What is 51Talk?
Founded in 2011, 51Talk has become a leader in the online teaching space and is one of the largest online teaching platforms in the world. This organization has been so successful that they actually went public on the New York Stock Exchange (COE) in June 2016! With over 10,000 educators, it’s no surprise that this is one of the top organizations to consider if you’re If you are looking to teach online.
Like many of the other online teaching frontrunners, 51Talk is in the midst of a hiring frenzy, searching for experienced teachers who specifically enjoy working with children. They make known that there is an emphasis on fun in their teaching style and vow to constantly help develop your teaching skills by offering unlimited professional development training programs. These resources can come into great help when first starting out as an online teacher. On the other hand, it’s a great continuing ed tool for all of the seasoned online teachers out there.
If you’re looking for an online teaching job (view our online ESL job board here), it’s important to evaluate all the factors (schedule, commitment, pay etc.) when considering which organization to pursue. With this in mind, we have tried to answer all of the big questions when it comes deciding whether or not to teach for 51Talk.
Want more details on teaching for 51Talk? Let’s Continue!
51Talk Job Summary
51Talk’s online teaching job is a home-based position so if you have been trying to find a plan to escape the office, 51Talk may be the right choice for you!
The company’s website has laid out the job summary pretty loud and clear:
It is important to note that these will be one-on-one video lessons with students. Each class lasts 25 minutes long and you are required to work a minimum of 30 peak time hours per month.
- Peak Times (China Time):
- 7pm-11pm (Mon-Fri)
- 9am-11pm (Sat-Sun)
Lastly, it is important to notice that 51Talk comes with a minimum one-year commitment from all teachers. This is something to heavily consider when applying to 51Talk.
What are the requirements to teach for 51Talk?
There are a handful of specific requirements highlighted by 51Talk on their website. Unlike Magic Ears, there are some additional requirements other than simply being a native speaker from USA or Canada.
Here is what 51Talk says they’re looking for:
At the end of day this means that in addition to being a native English speaker, you are required to have a 4-year Bachelor’s Degree with experience teaching kids aged 4-12. Additional certificates (like a TEFL) are a great advantage (but not 100% necessary) and if you have a Bachelors in Education, even better!
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Technical Requirements for 51Talk
Like any home-based teaching jobs, the company has set specific technical requirements for their staff. This will make sure your lessons go as smoothly as possible.
- CPU / Processor – Dual core processor 1Ghz or above, Intel Core i3/ i5 /i7 or AMD equivalent is required (check your Mac or check your Windows computer)
- RAM – At least 2GB of RAM (4GB is recommended) with 60GB free hard disk space available (check your Mac or check your Windows computer)
- Headset and Webcam – A headset with noise-canceling feature and a high definition webcam (view our recommended headsets and recommended webcams)
- Internet Connection (VIP) – 3 Mbps and up wired DSL. You must be directly connected into the modem from your computer as Wifi connection is not allowed (check your speed here)
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51Talk Salary: What Can I Make?
51Talk advertises a base salary of $15.00 USD per hour with most teachers earning an average of $17:
In addition, 51Talk offers a promotional and bonus structure which can boost your earnings. This promotional structure is based on performance as well as how much of the advanced training you partake in and could increase your rate up to $22.00 USD per hour.
Performance is measured by the teacher’s attendance as well as the rating given to them by the students and their parents (teachers are rated after each lesson). The higher the rating, the better the performance.
In addition to the rating system, attendance is also considered when evaluating the teacher’s performance. Do you show up to class? Do you show up on time? 51Talk charges a steep penalty of $18 lesson missed or canceled (much steeper than other companies) but also rewards teachers for consistent attendance.
While there is room for advancement, 51Talk doesn’t make it very easy to make extremely large advancements in pay. There are multiple reports of two pay raises within the first six months which seems to be common. However, if you want these bumps in pay you are definitely going to have to earn them by undergoing additional training as well as performing at a superior level.
51Talk Interview and Application Process
The 51Talk application process consists of 4 steps:
- Interview/teaching demo lesson
The entire application process should take only 1-3 days which is super fast compared to other online teaching companies.
