The Complete Guide to Teaching Online with First Future

by: Matt Moran ESL Authority Matt Moran | Last Updated December 4, 2019

First Future Overview

Average Salary
$14/45mins
Native Speaker Required?
Yes
TEFL Required?
Yes
Degree Required?
Yes

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First Future is one of a handful of online teaching companies that offer a fixed schedule and guaranteed pay. If you’re interested in teaching for them and want to see how it compares to its rivals, we’ve prepared everything you need to know right here.

In this complete guide to teaching online with First Future, we’ll walk you through the hiring process, show you what the job’s like, share some teacher reviews, and answer all your other burning questions about the company. Let’s get started! 

About First Future

First Future is very different than many other popular ESL platforms that you might have heard of as they’re a B2B teaching platform. They claim to be the biggest B2B teaching platform in China. This means they work directly with other businesses, rather than customers. They outsource English teachers to various schools, and organizations across the country. 

First Future teachers teach the students at their partner schools and organizations, rather than their own students, as is the case with companies like VIPKID. They work with over 1,000 organizations spanning dozens of cities, so classes can be extremely varied. You might be teaching adults, young children, or anything in between.

Overview

Before we get into the details, here’s a quick overview of the key points that you’ll probably want to know about First Future.

First Future pays teachers around $17 per 45-minute class including bonuses, on average. Your take-home pay will vary depending on your availability and schedule but expect to earn around $500 – $1,500 per month. They require teachers to have both a TEFL and a degree and only accept native English speakers

Now, let’s delve a little deeper into those teaching requirements.

What are the requirements to teach for First Future?

To teach for First Future, you’ll need to meet the following requirements:

  • Hold a full degree (BA, BSc or above) in any subject
  • Have a TEFL certificate or other equivalent qualification
  • 1+ year teaching experience (this can be online or face-to-face)
  • Be a native speaker from AU, NZ, UK, IE, ZA, USA, or CA

At the moment, they’re also only accepting applications from teachers that can commit to at least 10 hours of availability per week. 

If you don’t have 1+ years of formal teaching experience, you might be able to draw on other informal experiences instead, like any volunteer work or extra-curricular activities that involved training, mentoring, tutoring, or childcare.

First Future have also said they’re looking for applicants that are good communicators and conversationalists, as well as people who are animated and engaging, so try to present this in your application and interview!

There are also some technical requirements you should be aware of. These are:

  • Wired internet connection 
  • At least 5 Mbps download & upload speeds (check your speed here)
  • A laptop or desktop PC capable of running virtual classroom software
  • Webcam and USB headset

What does First Future pay?

First Future offers a base rate of around $14 per 45-minutes or 2 x 25-minute classes, but this varies from teacher to teacher depending on your experience, qualifications, and performance in the interview and mock class. First Future teachers can also bump up their basic pay rate with bonuses, which include:

  • Weekend bonus – $0.50 per class
  • Group class bonus – $1 per class
  • Class completion bonus – up to $1.50 per class 

Once all bonuses have been taken into account, most teachers report earning around $17-$18 per hour, which is about average for the online ESL teaching industry. Assuming you were to work 20 hours each week at this rate, you’d earn around $340 per week. 

However, there are a few other factors that make that pay rate look a lot more attractive. First off, with First Future, you’re paid based on your schedule, not on classes taught. This means you’ll be paid in full for contracted hours even if you don’t have a lesson to teach during your shift. Pretty great, right? Unlike some other online teaching companies, you also don’t have to account for hefty payment and currency conversion fees. First Future covers all fees for you. 

They pay on the 10th of every month via Wallex, a cross-border business payment solution, so the funds are deposited straight in your bank account in the correct currency.

What is the interview process for First Future?

First Future isn’t clear about the details of the interview process on their website, so I’ve done a little digging and abstracted from reviews and other sources of information to piece together their whole hiring process. Here it is, broken down by each step:

  1. Download the First Future CV template here and fill it in
  2. Record a 30-40 second video introduction
  3. Email both your CV and introduction video to teach@firstfuturejobs.com 
  4. Arrange and attend a Skype Interview
  5. Basic training
  6. Demo/mock class with an interviewer
  7. Sign your contract and start teaching! 

The three most important parts of the recruitment process are the video introduction, the interview, and the mock class – you’ll want to nail all three to have the best chances of getting hired. With that in mind, here are some more details about each of these steps plus a few tips to help you to give it your best shot.

