5 Steps to Setting Up a Private Learning Pod

September 15, 2020

With the rise of COVID-19, you may be familiar with the term trust circle — a small, tight-knit social circle committed to following the same set of safety precautions, and remaining socially distant from others. You can trust that those involved have prioritized the safety of all participants. Now, as plans for the next school year are underway, the idea of the trust circle is popping up under a new name: a learning pod.

Learning pods are groups of typically up to 10 students who regularly meet with a private teacher hired to either manage the coursework assigned by the students’ school(s), or to replace the need of students stepping foot in school altogether.

If you’re weighing the options of setting up a learning pod of your own, consider the five steps outlined below.

1. Know Your Budget

Whether you’re setting up the learning pod on your own, or with a group of families, you’ll want to determine the “all in” budget. Once you have your total, use the following to determine how much you can afford to pay a private teacher:

  • Are you looking for a private teacher for the full academic year, or for a few months?
  • Do you need them part-time, or full-time?
  • Is there a fee associated with the space the learning pod will meet?
  • What will it cost to purchase the necessary supplies for all students?

2. Consider Your Curriculum

If your child(ren) will remain enrolled in their school either virtually, or as a hybrid model — part-time in person, part-time online — you’ll need to decide if the teacher’s role is to simply manage the completion and submission of that coursework, or to supplement and enrich that coursework. These are two different roles, and the work associated with each looks very different.

If you are choosing to pull your child(ren) from school altogether, you’re likely in need of a teacher qualified and experienced in designing their own curriculum. The level of content knowledge and developmental understanding needed to design a curriculum is deeper than designing a strong lesson plan (created based-off of curriculum).

Noting the difference in what your learning pod will need from their teacher is critical to knowing which teachers will be the right-fit.

3. Determine Your Health and Safety Requirements

For most families, prior to COVID-19, these requirements likely fell in line with a common sense approach and understanding. But now, knowing the COVID risk tolerance and socializing practices of all members of the learning pod is critical. You’ll want to determine how strict each participant has been — and plans to remain — in order to best ensure the health and safety of the group. Here are additional tips to how to establish a health and safety protocol and have a productive discussion around safety etiquette and COVID risk tolerance among potential podmates.

In addition to COVID related requirements, many families also have the added pressures of keeping their children healthy and safe while managing underlying health conditions, allergies, and medications. If this is true for you and your family, you’ll want to consider what the teacher needs to be aware of, and what steps (e.g., emergency plans) will need to be taken should any concerns arise during the school day.

4. Outline Your Ideal Candidate Profile

Consider the non-negotiables (e.g., qualifications and experience) as well as the character traits each family is looking for in an effective teacher. You’ll want to compile this list, and determine what must be true, and what would be nice, before sourcing for right-fit candidates. Here are additional considerations when hiring a private teacher for your learning pod.

5. Start Sourcing for Your Teacher

Without first completing steps 1-4, this final step can be quite frustrating. There are thousands of teachers looking for positions, but when you know your ideal candidate profile, sourcing for the right-fit candidates is rather enjoyable!

For help with finding a right-fit private teacher for you and your family, let us know your preferences.

And know that we’re here to guide you each step of the way. If you have questions or concerns — or if you’ve discovered something that seems fool-proof — let us know! As more and more families begin sourcing for private teachers, we’ll need to lean on each other for support and best practices.

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