Should Teachers Be Ashamed When They Promote Their Work?

Blogger’s Note:  This has the potential to be an uncomfortable conversation, y’all, and I’m not sure that my thoughts are completely polished yet.  Hope you will respect this for what it is: Transparent first-draft reflection on a topic that I think has real implications for our profession. 

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A few weeks back, I wrote a bit here on the Radical promoting my newest book – Making Teamwork Meaningful — that was cross-posted on the Center for Teaching Quality’s TransformED blog.

In it, I shared the reasons why I think Making Teamwork Meaningful is a worthwhile read, I pointed to the collection of free resources from the book that are posted online, and I posted a series of recommendations from peers who had reviewed it in advance.

An anonymous reader of the TransformED post questioned my decision to advertize the release of MTM, writing:

Having read so many of your worthwhile posts, I am disappointed that
this is merely a promotion of your new book.

I knew it was coming and
would have been interested in a simple announcement that it is now
available. You have, however, gone over the top here.

You have taken
advantage of a great blog for self-prmotuion. For shame.

As a guy who is trying to build a bit of a career beyond the classroom — something that I can turn to during the two months a year that I’m not working with students — Anonymous’s take has challenged me to think about who I am as a professional AND who where we are as a profession.

 

The simple truth is that — like a lot of other classroom teachers —
I need a part time job in order to make ends meet around my house.  But
instead of pumping gas or stocking shelves at the Piggly Wiggly, I’ve decided to try to sell what I know.

And while I’m constantly giving away content for free (see here, here, here and here for starters), I’m also hoping that interested audiences might actually buy my books, come to my workshops or hire me for onsite professional development with their faculties.

I won’t hide it: I really DO want people who stumble across my content to see me as a potential expert worth investing in.

But maybe that’s a truth best left unsaid in our profession?

Has wanting to profit off of our expertise inadvertently become the ultimate
betrayal in a service-driven field where sacrifice has long been the criteria used for identifying the
heroes in our hallways?

And if so, what are the consequences for our standing as professionals?

Isn’t it possible that one of the reasons people beyond the classroom don’t respect the knowledge and skills of classroom teachers is because we so often refuse to publicly lay claim to the title of “educational expert?”

Maybe I’m over-reacting — or maybe I’m just a paranoid curmudgeon — but I really do see every post that I write and every bit of content that I create as a digital haymaker in my own personal fight to defend practicing teachers as professionals.

The way I see it, we can’t afford to hide what we know anymore because every time we hide what we know, our critics feel justified in questioning just how valuable we really are.

Almost 20 years ago, my mom and dad gave me a plaque that still hangs in my classroom.  It reads:

A hundred years from now, it will not matter what my bank account
was, the sort of home I lived in, or the kind of car I drove; What will matter is that the
world will be different because I was important in the life of a child.

Those words resonate with me simply because the handful of very human moments when I know without a doubt that I’ve made a meaningful and lasting difference in the life of one of my students really DO mean WAY more than the cash that I pull in on quarterly royalty checks from my publisher.

But I guess I’m just worried that the “sacrifice-with-a-smile” attitude we’ve built into a professional mythology over the past 100 years is simultaneously cheapening our field in the eyes of our critics AND chasing our most talented practitioners out of our classrooms. 

Any of this make sense?

___________________________

Related Radical Reads:

The Self-Promoting Teacher

Shameless Self-Promotion in Social Media Spaces

Twitter Snobs or Efficient Learners

 

39 thoughts on “Should Teachers Be Ashamed When They Promote Their Work?

  1. Bill Ferriter

    Thanks a ton for the kind words, Chris!
    Im not too worried about folks like Anonymous simply because I do give so much away for free — and I think most people know and recognize that.
    What really rolls through my mind is how the teachers shouldnt brag attitude holds back our profession. When you cant market yourself as an expert without being shamed, it becomes impossible to take ownership of our field, doesnt it?
    Looking forward to seeing you next week!
    Bill