Video Introduction

Your video introduction should be a short, 30-40 second introduction to who you are and what you’re all about. It will be sent to First Future’s Partner Schools and will play a big part in whether or not you get booked for classes once you’re hired, so you’ve got to get it right.

The most important thing to remember is to be as animated and energetic as possible. Smile throughout the video and try to come across as professional, happy, and lively. Use lots of body language and speak slowly and clearly. It also helps to have a nice background with some teaching props and educational materials in the frame to show you mean business.

Keep it short and sweet. Start by saying hello and introducing yourself. Mention your qualifications, teaching, and work experience (if relevant). After that, talk a little bit about your hobbies and your teaching philosophy (“I believe that effective teaching means…”). Finally, say your goodbye’s and tell them you’re looking forward to seeing them in class soon. That’s all there is to it! Just remember to wave, smile, and use lots of positive body language.

Interview

The interview is pretty straightforward and only lasts around 15 minutes. A recruiter will chat with you over Skype and ask you some very basic questions about your experience and qualifications. A typical question might be ‘what experience do you have as an English teacher’. They might also present you with some hypothetical situation and ask for your ideas, like ‘how would you teach a student about verbs?’. 

You get the idea! Most of the questions will be pretty common sense, but it never hurts to prepare, so start thinking of answers to these kinds of questions in advance. Other than that, just treat it like any other interview and remember to speak very clearly as your interviewer may not be a native English speaker.

Mock Class

Your mock class will be scheduled a couple of days after your interview. Before you attend it, you’ll be given some training in how to use the online system. It looks like the mock class won’t be with a real student, but will be with a recruiter pretending to be a student. Use lots of TPR, teaching props, and activities and games to support your teaching. Smile, be energetic and kind and work through the teaching materials slowly – you’ll do a great job.

What is the job like?

Once you’ve been hired, you’ll set your availability and First Future will then match you to students. You’re given a ‘project’ and work on a fixed schedule with guaranteed paid hours during your project time. Most fixed projects are available during China weekday peak times (5 PM to 11 PM) and weekends.

If you want to earn extra outside of your fixed schedule, you can sign up for ‘Flexi-classes’. You can modify your availability for flexi-classes daily,, but you’ll only be paid for classes taught during these hours – you won’t be given standby time pay as you would with your fixed hours.

First Future teachers teach students in China that have paid for extra speaking practice with Western teachers. You might be teaching 1-on-1 or in small groups of up to 6. Classes are different depending on the partner school you’re working with, but always take place in the First Future virtual classroom. You can see what the virtual classroom looks like and how to use it in the video below.

All lesson materials are provided in a PDF file that you can view before class, so you don’t need to worry about lesson planning. Lessons are fairly straightforward and usually focus on speaking and listening, or on the pronunciation of vocabulary that they’ve already learned in their face-to-face classes.

Lesson lengths also vary between different schools, but most group lessons are around 45 minutes, while 1-on-1 lessons are usually around 25 minutes. There is also time to complete student feedback during class.

First Future reviews

A great way to gauge what it’s like to work for an English teaching company is to look at what existing teachers are saying. That’s why, before we wrap up, I wanted to share some First Future reviews with you.

Reviews on Glassdoor are a bit of a mixed bag. Some of the reviews are overwhelmingly positive, like this one…

Whereas others are a lot more critical…

Of course, it’s important to take these reviews with a pinch of salt, just because one teacher had a bad experience, doesn’t mean yours will be the same. Overall, First Future has an average rating of 3.7/5, and 72% of teachers would recommend it to a friend – which is pretty good. When negative comments do come up, they tend to focus on poor communication between teachers and management and unreasonable expectations.

Resources & FAQs

Can you teach for First Future without a degree? No. Unfortunately, First Future only accepts applicants that hold a BA/BSc or above degree. 

Do you have to be a native speaker to teach for First Future? Yes, you need to be a native speaker from the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, or South Africa.

Do you need a TEFL to teach for First future? Yes, you need a TEFL certificate or equivalent qualification to teach for First Future.

That concludes our complete guide to teaching online with First Future. If you have any other questions that we didn’t already cover, leave a comment and we’ll try to get back to you. Good luck!

Matt Moran ESL Authority

Matt Moran

Matt is a writer, former ESL teacher, and founder of Remotely Working. When he’s not busy writing, you can probably find him sipping a flat white and planning his next adventure.

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