TpT Sellers Conference: Best Day Ever!

Those of you who follow Minds in Bloom know that I rarely write about topics that are not directly related to, and useful for teachers. But I am making an exception today because the last few days have been so amazing and profound in my life and because I thought those of you who use Teachers Pay Teachers might enjoy a look behind the scenes.

Last Wednesday I flew to Vegas for the very first Teachers Pay Teachers Sellers Conference on Friday. I was a little nervous because I was slated to present two sessions, but mostly excited. A lot of incredible things happened over those few days. But I am going to keep it to just three.

Paul took this selfie of us! I was so honored and thrilled!
First off, I got to meet Paul Edelman, the founder of Teachers Pay Teachers. I was one of the first sellers to join TpT back in 2006. In retrospect, it was one of the luckiest days of my life. TpT has changed my life in so many ways, not just financially, but it as also given me the opportunity to share my work with thousands of teachers and students, and that is simply amazing to me. So, I was thrilled to finally have an opportunity to thank him (and to give him a giant hug!) and also to spend some time with some of the other members of the TpT team. 

Even if you are not a seller, if you have downloaded resources from TpT, then this man has impacted your life too. How would your life be different right now if TpT had never been founded? It is something to ponder because, as I heard one seller say (and I am so sorry, I can't remember who), "TpT has changed the landscape of education."

This is a group of 3-6 sellers I network with. Ari (AKA The Science Penguin)arranged a wonderful dinner for us all! How many do you recognize?
Second, I met so many amazing sellers! There were 746 sellers in attendance (which in itself was incredible). Some of us have been chatting in Facebook and in email for years and finally meeting was such a joy. We were Facebook friends, but now we are real friends. I also really enjoyed meeting sellers that I was not familiar with before the conference. Many sellers came up to introduce themselves. I was really touched by their kind words.  One theme that ran through the entire conference is that we really are a collaborative group. We help each other. We pay it forward. Often it was said that TpT is a family, and it really did feel that way. 
Presenting is fun! Photo from 3rd Grade Gridiron
This is all the presenters. Photo from TpT!
Finally, a huge highlight for me was that I got to present. Once by myself, and once with Laura Candler (who was wonderful to work with and wonderful to hang out with too! We had the best time together!).  The session I did by myself was first. This was my first presentation, but surprisingly, I wasn't nervous. I had done my presentation at least a dozen times for my dog and I really had it down. The room was packed...people were standing at the back and sitting on the floor. I found out later that they think there were nearly 400 people there. I did my presentation and it seemed to be going one seemed restless, lots were taking notes, and they all laughed at the right times. It was really fun and I was had a great time. The next one was with Laura and it went really well too!  I got a lot of positive feedback, which I am only writing about here because several of the sellers who have done a lot of presenting told me that I should present at educational conferences. I am thinking about doing just that.

So, any ideas about what I might present on? Task cards comes to mind first. Would you want to attend a session on task cards? I could also do other topics related to ELA. Your feedback would be so much appreciated. 

Just one more picture to share with you. This was a gift for Paul from all of the TpT sellers. There were smaller versions for the TpT team members as well. 

Picture from TpT

I really do want to hear your comments. Here are some questions to ponder:
  • How has TpT changed your life and your teaching?
  • If you were at the conference, what were your highlights?
  • And, finally, what could I present at an educational conference that would be useful for YOU?
Thanks so much for sticking with me to the end of this post!

Read about more adventures in Vegas here:


Michelle Thom said...

Great post Rachel! Your presentation was phenomenal and I learned so much! The highlight for me was all your marketing information. I definitely think you should think about presenting about other educational conferences. You are a great speaker!
~Michelle Thom
from Well, Michelle?

Jennifer Zoglman said...

Thanks so much for the valuable information from your marketing session Rachel! I've already starting implementing some of your feedback. The Pinterest tips were especially helpful.
Jen Zoglman

Melissa said...

Thank you, Rachel!! You were outstanding!!! I really appreciate the time you took to prepare such an amazing session.

Reanea Wilson said...

When is the next conference? I'm not a seller but purchase many great products from TpT.

Neetu said...

YOU were my highlight Rachel! Truly.

Tessa said...

