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Teaching with Outschool – A Review of My New Online Income Stream

by Viola
teaching with outschool

I recently started teaching with Outschool after hearing many rave reviews about it from other teachers in Facebook groups, and it is quickly becoming one of my new favorite ways to make an income online. I am grateful to have discovered this job amid the COVID era, when opportunities seem so scarce and everything seems so limiting.

In this article, I will share with you what this education platform is all about and how you can start working on Outschool as well.

 

This article may contain affiliate links, which means, at no extra cost to you, I may earn a commission if you make a purchase. Thanks for supporting!

 

What is Outschool?

As its name suggests, Outschool is an online platform for out-of-school learning. The target audience are kids and teenagers from age 3 to 18. Since the first class launched in 2017, Outschool now offers over 10,000 interactive classes in a huge variety of subjects. From traditional academic subjects including Math and Science to fun topics such as Harry Potter or wilderness survival, there is so much for learners to explore. 

The platform operates in a market place format much like Airbnb. Teachers post the classes they will teach with the class times. Families and learners find offerings that they are interested in and sign up. The small group classes are then hosted by the teacher via Zoom. There is a couple of different formats for classes. It may be a one-time class, an ongoing class, or a flexible class that is pre-recorded.

This innovative way of learning is disrupting the childhood education industry in a positive way. It really helps stay-at-home parents who believe in teaching their kids in more personalized small group settings.

At the same time, instructors can share their knowledge and passion with the world while making an income at home. A win-win for everyone.

 

VIPKid vs Outschool

Many of my readers know that I teach on VIPkid, a popular online English teaching platform. Honestly, I have really enjoyed teaching there and I still teach there. It is a straightforward job. You open the lesson, and simply go through slides that are already prepared for you. However, I do get a little bored sometimes (there, I said it). This is why the idea that you can teach ANYTHING you want on Outschool is so exhilarating.

 

 

Many of the online education platforms out there right now are for language learning students. Outschool is the first organization that offers a variety of subjects, earning a nickname as the “Netflix of Learning”.

Here is a little chart comparing teaching on VIPKid (and similar English learning platforms) vs Outschool.

VIPKid

Outschool

Audience

Kids in China learning English

English speaking kids all over the world

Class subject

English as a Second Language

Any subject you want

Class format

One-on-one

Small groups

Lesson planning

VIPKid prepares the lesson for you

You are responsible for planning everything from the lesson to possible out-of-class homework

Class marketing

Done by the company

Done by the company and yourself

Class hours in high demand

Weekday evenings and weekend mornings in China time. (Early morning/Late night North American time)

During the day in North America

Earning for teacher

Average $20USD per hour

Varied. You set your own price for class. Outschool takes 30% of student’s enrolment fee.

Hiring teachers from…

USA & Canada

USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK

Criteria for hiring

Bachelor degree, TEFL and minimum two years experience working with children

No prior teaching experience required

 

Outschool working hours

computer note book coffee

My favorite thing about Outschool is that the working hours are 100% flexible and within your control. You teach as much as you can/want. As a digital nomad, this for me is the number 1 criteria when selecting any job. This is also great for any stay-at-home parents who want to make an income but have to work around their kids’ schedules. Comparing to VIPKid, where you have to teach early mornings (Hello 6 AM!), with Outschool, you can actually work normal human hours that are during the day North American time.

If you are a workaholic, you can also teach VIPKid in the morning, then Outschool in the afternoon. This is what I’m currently doing. It’s a little more tiring but the double income is just too attractive. I hope to create some flexible classes on Outschool soon so I can possibly cut down a bit of my live classes.

 

 

Making Money on Outschool – How much does being an Outschool teacher pay?

