With China’s recent ban on foreign teachers, the online ESL industry has been thrown into chaos. Big online ESL companies like Gogokid, VIPKid, Magic Ears, Whales English and more are facing an uncertain future due to China’s crackdown on ESL teaching. In this post, I’ll share 6 non-Chinese ESL companies for 2021 plus online teaching marketplaces and freelance online teaching tips.
If you’re an online teacher who worked for a Chinese online ESL company or new to teaching online in 2021, then this is the post for you!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means that I receive a small commission when you use one of my links, as no extra cost to you! This helps me provide free material for teachers. Thank you!
Teach Online with Non-Chinese ESL Companies
To begin, whether you want to teach English online while traveling or simply from the comfort of your home, here are 6 non-Chinese ESL companies to consider.
Non-Chinese ESL Company Number 1 – Cambly Kids
Ever since China’s crackdown on foreign teachers, there has been a lot of buzz surrounding Cambly Kids. This US based ESL platform has students between 4-15 located around the world. This means you can teach at any time of the day or night.
You must be a native English speaker, but no experience, teaching certification or degree is required.
There are no minimum hours which makes this a great job for teachers who are traveling and classes are 1 on 1. Pay is $12USD an hour.
You’ll need a high speed internet connection, webcam, headset with a microphone and good lighting, even for the application.
Check out this blog post for online teaching equipment I recommend at all price points.
Non-Chinese ESL Company Number 2 – Open English
If you didn’t like the early morning hours of Chinese online ESL companies, Open English might be a good option for you.
Open English targets students in Latin America. There is a version for teaching adults as well as Open English Junior for kids 8-14.
You are allowed to work while traveling but you must be from North America. A degree, TEFL, experience and knowledge of Spanish or Portuguese are preferred, but not required.
Lessons are prepared for you and classes can take place 24 hours a day, although peak times are in the Eastern Standard time zone. Unlike Cambly Kids, there is a minimum requirement of 10 hours per week.
Pay is between $10-15 an hour, with teachers earning more during the nights and weekends.
The tech requirements are a high speed internet connection, microphone and webcam.
Non-Chinese ESL Company Number 3 – Engoo
Next, Aanother way to teach online with a non-Chinese ESL company is Engoo, which is Japanese. There are no minimum hours and lessons are provided for you. Students come from different countries, but are mainly from Asia.
No degree is required and non-native speakers who are proficient in English can apply. Pay is on the low end at $10 an hour for native speakers and less for non-native speakers.
Engoo is a good option for people who are new to online teaching, but I wouldn’t recommend it for experienced teachers.
You’ll need a high speed internet connection, headset with a microphone, webcam and computer or laptop.
Non-Chinese ESL Company Number 4 – Edukita
Edukita is an Indonesian online ESL company that doesn’t have any minimum hours. Edukita hires native speakers with at least 3 years of experience. Classes are 1 hour but you’ll be teaching groups of an average of 10-30 children.
Classes are booked for you and you’ll slowly increase your bookings as you gain more confidence.
Pay starts at $18-20 an hour and lessons are provided.
You’ll be with the same group of kids for a month at a time and a teaching assistant will help you control the class There’s no feedback to complete after class which is an added bonus.
Non-Chinese ESL Company Number 5 – Fluentbe
Fluentbe is a non Chinese online teaching company from Poland. You have the option of teaching 1 on 1 or groups of up to 4 students with provided resources and lessons.
You need at least one year of experience and a good internet connection to teach on Fluentbe. If you have any previous online teaching experience, that’s a plus.
Average pay is $10 per hour, but you can set your own rates. Most students will be in the Central European time zone.
Non-Chinese ESL Company Number 6 – Lingoda
Another European online ESL company is Lingoda, which is based in Germany. This is a platform for teaching adults at any time, with no minimum hours.
Teaching materials are provided and you need at least a C2 level of English, a TEFL, and 2 years of experience to apply. You can also teach other languages besides English.
You will teach 1 on 1 or small groups of up to 5 students. Technical requirements are similar to other companies and pay is between $8-13 an hour.
Teach Online with Online Teaching Marketplaces
In general, non Chinese ESL companies pay a lot less than popular Chinese platforms like Gogokid, Magic Ears, and VIPKid. However, some teachers prefer not having to prepare their own lessons.
If you’re worried about the low pay rates of these non-Chinese ESL companies, another option is working as an independent contractor on online teaching marketplaces where you can set your own schedule and pay.
There are a few online teaching marketplaces for both children and adults. Let’s take a look at the different options and I’ll share my own experience working for some of them.