It was so great to meet you in person! I had a blast at the conference and walked away with some new things on my to-do list!

Tales from Outside the Classroom>

TheElementary MathManiac said...

TPT has made it so easy to connect and learn from other educators. By reading blogs, using TPT products and engaging with other professionals on Facebook I get to hear what is working in classrooms, what books folks are loving and learn lots of new tips along the way. I love that there are great resources out there to explore. Just the other day I found Laura Candler's page through Facebook and was so amazed that such a great resource existed that I had never heard of.

I would love to see you present!

The Math Maniac

Karen Constantino said...

I wasn't there but you could present not only on your task cards which I love but how to get started with TPT and blogging. I teach in Bothell and I'm sure we'd love to be guinea pigs for you to practice on. I know I would love to meet you.


Jennifer Larson said...

I was so excited to be a part of this first conference and equally excited to be able to meet you and to attend both of your sessions. I definitely think you should continue speaking at conferences. Your easy going style, sprinkled with humor, and loaded with practical wisdom was very engaging.
TpT has truly been a lifesaver for me. I was recently divorced and trying to get by on a teacher's salary, when I started selling my resources. My little store, The Teacher Next Store, has grown and grown and not only has it helped me de-stress financially, it has built up my confidence when I needed it the most. I am forever grateful for being able to share things with teachers across the country.
Thank you so much Rachel for being so open and gracious and for being so warm and approachable. It meant so much to me! Can't wait until next year!

Sally said...

As I told Paul when I met him, TpT is helping to put my daughter through college! As a single mom, I'd never be able to make ends meet otherwise! I definitely think you should do more presenting, you were great! In order to be successful as a presenter, you need to be passionate about your topic. I think you have several areas you are passionate about: task cards and close reading come to mind.

Sally from Elementary Matters

Mercedes Hutchens said...

Rachel, I attended both of your sessions and learned so much. I'm still processing everything I learned. I enjoyed your session and appreciated your humor, "Ignore me if this doesn't work for you." Thanks for sharing with us and helping to set the TPT of community rather than competition.
Surfing to Success

Donna Boucher said...

So nice to meet you, Rachel! You did a fabulous job with your presentation. :)

Math Coach’s Corner

Marsha McGuire said...

I'm so glad that you made an exception to post this. It WAS a great conference, and I was so delighted that I was able to meet and glean such great information from your session. Thanks for sharing your story and your wisdom.
A Differentiated Kindergarten

Heather Renz said...

It was so great to meet you in Vegas at the TpT conference!! How lucky was I that you happened to sit at the same table I was at for breakfast and opening remarks! I had a blast just chatting with you and getting to know you. Thank you for the words of encouragement and advice. Your sessions were fabulous and I wanted to thank you for presenting. :) And a big congratualtions to you for your soon to be (if not already) well deserved milestone!
- Heather
Mrs. Renz' Class

Here's an idea by Lucy S. said...

Hi Rachel,
I really wish I could have attended your presentation, but Vegas is a bit far from Brazil. However, I plan to be there in 2015.

TpT has changed my life in many ways. I'm teaching, but I'm not in a classroom anymore and I miss it. By sharing my resources on TpT, I get to feel that I'm still part of a classroom even if that's not my own.

I've been able to network with people from all over the world, which is something I enjoy immensely.

Thank you for coming up with the mosaic gift idea! I could get a glimpse of my logo in it and I was ecstatic about it :D

Thank you for everything you do to help us all!

- Lucy

Shelley- TheWriteStuffTeaching said...

Hi Rachel,
Your presentation was da bomb!
TPT has improved my teaching in ways only a seller and blogger would understand. It has taught me to think even deeper than I already do lol and promote that sense of deep thinking and self awareness with my students. It really improves their learning. The conference was so amazing. It's just the greatest feeling being inside a conference this large knowing that everyone there is of like mind. WOW! Thanks for sharing.
:) Shelley
The Write Stuff Teaching

Rachel L said...

Thank you so much for all the kind words. You are all making my head way too big.

What matters most to me is that you all felt it was useful (and didn't get bored). What matters second most is that I loved doing it. So much fun!

Loved meeting you all and can't wait for next year!

