Do you want to teach online from the comfort of your home in 2023? Outschool is a fantastic platform that allows you to work from home and teach what you are passionate about to children between 3 and 18.
In this post, I’ll share my tips for the written application, video mock class, and setting up your teaching business for success on Outschool in 2023!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means that I receive a commission when you make a purchase using my link or sign up to be a teacher with my referral link – at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting my business!
What is Outschool?
To begin, Outschool is an online marketplace for teachers. Unlike other online teaching companies, you create your own curriculum and can teach whatever you are passionate about. I have been teaching imaginative dance classes for ages 4-8 on Outschool since January 2021. Teach anything from math and science to cooking and crafts to financial literacy or how to play Minecraft.
You decide how long your class will be, how much you will charge per learner, and how many learners you will teach in each class.
The average Outschool teacher earns around $50USD per hour, with some teachers earning over $100USD an hour! I currently make around $90USD an hour and I’ve been teaching since January 2021.
While most students are from the US, the number of international students is growing! I teach a variety of timezones from my home in Australia.
Class Types on Outschool
There are several different types of class formats that you can teach on Outschool. Your first class must be a one-time class, but after you teach it, you can teach any of the other formats.
Live classes taught on Zoom
- One-time classes – these classes only meet once. This is a great way for parents to try out a class with you to see if they like your teaching style. These classes are also great for gaining a following on OS. I started with one-time classes and now teach mostly ongoing classes.
- Short courses – these classes meet 1+ times per week for 2-7 weeks. If you want to teach something with a few sub-topics, short courses are a great option.
- Camp courses – these classes meet 2+ times in the same week. Camp courses are great for school holiday breaks.
- Semester courses – these classes meet 1+ times per week for 8+ weeks. Semester courses are great for teaching subjects like math, English, history, science, and more. They allow you to really get to know learners and watch them progress.
- Ongoing classes – these classes meet every week without a specific end date. Parents are charged each week for a “membership” to the class. Ongoing classes are great for clubs and social meetings. I teach two different ongoing classes each week with multiple sections which means I can reuse my lesson plans in multiple classes!
- Flex classes – these classes are recorded and made available to students. Students usually complete each class within a week of its release. Teachers are still expected to interact with students through projects and discussions.
- Groups – groups are similar to a moderated Facebook group and are a great way to allow your students to interact with one another. These are quite new and still have some issues, however.
Who can apply to teach online with Outschool?
- Full-time residents of the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, England, or Wales (other UK countries are not eligible at this time because of the company they use for the background check). If you are planning on teaching while traveling, you must be in one of the above countries for at least 6 months per year. Since this isn’t an ESL platform, you don’t need to be a “native speaker.”
- 18+ years old
- Pass a background check and verify your identity as part of the application process
- Have reliable internet with over 3Mbps upload and download speed
- Have a passion for what you are teaching – you don’t need a degree!
Teaching for an Organization on Outschool
If you are a regular teacher on Outschool, you are responsible for creating your own lessons. If you don’t want to create your own materials, another option is to teach with an organization on Outschool. Organizations hire teachers and pay them an hourly wage, usually to teach already created materials.
If you are interested in applying to teach for an organization, I recommend checking out this Facebook group where organizations and potential teachers can meet.
Teach Online with Outschool – Application Process
Are you ready to apply to become a teacher on Outschool? Download my free application guide to get started!
First, you need to complete a written application detailing your experience working with children (teaching, coaching, tutoring, mentoring, camp counselor, etc.). Then, you’ll list any academic degrees, teaching credentials, or professional certifications related to your topic area.
After that, you’ll explain what topics you want to teach and what age you’d like to teach. Here’s where you can talk about your expertise in your subject area.
Finally, you will create a sample class description. This should be similar to the class descriptions that prospective families look at. It will be the basis for your “mock class” application video.
My Advice for the Outschool Written Application
- Choose 1 topic to focus on and make sure all of your experience is relevant to the topic – for example, if you want to teach cooking, don’t talk about your experience working as an accountant. Once accepted you don’t have to teach what’s on your application, so just think about a topic that connects well to your education and work experience.
- Make sure your sample class description is directly tied to your topic – don’t teach a painting class if you’ve talked about all your dance experience on your application.
- Use bullet points or a list to keep your experience neat – for other sections, write grammatically correct paragraphs.
- PROOFREAD your application! If you have any spelling or grammatical errors, you could be rejected automatically. Get another person to look over your application for errors and use Grammarly.
- Sample class description tips – make sure to say what the class type is (one-time or short courses are probably best for the application), mention how you will help your students learn and what materials they need (if any). Make sure to answer ALL of the questions asked. Take a look at similar classes to your idea on Outschool by doing a search to get ideas (but don’t copy!). Also, look at the official OS application help linked above for a sample class description.
Application Video “Mock Class”
Now, it’s time to record your video! The video needs to be between 3-5 minutes long. It’s for application purposes only and won’t be shared with OS families.