  2. ChrisWejr

    Hey buddy – I know you did not post this for everyone to give you a pat on the back and you already know I truly respect your work and am exciting to dive into your book. So let’s talk about self-promotion. I wrote a post back in November and I was critical of a shift to TOO much self-promtion. If this anonymous person is a reader of your blog they should know that you mostly promote the work of others and the ideas happening in your school. Promoting what WE do is important… just like promoting what others do is important. Finding that balance is a challenge for most but you definitely have it figured out.
    As for the anonymous comments… I am a big believer that these should not be allowed. We have a society that has given power to those without the courage to say things face to face or even attach a name to something. So much is said that would wither NEVER be said or framed quite differently if people had to put their actual name or say it face to face. I will leave you with a quote from Brene Brown:
    “The fear of being vulnerable can unleash cruelty, criticism, and cynicism in all of us. Making sure we take responsibility for what we say is one way that we can check our intentions. Dare greatly and put your name on your posted comments online. If you don’t feel comfortable owning it, then don’t say it. And if you’re reading this and you have control over online sites that allow comments, then you should dare greatly and make users sign in and use real names, and hold the community responsible for creating a respectful environment.”
    Whenever leaders stick their necks out to help educatons, we risk getting criticized. This is because the ideas sometimes make others uncomfortable and that is a good thing. Keep doing what you love as it helps all of us.

  3. Jacqui

    And don’t forget that many of us work year-to-year. We get a one year contract with no guarantee of another. Mine’s even ’employment at will’. How do you build a life on such shaky foundations without promoting yourself?

  4. Tia

    I don’t have much to add either, but to say that I think it is great that you have published a book and wrote a blog post about it with some links. Why wouldn’t you? It’s your blog and it’s your book. I’d think it was strange if one didn’t do that.
    We are fortunate to have you coming to our district next week, to share your knowledge and passion.
    I agree with what all the others have said.
    Good for you and I’ll look forward to having lunch with you next week.
    Tia

  5. Bill Ferriter

    Holy crap, Daniel: Are you TRYING to get me killed?!
    If I recommend MY first PLC book — Building a Professional Learning Community at Work (http://bit.ly/bplchandouts), which was the 2010 Learning Forward Staff Development Book of the Year award winner AND which sounds like it would be RIGHT up your alley considering that its subtitled A Guide to the First Year AND which was endorsed by PLC experts like Rick DuFour, Becky DuFour, Bob Eaker and Mike Mattos — Anonymous would blow a gasket!
    Theres NO WAY that I could ever do that.
    Even if I DO know the author pretty well and could promise you a TON of free conversations whenever you wanted them.
    Nope. Couldnt do that.
    #snark
    On a more serious note, the two books that I think are perfect for PLCs that are just getting started are Learning by Doing and Building a Professional Learning Community at Work. Both share similar content and are equally worthwhile. You cant go wrong with either one.
    The primary difference, I think, is that Learning by Doing has more researchy type stuff to support the rationale behind PLCs and Building a Professional Learning Community at Work is written in a more relaxed tone. For what its worth, my own school is using LBD as a book study this year.
    Hope this helps — and seriously, Im always willing to bounce ideas around if you want to go deeper into the hows and whys behind starting a new school. #beenthere #donethat
    Rock right on,
    Bill
    PS: Ill actually be in San Diego this spring doing a two-day #edtech workshop for Solution Tree. Maybe we can get up for a drink!

  6. Daniel Winters

    Bill
    I’m completely offended by your shameless self promotion and demand a free copy of each of your books.
    #tongueincheek
    Seriously Bill, Rock on! Your ideas and honest self reflection are a cool drink of water to thirsty learners.
    Btw I’m opening a K-6 school in July and would like either 1) to convince you to move to beautiful San Diego or 2) give me your best recommendation for the book to serve as a foundation for our PLC (Feel free to name your own if you like. I promise not to tell anonymous)
    #PLNmining
    Keep up the great work in 2013

  7. Bo Adams

    In my opinion, you should feel no shame at promoting your good thinking and publishing. You are showing up for the game, and you are doing your share to help us all to be better educators. You are not showboating or excessively celebrating in the end zone. You are letting your team know that you have your skills and talents to share. You are playing your music so that we can riff and improvise with you in conversation. Write on. Share on. Promote on.