Karen Constantino - I would love that!! Please email me at

Leslie said...

TpT has given me the confidence to stretch myself as a teacher, to try different things when something is reaching my students, and to realize that resources I create for my students can and do help other students (that is HUGE to me as a homeschool teacher!).

The highlights for me were meeting Deanna, Paul, and Amy plus getting to pick your brain at the pool after being at your jam-packed session on marketing. I've already completed the triangle by opening up a FB page for my store! I'm so glad I decided to go to your session and Laura's on FB as the two together really brought FB into focus for me.

As far as conferences, I don't attend those, but anything you present has to be useful. You are quite the presenter! You can't go wrong if you stick with what you know, which is a lot, and with your quick wit and plain-spoken style! I love it anyway from interacting with you in the forums, but seeing and hearing you in person just solidified for me you are YOU and that speaks volumes for me!


Miss Kindergarten said...

I am SOOOO sad that my presentation was at the exact same time as yours because I really wanted to se yours!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

TpT has completely transformed, revitalized, and dramatically improved my teaching and overall PASSION for teaching, especially now that my district will be fully implementing Common Core this coming school year! I'm truly thankful for not just the TONS of freebies, but the reasonable cost for ALL the resources! I'm have given myself a limit on what I spend for my classroom and this summer I decided to significantly increase my TpT budget and eliminate a lot of the "cute" room decor that I like, but my 5th graders could care less about and it just takes to much time to put up and constantly now I have more money to buy the numerous items on my TpT wish list!:)

Dina Cegelka said...

I wish we could have been able to attend more than 4 sessions!!I didn't get to attend your session and I would have loved to hear you speak.
One thing that would be awesome for the next TpT conference would be to have 2 days and cover educational content topics as well as seller topics.

Friends of Reading

Mrs. Spangler in the Middle said...

I would have loved to have met you and heard you speak but was already committed to a family vacation to England at the same time as the conference.

As a newer blogger, I too would love to learn as much as I can about getting it right. Other than that, at educational conferences I am always looking for sessions on ways to reach special needs learners

Lopez Land Learners said...

First off, sad I missed this, but just wasn't in the cards this year with the NEA conference right before it.
Congratulations on your amazing life changing milestone!

I believe task cards are just really hitting their stride. I have been using them for a few years, but people still at my school and ones who come to visit my classroom are always in awe as to their value. I know you could share the wealth and importance on them through your presentations.

TPT has really made me realize what I do in my classroom and validate it. I never would have imagined that all of the things I have been doing for 17 years would find themselves useful by anyone else. DUH.. why didn't we think of this years ago? I learn so much from everyone else's creativity and imagination and that is one of the biggest appreciations I have for TPT!

May your journey continue to bring you happiness!


What A World said...

Wonderful words that summed up the event so perfectly! I felt so grateful to be in the presence of such wonderful people who nurture and encourage our "tomorrows"!
Rachel your presentation was wonderful, like a rock concert sitting on the floor. Thank you so very much for your insight!
I'm off to build my blog and work on my Tpt store!
Best regards! -Dorothy

I am Bullyproof Music - Lessia Bonn said...

Rachel, you must know how much I love you! I am SO sorry I missed all the fun but you must understand, were competing with a birthday dinner on the Eiffel Tower..ooh lah lah.. so please forgive me! I heard SUCH great things about the bang up job you did and can't wait to some day hug you in person and also witness you being wise in a formal manner. As far as what you could speak on? Maybe how not to let squirrels rule our days? haha just kidding. I'd listen to you talk about the weather and be perfectly content. You touch so many lives, you can't know! Hugs, Les

Start Communications Writing said...

Hi Rachel! I just wanted to say thanks for the incredible presentation at the TPT convention. I attended the 'Build Your Magnet Marketing Plan' session and it was FABULOUS! My mom would have loved to join me, as her and I work together on our TPT store, but summer school kept her busy at home. When I got home I couldn't stop raving to her about the convention, but specifically, about how insightful your presentation was. I've been travelling for the last couple weeks but will finally arrive home this evening. I can't wait to dig in and start implementing the useful strategies you suggested. We're going to start blogging, pinning and face booking our faces off :) Should be a great year. Thanks again for the inspiration!

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