My name is Rosa. I’m an online ESL Teacher, amongst other roles! But today I want to help you navigate the world of teaching ESL online!
The journey to becoming an online ESL teacher can be fun and exciting.
But it can also be confusing and overwhelming.
Let me take you stop by stop on the route to Sweet Success.
We know everyone is different, but the road to success has definitive action steps that will help you win!
We’ll what are you waiting for?! The bus is about to leave the station heading towards Sweet Success Station.
Vámonos! Let’s go!
Notice: This helpful series contains affiliate links on which we earn a small commission as well as our original products.
The journey to becoming an online ESL teacher can be fun and exciting.
But it can be easy to feel overwhelmed...
#1 Positivity Park
You’ve got to think positive! Go into this new adventure with confidence. How will you ever succeed if you don’t believe in yourself?
The decision to become an online teacher takes gumption. There will be interviews, demos and countless non-English speaking children and adults who have no idea what you’re saying… sometimes staring at you blankly for minutes at a time!
But have no fear, the journey is certainly worth it. So first and foremost, you must believe you can achieve your goals and make it to the top of that mountain. You must believe in your own Sweet Success.
Need a bit of inspiration? Check out Teacher Zee’s Blog. –> “ I’m Not A Real Teacher?!”
Glad that’s out of the way! With the right mindset, anything is possible!
Now you are ready for your journey!
Let’s make our way to Sweet Stop #2…
Your virtual classroom is where the magic happens! We know that sounds like a lot of pressure… But take a deep breath!
It’s actually sweet and simple.
- Degrees & Certificates — Most companies require a BA degree and a TESOL or TEFOL Certification. Good News is these are super affordable, there are even some you can earn for free. Often there are often deals on Groupon, and the cert can be completed over a weekend. You will need a copy of your degree or transcript and certifications prior to being officially hired.
- A quiet space where your sessions won’t be disturbed.
- A desktop, laptop, or tablet to teach from. — Some companies allow tablets, some do not.
- Wifi or wired Internet connection – Strong and reliable.
- A neat, engaging and uncluttered background. — Physical or green screen. Manycam is an exciting option (more on that later).
- Headset with microphone — Some companies allow earbuds, others discourage it.
- Lights, Camera, Action! — Your students will need to see you clearly during classes, and interviewers will be evaluating your teaching and classroom environment. Be sure you have at least 3 light sources, and a good webcam. You don’t have to rush out to buy a top of the line webcam, the one included in your laptop will most likely do just fine. Here are some recommendations! Affordable Ring Light via Amazon
#2 Tech & Classroom Crossing
#3 Application Avenue
There are literally hundreds of Online ESL Companies in the world. Things to consider:
- Flexibility vs Long Term Scheduling
- Pay rate
- Class Length
- Number of students per class
- Peak Hours
- Minimum Hours
- Bonuses + Raise Structure
- Tech Requirements
- Employee Reviews (Take with a grain of salt)
View 30 of the highest paying online ESL companies to work with, according to TeachAway.Com.
