Reflections and Resources from Tarheelstate Teacher: #tptvegas15 Take Aways
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#tptvegas15 Take Aways

I've finally recovered from #tptvegas! It was so amazing! Life changing is the best way to describe tptvegas but there are so many other words to say! So much to share! We literally learned from one another, collaborated, and socialized for 3 days straight {maybe longer for those who were able to stay longer!} With that said, I'm going to stay focused in this post on the personal reflections and take-aways I experienced @tptvegas2015. Tomorrow I will share some of the pictures I took with some of my teacherpreneur idols

Mr. Tarheelstate and I arrived on Wednesday around 11 am. It was our only day with some down-time to spend with one another, but we made it to the Vegas Blogger Meet up hosted by some talented bloggers Wednesday evening. They gave away $55,000 worth of prizes and swag from GoNoOdle and Scentos. Over 1000 teacher-bloggers showed up, and it was THIS ah~mazing! The hubby went with me and I think he was blown away that I wasn't a lone teacher-blogger-nerd! He said "I had no idea there were this many of you." Well, these are {just} the ones who showed up in Vegas. #mindblown #teacherpower
I am SO.in.LOVE. with my teacher business now because of this conference. I loved it pre-conference experiences, but now I AM IN LOVE with it. Teacher-drained-burn-out funk GONE! Here's my list of take-aways from my time in Vegas. Feel free to comment to share what you think!

Teacherspayteachers is a gift that I should be utilizing to it's fullest potential. The time I put into my teacher resources business and blog will allow many of my dreams to come true {more vacations, becoming a stay at home mom for a few years, paying off my mortgage well before 30 years, paying cash for a new car, all the other dreams that will open up as income increases}. Now, don't think for one minute that I am currently making enough money on TPT to make each of those come true, but tpt earnings have served me very well in the past three years as I furnished my new home, paid off my Camry, paid for emergencies like a broken air conditioner without it hurting my wallet too much, bought resources and materials for my classroom, and paid for endless other little "needs" that I earmarked my earnings for. Most recently, I've paid for a few {expensive} business needs like a new blog design, a lifetime font license, and my teachers pay teachers earnings will pay for my entire trip to the TPT conference in Vegas last week, which was expensive coming from the East coast and with the hubs along (two mouths to feed!). In the future, teacherspayteachers will also allow me to use my generous instincts more often to help others and pay it forward. 

Realizing that tpt is a gift that I should be utilizing to it's fullest potential is the most important aha! I took about a year off from doing much with my teaching business or blog because I was a burned out teacher. Putting my heart into a teaching resource or a blog post would have been a farce while in the depths of being so done, so I stayed away from most things tpt and blogging related and I still had good earnings. For the past two years, my earnings have actually been nearly the same--a substantial addition to my monthly teacher salary, but not really growing. Was I appreciating the gift that is tpt? Well, I needed the money to keep coming because I have become accustomed to the extra income, but I wasn't appreciating it by continuing to grow my business. I wasn't appreciating it by ensuring that I continue to offer NEW high quality resources.

PASSIVE INCOME IS POWERFUL. I make cha-ching in my sleep. I made cha-ching in Vegas last week while I was enjoying the city or sitting in trainings. I make cha-ching while I'm in my classroom doing my day job. I repeat, PASSIVE INCOME IS POWERFUL. I already believed this before #tptvegas15, but it is a huge aha that I want to impart to other teachers who are not yet building a teacher store. You WANT passive income. I learned not to compare myself to others and to not feel like I am always behind. Get working NOW and focus on the goal, the vision, the dreams and create passive income for yourself and your family.

Attending the teacherspayteachers conference was the best decision that I could have made for myself, my family, and my teaching career {not to mention my teacher-business}. It wasn't easy for me to do. We were in the process of buying a house and spending over $1200 on the hotel and flights for "some teacher conference" might have seemed a little crazy, but I knew that if we took the trip, he nor I would ever regret it. After meeting so many dedicated teachers, educational professionals, and teacherpreneurs, I have an unstoppable drive to continue teaching AND grow my teacher resources business and I have unstoppable motivation for blogging and sharing my knowledge. Not to mention, now I have another planner, a "to do" list that I take very seriously, and deadlines that are REAL. If you are a buyer of my products, lookout for revisions of some of my best sellers, including answer keys that have been highly requested! {Think Human Body Systems and Words their Way Word Searches!}


Teacherspayteachers is a business that makes teaching a LUCRATIVE career. I have no shame in saying this. Many teachers who have not received salary increases are able to balance their low salaries with their tpt earnings. Rather than getting a part-time job that is unrelated to teaching, teachers can work from home (while cooking dinner, doing laundry, spending time with their children) and can build a personal, home-based business completely around their schedule. Want to work in the morning? Do it! Want to work at 12 at night when everyone else is asleep? Do it! Have 3 week breaks because you are at a year-round school? Spend your time and energy developing high-quality teaching resources. You probably already do this for your own classroom anyway. Just make your materials professional, standards-based, and by thinking about how another teacher might want to use or adapt the resources, and BAM! You have a resource designed for your own classroom AND a product for teacherspayteachers that will {surely} help another group of students.   

