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The end of the most bizarre school year in recent history is coming to an end. To say it was chaotic for schools and their students would be an understatement. Amazingly, some teachers & school districts figured out – on the fly – how to convert lessons, intended for face-to-face instruction, into material they could teach via Zoom classes, public television & more.

This required new skills, resources and classroom management considerations. Even after working out the kinks, distance teaching was a different animal. In some ways, it created challenges; however, in other instances, there were pleasant surprises. (For example, some introverts began to participate more!)  

New circumstances create new opportunities

There are silver linings for teachers and students alike. Educators who did “quaranteaching” now have new options for Summer Break side gigs. Online classes, workshops and camps are in higher demand than ever, and more teachers than ever have the experience to meet this need.

How educators can leverage their distance-teaching skills during school breaks.

Also, during school closures, I registered my kids for online courses to supplement what their teachers, and the school district, were sending us and posting online. Doing so enabled me to continue working, while we were sheltering place.

It was cool to see how creative some instructors were with their class topics! I found courses on everything from Titanic by the Numbers and Fortnite: Reading Comprehension Escape Room, to Wile E. Coyote Physics and Raising Rabbits 101.

And with community pools, summer camps & other seasonal pastimes still closed in many areas, online courses continue to be a great help to parents!

Be yourself, without limitations

What I’ve noticed on is that the more creative the topic is, the better the reviews seem to be!

How educators can leverage their distance-teaching skills during school breaks.

In other words, if you want to teach your own online course or camp, don’t worry about niching down. In fact, quite the opposite. Offering courses about topics you love – and that you may not be able to teach during the school year – will attract students who enjoy them as much as you do.

Case in point: my bright-and-quirky fourth grader loves an ongoing series on called Weird History: The Bizarre, the Insane and the Worst Decisions Ever. Will he ever need to know about the people and events featured in this course? Probably not, unless he lucks out with the perfect question on Jeopardy, Who Wants to be a Millionaire? or trivia night at a local sports bar. (In fact, it even says in the course description that most of what’s covered never makes it into school text books.) However, my son isn’t just learning about an anomaly of past human behavior; he’s discovering how to empathize with various types of individuals and societies…trying to understand what made them do what they did, even if it seems confusing and self-destructive to us.

As a “differently wired” child who is often misunderstood by his peers, I think the Weird History course also helps my son realize that none of us are perfect. In addition, he’s getting weekly interaction with a teacher and other kids who love history as much as he does. There’s so much value in all of that, and I’m not the only one who thinks so. The class is packed each week!

Online teaching platforms

If you offer your courses through an established service, it will already have a following. This makes the marketing process easier because those parents will be looking for other courses that are a good fit their kids’ skill levels and interests.

Here are advantages that offers its instructors:

How educators can leverage their distance-teaching skills during school breaks.
  • A robust platform that enables you to organize, promote and deliver your online classes
  • Integrated video chat and messaging via Zoom
  • Responsive support
  • Set your own schedule
  • Pick your own topics (i.e., no need to “teach to the test”)
  • Spend your time teaching, rather than doing tons of paperwork
  • Skip the bureaucracy

There are plenty of benefits for students, too. Kids learn in a group, and get to explore ideas with peers from around the U.S. – and, in some cases, the world. In addition, children have vetted mentors guiding them, who are accessible at a lower price point than private tutoring sessions.

More details

Sounds like an awesome off-season gig, doesn’t it? If you’d like to learn more about becoming one of Outschool’s independent instructors, including best practices, the approval process, how payments work and other frequently-asked questions, visit the Become an Outschool Instructor webpage.

I love Outschool and have been promoting their courses via Pinterest, Instagram and my personal social media accounts. So, if you end up becoming one of their instructors, I may tout one of your courses, too. 😉

Want more inspiration for course topics? See my article about online courses for bright and quirky kids. It contains tons of other examples that will help get your creative juices flowing.

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A silver lining to pandemic-driven distance teaching is that it opens up a new world of possibilities for educators. Online courses for kids are in higher demand than ever, & many teachers now have the experience to meet this need.