Review: What It’s Like to Teach Online for Hujiang

by | Mar 13, 2018

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After Cynthia and Niko wrote their piece on using online teaching to travel the world, we knew we had to ask them for more on the company they used to teach online.

They were nice enough to oblige and what follows is an in-depth look at working for Huijang, the online teaching company that has been employing them for the past 18 months.

Enjoy!

If you’d like to teach for Hujiang, contact karen.chen@email.hujiang.com and please mention the name Nicholas Danis Betrand as the referral.

 

What is your teaching background?  Do you have any ESL experience?

We both had ESL experience before we started with teaching English online. Niko worked for a few years as an English and French teacher in different schools in Mexico. Cynthia has a bachelor’s degree in primary school education and first started teaching in different schools in Belgium. During her travels, she worked as a teacher in New Zealand and Senegal.

 

How did you hear about Hujiang and what has been your experience so far?

We first started teaching English online on NiceTalk, which is an app where students call you to practice their conversational skills. One day Niko received a call from a headhunter who worked for Hujiang and introduced him to this online language school. After doing some research, we were both interested in teaching for Hujiang so we applied.

So far we’re very happy with working for Hujiang. Once we got familiar with the CC Talk, the software program that we have to use to teach, and the lessons itself (Hujiang prepares the lessons, the teachers have to give the classes to the students), it’s really easy and fun to teach for Hujiang. We receive a lot of bookings per week, the teacher support is almost always available to provide assistance if needed and we always get paid on time.

What was the hiring process like?  Any advice for future teachers?

First, you need to send them an email with your CV and letter of motivation. Hujiang requires that the teachers have previous ESL experience (classroom or online), a bachelor degree (in any field) and preferably a TEFL certificate (but not required). Once they receive your email and approve your application, someone from the HR department will send you an invitation for a Skype interview. During this interview, they will ask you questions about yourself, your teaching experiences and they will ask you to do an internet speed test to see if your internet connection is fast enough to give classes.

If the interview goes well, they will invite you to give a demonstration class. Before you give the demo class, you’ll receive a prepared lesson and instructions on how to download and use the software program (CC Talk). During this demo lesson, someone of the HR department will pretend to be your student and assess your teaching skills. Depending on your performances, they will offer you an hourly rate (between $10 and $16 per hour). If you pass the demo class, you’ll receive the training course (which is paid) that you have to do by yourself. Once you finish the course, there will be one final live Q&A session with a trainer during which you also demonstrate how well you know the program.

In the beginning, it can be overwhelming to learn how to work with the software. The training course isn’t always very clear but you can always send your assigned teacher’s assistant an email with your questions and you’ll also get time during the final live session to ask the trainer questions.

 

How is pay set up?  Are you paid by the class or some other arrangement?

You get paid by the class. One class is 25 minutes. So if your hourly rate is $15, you get paid $7.5 per class. If your student doesn’t show up for the class, you have to stay 15 minutes in the classroom and you’ll receive 60% instead of your normal rate. The payments happen on the 1st and 15th day of every month through Payoneer.

 

How often do you work?  Is there a set schedule?

You have to be available for minimum 10 hours per week and you set your own schedule for at least 3 weeks in advance.

Our weekly schedule changes depending on where we are and whether or not we’re on the road. On an average week in which we don’t travel, we open our schedule for 35 hours, out of which we teach 20 to 30 hours.

Would you recommend Hujiang to other teachers?  If so, do you have any tips for them on how to (1) get the job and (2) make the most out of it?

We would definitely recommend Hujiang to other teachers! We’ve never had any bad experiences during the 18 months we’ve been teaching for this company. Hujiang will promote their new teachers to the students so you can count on having students every week, even when you just start out.

  1. Send a great motivational email to the HR department and highlight your previous experiences! Even if you’re not a native English speaker, they will hire you, as long as you have a clear pronunciation and the level of a native speaker.
  2. Don’t feel overwhelmed in the beginning when you just start working with the software program, you’ll get the hang of it after a couple of weeks.
  3. Hujiang also pays a lot of attention to time management so make sure you finish your class within 25 minutes. You will know in advance which lessons you have to give so prepare these lessons well. Always be friendly and patient with the students, correct them where needed and give them constructive feedback. If the student likes you and feels comfortable during your lesson, he or she will book more classes with you! The student can rate you after each class so it’s important that you receive good ratings so more students will book you.

 

Have you worked for any other online teaching companies?  How does Hujiang compare?

We’ve only worked for one other company called NiceTalk, which is a mobile app. There are no minimum hours required when you teach on NiceTalk, you just go online whenever you’re available. The students who call you mainly want to practice their conversational skills so you mostly just have a chat with them.  The disadvantage is that students can’t book your classes in advance so you never know when you’ll receive a call and how long this call will last.

We prefer teaching for Hujiang as it feels more like a proper (online) classroom setting. We can also count on the weekly bookings and know in advance how many hours we’ll have to teach. The more hours you open on your schedule, the more booking you’ll receive. The support we get from the teacher’s assistance is also great!

Thanks to Cynthia & Niko for this review!  Check their site Journal of Nomads and their previous interview on how they use online teaching to travel indefinitely!

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