  8. Bill Ferriter

    Hey Nancy,
    First, thanks for your kind words and for stopping by. #muchappreciated
    And the other thing I dug in Patricks comment is that most of us that are being paid to work beyond the classroom would happily talk and share and think with anyone at any time whether we are being paid or not. Helping others really is our first and primary passion.
    But there IS a market for educational consultants — and if schools see our advice as a worthwhile investment, we shouldnt be ashamed to put ourselves out into that market. Someones going to fill that space. Why SHOULDNT it be practitioners?
    Its a fun conversation for sure….
    Bill

  9. Nancy C.

    Hi Bill,
    Congratulations on your book! We need experts like you writing about our field! I agree with Patrick that often our districts pay for consultants from big name companies when we have our own experts in house.
    Shame on those who try to make us ashamed of the great work being done in education. Did anonymous click on the link you provided for your book? I’m thinking NOT for if s/he had, they would have discovered the FREE printable resources that could be used in conjunction with the book or on separately. Providing additional materials does not sound like someone shamelessly promoting themselves.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and ideas.

  10. Lyn Hilt

    You are an amazing resource. I’ve so appreciated all you have shared and look forward to what’s ahead. Your expertise as a practitioner makes what you give us – or sell- priceless. It’s a struggle many of us have, but we work hard at what we do, and we and our colleagues and students are the better for it.

  11. Bill Ferriter

    Ariel wrote:
    When teachers, educators, administrators, are earning what they SHOULD
    be earning instead of what society MAKES them earn AND when society
    embraces the words of the plaque given to you by your parents, then
    teachers, educators, and administrators wont feel the struggle to make
    ends meet.
    – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    This is such an important point, Ariel. It reflects the thinking of Nick Provenzano, who commented early yesterday.
    The sad truth — the truth that society should be embarrassed by — is that at least here in non-union states, teachers really cant make ends meet. Thats what puts us into the position where we do have to sell ourselves in order to make up for all of the things we cant afford.
    My brother has poked me about being a 10 month employee and having 8 weeks off a year since I entered teaching. Over Christmas, though, he was floored to learn that after 20 years — and after earning a masters degree and National Board Certification in order to raise my salary by about 20% over other teachers with the same experience as I have — Im still only making $50,000 a year.
    Holy Crap, he said, Dad was making that 20 years ago.
    Then, he was blown away to find out that we hadnt had a raise of any kind in 4 years — and that our first raise in five years was for 1.25%. I get at least a 3% cost of living adjustment every year no matter what, he said.
    Now dont get me wrong: Im happy to have a job and even happier to have a defined benefit pension.
    But when people criticize me for trying to earn cash beyond the classroom, I get touchy simply because I need the money!
    Thanks for stopping by.
    Bill

  12. Elisa Waingort

    Hey Bill,
    Thank you for your honesty and soul searching. I did not happen to read the post where you talk about your book so I can’t comment on the anonymous commenter, but congratulations! You’ve done something I would also like to do. Others have encouraged me to get something published and I’m working on that. The more classroom teachers that make their practice public, the better off education will be for everyone. Although I am not necessarily looking to make more money over the summer months, I am interested in branching out from the classroom to doing consultancy work and/or working at the university level because of the reasons you enumerate in your post about spreading good teaching and making our teaching public. Once this becomes more common then we will be able to defend what we’re doing whenever we are attacked.

  13. Bill Ferriter

    Over on his blog, Miguel Guhlin wrote:
    Fortunately, over the years, I’ve met people who work in sales but don’t act like the stereotype of a car salesperson.
    Their primary goal isn’t sales, but helping me get what I need/want, helping me find what best meets the need/want.
    – – – – – –
    I love this, Miguel.
    It’s probably the single most articulate statement of who I want to be as a professional beyond the classroom.
    I won’t lie — I’m a salesman. I want to make a living, and working beyond the classroom is how I’ve chosen to do that.
    But I want to make a living helping other people. I want to match their needs with ideas — whether or not those ideas are mine — that may move them forward.
    I guess I see myself as one of those guides that take people on river rafting trips through the Grand Canyon.
    You pay those folks for their expertise. They know best how to get safely from point A to point B — and that knowledge is something that you are more than happy to pay for because you REALLY want to get from point A to B safely.
    But they’d go rafting with you for free any day. It’s what they do. It’s who they are. It’s their passion too.
    Thanks for the metaphor. You’ve moved my thinking forward.
    Bill

  14. Ariel Margolis

    I was introduced to your blog yesterday and am fascinated by what you have written. When teachers, educators, administrators, are earning what they SHOULD be earning instead of what society MAKES them earn AND when society embraces the words of the plaque given to you by your parents, then teachers, educators, and administrators won’t feel the struggle to “make ends meet.” As a teacher, I guess I “sell” my expertise by tutoring students. If I could, I would charge nothing. If I won the lottery, I tell my family and friends that I would still teach for it is a calling to do Holy Work. Sharing your wisdom – be it free or for a price – is priceless. After all, we never entered this field to make money. We entered the field to make a difference in a child’s life. And your book will help us educators meet that goal! Congrats on the book and good luck on your future endeavors!

