How to Work from Home plus Tips for Online Teaching – A 9 to 5, traditional 40 hour work week can be tolling enough on the average person. For many of us with autoimmune diseases, holding a consistent and busy schedule like this can seem nearly impossible!
Upon my diagnosis, I began searching for work from home job options, and fell into the world of online teaching. In this article, I explain everything you need to know about online teaching all the way from getting hired, to building a strong client base. Ready to learn more? Let’s get into it!
Why Work from Home?
Like mentioned above, upon graduating college, I immediately began looking for work from home positions. This is partly because I’m often away from home traveling, but also due to my unpredictable body. There’s nothing I’d rather do less than go to the office each day when I’m in a flare, or simply fatigued and not feeling well.
On top of that, the constant doctors appointments and infusion or injection days are non-negotiable for many of us, but make asking off of work a regular occurrence. Not to mention how much of our time is spent in the kitchen making nearly everything homemade to ensure we stay feeling well.
Working from home offers the opportunity to make your own schedule, and take time off whenever needed, which is exactly why I teach from home!
Why Choose Online Teaching?
While there are lots of online job opportunities out there, I chose to take the teaching route, since this seems to offer some of the best pay and flexibility. As an online teacher, you are considered an independent contractor. While first steps to becoming an online teacher include being hired by some type of learning platform, once hired, you are in control of your schedule, and depending on the platform, much much more.
Which Online Teaching Program is Best?
The very first platform I began online teaching on was VIPKid, an ESL tutoring program for children in China (recently having gone global). I stayed here for 2.5 years, where I learned many teaching skills, how to work from home, and made connections with countless families on the other side of the globe. Overall, it was a great experience!
After 2.5 years at VIPKid, I made the jump to a new platform called Outschool. Outschool is an online learning platform offering nearly every type of class under the sun. From academic classes, to sports, hobbies, cooking, book clubs and more, Outschool has it all! This platform is where I currently teach, and plan on staying indefinitely.
Outschool – Pros and Cons
Outschool is a top leader in the online learning industry, and is very different from most other learning platforms out there. As there are always pros and cons to everything in life, I want to give you the full picture of exactly what you should consider before choosing to learn how to work from home.
Pros of Outschool
Like mentioned above, Outschool is the platform I currently teach for. It’s truly the best place to learn how to work form home! The pros below were the reason that I made the jump to Outschool.
#1: Make your Own Schedule
Outschool allows you to make your own schedule, enabling you to teach at reasonable hours no matter your time zone! Work one day per week, or every day of the week! Schedule in breaks and vacations, and maintain full control over your schedule.
#2: Create your Own Classes and Teach What You Love
Since Outschool offers both academic and recreational classes in nearly everything imaginable, teachers have a lot of freedom on this platform. From the type of classes you offers, to the length of each class, the age of the students, and how many students you allow into class, you truly are in control of every little detail!
#3: One Time, Short, Camp, Semester, Flex, and Ongoing Courses
Outschool allows you to create multiple types of classes as well. Whether you want to teach a live class only one time, have a classes that meets each week (or multiple times per week), or have a completely pre-recorded class without any live meetings, you have lots of options for choosing your class type!
#4: Set your Rates
While most online teaching platforms offer you a set pay with possible incentives to add a bit on top of that, Outschool allows you to set your own rates! While they suggest $10-$15/hr of class time, you are completely free to go above or below this number.
#5: Multiple Children Per Class
Another pro of teaching on Outschool is that you can choose the number of children you allow in each section. Not only does this allow you to facilitate interaction between students within your lessons, but it also means much bigger paychecks! The average VIPKid Teacher brings in $14-$22 per hour after incentives, while the average Outschool Teacher makes $50.00 per hour. That’s a big jump!
#6: No Penalty for Cancelled Classes
While most other platforms have a strict no cancellation policy for their teachers, Outschool gives their teachers a lot of autonomy. Instead of risking losing your contract for missed lessons, Outschool allows you to cancel when needed, although it is your responsibility to inform all of the parents, and issue refunds.
Of course you only want to cancel when absolutely necessary, and maintain a reliable image to students and parents. However, when those unforeseen cancellations are needed, you don’t have to stress about your job being in jeopardy.
Cons of Outschool
While you’ll see that the pros of Outschool far outweigh the cons, there are still some downsides to consider before choosing this platform.
#1: Teachers Must Create their Own Classes/Curriculum
A pro for some (including myself), but a con for others, Outschool does not provide a curriculum to teachers. Because of this, teachers must create their own curriculum for their classes.
#2: Teachers are in Charge of Parent and Student Communication
Another pro for some, and con for others, teachers on Outschool conduct the majority of communication with families. On many other platforms, teachers communicate with their students within class, but have very little communication outside of the lesson. On Outschool, parents can directly message the teachers questions, comments, and requests. Because of this, it is vital to keep up with your messages on this platform.
#3: Can Take Time to Build Up
Completely dependent on each individual, Outschool can take a bit to build up. While building has very much to do with finding a niche, using keywords to optimize your searchability, building rapport and trust among families, and catering to your clientele’s scheduling needs, it may still take a bit to get where you’d like to be financially. For some, it happens immediately, for others, much longer. I hit my goal of $1,000/week by my third month of serious effort (teaching only 3 days per week, and 12 hours).