This is your biggest question amirite? How is the dough, the bread, the cheddar…I just realized that there are so many food nicknames for money. Anyhow, you’d be happy to know that there is great income making potential on Outschool. Before I applied for this job, I asked around on Instagram and Facebook groups, interviewing current teachers on how much they make. It is not uncommon for teachers to make $5000-$7000 USD per month. Granted, it takes awhile of hard work to get there, but that is an awesome number to aspire to. I’m still working my way there. I will make a video reporting my Outschool income soon.

As you set your own price for classes, there are 4 factors that determine your income on Outschool:

  1. The price for your class
  2. How many students enroll for the class
  3. How often do you teach
  4. Outschool’s 30% cut

You can experiment with things in the beginning and try to strike a balance between a good price (for you and the student) and how many students to take in a class. Once you get some good reviews, create courses that sell several classes in one package.

Example Income
Let’s do a scenario calculation, shall we? Let’s say you your 8 weeks course on Japanese for Beginners. This class meets twice a week for one hour each. You price the course at $240 per learner ($15 per class). You get 10 learners enrolled. That is $2400 total. After Outschool takes their 30%, you get to take home $1680. That’s pretty great! Create a couple more courses/classes like this, and you will be well on your way to do this full time.

 

 

What can you teach on Outschool? – Class ideas

As already mentioned, you get to teach whatever you like. *Cue that T.I. song. So if you have any passions or specialties, be it juggling, be it dog training, this is your perfect moment to shine. Outschool just asks that classes are objective, secular, and adhere to their class content guidelines. Beyond that, you can go ham with your creativity.

Classes on Outschool are broadly divided into 10 categories:

  • Arts
  • Coding & Tech
  • English
  • Health & Wellness
  • Life Skills
  • Math
  • Music
  • Science & Nature
  • Social Studies
  • World Languages

Which are then further broken down into sub-categories. You can also see the “Learner Favourites” collection in this image:

Outschool classes

Now you may say to me “But I don’t have any talents!” “I don’t know what to teach!” Don’t worry, I felt a bit like this as well when I first started. Everybody knows SOMETHING. It just takes a bit of brainstorming and courage to get going. Then, before you know it, many ideas will be flooding in. Your subject really does not have to be a profoundly deep topic. It can be something light-hearted and fun as well. There is a huge demand from parents who just want to keep their little ones entertained. If you look under the learner favorites section, you can see that one of the most popular topics on Outschool is Minecraft.

Every Sunday, Outschool sends out a list of classes that parents have literally requested. It’s a great place to research and assess what can you supply. For example, recently many parents have requested class about Black history and Black Lives Matter education for kids. This was super heartwarming to see.

As well, poke around on the website and see what other teachers are offering. Use their classes only as inspirations. Do not copy others’ ideas!

I love browsing all the fun quirky classes on Outschool. I mean, I want to take the class on “How Dolphin Training Works”! I know I’m not 9-12 years old, but can I please get in on this?

Here are some  classes currently listed on the homepage:

teaching with outschool class ideas

Personally, I am now teaching a Disney themed dance class and Disney themed Yoga class, all for 5-8 year olds. I am scheming on creating more classes covering arts & crafts, world cultures, Chinese, and maybe blogging.

 

Planning Outschool classes

As you can tell, it does take a lot of work to create a class. I promise it’s not as intimidating as it first seem. Just sit down. Think about how long you want the class to be. It could be anything from 25 minutes to an hour. Then, break the class down into sections, with how much time to spend on each section. Lastly, think about any material/outside classwork you or your students need to do.

The good news is that once you’ve planned a class, you can use the content again and again.  So the initial effort put in is definitely worth it.

As you teach more and more classes, it’s important to stay organized or else you will go crazy. Outschool has a calendar for you to keep track of your schedule. You can also use a task organization app like Asana.