The first step is to submit your application. After the submission, just wait for your phone to ring. When they call, make sure you are in a presentable setting when you initially pick up. Go to a quiet location and enunciate your words clearly as this is your first impression. Be aware of your grammar and sentence structures while avoiding using lots of slang. Make sure to express your interest and passion for teaching as well.
If you’re looking to really prepare, here are some of the 51Talk interview questions that tend to pop up regularly:
- Tell us about yourself
- What is your experience teaching children?
- Are you comfortable singing songs?
- What is your general availability on weekdays?
After the phone call, you can expect a Skype interview. For this, you are required to connect directly from the router to your computer since Wifi is not allowed (see the technical requirements discussed above).
Next, you will receive a program via Skype to run on your computer for the interview process. Don’t worry as instructions are provided via a YouTube video so please reference it if you are unclear. If all else fails, just ask – the recruitment staff is extremely helpful!
During the interview, they will have you perform a short demo lesson. Reports from other teachers suggest this is a relaxed atmosphere and there are tons of YouTube videos with examples:
After your demonstration lesson, most candidates know right away if they are hired or not. If hired, your next step is orientation! The Pre-Service Orientation (PSO) is a 2-hour orientation to help you understand the things needed to do in order to be a successful online teacher. Usually, this is conducted online in a group setting with other applicants to make things a little more lively and fun!
Lastly, the New Teachers Training (NTT) is the final step in the interview and hiring process. This is a 3-hour long training session via Skype with the other new hires. They will provide you with PDF files prior to training so make sure you have read them and can engage in conversation when these topics arise.
During the session, the trainer will teach you the basic teaching methods used by 51Talk. They will give you the materials and techniques needed as well as help you design a correct lesson flow. These 3-hours are extremely beneficial and remember to always ask questions if anything is unclear!
Congrats if you’ve made it this far! You’re about to become a 51Talk home-based teacher! You will soon be sent information showing you how to navigate their website as well as creating your class schedule!
51Talk Teaching Schedule + Hours
Now that we have gone over how to become a 51Talk teacher, let’s move on to what we do once we’ve landed the job! The most important thing to understand here is the work schedule and hours required by 51Talk.
As mentioned, each class lasts 25 minutes long and you are required to work a minimum of 30 peak time hours per month.
- Peak Times (China Time):
- 7pm-11pm (Mon-Fri)
- 9am-11pm (Sat-Sun)
It is important to take note that cancellations are also strongly discouraged. Once a time slot in your schedule is booked, it can not be canceled unless there is an absolute emergency. However, unbooked time slots in your schedule are able to be canceled prior to a student booking. You are also able to ask off for an extended period of up to 30 days maximum if needed by contacting the support team.
Understanding the 51Talk Portal and Platform
When applying for online teaching jobs it’s always important to look at the company’s portal and platform that you will be using. You want to make sure the software is intuitive and easy to use so that your lessons go smoothly and the students enjoy the experience.
51Talk’s teaching platform provides their teachers with well-designed lessons that are easy to follow and require no preparation in advance. They provide tech and teacher support teams that are always available to answer any questions throughout the day.
Here is an example of a lesson at 51Talk. Remember, classes, are 25 minutes long so be prepared for a 25-minute video!
As you can see there is a great interaction between the teacher and student. The platform shows both participants clearly and has a fairly simple, yet effective layout. It enables the students to see the teachers expressions and how they pronounce the words. On the other hand, the teachers are able to see if there is any confusion or hesitation on the students face during the lesson.
51Talk Reviews – Is It for You?
Hopefully, we have been able to answer the majority of your questions as you search out your next online teaching job. There are pros and cons to each organization. It is important to do your research as you make your decision.
If you’re still not sure about 51Talk, here are some testimonials and reviews from current and former teachers:
Hopefully, we have been able to answer most of your questions regarding teaching for 51Talk. Feel free to send us additional questions or suggestions should anything arise in your research!
If you are ready to take the next step: Apply Online Today!
Can you teach for VIPKid without a bachelor’s degree?
No, you cannot currently teach for 51Talk if you do not have at least a bachelor’s degree.
Can you teach for 51Talk if you’re not a native speaker?
Yes, you can teach for 51Talk if you are not a native speaker.
Can you teach for 51Talk without a TEFL certificate?
Yes, you can teach for 51Talk without a TEFL certificate.
- Proudly 51Talk – a decent blog with some good teacher stories.