After hearing online teachers discuss Outschool for several months, I decided to start teaching with Outschool in 2020!
I currently work for VIPKid and but I’m always keeping an eye out for new nontraditional education work opportunities.
Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that I am merely sharing my personal experiences and information provided by the company and will aim to give a balanced view.
As with any work opportunity, I encourage you to do your due diligence to decide is a good fit for you!
Outschool 2020 Post Series
- This post – FAQ and My Experience Applying
- Part 2 – How To Request a Class Listing (That Will Be Accepted)
- Part 3 – My First Pre-K Spanish Class – The Good and The Bad
Subscribe for notifications on future posts and more information about online and in-person tutoring as well as other non-traditional educational opportunities.
If you’re interested in applying to Outschool and would like my personal mentoring and more resources, you can use my Outschool referral code to apply and then contact me at email@example.com!
Teaching With Outschool in 2020
About the Company
Outschool is a well-established educational company founded in 2015. They offer:
“15000+ video chat classes for K-12 science, art, mindfulness, english, social studies, life skills, and more!“
Outschool uses Zoom for their live classes. Their website has a discussion board, schedule, and messaging system to communicate with parents and students.
Teachers can offer group classes, 1-to-1 private teaching/tutoring, or “flex” classes that involve asynchronous learning and no live lessons.
While formal teaching credentials are not required, here are the standards shared by Outschool:
- One or more expertise or passion that you will base your classes around
- meeting our community standards, including prompt, professional communication with parents and the Outschool team
- observing our class content policy, including the policy that Outschool classes are secular and objective
- a reliable and fast Internet connection (over 3Mbps upload and download)
- technical know-how to effectively run online classes
- a good command of written and spoken English
- identity verification and criminal background check
- at least 18 years of age
- residing full-time in any of the 50 United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or the United Kingdom.
Compared to many other online teaching companies, a Bachelor’s degree is not currently required.
On Outschool, you can choose your rate depending on the subject, class time, number of students, and other factors.
Outschool takes 30% of the parent’s payment and teachers receive 70% via PayPal. Their portion of earnings goes towards general operations, some advertising (such as advertising classes via Facebook Ads), their Zoom license, etc.
For group classes, Outschool recommends charging $10-12/hour, but you can adjust the pricing depending on the number of students you want.
I’m currently doing 1:1 private Spanish tutoring because at this point I’m prefer to work with students individually.
My rate comes out to be about $25-30/hour currently and I plan on raising the rate in the future.
From what I’ve seen many teachers share on FB, teachers make $25-40/hour, which ends up being more than the majority of online ESL companies. Also, the sky’s the limit, and I’ve seen a large number of teachers making $50-75/hour or even more with multiple students!
Example: $11/student, 4 students enrolled, 30 minute class
11×4=44 (before Outschool’s cut); 44-13.2 (Outschool’s cut) = 30.8 (which works out to be $61.6/hour)
While the pay seems to have a lot of potential, one of the biggest differences between Outschool and online ESL companies such as VIPKid is that you create your own curriculum.
Since we have to create our lessons (but can use the same lesson again and again if we went), it’s up to each teacher as to whether they think the cost is worth it or not.
Personally, I’ve created curriculum in the past so I think it would be worth trying out.
Which subjects or topics can we teach?
Here are the categories Outschool lists:
- Arts – visual arts, film, theatre, improv
- Coding & Tech – computer programming
- English – grammar, writing, literature
- Health & Wellness – exercise, fitness, nutrition, sex ed, mental health
- Life Skills – critical thinking, study skills, productivity tools
- Science & Nature
- Social Studies – history, sociology, civics, current events
- World Languages
The freedom in what we teach is something that is really intriguing to me! For example, I’ve seen successful classes in:
- Traditional subjects (Math, English, Social Studies)
- but usually with a twist (such as Pokemon and genetics or The Descendants and singing/dancing) as long as you have copyright permission
- Arts and crafts
- Music/song tutorials
- Foreign languages
- Career skills/mindfulness/yoga
- Book clubs
and 1,000’s of others!
What if I don’t know how to create my own online curriculum?
Some teachers use:
- PowerPoint or Google Slides
- A whiteboard/notebook projected on camera
- Just themselves! (for dancing, yoga, etc.)
