The Complete Guide to Teaching Online with Skyeng
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When it comes to online teaching, most of the more familiar companies cater to Chinese students. Skyeng, however, markets itself as the leading online English school in Eastern Europe. With its relaxed teaching requirements, such as hiring native and non-native speakers from all around the world, and its innovative teaching platform, Skyeng is worth checking out.
An increasing number of online companies appearing on the scene makes it hard to know which one is the right fit for you . That’s where we come in. If you’re interested in teaching with Skyeng, read on. We’ve broken down all the important details you’ll need to know about the company, like their requirements, pay rates, teaching platform and how to get hired.
Being the largest online English school in Eastern Europe, Skyeng currently caters to 89,900 active students and has 8,600 teachers on their books. Teaching through the interactive online classroom, Vimbox, teachers provide one-to-one English lessons to students, most of whom are working adults from Russia and Eastern Europe.
Teachers have the freedom and flexibility to set their teaching schedules, opening and closing time slots based on their availability. Hours are set on Moscow time (GMT +3), which, depending on where you’re based, could be more convenient than the typical Beijing hours.
The downside to Skyeng is its salary, which is at the lower end of the scale when compared to other online teaching companies. However, on the whole, gets mostly positive reviews from its current and past teachers.
What are the requirements to teach for Skyeng?
Skyeng don’t state their teaching requirements anywhere on their website, but from what I have gathered from various sources, expect to meet the following standards:
- Native and non-native speakers of English (teachers must have an excellent command of the English language)
- Relevant ESL certification (TEFL, TESOL, etc)
- Teaching experience is preferred
Some sources claim that a bachelor’s degree (or being in the process of obtaining one) is preferable, but the Skyeng website doesn’t openly express this. So if you have one, great. If you don’t, I wouldn’t let it stop you applying.
As we stated above, Skyeng is happy to hire both native and non-native teachers, which means that your nationality or current location makes no difference.
For non-native speakers or those of you who aren’t from the typically required countries, this is pretty great news as many other online teaching companies are quite strict on these requirements.
Skyeng asks that their teachers meet a few basic tech requirements:
- A laptop or personal computer
- Headset or headphones with a microphone
- Webcam – this can be internal or external
- Good quality internet – if you’re not sure what your upload and download speeds are, you can run an internet speed test to check here.
What does Skyeng pay?
According to Skyeng, the average income of their teachers is 40,000 rubles a month, which equates to approx $620 USD.
Skyeng themselves don’t break down the pay, but other sources claim that non-native teachers start on a pay rate of $5 USD for a 50-minute lesson, whereas native teachers’ starting pay is $10 – $12 USD per 50 minutes.
Let’s break this down further:
For native teachers, you’re looking at around 15 lessons a week, which is about 12.5 hours of teaching, to hit the average monthly pay of $620 USD.
For non-native speakers, you’re looking at around 30 lessons a week, which works out at about 25 hours of teaching, to reach that $620 USD figure.
When compared to other online teaching companies, like SayABC or VIPKID, this pay is very clearly on the lower side. However, despite the lower salary, Skyeng does seem to get some pretty decent reviews, so don’t immediately be put off by this.
Skyeng offers two types of bonuses:
- Silver student – after completing 18+ lessons in a row with one student, teachers will get an extra +50rub (approx $0.80 USD) for every following lesson
- Gold student – after completing 34+ lessons in a row with one student, teachers will get an extra +150rub (approx $2.35 USD) for every following lesson
How easy or common it is to meet these targets isn’t specified.
When and how does Skyeng pay?
Skyeng pays its teachers every 2 weeks, via PayPal. You can keep track of your payment details in your personal Skyeng account.
As you are an independent contractor you’re responsible for submitting and paying your taxes. If you need help with this, there are various resources online, like the IRS website if you’re from the USA.
What is the interview process for Skyeng?
The Skyeng hiring process can be broken down into 4 steps:
- Apply online
- Create a video
- Skype interview and demo class
Applying to Skyeng
Your first job is to head over to the Skyeng website and sign up by entering your name, email and phone number
This will redirect you to another page which is a registration form. Similar to before, you’ll be asked to fill out your name, email and phone number. You will then be sent an email with a link to the video interview.
Create a video
Next, you’ll need to create a short video interview in which you should answer general questions about yourself, your experience and background, and the teaching methods and approaches you use.
Once you’ve sent your video, Skyeng will contact you via email within 3 days, with further instructions regarding your interview and demo class.
Skype Interview and Demo Lesson
The whole interview process will last for about 50 minutes in total. These 50 minutes will be broken down into 4 parts:
- The interview questions
- Information on Skyeng
- Your demo class
- A short grammar test
The Interview Questions
Expect to be asked some pretty typical questions about your qualifications, educational background, teaching experience, and teaching methods. The trick is to be prepared and try to relax – let your personality shine!