  15. Sue Bursztynski

    What a drama about one idiot who didn’t even have the guts to post a name. I wouldn’t have published the comment, let alone felt guilty about it. The reason WHY teachers are underpaid and overworked is because they can so easily be made to feel guilty. You don’t owe anyone an explanation. If you were writing self help diet books, nobody would ask you to justify. Nobody would even ask you for your qualifications.
    BTW, I hate the word pedagogy. In the ancient world the pedagogue wasn’t the teacher, he was the slave who took kids to school. Says something, though, about the attitude to teachers, doesn’t it? 😉

  16. Philip Cummings

    I concur with the comments of others, and I hold strong feelings of disdain for anonymous comments on the whole–but I admit they can (occasionally) be insightful. Obviously, the comment struck a cord causing you to reflect in this post.
    People choose this profession for altruistic reasons. Selflessness is a part of who we are, and self-promotion and monetizing expertise rub against that grain. Should they? No, probably not, but that doesn’t mean it won’t make us and others feel weird.
    Here’s the thing, Bill. I feel like I know you a little. I’ve been reading your blog (and books, wiki, and slides) for years, but we’ve also met face to face. We’ve shared meals, our experiences, and our learning. You’ve made my classroom better, and hopefully, I’ve encouraged you a bit along the way. I’m comfortable with your promoting your work because the good stuff needs to be shared, and I know why you do what you do. I’ll be buying the book. I doubt “anonymous” is qualified to question your motives or suggest how you can use your blog. That seems much more egotistical to me than saying “Hey, I wrote a new book, you should check it out.”
    See you in a few weeks!

  17. Runningdmc

    Bill:
    1. You absolutely can use your blog to promote your thoughts, your philosophy, and…(gasp)… your book. Tim Ferriss does a great job at this. I love his blog and his book. We don’t do this enough in education.
    2. Society doesn’t give us enough credit as experts, you’re right. If we just count advanced degrees, or years in the classroom, or previous career experience, chances are that we do have expertise to share.
    3. If mechanics, doctors, nurses, or attorneys do more work outside their hours or on the side, they get paid. But teachers can’t? Hmmm…
    4. Perceived value. We own a fitness business–husband runs it now, I can’t contribute the time. I was horrible at the charging part, good at the working/customer part. When we perceive that we have no value, we create a situation where we are not valued. The business is growing, and people pay their bills–tons of customer service, people appreciate getting the best and are willing to pay. No different with teaching–you provide value, people are happy to pay.
    Never apologize:) To some extent, we are all marketing ourselves every day. Teachers need to do more of it with pride!!
    Thanks for this blog. (When I have a book, you can be darned sure I’ll promote it on my blog, too:) )

  18. Maura OToole

    I always think about a review I had years ago now where everyone evaluated everyone- there were 30+ staff members and 2 out of 30+ gave me very low points in “working for the best interest of all children at the school” those 2 negative reviews still pain me and I rarely think of the 28 members who gave me high points in the same area. I think that sometimes we focus on the negative comments more then we should- especially anonymous ones. You deserve to promote your work, you deserve to profit from your work, we who read you blog benefit from your work- don’t blame one sad internet troll when you have many more who champion your work.

