How to Teach English Online as a South African

How to Teach English Online as a South African

Do you want to teach English Online as a South African? In this post, we’ll take a look at why it’s more difficult for South African teachers to teach ESL online, tips to get you hired as an online teacher, and which companies you can apply for (with and without a degree).

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you sign up for a TEFL or purchase a product using my link, I receive a small commission – at no extra cost to you! Thank you for supporting my business!

Why is teaching English online so difficult for South Africans?

To begin, South African teachers face additional challenges when applying for jobs as online English teachers. While these issues make the hiring process more difficult, it is still possible to work as an online teacher.

The first issue is load shedding. Electricity and stable internet are essentials for any online teacher. South African teachers may find it difficult to maintain electricity and a stable internet connection during rolling blackouts. Companies want to keep their customers satisfied. Because of this, some companies do not hire South Africans because they don’t want to deal with attendance issues due to load shedding.

Another issue is how companies consider South African English. For some companies, the South African accent isn’t considered “neutral.” Additionally, companies are looking for South Africans whose native language is English, not Afrikaans, to be considered as a native speaker. Some companies simply don’t want to deal with sifting through applications only to find out during the interview that the applicant isn’t actually a native speaker. Therefore, they simply don’t hire any South Africans.

Finally, online English teaching companies are constantly changing their policies when it comes to South African teachers. They may hire them initially and then reject applications later on. For example, First Future, IQBAR, and SayABC are no longer hiring South Africans but VIPKid is (however pay is extremely low, so I don’t recommend them.) This is why it’s important to apply to and work for more than one company. 

How can I have a better chance of teaching English online as a South African?

If you want a better chance of teaching English online as a South African, then there are a few things you can do to improve your prospects.

  • Make sure you have a TEFL – Most companies will require a teaching certification called a TEFL. If you don’t have a TEFL, I recommend checking out the courses at Premier TEFL. All of their courses are accredited, there are options for every budget and there’s excellent student support. Most online ESL companies are looking for a 120 hour or more TEFL certificate.
  • Technology requirements – Depending on the company, you may be required to teach from a computer and/or have a specific upload/download speed. Make sure you meet all the requirements before applying.
  • Use props! – If you are teaching kids, it’s a great idea to include props in your lessons. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, just find a few things that can help bring your lessons to life like costume pieces, puppets, toys or even symbols. I use Canva Pro to print out different symbols and characters for my online classes. I color them in, “laminate” them with transparent book covers, and put them on popsicle sticks.
  • Have good lighting and a nice background – Again, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on lighting or a fancy background, but these are important to getting hired. I suggest getting a clip on ring light to light up your face and using a map, tapestry or poster for your background.

Which online English teaching companies hire South African teachers with a degree?

First, let’s take a look at some online ESL companies that hire South African teachers with a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Landi English

Landi English

There are two different kinds of teachers – regular and experienced. Experienced teachers must have a teaching certificate. Both teachers must have some previous teaching experience. You will be teaching Chinese children.

Requirements native speaker with a degree and TEFL

Salary $10-18 USD per hour

Class Size 1 or 2 students per class

Age Children

Class Length 25 minutes

Pros

  • Small class sizes
  • Short class times
  • Materials are provided

Cons 

  • You must teach for a minimum of 12 hours per week during the peak hours of 6 pm – 9 pm Beijing Time.

Apply to teach English online with Landi English

Magic Ears - Teach English online as a South African

Magic Ears

Magic Ears provides teaching materials for its teachers. You can compliment your lessons with props. You will be teaching Chinese children.

Requirements native speaker with a degree (or in process of completing) and TEFL, stable internet and hardware requirements, previous teaching experience preferred

Salary $12-22 USD per hour plus some bonuses like peak time and participation

Class Size Up to 4 student per class

Age Children

Class Length 25 minutes

Pros

  • Small class sizes
  • Short class times
  • Materials are provided
  • Bonuses

Cons 

  • Schedule is limited to 5 pm to 9 pm M-F and 9 am- 9 pm Saturday and Sunday (Beijing Time) 
  • Hiring process takes some time

Apply to teach English online with Magic Ears

Panda ABC teach English online

PandaABC

PandaABC is another option for teaching Chinese children with a nice salary rate.

Requirements native speaker with a degree in a relevant field and some previous teaching experience, TEFL preferred, fast internet connection

Salary $10 USD per hour, some bonuses available

Class Size Up to 4 student per class

Age Children

Class Length 50 minutes

Pros

  • Small class sizes
  • Materials are provided
  • Bonuses

Cons 

  • Peak teaching hours 5 pm to 9 pm Monday – Saturday (Beijing Time) 
  • Some time commitment: 1-2 hours per day, 4 days per week

Apply to teach English online with PandaABC

Which online English teaching companies hire South African teachers without a degree?

If you don’t have a bachelor’s degree, there are still some options to teach English online as a South African.

Cambly teach English online as a South African

Cambly

Cambly is a 24 hour online platform where students can practice informal English through conversations. There is no lesson preparation required and you will be teaching learners from all over the world.

Requirements native speaker, must teach from a computer, some tech requirements

Salary $10.20 USD per hour for adults, $12 per hour for children

Class Size 1 student

Age Adults and Children

Class Length No set length – paid by the minute

Pros

  • Students are from around the world so you can teach at any time
  • No class prep, just conversations
  • Make your own schedule, no minimums

Cons 

  • Low pay compared to other companies
  • Not suitable as a full time income

Apply to teach English online with Cambly

Palfish

Palfish

Palfish accepts South African teachers for its “free talk” program, which is a rival to Cambly. You will be teaching adults.

Requirements native speaker with a TEFL

Salary Set your own rates, average is $10-18 USD per hour, some teachers charge more

Class Size 1 student per class or live stream to multiple students

Age Adults

Class Length No set length

Pros

  • Teach from a phone or tablet
  • No class prep, just conversations
  • Make your own schedule, no minimums
  • Set your own rates

Cons 

  • Can take time to build a following

Apply to teach English for Palfish by downloading the app

Dazao English

Dazao English

A teaching platform which requires a minimum commitment of 10 hours per week. You will be teaching Chinese children and there is a focus on speaking and listening skills.

Requirements native speaker with a TEFL

Salary $6-10 USD per hour

Class Size 1 student per class 

Age Children

Class Length 25 minutes

Pros

  • Stable income
  • Focus on conversations
  • Some other options to earn more money

Cons 

  • Low pay compared to other companies
  • Peak hours are 5 pm to 9:30 pm on M-F and all day on weekends (Beijing Time)

Apply to teach English with Dazao English 

Final Thoughts

It can be difficult to teach English online as a South African, so I hope this list gives you a place to start. Since online teaching companies are constantly changing their policies, make sure to keep searching for new opportunities. A great place to start is OETjobs.

Have you worked for any of the companies mentioned in this post? Leave a comment down below.

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2 Comments

  1. Ursula

    Panda no longer offers a salary at that rate. They have dropped there rate for South Africans to 10 dollars

    Reply

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Certified Teacher, Teach Abroad Coach + Consultant

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I’ve taught in 6 different countries and love sharing my teach abroad (and online) tips and tricks.

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