Questions to ask before signing up for online camps and classes

It is awesome to live in a world with so many opportunities! Our youth have so many options to explore and with protocols still up in the air throughout the country, it’s only natural that everyone is moving online. Summer School, Camps, and Classes, what do you choose? What will be the best fit when it comes to learning online? The Speech and Debate community is growing and it’s awesome to have so many options! As a parent for over 25 years, home educator for over 20 years, and an online business leader for almost four years, these would be the questions I would ask before signing up my students for an online camp or class…

These are the areas I check out before signing up my students for an online camp or class…

Cost – A top item in any budget savvy pocket book. I usually break down the hours. How many hours will the class/camp be? What will the hours of guidance or instruction be? This will give me a basic understanding of how expensive the class truly is. The cost breakdown per hour helps me decide if it’s worth it. I know what private speech and debate coaching costs (anywhere from $25-65 per hour). I expect group coaching to be less, but I still want to make sure the expense is worth it. Also, speaking from experience, teaching online classes, should cost less… the expenses should not be as great. No longer are you having to pay for flights or instructors expenses. Of course, everything will be dependent on the organization and the expenses they may have? As a side note, many places will offer a sibling discount or scholarship, even if they don’t advertise it (it doesn’t hurt to ask). A couple of the other variables in the cost, will be below…

Student to Instructor Ratio – This is key to any online class or camp (and in person for that matter). Does the class have a minimum or maximum amount of space? I cap my classes and clubs off. I want to make sure I connect with each one of my students. This can vary depending on your instructor. You want to make sure your student will also feel comfortable with that number. Will your student get the one on one connection they may need? We have all sat in a Zoom meeting at this point. You know what it’s like to have the person leading, connecting with or without you. The more students there are, the more difficult it is to connect. The benefit of taking a class or attending a camp is to feel like you are getting ahead and making progress. My kids have gone to many camps and walked away over whelmed, uninterested, and I felt like it was a waste of money. You want your Instructor to make sure they will have a handle on all of their students (usually how many fit on their screen, therefore they don’t have to scroll through their students). You want them to keep control of the online environment. Does everyone have their screens on? Is the chat being monitored? Does the instructor have an assistant? Honestly, a good teacher will make the learning interesting, especially online, when students can lose focus.

Time/Schedule – Something to seriously consider these days. Lasting Impact! deliberately made a switch to do more class-based weekly meetings. Week long camps online can be exhausting (for both the instructors and students). Our brains can only handle so much! Just like in person camps, we need breaks, games, activities, or applications for students to do to keep them engaged.

Instructor Experience – I have said this many times… just because you are good at something, doesn’t mean you are good at teaching that particular subject. Experience in teaching online, should also be something to look for. It’s one thing to be in person, and it’s a whole new level online. I have had many friends that have tried online teaching. The transition can be hard. Make sure you are paying for experience you can trust. In addition, instructors who are actively involved in the Speech and Debate communities is helpful! When is the last time they were at a tournament? Are they judging? Are they teaching? These are also great questions to ask.

Testimonials/References – Trust is extremely important! Do you know someone who has had a positive experience? If you don’t know the organization, personally, it’s ok to ask questions or ask for references.

Remember, there are sorts of factors to consider when signing up for a class. I have taught many students that didn’t think they wanted to be in this environment, but we don’t always have eager learners in every class. Having instructors that take their job seriously, have a passion for Speech and Debate, and understand that these are your precious students you are entrusting them with, are part of the attributes and factors I look for, and impliment into Lasting Impact!

Lasting Impact! will be adding Online Classes throughout the summer. Click HERE for the updated list. Fall Clubs are also being added. Click HERE. We offer all areas of Speech and Debate! If you are interested in Online Custom Club Coaching- contact heather@lastingimpact.info

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