Teaching with US Talk (and others)

Whoa. It’s been a while since I blogged. Not that many people read this anyway 😉

I thought I’d elaborate on the first teaching post I did a while back. I mentioned I interviewed with VIPKID and was not successful. So let me just outline my brief journey of online English teaching…

1. Per the suggestion of a friend, I first applied to Skima Talk and did not make the cut. I shouldn’t have been so surprised though. Skima Talk is a legit platform and I did NOT take the application process seriously enough: my profile picture was not to the professional standard, my introduction video was of poor quality, and I answered ONE question wrong on the 25-question quiz (tough curve!). Oops. Basically, don’t rush though it and treat this as a real job application!

2. Following VIPKID, I went for 51 Talk next. I had never heard of 51 Talk before except GlassDoor reviews seemed to predict that the likelihood of me getting hired was slim. The interview started out okay enough: the interviewer was friendly and seemed to be really into my educational background. I read online that the demo was supposed to last 20 minutes, but she cut it by 10. That’s when I knew I wasn’t what she was looking for. She commended my performance, assured me that she’d talk it over with her colleagues and send me a response soon. Of course, I received a reply (too) quickly thanking me for my time, but not explicitly stating why I did not make it. I have a feeling it has to do with the image of the teachers they want to present (maybe).

3. In a last ditch attempt, I applied to US Talk and scored an interview right away. I felt extremely hesitant about the interview since the past three did not go so well. I didn’t prepare and just went straight in.

Surprisingly, my interviewer was a really nice guy who seemed to like me and asked me what age group I enjoyed teaching the most. After 10 minutes (in VIPKID, the interviewers pretend to be really bad behaved kids….annoying to deal with…), he ended the interview and passed me on to training mode.

I spent a good amount of time reviewing the materials sent over by US Talk and practicing with a few props I had lying around (I DID buy a white board- it’s mandatory, ha). But of course, my training interview (which I needed to pass to receive a formal offer and contract) was postponed THREE times. This was actually the most frustrating part. My interviewer (a guy from Chicago) was MIA to my requests for a new time, and US Talk Support barely answered their Skype chats. When I finally explained that my interviewer neglected to attend the interview and sent in screenshots, US Talk Support told me that my interviewer claimed I was the one who did not attend. The nerve. -_-

Miraculously, I did have the training interview (with the same guy), passed, and received a contract. If you reach this stage, it’s crucial that you give a good demo session. The outcome of the demo determines your pay grade.

Here’s the thing I want to emphasize. You can upload a professional yet humorous profile photo for the kids, a killer video, and an impressive resume, but ultimately the company cannot sway the decisions of the parents. They are the ones who pick and choose through the (apparently) hundreds of available teachers on US Talk. Even if you free up your schedule, it is extremely difficult to get a continuous stream of students.

VIPKID, 51 Talk, and US Talk are online Chinese companies, subject to the decisions of parents. Of course it’s a hit or miss situation and the context varies, but overall I would say that platforms catering to a wide audience such as Skima Talk are more worth your (the applicant’s) time.



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