Do you want to teach English online? I sat down with Teacher Lydia to find out what it’s like to teach English online with Zebra English.
Edited for August 2021: Due to China’s recent policy change regarding foreign teachers, Zebra English will be closing down. Check out the video below for 6 non-Chinese teaching companies, online teaching marketplace options & online freelance teaching tips.
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How long have you taught English online with Zebra English?
I’ve been with Zebra English for six months.
Do you need a degree or teaching certificate?
You need a bachelor’s degree in any field, a TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certificate, and some sort of teaching experience.
Do you need to be from a specific country or countries?
You have to speak English at an “idiomatic level” and be legally allowed to work in the US or Canada.
What is the hiring process to teach English online with Zebra English like?
First, you fill out your basic info and wait to see if you are invited to do a five-minute recorded demo on a specific topic with slides provided.
They ask you to send that demo back within 48 hours. The next step is another live demo (30 minutes) and if you pass that and are hired, you attend a 30-minute teacher briefing.
How many hours per week do you teach?
I currently teach around 25 hours a week Monday through Friday. Weekends are the most popular with Zebra English, but I do not have any regular students on the weekends and only open them up sometimes.
What equipment do you recommend for teachers?
A desktop, laptop, Mac, or Surface device with a camera and a headset with a microphone. The device must have a minimum operating system of Windows7 or MacOS10.10, at least 4GB of RAM, and a stable internet connection of at least 20 Mbps.
How much are you paid? How much can a beginning teacher expect to be paid?
Starting base pay per class is $8-$9. There is a $1 participation incentive per class. You get an extra $0.50 per class if you teach at least 30 classes that month or an extra $1 per class if you teach at least 45 classes. This means that if you teach 45 classes per month, you can expect to make a minimum of $20 an hour.
What advice do you have for interested teachers?
Apply ASAP! Zebra English is very selective and they may not be hiring for long! Zebra English is looking for specific things in their teachers, so definitely get in touch with an experienced ZE teacher who can help you through the hiring process.
The two main focuses in classes are TPR (Total Physical Response) and extension. If you do not know a lot about TPR, make sure you watch some videos about it online.
What are the students like?
Zebra English students are 3-8 years old. They work through the lesson material on an AI application before having a live class with a teacher. This means that they should be familiar with the vocabulary and target sentences. You can focus more on correcting their grammar and pronunciation and asking extension questions. I am blown away by how well my students can speak and read English!
Can you take days off?
You can choose not to open slots on a particular day if you are not able to teach. But if you already have classes booked that day, you have to use a cancellation.
Do you have any inspirational or funny stories to share?
I have had so many wonderful and funny moments from my classes that it would be hard to pick one! It is always interesting when you end up teaching outside of the student’s home. I have had students attend our lesson from malls, restaurants, parks, the car, and even a fast-moving tuk tuk once!
Anything else you want to say about teaching English online with Zebra English?
Classes are one-on-one and 25 minutes. When you start out as a Zebra English teacher, you will be assigned trial classes (students get two trial classes). If these students decide to sign up with ZE and you have the time they want available, they will be assigned as your regulars.
This means that it can take time to build up a full schedule of regulars, but once you get regulars, you have a more consistent schedule each week! Zebra English does not require any props or secondary rewards – it’s all about TPR!
Teaching Referral Link
If you are interested in signing up to teach with Zebra English, you can use Lydia’s referral link.
More online teaching options
Do you work for an online English teaching company? Leave a comment below and tell us what you like and dislike about it.