San Diego teachers selling their lesson plans online, but is it legal?

Website helps them make extra money on their work
Posted at 6:11 AM, May 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-08 15:08:47-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A growing number of teachers across America have turned to some web sites to help make some extra money.

One website,, lets teachers sell their lesson plans to other teachers, turning educators into entrepreneurs.

Bethany Baptiste is one of the top sellers in San Diego. She began selling lesson plans in 2012 after spending seven years as an elementary school teacher.

"I typed 'How to make extra money as a teacher' into Google and it came up," she told 10News. "I put up an old lesson plan, and the next day, somebody bought it."

Baptiste now has 45 lessons on her site. She specializes in reading, but also has lessons for history, science and just about every other subject.

"It's just a great way to share and enjoy other's work," she said.

However, there are some legal issues. Spokespeople with three of the largest school districts in San Diego say teachers need to be careful what they sell. If it's a lesson plan they write on their own time, it's fine. If they wrote it at school during working hours, or on a professional development day, then the district owns the copyright.

The San Diego Educators Association calls it a great resource for teachers. A spokesperson told 10News no one in San Diego has approached them with any legal concerns over selling lesson plans, yet.

Baptiste also said she's never had a problem with any legal questions because she never had time during working hours to write lesson plans. She said most teachers do that on their own time, so they should be able to make some money off it.

"I would love to reach the point where it becomes my full-time job," Baptiste said.

The site also helps teachers save time. Instead of using their free time to write lesson plans, they can have more time with their families and friends.

"It's not that you aren't able to create them yourself or you're being lazy," Baptiste said. "It's just sharing and enjoying each other's work."

Sharing has long been a practice among teachers, whose job is often collaborative. Many teachers used to share lesson plans for free.

To honor that, the website asks sellers to post a few free lessons on their pages. Some teachers also use the money they make to buy supplies for their classrooms. They say it helps offset budget cuts that could otherwise deprive students of materials.

Baptiste also likes the site because it opens up more options. Instead of just having your colleagues or friends' file cabinets to go through, you have thousands of teachers all over the world.

The website has more than 131,000 teachers who sell lessons. About 8,600 of them are in California. Whatever a teacher is looking for, it's just a click away, in easy-to-download forms.

"It's instant," Baptiste said. "You get on there, and get what you need in your hand in a matter of minutes."

It can also be a resource for parents who home-school their children or tutors looking for extra material.

Many of the lessons list which state and national standards they comply with, easing parent concerns that the site will cheapen their kids' educations.