September 28th, 2012
08:35 AM ET

Teacher earns a cool million by selling lesson plans

By Martin Savidge, CNN

(CNN) - If you want to get rich, let's just say teaching is not the career.

Make that wasn't the career.

Deanna Jump is turning such thinking upside-down. A couple of weeks ago it became official for the first-grade teacher from central Georgia: She's a millionaire, and teaching got her there.

Her specialty is kindergarten and for most of her 17 years at the head of the class, she and her husband, also a teacher, struggled to pay the bills.

I dropped in on her class of 14 students at Central Fellowship Christian Academy the other day and it's hard not to get caught up in her excitement, both for teaching and success.  Like a lot of teachers I know, she's good, with a natural ability to enthuse her students about learning. She had them singing about spider anatomy. Her classroom is filled with colorful, cute displays and messages that she created to teach concepts that could be tough for anyone. For example, on the back wall, three construction paper trees stood out with red and yellow apples, each with a worm. She uses them to teach data analysis.

The goal is to make learning fun, she says. And she says every teacher does something like that.

Life changed three years ago when another teacher told Jump her stuff was so good she should share it on TeachersPayTeachers.com. The friend sent her a link, which Jump admitted just sat in her email in box for weeks. Then she tried it - and became rich.

TeachersPayTeachers was started by Paul Edelman  in 2006. As a former teacher, Edelman knew that teachers were often stretched by long hours and limited budgets, not to mention pressure to improve learning performance. They often shared ideas and teaching strategies.

Then the light bulb went off:  Why not let them make money sharing their ideas?
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