You guys may seem a little confused, as recently we were heavily criticising several major online platforms (see this article: ESL Online Company Horror Stories) So what makes Whales English a better platform to work for? Of course every company has teachers who have had both good and bad experiences working for them, but some significantly more than the other. Read on to find out why Whales is head and shoulders above the rest!
So let’s see what Whales English is about. First of they are a Chinese company based in Beijing who have students aged from between 3 to 18 years old, although the majority of students will be in the Primary age range. The classes last for 50 minutes and teachers must commit to at least 8 hours of teaching per week. They have a variety of courses that students can take, the usual ESL courses, to more content based learning such as science or maths. This is great if you can offer a specialist subject in addition to just teaching ESL.
The requirements are very strict (due to legal requirements for Chinese online learning platforms) and are as follows:
- You must be a native English speaker from the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Ireland or New Zealand (however you can work from anywhere around the world, time allowing of course!)
- You must have a bachelor’s degree, in any discipline
- You must have a TEFL ( we recommend these Accredited TEFL Certificates , TESOL or CELTA
- At least 1 year’s teaching experience but it doesn’t necessarily have to be in ESL
With regards the salary, it’s pretty good compared to most of the other platforms! It ranges from between $18 – $27 per 50 minute class, not to mention bonuses and other incentives. As mentioned above teachers must sign up for at least 8 peak hour slots, which is 6 – 9pm Beijing time, Monday to Friday. Of course you can also teach at the weekend and it may be possible to get classes at other times too.
How to Get Started:
Well first of all if you like the sound of this and want to sign up right away, then you can Sign Up Now. The process starts off with a standard interview with their HR team and then you will need to prepare and teach a mock class (to one of the Whales team) for around 10 minutes. The interviewers are always very friendly and supportive in our experience.
Once you have been accepted then you will need to upload your introductory video and complete your profile, pretty standard stuff really. Please note that you will have to commit to a 12 month contract, which is great if you want a bit of stability in your online teaching!
We’d recommend offering as many trial classes as possible to get your first students rolling in. The market is very competitive at the moment but Whales English is one of the few platforms which is able to
One of the great things about Whales English is that he material is already provided for you. Not only this, its genuinely really good material (for the most part). The two main courses on offer use Reach, which focuses on general English and the Oxford Reading Tree, which is story themed classes. All the teacher needs to do is becoming familiar with the materials, pre class which really helps minimise the preparation time.
What’s Good About Working for Whales English?
- They actually assign you a Teacher Coordinator who can give you help for a whole host of areas of online teaching. For the most part these TC’s are very useful and helpful and it’s much better than simply communicating with a faceless email address!
- The salary is very competitive! In the current market, this is a HUGE bonus as many teachers have seen their salaries decrease from a combination of increased competition and unscrupulous online platforms.
- The teaching materials are really good! They are based on the Oxford Reading Tree as well as National Geographic and preparation time is kept to a minimum.
- Stability in your teaching schedule. Whales will offer you at the very least 8 hours per week and they encourage teachers to have around 20 to 25 contact hours per week. They also have a 12 month contract which they honour, unlike many other companies who seem to drop their teachers as soon as they can hire a cheaper replacement!
What’s Not So Good?
- If you need flexibility in your working schedule. As a teacher for Whales English you will need to commit to the minimum 8 peak hours per week (which in reality will probably be significantly more than that) as well as a 12 month contract. You can get penalised if you break the contract, which is not good!
- If you don’t like teaching children. Now you don’t need to be a total TPR clown or “edutainer” compared to some of the other online platforms but you DO need to have a passion for teaching children, particularly in the primary age range.
- If your punctuality leaves a lot to be desired! This goes without saying for all online teaching platforms, however if you are regularly late for classes, you will also be penalised. It’s always good to arrive a couple of minutes before classes start just to be on the safe side.
There is a huge amount of choice out there when it comes to teaching online, but you really need to separate the companies that are simply taking advantage of ESL teachers at the moment (please see our Horror Stories article). We believe that whilst Whales English is by no means perfect they are head and shoulders above the rest of the pack in terms of their communication with teachers, salary offered and they way they treat their teachers.
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