Teacherspayteachers IS NOT a competition. It's not that there is a slice of THE pie for everyone to take a percentage of; there are multiple pies for buyers to choose from and that makes all of our "pies" better. "A rising tide lifts all boats" is a holy statement when it comes to teacherspayteachers. The environment is ultra-collaborative and supportive. People are willing to giveaway business advice for FREE. We don't worry too much about the copycats because no one can really think exactly how we think and do exactly what we do. Keep moving and people who think like you think will follow you, respect you, and want to know more about what you do in your classroom and what wisdom you have gathered over the years. 


Butt + chair = PROGRESS. While we are not competing with one another, we either ARE or ARE NOT making progress on our own goals and our own business. Putting the butt in the chair is how I will make progress...the.only.way.I.will.make.progress. I can make to-do lists, brainstorm a million ideas, think about awesome things to blog about all.day.long, but if I do not put my butt in a chair, shut the office door, and get in the zone, I will just have an overwhelming list of ideas and no progress. 
Teacherspayteachers is a way to "Be the Change." We are changing lives. Teachers in classrooms using our materials and reading our blogs are changing lives. Teacher bloggers and sellers write helpful tips, host giveways of free teaching materials, create resources (give away a ton for free) and do so much on the world-wide-web that CHANGES teachers' lives and impacts students in classrooms in which we have never stepped foot. When a teacher purchases one of my resources, has more time for their family, finds just what they need in order to actually focus on TEACHING their students, it's a big deal. Teachers who have amazing abilities to change lives in their own classrooms with their amazing ideas SHOULD NOT be holding back. Share that knowledge with others! Can you imagine being a first or second year teacher these days? {Or if you are one??} Beginning teachers have a wealth of ideas, tips, and resources to access right at their fingertips {Hello, Google.} I started teaching in 2005 and I had folders of worksheets that I copied from my cooperating teacher, a few "go-to" books for ideas, but NOTHING in comparison to what is available through teachers pay teachers and on blogs today. I believe we are CHANGING education faster than any government or state initiative or any textbook publisher could ever dream of. 

Collaboration is KEY and fun! See "Teacherspayteachers is not a Competition." As we "come together," we will go further. Educators need to collaborate. We need to have open doors to share our ideas and struggles. I loved our conference theme. It is so encompassing of what teacherspayteachers truly is. My biggest goal for heading to tptvegas (besides having fun and a mini-vacation) was finding like-minded teachers to collaborate with. I really wanted to search out my 4th and 5th grade peeps, but I met so many other teachers that I can ask questions and share ideas with. I feel like the entire point (besides sharing business tips and advice) was to collaborate. Bring us all together in one place and surely we will synergize! I am so looking forward to collaborating with the many teachers I made connections with in Vegas. That, my friends, was priceless! 

I thought there was a possibility that the hubs would say "Well, I went with you this year. You can go alone next year." Before the sun had even set on Wednesday, he was already talking about next year. Next year is a MUST and I am so looking forward to doing it again!!! {Perhaps adding a little more sleep to the equation :) 
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Be blessed ya'll! And love it all, all that you can! 



4 comments:

  1. What a wonderful and well-written post. I wasn't able to make it to the conference this year, but I truly appreciated reading your post on it!

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  2. Liana, thank you so much for your comment! I really hope this post was helpful and wanted to share how much of a gift teachers pay teachers is. I LOVE it as a buyer and a teacher who needs lots of materials to differentiate for my classroom and I love what it gives me the opportunity and potential for as a seller. Hope you pop over to my blog lots and I really appreciate the comment!
    Tammy

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  3. I loved this post, especially the part about using TpT to supplement income.Girl, we know the NC state legislature sure isn't going to pay up. Am I right?! Glad I found you on the linky.

    Angie Kratzer

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  4. Angie,

    Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting! Teacher authors put a lot of time and energy into creating high quality resources. We should all CELEBRATE when we pay teachers for classroom materials instead of Houghton Mifflin and Pearson! I know I sure feel good when I think about a seller on Teachers Pay Teachers getting an email when I purchase a product! I'll be investing more of my time into my small business instead of waiting on my raise!!!
    Tammy

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