When I was pregnant with my first son I made the decision to take some time off teaching. I had been working at an inner city school and the stress was taking its toll. My early years there were great despite the challenges. We had a fantastic principal who supported us and treated us like professionals. Sadly, he retired and the new principal was his polar opposite. She was incompetent to the point that the entire staff met with the superintendent begging for help. Unfortunately, our pleas fell on deaf ears and the stress continued. After suffering two miscarriages that year I decided to take a year leave in the hope to protect my new pregnancy. I was blessed with my wonderful son that November.
When I was in my early 20's I suffered a mild hearing loss. It never affected my teaching and I was able to carry on a regular everyday life. After having my son, my hearing loss progressed to the point where I knew I would not be able to be an effective classroom teacher any longer. My loss is a rare type where hearing aids provide very little assistance. According to my audiologist I rely on lip reading and body language for 80% of my hearing. This change to my life was devastating. I had spent so much time and money on my education (Bachelor's and Master's degrees) and I really enjoyed teaching. To have it no longer an option was hard to face.
I am a good bargain shopper and good at keeping to a budget (read cheap!) so we were able to get by on my husband's salary. When my son was nearing preschool age I started to realize that tuition would be a stretch on our monthly budget. Around that time eBay was all the rage and I started to think about what I could sell to help bring in some preschool tuition money. I had written quite a bit of my own curriculum materials while teaching due to the lack of resources at our inner city school. It seemed a burden at the time, but ended up being a blessing in disguise for me. I decided to put together a few of the novel studies that I created and see if there was a market on eBay for my materials. Turns out there was! I was able to make enough to pay the monthly preschool tuition and give us a little breathing room in our budget.
I was able to expand my sales outlets over the following years to eNotes and Amazon. I was able to make enough to save up for Lasik surgery (when I can see clearly I can hear better!) and even some family vacations. I was pretty proud of my little business. Then came TpT!
TpT allowed me to take my little fun money business to a whole different level. In the past five years, in addition to funding family vacations, it has allowed me to create a college fund for my three kids and a retirement fund for myself. It has given my family financial stability with savings in the bank. I incorporated the business in 2013 and registered the trademark for my name and logo, as well as registered the copyright of my work. My hobby business has turned into a real company. And I was able to do this all from my home so I am here everyday for my kids and able to be flexible to join in for school functions or volunteer in their classrooms.
Of course the money is wonderful, but in addition, and more importantly than the money, the success that TpT has brought me has helped me regain my confidence. It has made me feel that I am still working within my trained profession as a true contributor. I may not be working face to face with students everyday due to my hearing loss, but my ideas and creations are. I am still touching students and making a difference. That means the world to me and I thank TpT everyday for providing this outlet to me and all the other wonderful teacherpreneurs out there!
So Happy Anniversary TpT, here's to many more wonderful years together! :)
Here's a great graphic from the TpT site to explain more about all they do for me and many, many other teachers out there! Click on the graphic to learn more about opening a store for yourself!