Teaching English While Travelling the World
Background: British & Hungarian, BA (Hons) in Youth Work and Ministry, 150 Hour TESOL with Global English, will be referring to GMT+1 timezone
I completed my TESOL qualification back in 2014 as I knew that it could be helpful for me to have as having a youth work and ministry degree might not be helpful for me in the future. After meeting Nick we knew that we wanted to travel and one day live in a different country to England. So I started looking into opportunities in 2016 and found a couple of online companies.
Preply & Fiverr
At first, I only found websites where teachers had to advertise themselves, the sites were very competitive with lots of cheap teachers and I hardly earned any money with it (Preply and Fiverr). I had a couple of students through Preply but I was teaching them for very little money (under £5/hour). It did help me gain experience and collect resources for teaching. I don’t recommend Fiverr, people who got in touch just wanted to flirt and meet girls.
If you would like to teach your own lesson plans, Verbling is a great platform to teach on, it’s the only website (I found) where you can earn a reasonable amount of money as a freelancer (you set your price but most teachers ask for more than £10/hour). The students can buy a package from you and you can design lesson plans for them specifically. I have prepared students for IELTS and others just wanted to practice conversational English. Once you have more reviews, you can set your hourly rate higher. You can withdraw your money once a week.
I found TutorABC next and that was the start of my new career working with Chinese students. My rate was £6.80 but teachers can receive bonuses after every lesson so altogether I earned about £9/hour. They decide your rate based on your location which is just silly. My booking rate was great and I received extensive training, however, after a while I found other better paying opportunities and TutorABC declined my request for a raise so left the company. They also changed their structure for including children as well but their lessons and platform was not suitable for children so I declined to teach under 18s which brought my bookings down. Since then, I have received emails from their recruitment team and was told that I could be offered higher pay only to find out after the interview that this wasn’t true. If you don’t have experience, TutorABC is a great company to get started and gain some experience, however their salary advertisement is often a lie.
I carried on searching for better online opportunities and found DaDaABC and I worked for them for a few months but as by then we knew that fixed schedule wouldn’t suit us after leaving England because we would be on the move constantly, I left the company. I did like working for DaDaABC, they paid well and I built great relationships with my students. They also gave compensation for my available slots that were not booked which is unique to this company compared to all the other company I have mentioned or will do in the following. I never met or talked to any other teachers who worked for them as they didn’t seem to have any support groups.
I have tried to reapply in June 2020, they have accepted my CV but been waiting for an interview for nearly a month. I have heard that many others don’t recommend them anymore.
I only worked for Alo7 for a few months, I really loved working for them but left the company because I was unable to carry on with the fixed schedule and wanted flexibility and later on found Landi that paid more. Alo7’s courseware and lesson plans are amazing (possibly one of the best out of all the companies) and they put a real effort into supporting you as a teacher (you receive comprehensive notes with every lesson plan for example). They pay $15/hour so quite a lot less than you could earn working for other companies.
Likeshuo & Meten
My language teaching adventure lead me to Likeshuo/Meten next, as they have various departments. I asked to work with both adults and children but they added me to the Junior department. They said that teachers are not able to work for both departments. I was with Likeshuo for more than a year but I managed to switch to the adults department after finally persuading my supervisor as I wasn’t getting enough bookings with the Juniors and after teaching with other companies who focus on children, I think their platform and lesson plans were much more suited for adults.
One of the main advantages of Likeshuo is the flexibility compared to other companies, you can change your availability pretty much every day, it’s similar to TutorABC in this aspect. I had more bookings with the adults department, however they gave me a lower salary and they changed and added some extra rules a few months ago which has made the experience of working for them a lot worse (eg: if you want to take your available slots out within a day even though it’s not booked by anyone and might not be, you have to pay a penalty and they introduced other really unfair, harsh penalties as well etc…).
