Outschool: One Month

I taught my first Outschool class on June 4. It’s been a whirlwind month.

Backstory: I honestly don’t recall where I first hear about Outschool. It was probably in a VIPKid Facebook group, to be honest. I looked a little, and actually enrolled my youngest in a single-session class in April, and then another in March. But I was busy with my second-semester classes (I was teaching two sections of middle school literature, a section of art appreciation, and high school economics). I just needed to be finished, have my grades submitted, get my own kids’ schooling finished… Then I could think about Outschool.

So, in May I signed up and created my first class. My background in (waaaaayyy back) music, and I’ve been wanted to get back to that. I got my first class listed, and began getting a few students enrolled.

Then, two things happened. First, I was reading (#thankyoufacebookgroups) teachers talk about how they’re really finding success teaching in areas that they enjoy. Second, I got an email from Outschool listing the parent requests for classes that week.

I have never “studied” ukulele. But in my early 30’s, I read quite a bit about how some schools used them with great success with students. I bought three (for myself – baritone, concert, and soprano) to tinker around with. They were fun… easy (for me). Light and quick to grab and use to accompany my classes while they were singing or demonstrate chord progressions.

And here I was, twenty years later, seeing parents ask for ukulele classes for young children. Why not?

My ukulele class for 5 to 8-year-olds has been my most successful listing so far. We are having fun (all of us)! It’s not quite, but that’s what headsets are for. I don’t expect this to last indefinitely. Ukuleles are “in” right now. But it’s been a great experience for me to take what I know about learning, young children, and developmentally appropriate practice and apply it in a learning environment where everyone is excited to be there… including the teacher.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of Outschool for me has been the true diversity of students – before I started a family, I worked nearly exclusively with public and private schools. From then until 2017 when I joined VIPKid, I worked with homeschoolers. But in my Outschool classes, I have students from all over, some thousands of miles apart. Their skins are all colors, and some are public school students and some are homeschooled… and none of it really matters. We all just work together, learn together, and have a great time.

I’ve also found Outschool teachers to be very supportive, helpful, and kind to each other. It’s been a breath of fresh air.

Another great aspect is setting my own schedule. It has all the benefits of ESL without getting up o’dark early and teaching while everyone else is sleeping.

If you’ve been thinking about joining Outschool and aren’t sure where to start, just start thinking about what you like to do. What do you really enjoy sharing? That just might be what someone else is looking for.