 

 

How to teach with Outschool – The requirements

making notes with paper and computer

The barrier to entry with Outschool is quite low relative to other teaching companies. Here are the basic requirements:

  • Minimum 18 years old
  • Currently a full-time resident of the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or the United Kingdom
  • Excited to share an area of expertise with youth between the ages of 3-18

As the classes are hosted online via Zoom, there are also some technical requirements:

  • A laptop or desktop computer
  • A webcam and microphone – most newer computer models have this built-in!
  • Fast internet – you should have a minimum upload speed of 3mbps and a minimum download speed of 1mbps
  • One of the 2 most recent versions of Safari, Chrome, Firefox, or Edge 
  • Comfort with technology or a willingness to learn!

That’s it! Notice that no degrees or previous teaching experience required. That is so rare in this day and age. *Happy tears. As long as you demonstrate your enthusiasm and ability to be a good teacher in your application. You can get in.

 

Outschool Application process and tips

The application process is pretty straight forward. Start filling out a profile here. It will ask you to provide information about your:

  • Education background
  • Experience teaching/working with children
  • Sample Class ideas

For the sample class idea section, it does not have to be very detailed. Outschool just want an idea of what you are passionate about and what you want to teach. Here is what I actually wrote on my application:

“I am a dancer, Yoga teacher and Lover of arts in general. I would love to teach Yoga classes for kids, dance classes (Perhaps a TikTok viral dance series?), as well as painting classes. I am brainstorming a painting class where the kids would learn about different cultures around the world through art.”

You also need to record a 30-90 seconds video to introduce yourself. This video is only for the Outschool team and is not visible to families. In this video, you should tell a little bit about yourself, show off your personality, and showcase the space that you will be using to teach. The video needs to be under 100mb for it to successfully upload.

 

Note
Outschool is constantly updating their procedures. It looks like a new application process is on its way. It could become a lengthier process in the near future. My friend recently applied for Outschool and was asked to write a full “sample class description”. This was the instruction: “Now that you’ve told us what you want to teach, let us know what your class will look like! Write a sample class description below. You should write this description as though it is for prospective families. Include information about what you will teach, how you will teach it, and what learners should expect from class time. This field is only for our team and will not be published on the site.” This means you actually need to come up with a class you could really teach on Outschool for your application. It does not look like this step has been fully rolled out yet, so hurry up and apply to get on Outschool sooner rather than later.

 

If your application is approved, you will need to complete an online background check. Depending on your country of residence, how long the check takes can vary.

For me, the whole application and background check process took about 2 weeks (I’m Canadian).

Once all the paperwork is in order, you can start listing classes and teaching!

 

How to be successful on Outschool

The beginning of building a business (And yes, this is exactly what it is, your business) is always slow. Be patient with the journey. Here are some tips on how to be successful on Outschool:

 

1. Teach something that you are actually skilled at and love

I mean, that is one of the best parts of this job right? You get to make an impact while sharing something that is meaningful to you. Minecraft may be the most popular topic on Outschool, but you don’t have to do that if you don’t even play Minecraft. Discover your niche and what works for you. You will be less likely to burn out when you love your class topic. Like the old saying goes “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

 

2. Be creative

Think about how you can make your classes FUN. That is such an important thing for young learners. Check out this class that help 3-5 year olds learn numbers with a Pokemon board game. As I mentioned previously, when I created a Disney themed dance class, it got a lot of interests and saves within the first week. I think incorporating popular movie/TV characters is a good strategy for the little ones. There, I shared my secret recipe. Feel free to try it out.

little mermaid dance class

 

 

 

3. Take advantage of seasonal trends and scheduling

Outschool has different promotional efforts going throughout the year. In the summertime, they promote teachers’ “summer camps”, and during the school year, they promote classes that are full semester long.

Outschool let the teachers know ahead time when their marketing push will begin and give you time to prepare your course. If you can get in on the campaign train, it will optimize your class discoverability.

 

4. List your classes two weeks in advance

This is what Outschool recommends. Give some time for parents to discover your classes. I experimented with this. My first class was listed just one week in advance (I was very eager to start teaching) and I did get two students for it. One was a last-minute enrolment the day of. Last-minute learners actually happen quite often.