  19. Bill Ferriter

    Hey all y’all:
    First, thanks a TON for your kind words and encouragement this morning.
    That wasn’t my goal when writing this bit, but it feels good anyway.
    Second, while I’d love to reply to everyone individually, there’s just too many comments to be able to get to before I go to the park and play with my girl!
    I know you’ll understand.
    A few follow-up thoughts, though:
    I really don’t take the comments from Anonymous personally — I know that they’re only one person and that most people recognize that the handful of posts I’ve written promoting my own paid work are nothing compared to the 735 bits that I’ve shared here over the past few years.
    So I’m not worried about me.
    But I really AM worried about teaching as a profession — and what I see in Anonymous’s comments are ideas that really DO swirl around in our faculty lounges and in our online social spaces.
    And that’s made it tough for us to reimagine our own role in education.
    If our first reaction is to look at teachers who are crafting new roles for themselves — being entrepreneurial, as Scott and James describe — or to be worried about what others think when we are the ones who are being entrepreneurial, aren’t we more than a little screwed?
    Education’s glass ceiling — the complete and total lack of stratification that results in the sad truth that my formal work responsibilities within the system will ONLY change when I decide to walk out of the classroom — can only be broken when we begin to create new roles for ourselves.
    But when we create those new roles, our intentions are questioned.
    #conundrum
    I guess what I’m asking is how do we go about redefining the roles of our profession to create a world where “teacher” doesn’t HAVE to mean “selfless dude without two nickels to rub together who endures with humility rather than works to capitalize on what he knows?”
    And if we CAN’T redefine those roles — if the general assumption is that the norms of education are too immutable to ever be refined or revised — then shouldn’t we just stop pretending that teachers are anything but the blue-collar grunts in someone else’s intellectual army?
    Any of this make sense?
    Bill

  20. HCPSMarshall

    Most blogs I see promote some resource or author, so I’m not sure where the objection lies. If the person has an objection, then he/she can tune out the blog. That’s the miracle of content on the web. It would of course be nice to objectively provide information about resources by other authors.

  21. Jennifer Leung

    Wow, this one statement caught me right between the eyes:
    “But I guess I’m just worried that the “sacrifice-with-a-smile” attitude we’ve built into a professional mythology over the past 100 years is simultaneously cheapening our field in the eyes of our critics AND chasing our most talented practitioners out of our classrooms.”
    Shame has been a tool of teacher control from the beginning of the profession, especially when women became teachers. Accusations like the one Anonymous made all contain the same shaming subtext of “What makes you think you’re better than everyone else (you’re *just* a teacher)?” and are a constant stream of Know Your Place. Know Your Place. Know Your Place.
    There’s a difference between self-promotion (becoming a spammy bot with link-bait promises) and doing the work of professionals. If we wait until some suitor comes along to beg a spot on our dance card, we’ll all be judged as fine, upstanding, moral beings–but we’ll still be wallflowers. Why wait? Pick yourself.
    I wish you nothing but success!

  22. Jennifer Wagner

    This was a very timely post for me — THANK YOU.
    I am one who struggles GREATLY with self-promotion —
    both in being annoyed when others do so — yet, wishing I knew better how to market myself.
    After reading all the comments….I stand in agreement with most. Don’t let the judgements of just ONE person sway your belief if sharing your ideas — both freely and financially.
    If you ended each blog post with “oh, remember to buy my book” — and you had TONS of ads on your page — and you used Amazon affliate links all over the place, and you said “ME ME ME” all the time…..I would say “yes, you are self-promoting for self-gain way too much.”
    But to share a personal example — about 6 months I asked you to provide a free book for our edcamp with your autograph — WHICH YOU FREELY did.
    I don’t think it is wrong to supplement our incomes a bit with selling our material online — However, I do agree it is a good thing to also offer free resources as well.
    And I know that you do both!
    and I thank you for doing so.
    Jen

  23. SISQITMAN

    I don’t have much to add to what has already been stated by other commenters, but it did give me a broader perspective of the issue of the ways we use our talents beyond the scope of the classroom or schools. I’m actually amazed at the things some educators are able to do beyond their regular teaching, admin. roles, etc. and how they find the time and focus to do it. My supt. and I have appreciated your posts and they have been fodder for discussion between us and with our staff. Thanks for that, Bill.

  24. Scott Boylen

    To echo most of the others here, congrats on the book and ignore the mad ramblings of the misinformed disgruntled. As teachers, we have every right, as do others, to make a dollar for what we do and know. This is especially true in todays world where public school educators seem under attack again.
    If it is not negatively affecting your teaching/work for your school district, then there is no problem.
    Write on! Feel good about sharing what you care about with others who are interested and ignore, as best you can, those who seem to gain something from slinging mud at anything they somehow disagree with.
    Good luck with the book!

