Thinking of applying to a non-Chinese company? In that case, you’re (well, in a way) in luck: you have so many choices, but you might just find it hard to narrow down the best fit for you. This is why we’ve written a guide that will walk you through everything you need to get started at Novakid, a growing non-Chinese company whose perks might just entice you.
Read on to find out more about the company, what it takes to get hired, and what to expect as a teacher!.
What is Novakid?
Novakid is a San Francisco-based online company founded by Maxim Azarov that teaches English to children from 4 to 12 years old. They previously catered to only European students, but their growth has helped them expand to many countries and you can now expect to teach kids from places as diverse as Russia, Turkey, and Indonesia. They hire native teachers from the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Ireland. In addition, they also accept applicants from the Philippines and other countries.
What Are Novakid’s Requirements?
Though pretty stringent, Novakid’s teaching requirements are still attainable:
1. a Bachelor’s degree
2. one year’s worth of experience teaching kids (online not required)
3. a teaching certificate such as TEFL, TEYL, TESOL, CELTA, or DELTA
4. online teaching experience is an advantage but not a requirement
5. availability for 20 hours per week
In contrast, their tech requirements skew more on the lenient end of the spectrum:
1. laptop or desktop with Windows 8 or MacOS 10.10 at minimum
2. HD webcam (internal or external)
3. 2 GB RAM, 128 GB HDD/SSD, 1 GHz CPU or more
4. Chrome browser preferred
5. headset with a microphone (noise-cancelling not required)
6. UPS backup battery
7. at least 10 MBPS fixed broadband internet connection
What and How Does Novakid Pay Teachers?
As a minimum, Novakid offers native speakers $16 per hour. They state on their website that the rate they assign to you actually depends on how well you do in your interview and demo, so make sure to do your best to get as high a rate as possible.
That said, Novakid also grants teachers generous bonuses, so you can definitely earn more than your base! Here are some examples:
1. Referral bonus: You get $40 for every successful referral as soon as 5 students have taken your referral as a teacher.
2. Feedback bonus: You get paid your rate for one class every 10 positive reviews.
3. Trial lesson bonus: You get paid double your rate for trial classes if the student enrolls afterwards.
Unlike the typical ESL company, Novakid doesn’t work with set paydays and cut-off periods. Instead, the money is sent to your account on the platform, which you can withdraw to your Paypal account anytime.
Novakid leaves it entirely to you to handle your taxes, so check with the IRS or your country’s counterpart to know how to pay your dues to the government.
What is Novakid’s Application Process?
If you fulfill all the requirements, you can apply to Novakid through two ways: through the website or an ambassador (a Novakid teacher who screens and trains applicants). One advantage the ambassador option has is that you get to be mentored by someone who’s been in your shoes; once they deem you ready, you’ll undergo the hiring process through the website.
Want to go through training under an ambassador first? To get started, simply approach one. The requirements and the training differ from ambassador to ambassador, but as a sample Yna Capa lays out the following steps in her mentoring program:
1. submission of a video introduction and a short demo class video
2. training course she designed herself
3. coaching sessions with her
4. recommendation to the company
The application process through the website is as follows:
1. Submit your requirements
Ensure that your requirements are up-to-date and fill in the form at the website. You’ll also be required to take a 40-item grammar test you’ll have to finish in 15 minutes. You must get at least 25 to pass and no retakes are allowed, so give it all you’ve got.
2. Tech test
If you pass the initial screening, you will undergo a test to check your equipment. You can opt to do this whenever you want to, but you won’t move on to the next step without doing this first.
3. Interview and demo
If your equipment passes the check, you’ll now have to schedule your interview and demo, which in total takes 30 minutes—20 minutes for the interview and 10 minutes for a live demo after the interview, where your recruiter will pretend to be your student. Afterward, they’ll go through your demo and interview and give you feedback.
The next stage of the hiring process is the self-directed training Novakid provides their new applicants. They’ll give you an account on Teachable.com, where you will study videos and other training materials they’ve uploaded.
5. Contract signing and account activation
Passed all these steps? Pat yourself on the back—you’ve gone through a strict application process and gotten in! Once you’re in this stage, they’ll give you the contract to sign. And while you wait for your account to get activated, you can start plotting your schedule!
What Is Teaching for Novakid Like?
The 20-hour minimum aside, Novakid provides flexible work hours—you can plot your schedule anywhere from 6 am to 6 pm GMT (their peak hours are around 10 am to 6 pm GMT, but there are plenty of students during non-peak hours, too), and you can work every day of the week. And, because their classes only last for 25 minutes, you can design your schedule any way you want—four classes in a row with a one-hour break afterwards, say, or the whole shift without any breaks in between if you want to go hardcore.
Novakid is also generous with penalties—you start out with 10 hearts and get deductions every time you cancel a class on the same day or don’t show up, for instance, but the company doesn’t penalize you monetarily until you only have 5 hearts left. And it gets better: you can regain hearts by getting 10 consecutive good reviews and not doing anything that takes hearts away for 7 working days.
Besides all this, Novakid also offers professional development to its teachers. The company treats teachers to courses, webinars, competitions and more to further develop their skills and keep them as engaged as their students on the platform.
Curriculum and Platform
Designed by professionals to engage young learners, Novakid’s curriculum is, as described by Yna Capa, “game-based,” and games abound on the website and are built into the lessons themselves. Teachers also have to use a variety of teaching techniques, such as TPR, to make learning fun and interactive for students.
Here’s a playlist to help you out:
Based on the clips from the videos, each lesson comes with slides featuring colorful, kid-friendly visuals that don’t crowd the screen. The platform looks fun to use, too—you can give stars, draw on the slides, and add effects to your video.
Is Novakid for You?
Novakid scores a whopping 4.9 out of 5 on Glassdoor, higher than industry behemoth VIPKid. Teachers seem to enjoy working for the company and say it provides generous bonuses and takes care of its people. Besides that, its teacher support is “kind and considerate,” according to Yna Capa, it offers a decent rate for native teachers, and it allows teachers to grow as professionals. With all of these, it looks like a great option among non-Chinese companies, and well worth a glance if you’re looking for a company that loves you right back.
Novakid FAQs and Resources
To learn more about Novakid, have a look around the website and watch videos uploaded by Novakid ambassador Claire Abordo. A heads-up, though: some segments of her videos are in Filipino and some rules she expounds on might apply only to Filipino teachers.
Do you need a TEFL to work at Novakid?
Novakid requires its applicants to have an international teaching certificate. So, while they do accept TEFLs, they also consider other certificates, such as CELTA, DELTA, TESOL, and TEYL.
Do you need a degree to work at Novakid?
Yes, all Novakid teachers should have a degree.
Can non-natives apply to Novakid?
Non-natives certainly can. Besides native speakers, Novakid also hires teachers from the Philippines and around the world.
Kat Bautista is a freelance writer and ESL teacher based in the Philippines. She enjoys reading, meditating, not exercising, learning about East Asian names, and watching cute animal videos. You can find her on LinkedIn.
For this article, the author consulted with Yna Capa (Skype ID: live:yna_capa) and Claire Abordo.