Working for Likeshuo I was always made to feel like I was expendable, most supervisors and employers made me feel horrible multiple times and said that I was welcome to leave etc…The only times they get in touch if there is a complaint or if they need to tell you off for something. If you get a negative rating, in principle you can argue the rating but whatever you say it doesn’t matter as you won’t be listened to. You are not allowed to openly share what you think and how you feel with other teachers because you could lose your job over it and there is no point in giving a suggestion as they will not listen to it. Likeshuo is all about penalties which makes it pretty hard to teach for them.
Tutoring & Cambly
My next trial was with Tutoring and Cambly, these platforms are very similar to each other. It took me ages to register with Cambly but once I did, I had lots of calls. Both of these platforms require you to go online when you are available and students can call you, you can also put your available times down and individuals can book whatever time suits them and you need to ensure that you are online to receive their calls at those specific times.
With Tutoring, you are mainly teaching South Koreans and with Cambly most of my students were from the Middle East which was an interesting experience. Cambly doesn’t pay well ($10.20/hour) but you get paid weekly to your PayPal account. Tutoring pays $11.50/hour but you earn more if you are available or accept lessons at peak hours.
When students call you, they can decide how long they will call you for, you might only be teaching for 10-20 minutes and then you need to wait for your next call but a student might like you and choose to speak to you for a lot longer. On both platforms, you are mainly chatting with the students about various topics and helping them improve their speaking skills. My Cambly profile still exists but I don’t teach on there anymore because of the low pay, click on this link for my referral
I still do Tutoring occasionally when I am available, it’s great because of the flexibility and it’s audio only but there are often technical issues and glitches with the platform. Here is my referral link for tutoring
Palfish is a mobile app, I have tried out other mobile apps (eg: Ziktalk) but they weren’t as developed and popular and didn’t have as many downloads. There are so many cheap teachers on Palfish so you can only really get students if your rate is extra cheap and if you focus on promoting yourself or if you are an official teacher. However, Palfish is a lot more personalised than other platforms, I would compare it to Facebook, you can post moments etc… The only way you can earn more money (minimum 110 yuan/hour) is if you work as an official teacher on Palfish, you can earn more money if you teach around 60 classes a month. You only teach children as an official teacher, you will often get trials and even if the student doesn’t turn up, you will still get paid. The platform itself is very trendy and child-friendly, you can even use filters when you are teaching the children.
There are loads of teachers but I only really get last minute bookings or if my peak hours are available, one of its greatest strengths is the flexibility and one of its weakness is the technical support available which is pretty much non existent and sometimes you can be penalised for technical difficulties even when the problem is not on your side. You have to teach either on a smartphone or a tablet, you are able to get in touch with parents and message students which is not possible on any of the other platforms. If you are not available in their peak hours (7pm-9pm BJT), you will hardly get lessons even if you are an official teacher and for peak hours you can earn more money on other platforms unless you are teaching lots of classes a month. I am not able to work on Palfish anymore because my peak hours are all filled at Landi. Here is my referral link if you would like to apply to be an official teacher.
I had to find another company that would pay more and decided to apply for another job that would have a fixed schedule and thought we could make it work as Landi said that it’s easy to take time off if I am not able to teach a week before. I have been teaching with Landi since October, 2017 and it has been a great experience, Landi is my favourite out of all the companies. I earn the most with Landi ($21/hour+bonuses) and I have felt the most supported here. There is a great support network of teachers on Facebook and also on Dingtalk, you are welcome to ask questions and not feel like you are dumb for asking. They organise games where teachers receive gift cards, at Christmas, I won about $110 for different Christmas competitions that were organised for Landi teachers.
I am a regular teacher so I teach the same students every week. I have built a great relationship with my students and most of them are adorable and cute. I do have one student who has been a challenge but most of them are little stars. I have recently changed my schedule and don’t have many bookings on the new days but I have been able to fill them with experience lessons which are like demo classes for new students. You don’t get paid for your slots that don’t get booked by students. Landi has started more and more new initiatives to get teachers involved in other ways not just teaching like becoming mentors and editors.