  25. Brian Rock

    Let me jump on the bandwagon here and say, “Nope. No need to feel ashamed.”
    I agree with so many other comments that it’s hard to pick which one to add on to without writing a whole post. So instead let me add a different line of thought from critical theory.
    Believing that writing (and blogging) can be free from promotion is like believing that the news can be completely “neutral” or that a writer of history can be entirely “objective.”
    It’s impossible. The act of interpreting historical documents is inherently subjective, and simply writing something and putting your name on it is implicitly promoting yourself and your brand.
    If it’s impossible to write without promoting yourself, it would be silly to try and embrace some impossible ideal of being non-promotional. Instead, you need to embrace it and decide where on the spectrum of “soft sell” to “hard sell” you want to sit.
    Accept reality, and stake your claim in it.

  26. Wmchamberlain

    I love it when an anonymous person online treats us like they are a jealous brother-in-law. The comment smacks of ‘you owe me’ and I disagree completely. You owe your family, students, and to a degree your community. You don’t owe us anything. I appreciate what you are willing to share and if you want to promote things too, that is fine by me.

  27. Jeff Bigler

    First of all, it’s your blog. Appropriate content is, by definition, whatever you choose to post.
    That said, our society is becoming more and more schizophrenic in its attitudes towards teachers. On the one hand, teachers are held to a higher moral standard than just about any other profession (with the possible exception of the priesthood. In many places, teachers are criticized for unpopular lifestyle choices, editorial comments in local media, etc. Any faux pas by a teacher has the potential to become a significant breach of the public’s trust in our moral fabric.
    And yet the same public also vilifies the profession, attempting to strip away everything that individualizes our classrooms and our students’ education in the name of consistency and higher scores on tests that measure only the lowest of low-level thinking skills.
    It goes without saying that the public expects us to be completely altruistic, because the alternative in their eyes is that we must be profiteering from innocent children. Yet in the same breath they strip our schools of funds to the point where we become used to making daily quality-of-life sacrifices in order to be able to maintain our altruism to our own satisfaction.
    On the other side of the coin, I also get criticized by businesspeople for giving away materials that took thousands of hours over a decade of teaching. They ask incredulously why I give these things away when I could sell them for a profit?
    It is impossible to please everyone. No matter what choice you make, someone will be disgruntled with it. Just as no one goes into teaching for the money, no one goes into teaching in order to be valued and respected by society either. The cliche that “teaching is its own reward” is true because anyone who doesn’t believe the cliche burns out and leaves the profession.
    So by all means promote your book.
    I have never suffered from learning what other teachers do, whether or not I end up adopting any of their ideas. And if promoting your book also makes you feel good about making other educators aware of something of value, that’s also a good thing. But either way, don’t let the detractors get under your skin. If a blog post doesn’t interest them, they always have the option of skipping it quietly with dignity.

  28. James Brauer

    Oh, it’s also worth highlighting the comment derived from an anonymous poster.
    One’s credibility is lost if they cannot stand with conviction by their own words.

  29. Rrmurry

    So let me get this straight:
    Someone thinks it is not right for someone who “lives in the classroom,” year after year, to sell their knowledge to help others who live in their classrooms as well.
    BUT, it’s okay for someone who has never been in a classroom, or got out of it before certification renewals came, to create lessons and sell, or receive education-based grants, their knowledge as pedagogical experts (Khan, KIPP, Rocketship, etc.).
    Keep writing, speaking, and making us career educators proud to know you and your work.

  30. James Brauer

    What a great, timely blog post.
    My take on this is rather blunt.
    Businesses, service- or product-based, identify a market need and produce a service or product that best solves that need.
    The business model one chooses can be to provide these services/products for free, or for a profit.
    Ultimately, consumers will determine which business model is most sustainable. As such, a business must identify who their true niche market, or consumer, is.
    Perhaps this is the first step to recognizing your true business model, mission, and vision?

