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All About Buddyschool
Online tutoring is already around for years, but the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted its potentials for students (anyone who wishes to learn) and teachers (anyone who qualifies to teach). Among the platforms to seek this opportunity is Buddyschool. Read until the end of this post if you like to understand all about Buddyschool and if it can help you if you pursue this online tutoring gig.
“A place for meeting people who will set off your desire to teach and to study,” this is what Buddyschool claims itself to be.
It started in 2007 with the mission for connecting tutors to students worldwide. More than a decade later, the online tutoring platform has over 90,000 users and has offered 300,000 lessons. It also has almost 20,000 tutors who can help students learn any of over 100 subjects (Sciences, Humanities, Languages, Businesses, Arts, Crafts, etc).
What Buddyschool Offers
I think what sets Buddyschool apart from other similar platforms is that you may register here both as a student and as a tutor. Buddyschool is a place for those who like to perform better in any academic or school subject to
- improve their foreign language skills through the help of a native speaker.
- earn money from sharing experience, knowledge and skills with people miles away.
- meet people across the globe.
Buddyschool claims that they have unique features, but I think most of their features are also available in other similar websites.
a) It has an online classroom where you can conduct your entire lesson.
b) Apart from a calendar containing past and future lessons, Buddyschool offers to send you an email or an SMS message to remind you of your booked lessons. Since it is available worldwide, its system will calculate your schedule according to time zones so you can work with any person anywhere in the world without confusion with time.
c) Both students and tutors have rankings. Tutor ranks help students pick top mentors. Student ranks help tutors determine which students are really paying.
d) In your account, you can access and view the organized details regarding the subjects you teach/study, your tutors/students, your past and future lessons, your payments and more.
e) Buddyschool also offers a tracking system for payments.
f) The online teaching platform allows file sharing.
How Buddyschool Works
From Figure 1, a tutor will post his offered services (complete with the crucial details of his teaching experience, availability, contact information and pricing).
A student could browse through and select a tutor whom he thinks is most appropriate for him. Watching this video below will give you an idea on how students find tutors at Buddyschool.
After selecting the most suitable tutor, the student will check the tutor’s calendar and if he sees that the tutor’s availability suits his schedule or preferred time for studying, he will send a message to this tutor to request a lesson. In this message, he could add specific details about his required lesson. The student may pay before or during booking. The student’s balance will show his available credits.
As a tutor, when you receive such requests, you could reject or accept them. You may change some terms in the student’s request and send them back to him for his confirmation. If the student agrees, the lesson will become officially scheduled and will appear in your calendar and the student’s calendar. You could carry on the lesson on the scheduled date and time until the system notifies you that the booked time is over.
The minimum age requirement is 18 years old. Similar platforms like Chegg and Skooli require you to submit proofs that you have a background and experience in teaching. Others such as Wyzant and Takelessons are serious about background checks. I believe that the requirements are not that stringent here at Buddyschool .
Yet, you still need to have your computer, and internet connection since this is an online job. You need not download and install any software program, unlike in some usability testing websites. You just need an Adobe Flash Player to use the online classroom.
Although it is not an exact requirement, as you conduct online lessons, you realize that you need some teaching materials such as photos, text, audio and video recordings. You can upload these files in the media library and assign them on any upcoming lessons as shared materials. File sharing will allow your student to access and use these files during the lesson.
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What Makes A Successful Buddyschool Tutor
You cannot succeed at being a tutor unless you have students to teach. Thus, a key to success is to learn how to find students to teach and how to build a pleasant relationship with them. There are few ways you can do this at Buddyschool.
1) Login to Buddyschool and conduct your sessions. With every lesson you complete, ask the student to leave feedback. To receive positive feedback, you must do well when conducting the lesson and when interacting with the student. You should also leave a good feedback for the student.
2) Reply as quickly as possible to every student inquiry. This means you should regularly check (if not constantly log in to) your email. In your profile, provide both your email address and mobile number, so Buddyschool may also send SMS notifications when a student sends you a message.
3) Make your profile persuasive. Add a professional, yet friendly looking photo. Make sure the profile details about you are complete.
4) Advertise your profile. Now here is another unique part about Buddyschool. Other platforms like Preply claims that it gives all tutors a fair chance of being seen by students in. Tutors there must work on their own to increase their search results ranking. Here at Buddyschool, you could make use of paid ad profiles to increase your position in the search results. When a student searches for a tutor, paid tutor profiles usually appear above the list of unpaid profiles.
The concept is like those instances when you search for something on search engines. People often click and visit the links from the top of the first page of the search results. In the same manner, if you have a paid profile ad, searching students will see your profile first and therefore look at your profile first so you have higher chances of having this student book a lesson with you.
You need to complete with thousands of tutors listed at Buddyschool, and one way to have an edge over most of them is by paying for your profile ad. Tutors who just signed up and have low tutor scores will benefit from paid ads. Paid ads endow you with visibility to potential students.
There are two types of ads available in Buddyschool. You may use both types of ads to achieve maximum results, according to Buddyschool. You may consider it as your investment.
