|Full Disclosure: I love Pinterest.|
I've read and heard a lot of discussion lately about the value or lack of value with sites like Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers. Both sites are full of resources for teachers, some for free and some for a price. Full disclosure: I am a user of both sites. I like both of these resources for many different reasons. I have found many great ideas on both sites. Also, I have found success with my students using ideas and resources from both sites. Their value cannot be discounted.
However, I also view both of them in the same way I view a teacher supply store, catalog, and all other resources from various places. With the good, there is also a lot of bad. When teachers approach all of these different resources they must use professional judgement. For every one item I've found on Teachers Pay Teachers or Pinterest, I've probably passed on 100- which is the same way I approach a teacher supply store or catalog. Teachers are savvy consumers. Rather than completely discount a site or store, we should hope and trust that teachers will make the best professional decisions for their students- one idea or product at a time.
Teachers who make professional judgements and decisions ask:
1) What do I see my students doing or see in their work?
2) What do they need to progress?
3) Where can I find it, or how can I create it? -If it's beyond my already
existing toolbox of ideas, approaches, methods, etc…
4) How will I implement it?
5) How will I evaluate its impact? -Teachers who make professional judgements
always ask, "Is this working for my students?"
6) Then, what will my next steps be?
Pinterest, Teachers Pay Teachers, or any other resource site or store may just hold the answer for #2 in some situations. So, honestly, I really don't see what all the controversy is about. If a teacher follows good pedagogy, implements best practices, continually learns, and seeks out professional development opportunities, he or she should be able to freely look through resources from any site or store to find some gems. Do some teachers find or buy resources on these sites that may not be the best for students? Sure. However, they could just as easily buy or find bad resources at a store, from a catalog, or elsewhere.
Teachers are the best scavengers. Sometimes we have to scavenge through a lot of garbage to find that diamond in the rough- whether it be online, from a store, a catalog, or even from the teacher next door.