If you’re a new teacher on Outschool, or maybe you are considering teaching online with Outschool, this post is for you! I hope you find these 7 tips for success on Outschool a helpful part of your online teaching journey.
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Tip #1 for Success on Outschool – Choose a Niche & Check Out the Market
To begin, the first thing you need to do is decide WHAT you’re going to teach. The great thing about Outschool is you can really teach ANYTHING. However, you want to make sure that you focus down on one area, or “niche.”
When I applied to Outschool I had three different topics in mind: pre-reading skills treasure hunts, travel related classes, and ballet. I quickly niched down to teaching beginner ballet for ages 4-6 within my first month on Outschool.
So, how did I decide on my niche? Well, I looked at my passions, my qualifications and what is popular on Outschool. First, I wrote down a list with all of the things I wanted to teach children.
Then, I made sure I was qualified to teach these things. (I’m a certified teacher and dance instructor.) Finally, I looked at “the market” aka did a search on Outschool for dance classes, reading classes, and travel classes. I especially love teaching littles between the ages of 3-8, so I narrowed my search to this age range.
After these three steps, I had my niche: ballet for ages 4-6. I have been passionate about dance since I began at age 2, I am a qualified dance instructor with 12 years of experience. And dance classes for ages 4-6 were booming according to my market research.
Another thing to consider is if your niche is scalable. Can you create sets of classes that lead into other classes? This will help you retain students and makes lesson planning WAY easier.
I started with different one-time classes that I later collected into an ongoing fairytale ballet program. These one-time classes allow new learners to try my class before committing to on-going classes.
Now that you know what you’re going to teach, you can set up your teacher profile to match!
Tip #2 for Success on Outschool – Setting Up Your Teacher Profile
Your teacher profile is one of the first impressions parents/guardians and learners get of you as an educator.
I recommend filling it out completely with a bit about you, your class offerings, professional background, and teaching philosophy.
You’ll also want to make sure you add a video! Make sure you film in a place with good lighting and really show off your personality and teaching style. You now have the option of making a video for learners and a separate video for parents/guardians.
From comments I’ve seen on Outschool official and unofficial Facebook groups, many parents really do look at the teacher profiles and videos.
I also recommend updating your profile and video every few months as your class offerings change.
Tip #3 for Success on Outschool – Create a Lesson Plan Template
Depending on what you are teaching on Outschool, your lesson plan will look different. However, there are a few elements you might want to include in every lesson:
- Greeting – How will you say hello to each student? Will you ask them a question of the day? How will you make them feel welcome?
- Class objectives – Learners need to know what to expect from your class. Let them know what they will learn or the goals for the lesson.
- Hook – Pump up your learners with something REALLY fun! Get them excited to learn at the start of class and hopefully that energy will carry through until the end of class. It could be an icebreaker, something you do together as a class like a handshake or a song, whatever you like. For my fairytale ballet class we cast a magic spell to go to an imaginary world.
- Class Content – The bulk of the lesson. Here’s where you’ll complete your lesson goals.
- Recap & Check for Understanding – Summarize the lesson, quiz your students, or have them demonstrate what they learned. For my dance classes, I like to have my students show me their favorite dance move they learned that day. This has a few functions: 1 Shows me what the learner enjoyed about the class. 2 Lets me see where I need to correct technique. 3 Gives each student a moment to be spotlighted up on the screen – which the younger ones usually LOVE.
- Exit Hook – If you want your students coming back for more, then add something exciting and fun to entice them. I like to announce next week’s fairytale story or creature to create interest. Make sure to say goodbye to each learner by name and give them plenty of praise.
Tip #4 for Success on Outschool – Pricing
Outschool suggests pricing classes at $10-15USD per hour, per student taught. However, it’s also important to consider:
Teacher preparation time
Putting more time into planning your classes and commenting on student work should be compensated. Remember that YOU set your prices, so charge more for classes that require more prep.
I like to use the app Clockify to track how much time I spend lesson planning, responding to parents and writing feedback for learners. I also consider how much time it takes me to set up and take down my teaching space – which is in the living room!
What other teachers are charging
If I did what Outschool suggested and priced my 30 minute dance class at $5-7USD per class, NO ONE WOULD TAKE IT. From my market research, I’ve seen that dance teachers charge anywhere from $8-15USD for a 30 minute class.
I started out with $8USD classes and built up to $11USD classes. This happened over a span of 3 months.
Sometimes if you price your classes too low, parents believe they aren’t quality classes. Know your worth.
Your class size
Are you teaching private classes (1 student) or large group classes (up to 18 students)? Or are you teaching something in between?
Private tutors usually charge around $1USD per minute for private classes. You might also want to factor the 30% cut that Outschool takes into your prices as well.
If you have a smaller class size, charge more! Students will get more one-on-one attention in a class of 3-6 students than 15-18 students.
If you teach classes that require YOU to have materials like ingredients for cooking, supplies for crafts, etc., then make sure to factor this into your price.
Keep track of your expenses to see how much profit you are making. This will also let you know if you need to raise prices.
Tip #5 for Success on Outschool – Scheduling
Scheduling is a tricky subject since it comes down to your goals on Outschool.
Are you looking to work hours that are convenient for you?
Or is your goal to make as much money as possible?
Do you want to work only a specific number of days per week?
I found my best schedule by TRIAL AND ERROR. It’s an ongoing process that changes as schools open and close, students go on vacation or come back, and the weather gets warmer and more students are OVER online classes.
Since I teach from Australia and the majority of Outschool’s students are US based, what works best for me is teaching early mornings. I find that 2-3 classes per day, 4 days per week is a good fit for my schedule.
If I want to make more money that month, I can open up evening classes where I’ll get mostly Asian and European learners.
If you are just getting started on Outschool, then it’s best to open as many time slots as you can and see what classes fill up! From there you can consider your other goals and make your schedule.
I like to plan one month in advance, but I know some teachers plan MONTHS in advance. It’s really up to you and what class types you have. I get a lot of last minute enrollments for one-time classes, whereas on-going classes book on Sundays or a few weeks ahead of time.
Also, the popularity of different class types can change from time to time. My one-time dance classes used to be booming. Now, my ongoing classes are where I get most of my income. Who knows what summer will bring.
Tip #6 for Success on Outschool – Communicating with Parents/Guardians
Since you are the owner of your Outschool business, it’s important to determine what kind of refund policies you’d like to have.
I personally post the Outschool policy on each class so parents/guardians know what to expect. In addition, I mention that if they’d like to transfer, they must contact me at least 24 hours before the class begins and I’ll do my best to accommodate the change.
For me personally, I don’t allow students to take a makeup class if they don’t show up. It’s stated in my class description that they can watch the recording, but won’t receive a refund if they miss class. However, if there is an emergency situation, I am of course more understanding.
The basic idea is to treat your customers the way you like to be treated. I do this by responding quickly to parent/guardian messages and offering discounts from time to time to loyal customers.
Again, it’s YOUR business. You decide how to run it.
Tip # 7 for Success on Outschool – Have Fun & Be Passionate!
One of the best things about Outschool is that YOU decide what to teach! This means that if you create a class, teach it a few times and don’t enjoy it … you never have to teach it again!
Dig into your passions and see what you can create. Instead of teaching a bit of everything, really focus on your area of passion and expertise. That’s what makes students want to come back for more.