1) Sponsored ad listings appear on every page of Buddyschool such as in the center of the homepage or on top of search lists. When a student clicks on your ad, Buddyschool will deduct an amount from your allocated budget (more on this in the payment section of this article).2) Highlighted ad listing will make a regular listing visually standout from the rest of the search results. There is a onetime payment for this ad good for 30 days regardless how many times it appears and how many times a student clicks it.
This helps in evaluating a Buddyschool tutor’s reputation. As the most crucial information about a teacher, tutor score allows a student to discover how a teacher has performed with another student he has taught before.
After every lesson, a student may leave feedback about the teacher, which can boost or reduce the tutor score. Positive feedback increases the tutor score by one point; negative feedback decreases it by one point; and neutral feedback does not change the score.
A teacher may have multiple teacher profiles, such as when he teaches over one subject. Keep in mind that a tutor score applies only for each tutor profile. A tutor score earns stars depending on the points a tutor has achieved.
How To Apply/Join
Setting up an account here is free. Begin by choosing your username.
Log in to the system so you can complete your profile. Be sure to add a photo, because according to Buddyschool, those profiles with photos usually receive more lessons.
On the dashboard, you will find the ‘Teach’ menu. Clicking this will show you the instructions to follow in creating your tutor profile (by subject). Take this opportunity to introduce yourself to the students, taking extra care in describing your experience, expertise, fees and more. At Buddyschool, you may provide free test lessons and you could add this in the tutor profile.
Set your availability in the calendar. Activate your profile and then start receiving requests to teach. Pay attention to the part where you need to activate your profile before you can start teaching.
The image above shows the sign up page of Buddyschool at https://buddyschool.com/user/sign-up. Type your selected username and password and provide a valid email address. You need to confirm your registration through the link you will receive in your inbox.
Once you have confirmed your registration, start telling about the languages you speak and the subject you can teach. Set your country and your time zone.
Add your photo and then provide a valid phone number through which you will receive notifications on lessons and payments. After providing a phone number, enter a code you will receive via SMS. This will prove that the phone number you provided really works.
Activate Your Profile
Registering and setting up a profile is free, but this profile will not show in the tutor search results (when a student searches for a tutor for the subject/s you teach) unless you activate your profile.
It is at this point where the free use of the Buddyschool platform ends.
In your Tutor Profile section, you will see a green ‘Activate’ button. Click this button to activate your profile for a cost.
One month worth of activation costs $1. Half a year of activation costs $5 and one year of activation costs $10. You can pay for the activation via PayPal, credit card or debit card.
Here at Buddyschool, you may also buy credits. You will see this link at the top of your dashboard page. One credit costs $1. In the section below about Potential Income, you will learn just what you can do with the credits you bought.
You can set your hourly rate at Buddyschool, but you will not receive your entire hourly rate because Buddyschool will collect a commission. For example, you set your hourly rate at $10; you will only get $8. Set an hourly rate of $15, but you will receive only $12.
This shows that Buddyschool gets 20% commission off your hourly rate and this is even a separate from the activation fee (described above) a tutor has to pay so that his profile will be visible to any student searching for a tutor of the subject he can teach.
In this platform, students pay for lessons in advance. The advantage of this is that it guarantees you will receive your payment. However, first send a withdrawal request manually before you can receive your payment.
Send the withdrawal request through the Buy Credits section only after a day (24 hours) has passed after the completed lesson. Then, wait for about another business day to receive the money through PayPal.
Educate yourself on how to be successfully self-employed.
Buying credits at Buddyschool serves some purposes. Students need to buy credits to pay for lessons in advance. Tutors also need to buy credits if they want to avail of paid ads that will promote their tutor profile in the search results. As a tutor, you need to buy credits before you can create an ad.
Cost of Sponsored Ad Listing
When creating the sponsored listing ad, you need to first allocate a budget. Set the maximum cost per click and the daily expense limit.
For example, you may allocate a budget of $10 with the maximum cost per click of $0.1 and daily expense limit of $5.
With sponsored listings, each actual click on your ad will deplete your budget. With the example above of $0.1 per click, your $10 budget (10 credits) will allow your ad to run until students click your ad for 100 times. Since you set the daily expense at $5, the daily limit is 50 clicks. After students clicked the ad for 50 times, your ad will no longer show on the web pages of Buddyschool.
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Cost of Highlighted Ad Listing
With a highlighted ad, you only pay a specific amount of $10, which is good for one month. If you have multiple tutor profiles for each subject you teach and you want to promote each of your profiles, then you have to pay separately for each of them.
If you teach 3 subjects, you will have 3 tutor profiles. If you want each profile to have a highlighted listing ad, then you must pay $10 for each profile.
An online tutor at Buddyschool is an independent contractor. You will only teach when a student booked for a lesson with you.
You are free to use your free time (when there are no bookings) anyway you like. You could apply to other online tutoring websites. There are also online English teaching platforms out there. Or you can start other ways to earn money online.
Benefits / Bonus/ Increase/ Training Provided
Tutors here may also become students. For example, you are a tutor of academic subjects like Math and Science, you may also search for and book for a lesson with other tutors such as when you want to learn other languages.
Although costing some money, paid ads offer a way to promote and advertise your teaching services. You may opt not to avail this.
If you are wary of any online opportunity that asks for money before you can do what you ought to do, then Buddyschool is not the platform to join for you. However, I think it is worth trying for just $1.
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