If your goal is to increase the number of classes you teach, it’s helpful to have some strategies to help you efficiently manage a larger workload.
Think about building another type of business: Transitioning from making a few pieces of art to creating a humming art business requires being intentional and efficient. As much as you may enjoy making art and even be good at it, you likely won’t sell a high volume of art without some purposeful strategies.
This approach will save your energy so that you can be present and connect easily with learners in your classes and not expend it all in class preparation.
Here are four recommendations to streamline your planning process and to create sustainable elements for your classes.
1. Repeat your class structures
Create a basic class structure that you can use across many classes. This can be particularly successful with similar classes. For instance, if you’re teaching about birds, you could use the same class structure in your introduction to birds class as well as your classes about birds of prey and hummingbirds.
This could mean developing a plan for greetings, then a brief introduction to the topic, followed by an interactive bird-related game. Maybe then you go through different characteristics of birds and discuss where they live, what they eat, how they reproduce, and what sounds they make. Finally, it might be time for an art activity before a closing game. Then, rinse and repeat for each class in the series.
Adopting a common class structure can also help you build class funnels, where you start with a foundational class that naturally leads to others. In this case, after you take the basic class on birds, learners can choose to take other classes focusing on particular types of birds.
You can make this process very clear to families by using the same class name with the specific topic at the end (sort of like a last name, followed by a first name). Some example class titles that follow this format are: “All About Birds: Seagulls” and “All About Birds: Hummingbirds.”
Pro tip: The class name should contain a target keyword that families interested in this topic are likely to use in online searches. A couple keyword search tools where you can check the popularity of a phrase are: Free Keyword Search Volume Tool (choose a keyword with more than 500 searches) and Google Trends.
2. Reuse common class elements
Within each class are standard elements that you can develop and repurpose throughout your classes. Consider designing a toolbox of options for each element. For example, put together five different ways you can greet learners of a certain age range. Now, you’ve prepared a number of options so that you have a choice of readily available ways to welcome learners that you can rotate among your classes.
Other class practices that you can create and reuse include: class expectations, discussion practices, class management approaches, interactive games, props, and closing games.
Make sure to keep in mind the needs of diverse learners when developing these elements, and leave room to make accommodations for different learning styles.
3. Develop templates
Templates are every educator’s friend, whether teaching in person or online. If you’re not taking advantage of these, consider saving yourself time by creating basic templates for materials like handouts and slides.
You can create your own templates in programs like Canva, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe Express for handouts to extend learning after class or worksheets for class activities. Keep in mind that you’ll likely need to make your own templates (instead of using pre-made ones) to avoid copyright issues.
Software tools like Google Slides, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Canva allow you to make slide templates that you can use throughout your classes.
As you design templates, remember to add your branding to shout out your teaching business. This is one more place to add your name, your business logo, your colors, and, well, whatever you use to promote your brand!
Reminder: All communication with enrolled families must stay on Outschool. So while you can refer families from social media or your website to your Outschool classes, you’re not permitted to promote outside sites to Outschool families.
4. Teach the same material in different formats
Got a class on great inventors? You can prepare lessons on Marie Curie, Leonardo Da Vinci, and George Washington Carver and offer them several ways to stretch your material and multiply enrollments. Here’s a handful of ideas about how to do that.
- Present a class on each inventor as a different stand-alone, one-time class.
- Offer a combination of one-time and ongoing classes, breaking out the most popular inventors into their own one-time classes.
- Group inventors by continent or time period and offer these as multi-day classes.
- Alter the core lesson material to create classes for older or younger age groups.
- How about a camp that culminates in learners coming up with an inventor of the future and their invention?
You could even develop a particular set of topics — say four to eight — then rotate them in an ongoing class. If you’re teaching about planets, as an example, you could teach one planet each week until you have introduced all eight, then start the process again. This gives you core lessons that you can keep repeating within an ongoing class. Just include dates in your class description that identify when students will learn about different planets, and learners can choose when to join.
Of course, the simplest plan of all is to duplicate your class by making multiple sections of the same class. Outschool makes it easy to add sections right on your teaching calendar.
When making these decisions about how to repackage your teaching material, it’s helpful to consider the market, including what classes are currently popular and your following on Outschool and their preferences.
Finally, choose a topic you love teaching — the best practice for many reasons — because you will spend a lot of time with it!
Consistent class structures benefit learners, too
Consistent class structures and elements aren’t just helpful for educators; they can make learning a breeze for learners, too.
Students who take more than one class with you will know how your classes work, reducing their cognitive load. Since learners already know your class processes, their minds are free to focus on class content and ready to learn.
This can be particularly important for learners who like to know what to expect in a class. This includes learners who are neurodiverse as well as those who are taking online classes with multiple educators and adjusting to different teaching styles.
Looking for more tips? Or maybe you have information to share with other educators? Check out more Outschool resources on building your business or join the Outschool’s Educator Hub on Facebook.