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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

How Miss Kindergarten made $1 million

Miss Kindergarten, Lovin Lit, the Moffatt Girls and about a dozen other “teacher-entrepreneurs are spinning reading, math, science and social studies into gold by selling their lesson plans online to fellow teachers,” writes Carolyn Thompson for Associated Press.

Miss Kindergarten, 32-year-old Hadar Hartstein, of Lake Forest, California, has earned more than $1 million in sales over the past six years, she says.

“Her more than 300 offerings on the popular Teachers Pay Teachers site range from free alphabet flash cards and a $1.50 Popsicle party counting activity to a $120 full-year unit on math and literacy, all of them promoted on her blog and social media accounts,” writes Thompson.

Teachers Pay Teachers claims its “80,000 contributors earned more than $100 million, and that at least a dozen have become millionaires since the site launched a decade ago,” reports Thompson. “Other major sites including Teachwise and Teacher’s Notebook, and recently such corporate players as Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Amazon, have launched sites of their own.”

Samantha Cucu, who teaches middle school in Ann Arbor, Michigan saves time by using Teachers Pay Teachers’ free and paid material.

“Sometimes they’re super-easy small purchases, like $1.20 here, $2.50 there, and sometimes they’re larger. I try not to spend over $15,” says Cucu who estimated that her prep time for school plummets from 20 to 30 hours a week to two hours if she can find what she needs online.

Teacher-entrepreneurs set their own prices at Teachers Pay Teachers and pay a commission to the site.

“My first sale was 80 cents. It was the best 80 cents I’ve made in my entire life!” says Mary Beth Nerone, who has been stocking her online store, Brain Waves Instruction, on the site with writing, poetry and other exercises for three years after budget cuts eliminated her job as a middle-school language arts teacher near Rochester, New York.

Teacher-entrepreneurs say they produce materials they sell on their own time: If they do the work at school, it could be district property. Some teaching contracts forbid teachers from selling lessons plans.

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