Outschool: Online Classes
The extra education option worth trying during this pandemic
School looks a little different these days, whether you're somewhere that moved forward with in-person classes or you're fully remote.
There are countless stories out there about teachers preparing for the worst with the school year starting, and some schools that planned to reopen are already shutting back down. The uncertainty in education is sticking around for a while for teachers, parents and students alike.
As a former in-person tutor, this has been extremely troubling for my financial wellbeing. I started looking for places online that I could offer classes or tutoring remotely, and the list of websites that comes up felt just as overwhelming as the initial stress of my job disappearing.
Some of the websites require signing away that you won't tutor elsewhere if you're accepted to the platform. Others advertise themselves heavily for educators to sign up, but they don't have a large student base to actually get reasonable hours. Narrowing down my options was a process, and I eventually landed on Outschool.
As a teacher on Outschool, I set my own schedule offering the classes that fit my expertise and interests at my own prices. For me, that means mainly writing courses for high school students, but the platform allows fun offerings for extracurricular/hobby activities as well as core subjects.
Students can be ages 3-18, and there are currently over 50,000 classes offered. The website has been around since 2015 offering only remote classes connected through an online classroom that utilizes Zoom, offers the opportunity to post group discussions, and allows for sharing computer files. Parents and teachers can also message privately through the platform.
The course offerings range from single-meeting classes to semester-long offerings that meet multiple times a week or "flex" classes that function asynchronously. All teachers are required to pass a background check and submit a brief video describing who they are, what they teach and what their style is before they're accepted to the platform.
Personally, I've had a great experience teaching through Outschool. The students typically care about the specific classes they're in when you branch out from core subjects, and they pay out within approximately two weeks of the a class occurring.
For parents enrolling a student, you know what you're getting out of each class before you sign up. Outschool requires teachers to submit proposals for all classes they want to offer, so you get details about how the class is supposed to operate up front. All classes are also recorded, which assures quality within Outschool and also allows parents to request class recordings after a meeting time ends.
There are classes running every day of the week at varying times, and many teachers list their availability to allow for easier scheduling with parents automatically through requests.
Core subject classes make Outschool a trustworthy, organized option for parents trying out homeschooling during these uncertain times or looking to offer extra help on top of their school district's remote learning efforts. The extra life skill and fun-focused classes are also great for keeping young learners engaged in social settings while social distancing limits in-person opportunities.
Class offerings range from the expected math, English and world language options to reading corners, chore how-to's and other hobby-themed clubs. As a teacher on the site myself, I offer introductory journalism classes, creative writing workshops for poetry and personal essays and a one-time class all about credit scores and why they matter.
New parents to the site will get a $20 credit toward their first class by signing up at this link.
If you're looking for an online class for your student and can't find exactly what you're looking for, you can also submit a class suggestion. Outschool emails out parent requests to current teachers on the platform on a weekly basis, and new courses open daily.