Time vs. money: How teachers can maximize both

There’s two things I know for sure: teachers don’t get paid much, and their time is precious. When you need content for your students, how do you decide when to put in the effort to make the resource or when you should buy a ready-to-go resource.

Prioritizing time

For me, time is more valuable than money. I can make more money, but I can’t make more time. That’s why I absolutely love Teachers Pay Teachers. A lot of teachers struggle to put a tangible number on the value of their time. That’s something that my husband helped me with last year.

I asked him if I could buy a four dollar product on TpT. He asked me how long it would take me to make it. A couple of hours, probably. Then he asked me how much I got paid per hour. A lot more than than four bucks! It was a no brainer. Buy the product and put my time into more important things, like writing Individualized Education Plans, and creating behavior plans.

But it’s not just for the benefit of my time that I buy products. I have limitations—we all do. I love creating resources for my students, but my knowledge and creativity is limited to my training, experience, and need. Other teachers are so creative! If there is another teacher who created a resource that fits my need, I buy it. Leaning on others in the teaching community like this makes better teachers and better students.

Prioritizing money

Although I put a high value on my time, I don’t always buy resources. Sometimes I make products because my students need something that hasn’t been created yet! Other times I want to make my own for the fun of it. I love the process of creating, implementing and sharing resources I make because I get to grow as a professional and help other teachers. I opened up my Teachers Pay Teachers store, The Sped Creative, to do just that.

If you put a higher value on your money and like creating resources, you should consider opening up a store too. You're not spending money on your teaching resources, and you could actually turn a profit on them—more money to take to Lakeshore!

If you want to keep your classroom costs low, another great way to get things you need is Donors Choose. I wrote about how you can get projects for your classroom funded—anything from tissues to iPads.

At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide what’s more important. I chose to spend a few bucks a month buying products so that I can spend more time doing the other things that I enjoy. Like I said, I can’t make more time, so I want to use the time I have the best that I can.