Almost two years ago now a friend mentioned to me that she was using an online teaching platform called Outschool, to arrange home schooling classes for her children. She mentioned it to me because some years ago we’d played a couple of GURPS roleplaying campaigns…

[ Those campaigns were a D&D-esque fantasy game in which she played an elf named Alvissa, and a space-faring science fiction game in which she played a human pilot named Paris. Followers of Irregular Webcomic! may recognise the inspiration for a couple of the characters in that comic. ]

… and so she knew I was into running tabletop RPGs. I’d also mentioned to her that I was volunteering to teach schoolkids science and ethics at a couple of primary schools. She connected the dots and mentioned that on Outschool there were people offering classes that were essentially D&D games for kids, and that maybe I’d be interested in signing up to do the same.

I went home and checked Outschool, and they said they accepted teachers from the US, Canada, and Australia, so I signed up. But then a few days later I got a message saying my application to teach was rejected because they only supported teachers in the US – and the Help pages had been updated to reflect that change. I inquired by email, and they said they’d just changed their rules, but they hoped to reopen for teachers in Australia in the future.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago, when I got reminded of Outschool by a news email from them. It didn’t mention anything about Australian teachers, but I decided to take a quick look at their site again, and lo and behold, the Help pages had been updated to indicate they are now accepting teachers form the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand!

So I decided to complete my application to become a teacher on the site. Two years ago they only required a written application, but now they want a 3-5 minute video introducing yourself and showing a sample of teaching something. I’ve been busy for the past week, but today I sat down to record a video. I recorded a brief piece about the history of astronomy, in particular how the ancients regarded and used stars to track the passage of the seasons, leading up to Angelo Secchi’s 1863 discovery that the stars are similar to our sun – or to put it another way, that the sun is a star. Prior to this, nobody had ever known that.

I finished my application, listing my background and experience in teaching, and uploaded the video. The form said it would take a few days for applications to be processed.

But just a few hours later I’ve received an email from Outschool, saying that my application has been accepted! There’s one more step, which is a background check to ensure that I’m okay to work with children and don’t have a criminal record, but that won’t be a problem since I’m already approved by the NSW Government to teach children. It’ll take a bit of time, but once it’s done I can start offering classes to children all around the world! (Or at least in the US, Canada, Australia, and NZ.) And the time zones work out great, because late morning here is early evening in North America, so I can get students from all the countries in my classes at once.

I’m really excited about this – both because I love teaching kids cool science stuff, and because it will (hopefully) provide a moderate income to supplement what I’ve been making so far from my photography, and thus help me in my goal of not having to find an employer again.

Anyway, that’s been my day, pretty much. I made a 4 minute video, but that took all morning, with several takes, and then editing to add illustrative slides and so on. And then I had to complete the text parts of my application, listing all my experience and qualifications and then writing some sample class outlines. I had a bit of a relax this afternoon, taking Scully to the dog park, and cooking dinner and the usual stuff. But I’m mentally exhausted!

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