I was invited to visit their Headquarters in Hangzhou in September, 2018 and I can say that I am even more proud to be working for Landi. They care about their teachers and their students and always looking at how they can improve. In my experience Landi is the best online company in China and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for their future. If you would like to know more about Landi, you can read my other blog that is all about Landi.
Here is my referral for Landi, happy to give you tips as well, I also know the interviewers and have their contact details so happy to send your CV to them.
Update. Due to the coronavirus they have cut teacher’s salaries and offering very low salary to new teachers. I no longer work for them.
After Likeshuo brought the new regulations in, I complained to other Likeshuo teachers and one teacher got in touch with me and gave me details for Meten. They explained that it was a different department to Likeshuo and that the offline department of Meten started a new online department and they were looking for teachers. I have been teaching with them since May, 2018 and I earn a bit more with Meten than I did with Likeshuo. However, sometimes you could be teaching more than 10 students at a time and as this is also a very new company so there are not many online teachers and you get fewer bookings as well (maximum of 10-12 lessons a week) depending on how many slots you open and your overall score, they will book about 15-40% of your available slots, the more slots you open, the more lessons you might have.
Unfortunately, they were unable to move more students to their online classes, therefore they don’t need more teachers right now. Since they have confirmed that teachers will not be getting more students or hours, they have let go of some of their teachers and have become a bit stricter. Their feedback system has not been good but they have taken the teachers suggestions on board and they have a better feedback system. As they are still a new company, they do ask for teachers input occasionally especially with updating lesson plans as some of the lesson plans are pretty useless but some are brilliant and most of the lesson plans can be worked with and be built on. You put your availability down every Thursday and you receive your schedule for the week ahead on Friday. If you have to cancel classes, you won’t need to pay a penalty if you find a substitute teacher, this is amazing compared to other companies that will give you crazy penalties. There is a Skype teachers group where teachers are able to give suggestions and have discussions.
I started teaching for Hujiang in October, 2018, I only teach adults. They pay $16/hour for 25 minutes lessons, you can make yourself available all day BJT from the morning till 10:30pm. Their training is the longest, most complicated training I have ever done and found lots of it pretty useless as someone who is a visual and kinesthetic learner not an auditory one (all the training is done by watching lots of videos), it takes more than 6 hours to do the training, your training is half paid at least. Hujiang (adults) is audio only which is great actually. You teach one student per class, their curriculum is great for adults, you do need to leave feedback after all the classes which can take up a bit of time. All of my slots get booked in the evenings (BJT) if I have availability, hardly have any lessons before 6pm normally unless it’s a Saturday. Their evaluation system is pretty rubbish as in you don’t know your ratings, I don’t know why they need to keep it quiet and I found their communication system very poor as well. They seem to have a bonus system in place but I think with their poor communication and no feedback it’s hard to actually get any of the bonus. Your supervisor supposed to review two of your lessons a month (chosen randomly) and give you feedback (I think they have changed this to one lesson a quarter) . They pay twice a month which is awesome, they pay by Payoneer which only takes $3 fee which they take out of your salary.
For evening hours (GMT+1), you can get lessons on Cambly and on Verbling. The rest of the companies will give you hours between 7am-4pm. When we were travelling in Asia, I worked in the evenings and in the mornings on Saturdays (GMT +8) and back in Europe, I get hours between 7am-4pm. I work as an online teacher pretty much full time.
Adults or Children
Mainly Adults: Meten, Tutoring, Verbling, Cambly,
Children: DaDaABC, Alo7, Landi, Palfish
Both: TutorABC, Likeshuo, Hujiang
Thanks for Reading
I hope you have found this blog helpful, feel free to contact me if you have questions about the above companies (PM me through the contact us page), if you are planning to apply for any of the companies that I still work for, please apply through the referral links. Have a look at my other blogs about teaching English online while travelling the world.