|Employer||Hourly pay (USD)||Typical student||Lessons provided||Expected working
|Experience, qualifications &
|English from A to Z||$18 – 72(depending on number of students in class)||Worldwide||Teachers to use YourAgora platform to build their own lessons 60 minutes Small groups (up to 8 students)||Min. 5 hours per weekFlexible times as students are from all over the world||BA required Native English speakers prefered TEFL required 1 year teaching experience prefered|
|Fast School||$30 – 40||Chinese children
(3 – 15 years)
|All lessons & materials provided30-minute,
|Min. 2.5 hours per weekBeijing time||BA or above requiredNative/Non-native speakerAmerica/Canadian accent preferredTEFL/TESOL/CELTA|
|Tutor Supply||$20 – 32||Chinese children
|All lessons & materials provided||No minimumBeijing time||BA requiredTEFL/TESOL/CELTA|
|USTKiD||$20 – 33||Chinese children
|All lessons & materials provided 30 minutes +,
|No minimumBeijing time||BA required Native speaker from Canada/UK/USTeaching experience|
|USKid||$17 – 28||Chinese children||All lessons & materials providedOne-on-one classes||Min. 5 hours per weekBeijing time||BA required Native English speaker|
|SayABC||$15 – 28||Chinese children
(7 – 9 years)
|All lessons & materials provided40-minute one-on-four classes||Same 3 times for 3 monthsBeijing time||BA not required for contracts under 3 monthsTEFL/TESOL/CELTA required Native English speakers|
|Magic Ears||$18 – 26||Chinese children
(5 – 12 years)
|All lessons & materials provided30-minute,
|Min. 6 hours per week Beijing time||BA not required but preferred Native English speaker from US/Canada 8 months + ESL teaching experienceTESOL/TEFL|
|Panda ABC/Teach Future||$20 – 25||Chinese children
|All lessons & materials provided25-minute,
|Min. 7.5 hours per weekBeijing time||BA requiredTEFL/TESL Native English speaker preferred 1 year teaching experience|
|BlingABC||$18 – 25 Star teachers can make up to $50 if they have experience in child education||Chinese children (5 – 12 years)||All lessons & materials provided40-minute,
small group classes
|Fixed hoursBeijing time||BA requiredTEFL/TESOL/CELTA preferred Native English speaker (American, Canadian, Australian and British accents preferred)|
|Landi||$18 – 25||Chinese children
(5 – 12 years)
|All lessons & materials provided25-minute, one-on-one or
|Min. 12 hours per month (4 teaching days per week)||BA requiredTEFL/TESOL/CELTA preferred Teaching experience preferred|
|UUABC||$15 – 25||Chinese children||All lessons & materials provided||Min 4 hours per weekBeijing time||BA requiredTEFL/TESOL/ CELTA Native English speaker
(North America, UK, Australia/New Zealand, Ireland)Basic command of Chinese if an advantage 1 year teaching experience
|Hugo||$15 – 25||Chinese children
(5 – 16 years)
|All lessons & materials providedOne-on-one classes||No minimum Beijing time||Native English speaker
(North America, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa)
|Boxfish||$10 – 25||Chinese children (K12)||All lessons & materials provided25-minute classes,
max. 4 students
|No minimumBeijing time||BA requiredTEFL/TESOL preferred Native English speaker (American, Canadian, Australian and British accents preferred)|
|DaDa||Up to $25||Chinese children
(4 – 16 years)
|All lessons & materials provided30-minute, one-on-one classes||Min. 2 hrs per day +
2 days per weekShanghai time
|BA required TEFL or CELTA preferredTeaching experience Must be a native English speaker|
|A+ Gateway||$18 – 22||Chinese children
(grades 7 – 12)
|All lessons & materials provided40-minute, one-on-one classes||No minimum statedBeijing time||BA required 2 years’ teaching experience Can work in USA/Canada|
|51Talk||$15 – 22||Chinese children (4 – 12 years)||All lessons & materials provided25-minute classes||30 hours per monthBeijing time||BA requiredTEFL/TESOL/CELTA preferredExperience with young learners|
|ALO7||$15 – 22||Chinese children (K12)||All lessons & materials provided25/50-minute classes||Min. 12 classes (6 hours) per weekBeijing time||BA required/currently enrolled in a 4 year programTEFL/TESOL Native English speaker from USA, Canada, UK & Australia|
|Western Wise||$15 – 22||Chinese children
(5 – 14 years)
|All lessons & materials provided||No minimum stated Beijing time||Either a TEFL/CELTA, 3 years of experience or a language degree requiredNative speaker – North American accent|