- YouTube videos or otherwise
Zoom allows you to share your screen with students, so there are many options for what you can show on camera or pull up on your computer!
Update: Since this post, I have taught some Spanish lessons and may eventually offer classes in ukulele, drawing, and mindfulness. Some information about my first class is here and you can contact me with questions about how to create your own lessons!
How To Apply
To apply, you’ll sign up on the website and provide some basic information.
If you’re interested in some Outschool teaching resources I’ve provided and personal mentoring as you apply, please use my Outschool referral link and then contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can send you materials! (Disclosure: I get a bonus from Outschool when you make your first $100 from teaching).
The application was straightforward with two parts – short answers and an intro video.
There is no “mock class” you have to teach!
However, people (even those with online teaching experience) do sometimes get rejected initially. The good thing is that you can adjust your written responses/video and reapply as many times as you want with no waiting period.
Part 1: Written answers to questions
There were about 4 questions asking about my experience teaching/working with youth, my academic/educational background, and which subject(s) I would potentially be interested in teaching.
They want these short answers to be specific and grammatically correct, so make sure to proofread! You can respond in a paragraph or with bullet points.
What is your experience working with youth whether professionally, as a volunteer, or otherwise? Please be specific.
“Starting in 2013, I taught Middle School Spanish for 2 years (6th, 7th, and 8th graders). After that, I worked as a Home and Hospital teacher for all school subjects for 2 years (4th-12th grade). During the summer of 2016, I was a TA for 2 summer sessions of Cognitive Psychology with the Johns Hopkins Center For Talented Youth (CTY). Finally, I have taught over 3,500 online ESL lessons the past 3.5 years with 2 online ESL companies (3 years old to 16 years old).”
Remember that they don’t require a Bachelor’s degree or formal classroom experience necessarily, but you still want to highlight your experiences instructing others as best as you can!
Make sure to mention specific information in your responses, such as (if applicable):
- Grade level(s)/age range of students
- Potentially how many students
- How long you participated in the activity
Addition 6/3 – From responses by other Outschool teachers, it also helps to demonstrate a narrow focus and enthusiasm for a specific subject to start.
Lots of teachers add additional classes of all subjects after they get started, but for the application, depth in 1-2 subjects appears to be more favorable than listing too many class topics that you may not have the knowledge to teach initially.
Part 2: Application Video
Update July 2020 – Outschool has modified the video portion of their application process. As of mid-July, teachers must record and upload a 3-5 minute video where you teach a sample of the class you describe in the written portion of your application.
Outschool wants you to your teaching space and your teaching personality in this video.
You do not have to have an educational background (unless you want to!), but…
…make sure your environment is conducive to learning!
That means making sure your space:
- Is free of distracting sounds, people, or pets
- You can be heard and seen clearly (check your video afterward)
- Is appropriate for students (no strange objects in the background)
You could do your intro video in your kitchen if you plan on doing cooking lessons, an office area, etc. A little forethought goes a long way!
Before starting the “sample” teaching portion, you can briefly state information about yourself, your experience, and why you are excited to teach with Outschool.
They also consider the overall subject needs, so if you’re an online ESL teacher, I’d recommend mentioning something else as there are many other online ESL teachers currently applying as well.
Based on your interests, that could even be something like a Jane Austen book club or a How To Make a Mother’s Day Card Class!
*** NOTE: This video below that is what I used for my application BEFORE the length increased to 3-5 minutes and needed to include a sample teaching part. I have left it visible here to help you get an example of how to start your video, etc. ***
If you would like my personal guidance in brainstorming class ideas and recording your application video, please use my Outschool referral link and then contact me at email@example.com (Disclosure: I get a bonus from Outschool when you make your first $100 from teaching).
Equipment/Tools I Use
Unlike most online ESL companies, Outschool does not require an educational background or props (unless you want to!).
Note: Links below may be affiliate links. I personally use these products and there’s no extra cost to you, but I may receive a small bonus if you click through and purchase. Feel free to also look elsewhere as well! 🙂
- 2015 Macbook Air (with built-in camera)
- Logitech Headset
- Umbrella lamp
The main requirements are a webcam, clear sound, and a strong Internet connection, but I also use extra online teaching tools such as an educational background (not required though!).
