About three years ago, I wrote an article for my school newspaper ‘Covid-19 – How The Pandemic Could Change Education‘. I’ve always been a proponent of online education and felt that the use of new online learning paradigms during COVID-19 could phenomenally increase access, efficiency, and practicality of education worldwide.
I’m an avid fan of Khan Academy and have been using it for almost a decade now (yay!). Personally, I’ve gained a lot from it as it has helped me through my SAT, APs, grade 10th boards, and even grade one. With its incredible resources, it has been an absolute lifesaver for me during the COVID pandemic. Interestingly, a government school in my locality also relied on Khan Academy for teaching children during the Pandemic.
In 2021, when I was deemed too young for a tutoring role at Khan Academy, I stumbled upon a Reddit post about SchoolHouse.world. Created by Sal Khan, the founder of Khan Academy, and Shishir Mehrotra, the founder of CODA in response to the struggles faced by students during COVID-19, Schoolhouse.world is a platform that offers free, peer-to-peer tutoring. It allows individuals from anywhere in the world to receive live assistance, enhance their skills, and give back to the community by becoming a tutor themselves.
I signed up. I mostly tutor sessions in physics, my favourite subject, in addition to some sessions in math and AP sessions. I also host exam-oriented sessions because self-studying for exams like the SAT and APs is especially hard and expensive for international students.
All my session topics come up the same way; I come across a request for a session, remember how lost I was back when I had to study it, then schedule a session, trying my best to create a ppt that addresses the issues I had. I always emerge from these sessions having learnt something new. And it’s gratifying to see the look of understanding on my learners’ faces when they finally grasp a concept. One of my earliest learners was a boy belonging to a tribe in Malaysia who was ridiculed for his parents’ choice to home-school him. “I want to prove the haters wrong!” he wrote on our “share your story” page. “Your explanations make me curious about physics and wanting to learn more,” he added. I was on cloud 9 that entire week.
Through my experiences, I’ve come to comprehend and value diverse modes and techniques of learning. From CBSE students to those taking a gap year, individuals preparing for A levels, and even adult learners who have found the courage to pursue their GED through online options – I’ve had the pleasure of meeting people from all walks of life. These interactions have exposed me to unique student lifestyles that are vastly different from my own, and for that, I am extremely grateful.
Schoolhouse also has tonnes of amazing volunteer teams that you can be a part of. It’s so exciting to be at the forefront of cool initiatives. I applied for and was selected for the India Team here. My work entailed creating content specifically for Indian exams, and in vernacular languages to increase the user base. I also worked on creating a new “doubt-clearing” feature. There are so many opportunities to get involved. I was able to attend some community events with fellow tutors and it was so much fun just talking about our experiences and playing games.
Learners can join and attend high-quality sessions on hundreds of topics. There are also doubt-clearing sessions and office hours too. Schoolhouse.world also allows one to display mastery through certifications in different topics. Many universities like MIT and UChicago are also accepting these as part of their applications. I just went through the entire application process myself, and it made me so happy to see that little field of schoolhouse certifications on the applications!
I absolutely love how accountable the entire system is. Each certification goes through a review process by multiple people. All sessions and chats are monitored by volunteers. As a tutor, you are required to take simple courses on topics such as the online safety of your learners and creating respectful spaces.
We all have so much to learn. And we all have so much we can teach. Do make the effort.
Ending this now. Got a session on Ohm’s Law today 🙂
Your enthusiasm and energy never ceases to amaze me. Keep working to fulfill your passions. Waiting to read your next!
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Thank you so much!