How I Created My First Online Academy
The word ‘Academy’ comes from the late Middle English. It was the name of the garden where Plato taught.It was a beautiful grove on the Northwest side of Athens where eager learners would come to hear his words.
Don’t you want to run an academy, from a lovely garden?
During June and July, I run my academy from my own garden. It is on a hill, near a pleasant town and even nearer to my dearest friends.
I am sitting in front of my strawberry plants and behind my raspberry bushes on this couch. During August, I do not run the business at all. I take a vacation.
During the winter, I teach from a poolside in Nicaragua.
The winters in New England are too much for me. Since my academy is mobile, I can take it with me anywhere. The biz comes with me and the kids on our annual trip to Nicaragua. We stay at the Hotel Granada where they have excellent WiFi, affordable massages and a fabulous all-you- can-eat breakfast. I teach next to this pool, while my kids play.
Then, there is the beer garden.
When I am in the US, and not in my garden, I rent office space from The Green Wolf Brewery. Sometimes, I need some space from the kids. There is great WiFi. It is steps away from a municipal library and the town pool. Furthermore, they brew the best IPA in upstate NY.
Is there a lovelier way to teach? I think not.
The story of my biz
I have been a teacher my whole life. I have my degree in early adolescent education from Bank Street and I have worked with homeschoolers for 15 years. Several years ago, I wanted to move closer to my friends and have a better quality of life. A friend suggested teaching online. I did some research and got myself set up with WizIQ. I began small, just teaching a few courses. My business is called Online Classes for Groovy Kids.
I create courses about things that are important to me. I teach about social justice, race and racism and the environment. I teach about utopias and revolutions. I help young people imagine the world that they want and equip them to create it.
I learned more effective ways of engaging my students during and outside of classes, so that I could best assist their learning. I often flip my classroom and provide time in class for my students to process and digest information. They write weekly letter to me about their thinking and their ideas. They often tell me that my courses change the way that they look at the world.
The longer I teach, the easier it becomes to market my courses. I have found my niche. Secular, progressive homeschoolers are looking for classes like the ones that I teach. They support me. I support them. We all win.
I have ideas to share and so do you!
I convey my world view to students, in a way that helps them to understand societal problems and begin to solve them. I also attempt to convey my sense of awe and wonder at the amazingness around us. My goal is for my students to leave my classes ready to speak up against injustice and celebrate their day.
You have ideas to share, too. Maybe you can look at a physics problem and know how to solve it. Perhaps you can see the art and beauty that resides in that problem. Maybe you are a marketing guru and have brilliant ideas about how to unite people around a specific cause. Maybe you are a great cook and are particularly good at chopping vegetables. You have beautiful and useful ideas to contribute to society! Don’t you hide those gifts. Share them!
Rock your life.
Life is chock full of breathtaking places, beautiful moments and plenty of joy.
You can’t see it as easily, though, when you are working 60 hours each week. You can believe it when you are stuck in a dull office or meaningless job. Working for the man without vacation time isn’t the life for me.
Decide what you want to share and figure out how to share it. If you decide to do the sharing online, check out WizIQ.