and error that work far better for my students. Why not get paid for my extra effort, ingenuity and experience? If I can do a better job developing personalized materials than the major textbook companies, then why shouldnt I be financially rewarded? Teachers are the ones who have to use these lessons! Most educators have exceptional educations and are underused resources in this regard.
    I probably have a couple thousand dollars worth of district approved, pre made lesson activities and worksheets sitting in my school closet that I will never use because they simply don't work for me or my students. I'm very good at what I do and other teachers often ask to use the materials and handouts I've developed. I've always just handed them over without a thought. Maybe what education needs is an outlet for private development of good teaching materials and strategies. Products get better as they are tested on an open market and competitors find ways to do things smarter, cheaper, and better. Why not use this idea to improve educational materials? I would welcome another source of effective, reasonably priced, educational lessons. One of the big things often overlooked in this argument is that the customers buying these lesson plans are going to be other teachers. Teachers often use hundreds of their own dollars each year buying supplies for their classrooms including posters, decorations and supplemental activities and workbooks. I know I have. The few dollars I might make selling my lesson plans will most likely be used to fund items necessary to run an effective classroom.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69.  
    identicon
    student loan, Jul 21st, 2011 @ 12:56am

    RE

    Schools pay teachers to prepare for lessons plan, so obviously the school doesn't own any materials but the teachers produce.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70.  
    identicon
    Staubsauger Test, Aug 28th, 2011 @ 11:44am

    I agree, it's not theirs to sell if they create it in their worktime.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71.  
    identicon
    Wasserfilter, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 3:07am

    If there is an idea and there is demand for it and someone even agrees to pay for it we call it a deal. What did the school add to it to make this happen?
    href="http://sauberestrinkwasser.com/wasserfilter">Wasserfilter

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  72.  
    icon
    sprearson81 (profile), Jun 8th, 2012 @ 6:27pm

    You make the plan you can sell it, I mean come on . . .

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  73.  
    identicon
    Whatiff?, Aug 5th, 2012 @ 4:27am

    Teachers can be sued for giving away other people's property!

    What if an educational institution owns the intellectual property rights of a teacher's/lecturer's material... does this mean that the institutution can sue the teacher/lecturer for giving away the institution's material?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  74.  
    identicon
    Audience Response Rental, Sep 13th, 2012 @ 9:22pm

    Audience Response Rental

    Not long ago i came accross your website and also have been reading along. I thought I would leave my initial comment. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this web site very frequently. Many thanks

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  75.  
    identicon
    Ecommerce Australia, Nov 10th, 2012 @ 4:35pm

    Ecommerce Australia

    Overall an end user friendly site, several great points! It is a well crafted article, Im going to make an effort to read others. With Respect

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  76.  
    identicon
    Horas, Nov 5th, 2013 @ 8:06am

    one if said that above will ever again

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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