Online learning platform hiring 5,000 more teachers to meet demand

Posted at 4:28 PM, Mar 25, 2020

In a matter of days, living rooms across the country turned into classrooms amid the COVID-19 outbreak. That left some parents worried about whether their kids will still keep learning and be ready when school starts up again.

Online platforms like Outschool are working to provide relief for them.

"Families, now, are suddenly faced with a scenario, where they're trying to work from home, adjust their lives, but also keep their kids occupied in a way that keeps them in touch with their learning," said Amir Nathoo, co-founder and CEO of Outschool.

Outschool is a marketplace of live, online classes for kids and teens.

"When we saw the announcements start to happen of mass school closures across the U.S, there was just this massive spike in enrollments in classes. That is still going on," said Nathoo.

He says while they did prepare for an influx in students, they had no idea it would be this many.

Since its 2017 launch, Outschool has enrolled 80,000 students. In just the last week alone, another 20,000 students joined the platform.

The company is now looking to bring on 5,000 new teachers to fill the demand.

Teachers receive training for online teaching and create their own lesson plans, which they set the price for. Classes typically cost $10 a session, but they can be as low as $5.

Outschool offers core curriculum classes as well as more innovative courses.

"Classes like learn architecture through Mindcraft, learn Spanish by singing Taylor Swift songs in Spanish, Harry Potter chemistry, Lego workshops," said Nathoo.

Emily Manion homeschools her three daughters and uses Outschool to supplement their education.

"They can work with me on picking some courses they want to do. They set their own alarms, they log in themselves, they communicate with the teacher themselves," said Manion.

She says it's been especially helpful for advanced subjects she can't keep up with anymore, and now, keeping the kids engaged because they can't do normal activities. This week, her youngest is learning how to sew clothes for Barbie.

"With our modern-day technology, we are able to see more positives in the midst of the chaos, and Outschool is one of them," said Manion.

"It's a deeply challenging situation, but there's also some real opportunities for improvement on how kids learn," said Nathoo.

Nathoo says you don't have to try and recreate the curriculum, but rather keep your kids engaged, learning, and having fun.

Families in financial need can receive up to $50 in free classes, that's about five hours of learning.