|VIPKID||$14 – 22||Chinese children (4 – 12 years)||All lessons & materials provided25-minute, one-on-one classes||Min. 7.5 hours per monthBeijing time||BA required TEFL preferredUS/Canadian citizen or eligible to work in US/Canada (i.e. work visa/green card)|
|Golden Voice English||$20||Chinese children
(grades 1 – 9)
|All lessons & materials providedOne-on-one or small group classes
|Min. 8 hours weeklyBeijing time||BA required, BE preferredTEFL/TESOL/TESL6 months ESL teaching experience|
(under 12 years)
|All lessons & materials provided45-minute classes||Flexible but must be available during peak hoursBeijing time||BA requiredTEFL/TESOLUS/Canadian nationality|
|Live Lingua||$20||Worldwide(all ages)||Make your own lesson plans & assess students 1-hour, one-on-one classes||Worldwide flexible||BA requiredMA/PhD preferredTEFL/TESOL/CELTANative English Speakers (US, UK, Australia, China) 2 years of experienceAdditional language (so that you know how to learn & teach a language)|
|Qkids||$16 – 20||Chinese children
(5 – 12 years)
|All lessons & materials provided30-minute, one-on-one classes||Min. 6 hours per week, up to 19 hoursBeijing time||BA required (enrolled in a four-year program) Eligible to work in USA/CanadaTeaching experience/training|
|Hujiang||$16 – 20||Chinese children
(5 – 18 years)Chinese adults
|All lessons & materials provided25-minute, one-on-one classes||Min. 10 hours per week Beijing time||BA required Native English speakers from UK, USA, Canada, Australia or New ZealandPreference to teachers who will work weekends|
|Teach Away||$16 – 18 (higher salary once more experienced on the platform)||All ages||All lessons & materials providedOne-on-one classes||FlexibleUsually on Beijing time||BA required TEFL preferred Teaching experience preferred|
|iTalki||Teacher sets own rate iTalki takes 15%||All ages
|Teacher creates own lessons & materials||No minimumFlexible times as students are from all over the world||Native English speaker (UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland)Professional teacher
/BA in Education
/Professional teaching experience/ TEFL/CELTA/TESOL
|Skimatalk||$8 – (can set own rate -20%)||All ages
|Can download lessons from website but teachers encouraged to create their own25-minute classes||No minimum Flexible times as students are from all over the world||BA not requiredTeaching experience preferred Native English speaker|
|SkyLearn||Up to $35,000/year, full-time||Worldwide
|All lessons & materials provided50-minute classes||Fully flexible as worldwide learners||BA required North American accent preferredTEFL/TESL preferred|
Top 10 Best Companies To Work For Online English Teaching
According to reviews by teachers, QKids is a great company to work for because their platform has a built-in rewards program for students. Additionally, the lesson plans are already prepared and vary in content. Teachers love teaching online English with QKids because classes are pre-booked for you. Teachers also reference an accommodating and friendly staff.
Landi is another great company for teaching English online to students in China. Teachers note that Landi pays on time and has an online chat for notifications, plus a help desk team for troubleshooting or computer-related issues. Teachers for Landi also have mentioned that the hiring process is rather quick.
Hujiang allows you to record your own intro video so that students can select you. Teachers consistently mention that Hujiang pays on time, and even pays early in the case of Chinese holidays, whereas other companies have been known to delay payments. Hujiang also offers a program to teach kids, as well as a program to teach English to adults online.
Teachers cite that teaching online English with Dada includes a very fast onboarding process, which means you can start teaching quite quickly. Teachers also mention that they love DaDa’s platform.
Additionally, Dada recently amended their leave policy to allow for more flexibility for teachers, as long as they request leave at least 24 hours in advance.
PalFish is an app that allows teachers to set their own hourly rates, which many teachers find quite flexible.
Teachers who work for Alo7 mention an excellent support team. Teachers also mention having a great training experience with Alo7, which includes a demonstration lesson for each type of class that’s available.
Teachers who teach English online with VIPKID consistently mention that you have a flexible schedule, and great materials to work with, which are continually upgraded.
Note that VIPKID does require a college degree.