The video should show off your teaching space, show your teaching personality and style, and share your expertise.
The application video is NOT a personal introduction. It’s a sample of the class you described in your written application.
My Advice for the Outschool Application Video
- You MUST stay within the video time limit of 3-5 minutes – if your video is too long or too short you will most likely get rejected automatically.
- Don’t start with an introduction talking about your experience and qualifications – Instead, just dive in and pretend you are teaching your class! I chose a few names and asked these “students” questions during my mock class. Also, you are only teaching a part of the class, so don’t expect to teach it all. I pretended that my class had already discovered the first clue and we were working on the second clue.
- Make sure you have good lighting and a nice background – Outschool wants to see what your teaching space looks like. I’ve heard of teachers getting rejected just because of lighting. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just clean and inviting for learners. Check out this post for ideas on essentials for virtual classroom setups at any budget.
- If your video is too big to upload to the application, compress it before uploading – you can do this easily by using a video compressor on the web.
- Be yourself and know your target audience – let your teaching personality shine! Are you a calm and patient teacher? Are you outgoing and loud? Play to your strengths. Also, keep your target “students” in mind. Teaching a 3-year-old is very different from teaching an 18-year-old!
Waiting for Approval
Once you’ve submitted your application, all you have to do is wait! Some people are approved within a few hours, days, or weeks. If you haven’t heard anything after two weeks, reach out to OS support.
If you aren’t accepted on the first try, just tweak your application and keep trying! You can apply up to three times. Remember – if you use my referral link, I will look over your application.
Once approved, you’ll need to complete a background check. OS works with a third party called Checkr. Depending on your country, the background check can take as little as a few hours (usually for the US) or a month or more (New Zealand and Australia).
Next, complete the required Outschool training and familiarize yourself with Zoom.
Teach Online with Outschool – Setting Yourself Up for Success
Just like anything new, getting started on OS takes time, patience, and dedication. However, what other job allows you to teach your passion from the comfort of your home? Here are my top tips for getting started.
- Take advantage of all the free training and blog posts offered by Outschool – make sure you know best practices for class creation, using Zoom, and contacting parents through the OS classroom platform.
- It takes about 1-2 months to gain a following – start by opening one-time classes at different times on different days to see what times and days your students like best. This will also help you build up reviews. You can also join unofficial Outschool groups on Facebook which allow you to advertise your classes and offer discounts.
- Teach classes with just 1-2 learners at first to build up reviews – while it might not be lucrative at the start, teaching smaller classes is a great way to get comfortable teaching and build up reviews. Soon, your classes will begin to sell out and you can actually teach fewer hours but make more money.
- Join Outschool teacher groups on Facebook – there are tons of groups for specific topics (like dance) or age groups (like middle school) where other OS teachers offer advice and support. The OS community is fantastic!
- Create classes that build on each other – create essentially the same class in different formats: ongoing, semester, one-time, flex, etc. This will cut down on your prep time. Also, create classes that follow each other so students have something else to take with you. It’s easier to retain your current students than continue to get brand new students.
Be Careful with Copyright
You are responsible for contacting the creators of anything you want to use in your lessons. This includes children’s book authors, YouTube video creators, musicians, and even slideshow images and products from Teachers Pay Teachers. Basically, if you didn’t create it, you need permission to use it.
I personally use royalty-free music on Spotify for my dance classes and Canva Pro for creating slide shows and printables. Canva Pro is a subscription and provides access to millions of images and videos for commercial use. Try Canva Pro for 1 month for FREE!
Outschool Payment Tips
Outschool pays its teachers via PayPal. Since it’s a marketplace, OS takes a 30% cut of your earnings which helps pay for advertising your classes and access to the OS online classroom and OS Zoom account.
Disclaimer: I am not a tax accountant. I can only speak from my experience. Please contact a qualified tax accountant for tax advice.
I personally set aside a percentage of my earnings to pay for taxes. You are not an official employee of OS, but a contracted teacher.
When planning your classes, you need to take this 30% cut into consideration. Outschool suggests charging $18-21 per hour per student. However, you can charge whatever you’d like.
Things to Consider When Pricing Your Classes
- Class size – you can charge more for smaller class sizes since there is more interaction. For private tutoring, it’s recommended to charge $1 per minute AFTER the 30% Outschool cut
- Preparation – charge more for classes that require more preparation such as printables, slide shows, research, or technology
- Materials – if you need to purchase materials for your class such as cooking ingredients or craft supplies, figure this into your price
- Expertise – if you are highly qualified, let families know in your teacher bio and charge what you’re worth!
To sum up, if you’re a creative teacher looking to teach something you’re passionate about, then Outschool could be a great fit for you.
New to online teaching? Enroll in my 10 day self-study mini-course “Teach Online in 10 Days” to learn everything you need to know to get started earning income as an online teacher.