Information on Skyeng
This is the part where Skyeng will run you through some useful info on their company, like the teaching position, their expectations, the platform, lessons, and salary. This is also your chance to ask any questions you may have about them.
Skyeng does its demo class a bit differently from other online teaching companies. Instead of giving teachers the materials for the demo class, Skyeng asks that applicants prepare their materials.
You’ll be given detailed instructions that outline the level of the student, the topic and what Skyeng expects from your lesson. The lesson will only be about 15 – 20 minutes long, so you need to manage your time wisely and showcase your best teaching skills.
Here are a few tips to help you nail the demo class:
- You could create a powerpoint presentation
- Include an interesting warm-up
- Prepare some questions to initiate a conversation with the ‘student’
- Incorporate TPR (gestures, facial expressions, and movements)
- Keep the ‘student’ engaged
- Speak slowly and be patient
- Be enthusiastic and make sure to smile!
At some stage of your interview, you’ll likely be asked to complete a short grammar test. It’s worth being prepared for this test, so you aren’t caught off guard!
Skyeng should contact you within 3 working days to let you know whether you have been successful.
If you have been successfully hired, your next step will be to participate in a group training session. You’ll be given some documents to read before this.
Once this is complete, you’ll have an individual training session. This is to help you become acquainted with their platform and its features.
What is is like teaching for Skyeng?
Skyeng Teaching Schedule
One of the benefits of teaching with Skyeng is that you can set your teaching schedule. This means you can open and close time slots depending on your availability, and then Skyeng will match your time slots up with available students.
All time slots are shown in Moscow Time (GMT+3).
According to online sources, Skyeng asks that their teachers are available for around 20 hours a week. This isn’t stipulated on their official website, so this could be a question you ask during your interview.
Lessons are one-on-one and last 50 minutes. They consist of a live chat with a student through the Vimbox virtual classroom. Skyeng pride themselves on lively, active and vibrant lessons, taught through a communicative teaching methodology. During the lessons, teachers can use illustrations, audios, and videos to aid understanding. These will have been selected by Skyeng.
You’ll mostly be teaching working adults from Russia and Eastern Europe, who will generally be motivated to learn. Skyeng does offer some children’s classes, so you may find yourself teaching some children too. It seems as though you can choose what level you want to teach, however, this is something that you can clarify during the interview.
While you can use your personal materials, you don’t have to. Skyeng provides enough materials to cover lessons with students of different levels, ages, and interests, and they are constantly adding new ones. This will save you lots of time on lesson preparation!
Not only do Skyeng give you lesson plans and materials, but they also provide helpful tools like dictionaries, notes, attachments, and a whiteboard translator.
Skyeng Teaching Platform
Skyeng’s interactive platform, Vimbox, is where the classes all take place with teachers and students communicating over a video call. Within the virtual classroom, teachers have access to the pre-prepared lesson plans, illustrations, and videos for the activities and all other lesson materials. Teachers can even see if the students have completed their homework through the platform!
Teachers also have access to their account, where they can view and adjust their schedule (open and close time slots), take a vacation (Skyeng ask for two weeks notice if you want to take time off) and view accruals for lessons and payments.
Skyeng gets a pretty good write up and on the whole, teachers seem mostly happy with the company. The major downside appears to be the low salary and as the reviews state, you can’t support yourself full time by teaching with Skyeng.
Below are a couple of recent Skyeng reviews we found on Glassdoor from some current teachers who seem pretty content with the company:
From checking out some online reviews, the following seem to be the most commonly discussed pros and cons for teaching with Skyeng:
- Convenient online platform
- Great pre-prepared lesson materials
- Flexible schedule
- Good management
- Nice students
- Low salary
- No room from professional growth
- Occasional technical problems
Taking everything into consideration, teaching with Skyeng seems like a pretty decent gig. Most aspects of the job, bar the salary, get a fairly good write up. From what we’ve gathered, it seems to be a job to earn some extra money on the side, rather than one to use as your full time employment.
In terms of teaching requirements, Skyeng are pretty lax, especially as they will hire non-native speakers and don’t appear too fussed about a degree. The downside to this though is that the salary is lower than some of the other online teaching companies out there.
For those of you who have a pretty solid educational background (a degree, ESL certification and teaching experience) and are a native speaker of English, it would be worth looking into other teaching online options before making a decision. There are other companies out there that will pay you a higher salary.
Other helpful Skyeng resources
- Why Teachers Choose Skyeng. 7 Stories – while this is a blog created by Skyeng, it still makes an interesting read.