There are many teachers using Teachers Pay Teachers to make a healthy side income. Some of them also harness the power of YouTube to grow their brand even more. Recently, we reviewed some of the top teacher YouTube channels, and we reached out to one of them to learn more about how she manages to balance her teaching and her business.
We were super excited when Hillary Seides of Teaching Without Frills agreed to an interview. Hillary is not just an awesome teacher…she’s also a successful YouTuber with a pretty amazing Teachers Pay Teachers profile to boot. Her YouTube accomplishments are impressive by themselves, but when you consider that she also teaches full-time, it seems that much more amazing. With nearly 23,000 subscribers and over 7.2 million views, Teaching Without Frills is a popular resource for elementary English teachers.
Hillary is a teacher on a mission to bring awesome learning resources to the classroom (and the home), and is currently teaching kindergarten in Atlanta, Georgia. We decided to dig deeper to see exactly how and why she decided to take her gift of teaching to YouTube.
Plymouth Rock Teachers’ Lounge: What made you decide to start a YouTube channel?
Hillary Seides: I moved to a new district which didn’t provide many curriculum resources, so I had to start planning many of my lessons from scratch. I would search for videos to supplement my lessons and couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for, so I decided I would just create my own!
I was working with students who spoke English as their second language, so that inspired me to create straightforward, simple videos with them in mind. I had a student teacher at the time, so when she started planning all of her own lessons, I had more time to create things at home since I wasn’t doing as much lesson planning.
Plymouth Rock Teachers’ Lounge: Do you believe that the content online today is better than it was when you first started?
Hillary Seides: There was quality content online when I first started my YouTube channel, but most of the resources weren’t free. Being in a new school and district without many resources made me realize that many teachers didn’t have access to curriculum resources I was accustomed to having. I love that YouTube allows me to share content for free so that it’s accessible to all teachers and students.
Plymouth Rock Teachers’ Lounge: Did you begin Teachers Pay Teachers or YouTube first?
Hillary Seides: I started my Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT) store first, in 2013. I called it “Teaching Without Frills” because at that time it seemed like every resource on TPT was covered in themed clipart and was more about the “cuteness” than the content. I wanted to make resources that were simple and had quality content at the forefront. When I made my YouTube channel in 2015, I decided to keep the same name so I could make videos and resources that would complement each other.
The Plymouth Rock Teachers’ Lounge: Was there a big learning curve? Or were you already good with video editing, graphics, etc.?
Hillary Seides: When I made my first YouTube video, I had no clue what I was doing. I searched the internet for online animation software, clicked on one of the first few links, and just tried to figure it out. I wasn’t really concerned about making the animations and voiceovers perfect, because I wasn’t sure anyone else would use them!
Those first few videos are still some of my most popular, so it’s a little embarrassing because they aren’t exactly professional. I’m still not an expert by any means, but I have definitely learned a lot over the past few years!
The Plymouth Rock Teachers’ Lounge: Should more teachers use YouTube as a way of putting their talents to good use?
Hillary Seides: Absolutely! The wonderful thing about YouTube and other online platforms is that it allows teachers to have a “second job” that is completely flexible. During the busy school year, I barely create any new content because I just don’t have time or energy. But my resources are still online generating revenue without much additional effort from me, which is pretty amazing.
The Plymouth Rock Teachers’ Lounge: Do your students watch your channel?
Hillary Seides: When I taught first and second grade, I used the videos often! I started teaching kindergarten this year, so most of my videos are a little advanced for them. I don’t think they even know about my YouTube channel! However, my inspiration always comes straight from my classroom, so there are definitely some Kindergarten-friendly videos in the pipeline!
The Plymouth Rock Teachers’ Lounge: Do you have a team of people who help you with your business? Or is it a one-woman show?
Hillary Seides: It’s a one-woman show. It can be difficult to balance my personal life with teaching full-time, YouTube, TPT, and social media. It’s manageable for now, but I will need to hire some help eventually if I want to continue to grow.
The Plymouth Rock Teachers’ Lounge: What is one thing you would recommend to any teacher looking to begin a YouTube channel, education blog, or Teachers Pay Teachers account?
When I started my TPT store and YouTube channel, I knew very little about the legal and financial responsibilities of running a business. Making resources that earn money is very different from making resources you just use in your own classroom. If you do your research up front, you will save yourself time and hassle trying to fix mistakes later!
For more information about Hillary, please visit:
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/teachingwithoutfrills
Teachers Pay Teachers: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Teaching-Without-Frills
- Jenna Garvin