A few months ago, I heard about Outschool and kept seeing other teachers mention it, so I’ve decided to take the plunge and try it out!

I currently work for VIPKid 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

Outschool 2020 Post Series

  • Part 1 – FAQ and My Experience Applying
  • Part 2 – How To Request a Class Listing (That Will Be Accepted)
  • Part 3 (coming soon) – Breakdown of My First 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 introvertedonlineteacher@gmail.com!

About the Company

Outschool

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!

All classes are taught over Zoom and typically include multiple students, but can also be 1-on-1 or “flex” classes that are prerecorded.

Eligibility

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.

Payment

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 $30/hour currently until I get more parent reviews. 

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 class: $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)

Curriculum

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
  • Math 
  • Music
  • 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!

Screen Shot 2020-06-07 at 12.53.57 PM
My first listing with this initial picture

What if I don’t know how to create my own online curriculum?

That’s where I’m going to be learning as well! My next post will detail what I choose to teach and how I will teach it. 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!

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 introvertedonlineteacher@gmail.com so I can send you materials! (Full disclosure: I get a bonus when you make your first $100 from teaching).

Application Process

The application was straightforward with two parts – short answers and an intro video.

There is no “mock class” or sample lesson you have to teach!

However, people (even those with online teaching experience) do sometimes get rejected initially, but 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.

For example:

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
  • Subjects
  • 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: Short Introduction Video

The second part was recording a 1-1.5 minute application video (only for them to see, not parents).

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!

In terms of what to include in your video, you can briefly state information about yourself, your experience, and what you want to teach/your teaching style.

At some point in your video, make sure to SHOW your teaching style and not just tell!

For example, if you like to dance in class, you can demonstrate that at some point in your video.

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!

I submitted this video with the above written responses and was accepted (woohoo!)

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 (about $20 on Amazon)
    • 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!).

Copy of New blog! (1)

For other tips and resources from Outschool employees, check out this New and Future Outschool Teachers Facebook Group!

Have you heard of Outschool before? Let me know and subscribe here for future tutorials, online teaching tips, and posts related to other nontraditional educational jobs and opportunities!

  • Want to know more about teaching ESL online with VIPKid, GoGokid, or other companies? Email me at introvertedonlineteacher@gmail.com for FREE resources and 1:1 mentoring.
  • Interested in mindful and valuable social media use for educators? Check out my 1st , 2nd, and 3rd posts in a 4-part series!
  • Keep up with my posts on my Facebook page, Instagram, or Pinterest!

Sincerely,

theintrovertedonlineteacher

The Introverted Online Teacher

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15 Comments

  1. 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 laura.risdall@gmail.com or instagram @minnesotateachermom

    1. 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?

  2. 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!

    1. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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?

    1. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

    1. 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!

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