Teach online on Outschool
Outschool is an online teaching marketplace for learners 3-18 years old. I’ve been teaching on Outschool since January and I must admit that I love it! I make around $80 an hour teaching what I love with no minimum hours to fulfil. There’s a lot of earning potential because you decide your class size and get paid per student at a rate that you set.
Outschool isn’t an online ESL teaching platform – in fact I teach beginner ballet classes on it. No degree is required, but you are expected to have either education, work experience or life experience related to what you’d like to teach.
You don’t have to be a native speaker, but you must be a permanent resident in either the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, England or Wales. If you’d like to travel and teach, you need to reside in one of the mentioned countries for at least 6 months because of the required background check.
Unlike online ESL companies, you need to create your own lessons. This makes it a great option for certified teachers looking to teach from home. Students are mostly in the US, but there are international students as well.
If you don’t want to create your own lessons, some organizations on Outschool hire teachers to teach prepared lessons. Instead of collecting money per student, you’ll receive an hourly wage directly from the organization. To find out more about Organizations on Outschool, you can join this Facebook group.
If you’d like to apply to teach on Outschool, I mentor teachers through the application process at no cost to you. Send me an email at email@example.com to get my free Outschool application guide or check out these blog posts about teaching on Outschool:
Kidpass is a similar online teaching marketplace where you can earn up to $60 an hour.
You can teach students between 2-11 years old with a variety of subjects available. Both Outschool and Kidpass are American companies.
Online Teaching Marketplaces for Teaching Adults: Your Teachable Moment and Learned.Live
Next, if you’re looking for an online teaching marketplace for adults, there are two newer platforms you can try.
The first one is Your Teachable Moment. Similar to Outschool, you can create whatever classes you like and no degree is required. There isn’t a residency requirement for Your Teachable Moment which makes it an option for teaching online while traveling. I taught learners in the US while living in Australia.
I taught a Spanish course on Your Teachable Moment before they updated the website. Because the platform is newer it does have some issues and you’ll need to do your own marketing because of this. Your Teachable Moment also has the option to teach Mom and Me or Dad and Me classes which is a great idea!
Learned.Live is similar to Your Teachable Moment but located in the UK. Just like Your Teachable Moment, you can teach a variety of subjects to adults.
Because both of these platforms are new, I recommend teaching on them only if you are willing to do your own marketing to find students. I would definitely recommend keeping these on the radar as they grow.
3 Tips for Working as a Freelance Online ESL Teacher in 2021
Another option to combat policy changes on both online ESL platforms and online teaching marketplaces is to work as a freelance teacher.
I worked as a freelance online ESL teacher after losing my in-person teaching job abroad because of the pandemic and really enjoyed being able to teach my own lessons and students.
Here are some of my top tips for getting started with freelance teaching in 2021.
Freelance Online Teaching Tip Number 1 – Choose a Niche
“When you speak to everyone, you speak to no one”
This quote really resonates when it comes to online ESL teaching. You need to choose a niche or target group to teach.
Try to get as specific as possible – for example, teaching pronunciation to Russian speakers, teaching Business English to call center employees, or teaching IELTS test prep to Spanish speakers. If you just say that you offer English lessons, this is too broad.
Once you niche down and establish yourself in that niche, that’s when you’ll find your students.
I recommend writing a list comparing what you are qualified to teach, what you are passionate about and what you can see yourself teaching over and over and over without losing interest.
Freelance Online Teaching Tip Number 2 – Set up your LinkedIn and Social Media Bios
Once you’ve decided who you want to teach, make sure it’s clear in your LinkedIn bio, Business Instagram page, Business Facebook page and more. Only post content that is related to your niche and would interest potential students.
Provide useful information for your potential students and establish yourself as an expert. For example, if you are targeting Spanish speakers who are taking the Cambridge exams, you could offer tips on “common grammar mistakes on the CAE speaking part 1 for Spanish speakers.” Pair these helpful tips with strong calls to action and you’ll have students in no time.
Freelance Online Teaching Tip Number 3 – Set Up Your Website
Finally, while it is possible to freelance without a website, it does help. This also makes it easier for students to schedule and pay for lessons.
If you don’t want to set up a website, then start a YouTube channel and provide helpful content for your niche.
Freelance English teaching is the only way to break the cycle of online ESL companies and teaching platforms changing their policies, cutting pay and charging high percentages to have your profile on their website. Freelancing allows you to have the freedom and flexibility to schedule your classes when you want, charge what you deserve and teach what you are passionate about.
Are you interested in becoming an online teacher but don’t know where to start? I offer one on one online teacher coaching to help you build confidence and make a plan. For more information, check out this link.
I hope this post gives you some options for teaching online with non-Chinese ESL companies. The China ban on foreign teachers has affected so many amazing teachers and I truly feel for you. Take some time to reflect and then set up your plan for a brighter future.