This takes me to my next question….
How Much Can you Make From Outschool?
This answer is easy…you can make whatever amount you’d like to from Outschool! Many people treat Outschool as a side gig, and make only a few hundred a month, while others have made Outschool their full time jobs, and are making $10,000/month. Seriously…it happens!
The average Outschool Teacher brings in $50.00/hour after Outschool’s cut of 30%, which greatly varies based on your prices and the size of your classes. I teach high energy, physical classes, and charge a bit more because of this. After Outschool’s cut, I average over $70.00/hour.
Requirements for Outschool
By now, you may be wondering what the requirements are to be an Outschool Teacher. Because Outschool offers much more than academic courses, you do not need a bachelor’s degree like most other online learning platforms require. Instead, Outschool only has a few basic requirements:
- Teachers must be 18 years or older.
- Educators should reside in either the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, England, or Wales.
- Have fast and reliable internet connection (over 3Mbps upload and download).
- Should have enough computer knowledge to run online courses.
- Must be able to speak and write English well.
- Can pass an identity and background check.
Really…that’s it! No teaching or college degree required.
How to Work from Home
Applying to teach with Outschool is quite easy! Begin by completing a quick 5 minute course all about Outschool, and then head straight to the application! On the application, you will answer various questions about your experience with children, the types of classes you would like to teach, and what expertise you have in these areas.
After this, you’ll create a 5 minute video teaching a demo lesson of what you plan to offer to students who sign up for your lessons. There is no live interview process on Outschool, therefore, a LOT of emphasis is placed on the quality of your application and demo lesson submission.
OUTSCHOOL TEACHER APPLICATION: Click here to apply to be an Outschool Teacher!
Outschool Application Tips
So, if a lot of emphasis is put on the application and 5 minute video, you might be wondering how to make a good first impression in these documents. Here are a few of the tips and tricks I’ve used to get hired myself, and help others successfully pass this process as well…
#1: Answer Questions Thoroughly, and Specifically
Outschool creates an application process geared towards getting to know your past experiences with children and the passions that you may educate on. When asked one of these questions, be sure to list every single volunteer or work opportunity you’ve had with children. The more, the better!
It’s also important to keep your answers specific and focused when explaining your passions. While you may have six or seven passions you would love to share, Outschool wants teachers with a specific focus and expertise. Narrow it down to one or two, and focus your application around those. After you’ve been hired, feel free to expand your class offerings to a wider variety of your interests and abilities!
#2: Be Intentional About Grammar
Applying to Outschool is just like applying to any other job opportunity. You want your application to be as well-worded as possible, and free from any errors or misspellings. I always run my papers and applications through Grammarly to be extra sure I didn’t miss anything!
#3: Take the Time to Create a Great Demo Lesson
Plan an engaging and exciting lesson, use great lighting, and teach like there’s a group of 10 kids in front of you! While paying such close attention to detail in this area can take some time, it will be totally worth it to showcase your teaching abilities in action!
Want Help Along the Way?: Applying to a new job can be stressful, and a bit confusing. Looking for someone to review your application and video before submission or resubmission? I’d be happy to teach you what I’ve learned throughout the years! Email me at: teachermadi01gmail.com for some help.
Building a Strong Student Base
Congratulations, you’ve been hired! Now what? Now is when you start creating your classes, and building up cliental. Like mentioned earlier, Outschool will most likely not bring in your target goal in the first week. A couple months, however, is very plausible!
Here are a few tips for building and maintaining a student base…
#1: Offer Energetic and Engaging Classes
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but its so so important! Outschool does not give you students, you must find these on your own. With so many teachers and students on the platform, it’s important to put your best foot forward every single class. Take time to plan your lessons, and teach with enthusiasm and kindness to your students.
#2: Try out Multiple Classes
While you likely are going into Outschool with some idea of what you’d like to teach, the classes you have in mind may or may not take off. When I started Outschool, I quickly opened up 7 or 8 different types of classes to see what would happen. After a couple of months of observation, I removed most of my classes, and stuck with what was getting me the most students!
Now, my classes are almost always full with no available spots for weeks at a time. This shows me that I’ve chosen the right path to follow!
#3: Get back with Parents Quickly and Consistenly
Remember talking about how parents on Outschool are often very involved, ask lots of questions, and enjoy getting to know their children’s teachers. When parents message on Outschool, a general rule of thumb is to reply to their message ASAP, or at least within 24 hours of their message. This creates trust, consistency, and great costumer service for your learner’s parents.
That’s it! There really are so many work-from-home job opportunities available, especially these days, that make life with an autoimmune disease so much better!
I hope that you’ve learned a lot about exactly what online teaching from home looks like, and how exactly to grow your cliental. Outschool is a platform that I can’t say enough good things about, and I’m so glad I got to share with you today!
Don’t forget, I am always here to help with your Outschool process each step up the way, and am happy to help offer advice, tips, and tricks on how to make working from home work for you!
Your health is the priority, and finding balance to foster your health can be difficult in our fast-paced world. The great thing about online teaching is that it allows you to continue working from home, while still making your health a priority by allowing you to create your own schedule, and work as little, or as much as you’d like.