Teachers mention that the Magic Ears community is very non-competitive and friendly. Since Magic Ears books the classes for you, you don’t compete with other teachers. Additionally, Magic Ears doesn’t have minimum hour requirements, which gives greater flexibility to teachers.
Whales English (formally Sprout) pays relative great hourly rate. Average pay rate of $18-$25 per session. Some well qualified and advanced teachers reach $30+ per hour.
They are currently seeking teachers from the US, Canada and the UK with a neutral accent. You must have a bachelor degree or above and although it is not required, a TEFL, TESOL or other teaching certificate is preferred. You will be teaching during typically Chinese peak hours of 6-9PM Beijing time along with hours during the day and night on the weekends. Classes are group lessons of 2-3 students aged 5-15. There are consistent hours for regular teachers.
Teachers mention that SayABC books your classes for you, and offers a fairly consistent schedule. Teachers mention that SayABC offers some of the highest rates for teaching English online, as they pay up to $28 for a 40 minute lesson.
Here are the essentials to keep in mind during the interview process:
Professionalism – Dress the part! No you don’t have to put on your business suit, but you do need to meet the dress code required by the school. Most schools prefer colored Polo style shirts or t-shirts in their company color. We can help out with that! Click the banner below to see our selection of personalized teacher tees.
Timing – Demo lessons are approx. 10 min. Plan out your pacing for each page of the lesson and give it all you got!
Prep – Review slides, prepare your Props, whiteboard, dry erase markers, etc. Don’t forget your SMILE!
Energy – Smile, smile, smile. Greet the interviewer as though you are teaching an actual class. If you are interviewing to teach adults, keep your demo personable and professional. If you plan to teach kids, bring your own special brand of fun!
SMILE! – We cannot say this enough. Be sure to smile. It’s important!
TPR/ Total Physical Response. A technical term that really means, use your body (hands, arms, facial expressions) to support the lesson, engage students and relay meaning (VIDEO COMING SOON!)
Techniques – Be sure to remember that you are interviewing to teach another human being how to speak English. Brush up on “Synthetic Phonics” and Online ESL technique videos on youtube!
International Time Difference – Visit https://www.worldtimebuddy.com to check the time changes so you don’t miss your interviews or classes. This can be a major challenge. Punctuality is mandatory, so don’t miss out on the job because you had the wrong time! They will want to know that you understand the time difference, and may ask about it in the interview!
#4 Interview Drive
#5 Teacher Profile Promenade
When setting up your teacher profiles you must keep these things in mind:
Be Personable — Your profile photo and videos should be warm and inviting.
Look Professional — Choose a photo with a blank background, nature, or in your classroom.
Use Quality Photo & Video — Use iMovie to edit your own, or checkout Fiverr.com for affordable video editing services. Soon we’ll have our very own course with OWSONLINE.ORG to help teach the basic editing and design skills to support your career as an online teacher.
It’s your show, make it awesome!
Always be on time!
Do your best to not cancel class! – Depending on the company, it may affect your future bookings. Be sure to follow their protocol for cancellations.
Make your classes fun and engaging – Use props, TPR, Whiteboards, any reasonable item can be used as a prop as long as it helps your student better understand you and the lesson.
Give great and accurate feedback — Finding your feedback flow can be a challenge, especially in the beginning. Most companies require feedback to be submitted within 2-12 hours to avoid penalty. But luckily we’ve got a solution for you! BlaBlaCommentz is a wonderful app that makes feedback a breeze… fun even!
#6 "It's Showtime!" Street
#6 Sweet Success Station!
Congratulations, you did it!
We can’t make any guarantees… but if you apply yourself and follow our the route of our Sweet Success Express, you’ll be a pro in no time flat! It takes determination great attitude to make it in this industry. You know what, we believe you’ve got what it takes.
Experiment to find the right balance of companies for you!
Roll with the punches, you’ll soon find your groove!
Be flexible! As you continue to grow and succeed, you can even explore teaching independently or teaching other subjects online. (More on that later!)