For other tips and resources from Outschool employees, check out this New and Future Outschool Teachers Facebook Group!
Have you heard of Outschool before? Are you a current teacher or interested in teaching with Outschool in 2020? Let me know and subscribe here for future tutorials, online teaching tips, and posts related to other nontraditional educational jobs and opportunities!
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The Introverted Online Teacher
Hi Ivana! I am also a vipkid teacher, and looking into Outschool for the fall, when my kids are back in school. I am planning on doing the application now, and use the summer to plan out some classes. For the video in the application, is it something I should just do a quick one-take on my iphone? Or should I put some effort (and editing) into? Thanks for any information! Laura at email@example.com or instagram @minnesotateachermom
Hey Laura! Love your VIPKid blog posts 🙂
Just one take is fine! From what I’ve seen shared, it doesn’t need to be too flashy since it’s just for staff (not parents), but you’ll want to mainly highlight that you know what you want to teach and/or what you’ll bring to the table so to speak?
I also have a sample lesson plan template if you’re interested! Want me to send you an email?
Oh man! I also teach for VIPKID and have been looking into Outschool. What I would love to know more about is the FLEX classes. I have young children and can not currently teach lives classes but would love to teach some FLEX classes. There just is not a lot of information about that. Maybe you can help me 🙂 I look forward to reading more about your experience!
Hey Loren! I’m interested in FLEX classes as well and have learned some information so far (such as that you have to teach at least 1 live class with Outschool before you can make a FLEX class). I’ll reach out to you and share some more information!
Super useful to know! I know a lot of parents are going to want to look into e-learning as an option. It’s good to know that there are different places they can go. And as a teacher, it’s also good to know that there’s an alternative to a classroom setting. Thanks for all the tips!
Agreed! I was amazed to see all the unique class listings available on there, like Minecraft and math, cooking classes, academic bingo, etc.!
Outschool is a new concept to me. There are students for whom a regular classroom situation isn’t appropriate and this is a great alternative. I suppose we all created a similar experience when we had to switch to virtual classrooms this year – do I understand that right?
Yes! Any B&M who had to transition to Zoom for virtual instruction would probably be prepared for creating classes on Outschool as they also use Zoom.
Since I was mainly familiar with VIPKid’s learning platform, I had to take some time to learn all the Zoom features available!
This is great information. I just recently heard about out school and have been wondering about the requirements. I do like the ability to teach my own curriculum and style. Thank you for your insight.
Glad to hear it was useful Tina! The flexibility of what to teach has involved a lot of initial brainstorming, but now I get paid to sing a song about a monkey and a cat in Spanish! Where else could I choose to do that 😛
I have heard of Outschool, but didn’t know much about it until now. Seeing your application video was super helpful in visualizing what should be included. Thanks!
It’s grown a lot in just the past few months with more families being at home and seeking online education. I like that the videos don’t have to show only “one style” of teaching – it can range from serious to energetic as long as you’re able to show how you’ll engage students!
My daughter taught for VIPKids when her husband was stationed overseas. It is great to see there are other options out there!
I my application was just accepted & now I’m waiting for my background check to be approved. I’m excited to start this new teaching adventure! Now it’s time to plan my first class. If you have any advice for me I would love to hear it!
Thank you for sharing you experience!
That’s great to hear! Depending on which topic(s) you’re interested in teaching, you can try to start out with an exciting/unique class title and eye-catching class photo as that’ll help you initially attract parents until you start to get reviews and build a following. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like more advice! Best of luck 🙂
Hi there! I’m wondering if we need to use only original materials in our lessons or if it’s okay to use books, charts, and worksheets for example that are not our own. Thanks!
Hello and great question! To avoid copyright infringement (which is obviously ideal), Outschool teachers can use materials that they haven’t created themselves as long as they have permission to do so. Many times, that means contacting the creator directly (such as a TpT author) to get permission, buying a commercial license of a product, etc. If a teacher is conducting a book club or book study and all of the students have purchased their own copy of the materials, then that usually is okay. In the end, it all depends on the specific resource 🙂
Let me know if you have any other questions! – Ivana