 

5. Promote your classes yourself

Outschool sends out weekly newsletters alerting parents of new classes. This is helpful. However, to be more proactive, you can share your classes with people you know. Post it on social media like Instagram and Facebook. Tell mommy/home parenting groups that you are a part of. Take marketing into your own hands.

 

6. Charge a fair price

Be realistic and honest when coming up with a price for your class. Some classes are premium quality education and some are more on the entertainment side. If your class is the latter, that’s ok. Just don’t be greedy and try to charge $30 per learner. You won’t get many customers or return customers that way. You can always make up for a lower class price for allowing more learners in your class.

 

7. Earn those good reviews

The teachers and their class experiences are publicly rated and reviewed by participants on Outschool, so building a good reputation is very important. Show up prepare and deliver the best experience possible. Send a message to the parent after and ask if they can leave you a review. Once you’ve racked up those 5 stars, more and more students will be finding your class.

 

Teaching with Outschool final thoughts

In summary, my review of Outschool is definitely positive. I love that it offers flexible hours, complete freedom to do what you want, and it has great money-making potential. You get to share your passion and be your own boss. What can be better than that?

I guess some cons of this job is that you have to be good at planning and staying organized. Burn out is also a real thing that can happen if you teach multiple classes a day. However, these things can be overcome.

With its low barrier to get started, I foresee that the Outschool marketplace may become oversaturated with teachers in the future (Because let’s be honest, I’ve already seen this happen with VIPKid). When that takes place, the company may raise the bar on their requirements for teacher application. So I suggest getting in on the program ASAP if you are interested.

If you have any questions about Outschool and the application process, feel free to leave a comment below or email me at violaqwang@gmail.com 

For more tips on Outschool, check out my Youtube channel where I upload tips videos every week.

 

 

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8 comments

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[…] English Teaching. Living in Italy has always been a dream of mine. Teaching English online or Teaching any subject online is a great way to earn some money whilst you travel and explore somewhere […]

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Emily Underworld July 23, 2020 - 10:14 pm

Outschool sounds like a brilliant way to make a bit of extra income from home, while educating kids! I've been thinking about something like this for a while, I'll check it out. I really should put my degrees to some use!

Reply
Viola August 14, 2020 - 2:43 pm

Yes I love it so far! Feel free to ask me if you have any questions Emily. 🙂

Reply
29 Best Companies to Teach English Online | life of brit August 14, 2020 - 2:29 pm

[…] Outschool: An online platform for out-of-school learning […]

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Jill September 7, 2020 - 8:09 pm

Hi Viola,
This morning I found your video on YouTube and now I am reading your blog. I really like your video and your writing! Thank you very much for sharing such valuable information to us. I am preparing my application right now and would like to teach Crafts in Mandarin. Would you suggest me speak Mandarin only or mostly English in my application video? Thank you in advance. 😀

Reply
Viola September 7, 2020 - 8:21 pm

Hi Jill! I'm glad my video and blog has been helpful. Thank you for sharing your feedback. Your class idea is awesome. I would suggest a mix of Mandarin and English for your application video. If you want help reviewing your application, feel free to email me at viola@theblessingbucket.com 🙂

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Anne October 5, 2020 - 6:22 am

Hi, You mention you are a Digital Nomad... I notice that Outschool requires the teacher to be based in that small list of countries. I guess you are in Canada now? I would love to teach on it - I’m also Canadian, but in Georgia now. Do you know if anyone has found a way to do it from overseas - I guess the background check will be the tricky part?

Reply
Viola October 5, 2020 - 12:11 pm

Hi Anne, yes I've been in Canada since the pandemic started, which is when I started with this job. I did have a referee try to apply from Japan but got rejected right away. She thinks they can tell by the computer's address. She tried to overcome this by using a VPN. She still got rejected but was unsure if it had to do with her location or just the application content. All this to say, no I don't know anyone who has successfully done this from overseas yet. 🙁

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