  31. Scott McLeod

    Good grief. All you essentially did is post links to the book along with the testimonials on the back cover. It’s okay to take pride in our work. It’s okay to share. It’s okay to supplement our income. It’s okay to be entrepreneurial. It’s okay to create value in multiple ways, some free and some not. It’s okay not to feel guilty…
    If one anonymous reader is concerned that one out of your hundreds of posts is touting a resource that you created that (gasp!) actually costs money, let him or her go and don’t waste another second worrying about it.
    Keep up the good work, Bill. And I’ll keep buying your books. 🙂

  32. Gcouros

    Here are some questions for you Bill…does the quality of your teaching or what you do because you make money as an expert suffer?
    Does your school district lose out in any way because you write books or present? OR, does it actually build prestige for the district that they have an “expert” in their schools?
    Does having a passion beyond the classroom make you less of a teacher, or in fact, a better one?
    I want my teachers to do things that they LOVE outside of their jobs because that makes them more real to the kids they serve. Jesse McLean is a phenomenal teacher and a great college basketball coach and we all know that great coaches and great coaches have many things in common. He gets paid to coach so does that lessen him as a teacher?
    Honestly dude, do what makes you happy, and if you get paid for it, why is that a bad thing?
    Congratulations on the book!

  33. Patrickmlarkin

    Hey Bill,
    First of all Happy New Year! Second, like Pernille and Nick, I have struggled with this whole idea of making money as a perceived “expert.” The bottom line for me (and you as you’ve shown over and over) is that I would talk about this stuff all day long for nothing. I love the work I do and I feel fortunate to have a network that has helped me to learn so much.
    I believe we are fortunate to have classroom practitioners like you (and Nick and Pernille) who can provide resources for all of us. The bottom line is that there is a market for what we do and if we do not offer services like these then the only ones out there will be the “big-time consultants” who haven’t spent time in a classroom in a long time, if ever.
    My comment is not meant to be a slam on anyone, but I feel like the consultant market has been somewhat like the textbook market for a while and the big names get big bucks because they are better at marketing or because of some perception that if you earn a given amount for a day’s work you must be great.
    The best “consultants” we have in my mind are the ones working in our schools with our students on a daily basis. In the end, the people making the decision to spend the money do not have to buy your book or bring you to their district for a day.
    Man, I would have expected more excitement about the book. I think it’s awesome to be able to say – “Check out this great book written by a teacher!” What’s better than that?

  34. Mr_Brett_Clark

    Bill
    First of all, I don’t know of a profession where people don’t get paid for their expertise when they are asked to share it with others. I don’t see anything wrong with what you did. You were just giving a preview of what people were getting when they buy your new book.
    On the other side, I understand why you feel a struggle with this. I struggle with the same stuff. Every time I tweet out one of my own blogs I wonder if I’ve tweeted it too many times. However, in the end I know my own motivations are pure, just like yours. We are both just trying to help our profession and if we end up helping our family out because of it, then that’s a win-win.
    Keep up the great work!

  35. Joy Kirr (@JoyKirr)

    I think it’s guilt. Guilt can be a hard thing to get rid of. I was raised to feel guilty about everything, and it’s become an issue in my adult life. I have to keep telling myself that it’s okay to do this or that. I am not a writer. However, I wrote a blog post recently that I wanted comments on. I must’ve tweeted that post out FIVE times, and it was only I when I stopped that I finally got two comments. But I felt guilty promoting it! Why? I wasn’t asking for money, as I don’t think you are either. I was asking for people to share in the conversation. I had myriad questions in the post, and I just wanted to hear people’s thoughts on them. Is this not what you’re doing when you promote your writing? Don’t you want to share with us what you’ve learned?
    Keep it up. Don’t let one negative comment change your enthusiasm to share. Pernille is right – if someone doesn’t appreciate it, s/he can just sever the connection. Good luck, and enjoy your work!

  36. Nick Provenzano

    Bill,
    I feel like you and I are in the same spot. Due to budget cuts in my district, I need to find ways to make up for money that is no longer in my paycheck. I feel that some are annoyed or bothered that I monetize some of the things I do, but the alternative is finding another job.
    I never thought this would be something I would do when I started teaching, but working with other teachers and sharing my experiences in my unique voice seems to work for me.
    I continue to struggle with my dual life as an educator and “self-promotating” businessman. Until the funding issues in education changes, this is what I need to do to support my family. I think anyone that criticizes someone for trying to do that is off base.
    Nick “TheNerdyTeacher” Provenzano

  37. Pernille Ripp

    Bill, I have thought about this as well and I do not think it is wrong for teachers to promote themselves or their work. There seems to be a certain degree of self sacrifice expected when you become a teacher, that isn’t expected in many other professions. The truth is we should be celebrating anything extra a teacher can do, since we are underpaid. In the end, if someone doesn’t like the self promotion they can just not read it or follow. Congratulations on your book!

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