Teach English Online With Palfish
Hey people! This is what I decided to do at the beginning of 2020, and I haven’t looked back! Teaching English online with Palfish has given me the freedom to teach online classes from from home (currently Vietnam!) and choose my own hours. Find out all you need to know here. We’ll go into details of the Palfish teacher requirements, how to apply to become a Palfish teacher, the Palfish interview Process and what Palfish pay. Guess what, you can teach English online without a degree! Most importantly, I’ll talk about what it’s really like to teach English online on Palfish.
Ways To Teach On Palfish
Firstly, let’s be clear what we’re talking about. There are three ways to teach on Palfish.
- The Palfish Official Kids Course
- Free Talk / Tutoring
- Palfish Philippines Teacher
In this article, I will be talking predominantly about being a Palfish teacher for the Palfish Official Kids Course. This takes the form of structured lessons, set by Palfish. The pay is usually significantly higher than what you would earn doing free talk.
For free talk, students can simply call you up either by phone or video call to practise their English. These students tend to be older school kids and college / university students, but you could get anyone. You can set your own rate of pay here, but bear in mind, you’re less likely to get calls if you set it too high.
The rest of this article will focus on the Official Kids Course.
Palfish Teacher Requirements – Teach English Online Without a Degree!
- You must be a native English speaker from the US, Canada, UK, New Zealand, Ireland, or Australia.
- You must hold a TEFL / TESOL / equivalent teaching certificate for teaching English. That’s it. Yes, you can teach English online without a degree!
- Have a good, stable internet connection (Wifi or data) and a phone or tablet to teach on.
- Be available to teach at least 10 hours a week.
- Communicate clearly and be prepared to be patient.
Preferred but not compulsory:
- Teaching experience with children
You will note that Palfish allow you to teach online without a degree! This is excellent news for those of us who are willing and able to hone our existing skills into teaching.
Need a TEFL course?
This is the company I used. It’s a legit company and when you subsequently look for work, this certificate will check out. Best of all, you’ll learn how to teach well with this. If becoming a good teacher is your priority, check this out.
Or Learn More here.
Do You Want To Teach Online Part-Time or Full-Time?
Great news! You can teach as much or as little as you like, at times to suit you. I’ll write more below about the peak times for classes. This is when you are most likely to be allocated classes, because the majority of kids want lessons then. I’ve taught up to 35 hours in a week and I’m aware of other Palfish teachers who have exceeded that! Whether you’re looking to teach part-time to fit around your other commitments, or you’re looking for a full-time online teaching job, the opportunity is here on Palfish!
How to Apply To Palfish
Firstly, remember Palfish is entirely app based. There are no emails or phone calls and definitely no post. To apply, you just need a decent smartphone or tablet. Click Apply to Palfish from a smartphone or tablet to apply here.
Note, if this doesn’t work, download the Palfish app and input the following invitation code for personal help with the application process. Contact me and I’m happy to guide you through the application process.
Invitation Code 29232074
So, to apply to Palfish, the stages are:
If/when required, the invitation code is 29232074. Palfish will send a verification code to the phone number you input.
2. Fill in your info.
This takes the form of a written intro and audio intro. Speak clearly and at a reasonable pace.
You can also open up some time slots here in which you’ll be available to teach. Note that once you have passed the interview these can get booked immediately. Open as many slots as you can – newbies are a high priority for being given classes!
Oh and you’ll be wanting to get paid! Currently, most teachers are paid through Payoneer. This is the only option available for most nationalities. Join Payoneer through this link and they’ll give you US$25!
3. The Palfish Interview
Once you’ve passed the above checks, you can book your interview! Don’t panic, you won’t be faced with a real person. The Palfish “interview” is actually a mock class which you’ll be given to teach. There is no real student, you just have to pretend they are there.
Palfish will give you access to the slides beforehand, which come with a written teaching guide. This is a brief description of the things you’ll need to cover on each slide. You’ll also be given a link to video of the same mock class, showing a teacher teaching it well.
My Palfish Interview Tips
Watch the training video – several times if needed.
Read the teaching points on the slides – several times.
Set up your workstation. Pay attention to your background, remembering to put up the Palfish logo and wear a blue T-shirt. Check the lighting is ok. Ensure you are close enough to the camera. For the sake of your posture and I recommend having your device at around eye level. You neither want to be appearing as looking down at the kid or up.
Practise. This will make your teaching more fluent and natural when you record it. It will also help to manage your time well. If you’re confident in your teaching delivery skills, great! Otherwise, mimic the teacher in the training video. That’s how I passed!
Smile a lot and be very enthusiastic. Nothing sells like enthusiasm. The teacher with the best English skills in the world is unlikely to inspire a kid if they are lacking in energy. Similarly, you’re unlikely to impress in an interview scenario. Think big energy!
Correct your imaginary kid’s pronunciation. Praise them. Do everything you’d do if they were actually there.
4. A Written Quiz
This takes the form of a few multiple choice questions, I remember it being pretty simple. In any case, you fail, you can retake it multiple times! Bear in mind you’ll need to complete it within a couple of days of passing your interview, so keep an eye on your notifications!
Palfish Pay – How Much Can You Make Teaching English Online?
So, here’s how it works:
- You earn money in Chinese yuan (CNY). This is added to your Palfish wallet after each class.
- Each month, the contents of your wallet is converted into US$. You will be paid in US$, usually into a Payoneer account.
- You can then withdraw money from your Payoneer account into your regular bank account.
How Much Can You Make Teaching English Online?
Palfish has five different levels of pay, ranging from 55 yuan to 75 yuan per 25 minute class. At the current exchange rate, this equates to $8.50 – $11.50 per class, ie $17 – $23 per hour.
Note, this is the amount you can make teaching English online to enrolled OKC students. Trials are all paid at the base rate (level 1) pay.
Your pay rate depends on how many points you earnt in the previous month. You earn points for every class you teach, and you get bonus points if you sell a package – more on this later.
Put simply, the more hours you teach, the higher your rate of pay. You can earn very good money without even leaving your home.
How to Earn Points Teaching English Online with Palfish
- By teaching a class. You’ll get 4 points per class, or 8 points if you teach a double points class. There are three double points classes per day at 19:00, 19:30 and 20:00 Beijing time (BJT). These are the most popular times for students to take classes.
- Sell a package. Palfish offers prospective students a trial class. This is free to the student, you will get paid at the base rate (currently 55 yuan). If Palfish are then able to sell the student a package after this, you will receive 40 points.
- Training. Palfish sometimes incentivise teachers to undertake training on the app (watch videos, answer questions, teach a mock class without a student) by offering points. This can vary from month to month.
- You can earn an additional 40 points each month, simply by not being late or absent to any of your classes. There’s a minimum number of classes you have to teach to qualify for this.
- Compensation. If student cancels at short notice, you’ll be awarded some points. Currently, if they cancel within 3 hours of the class time, you get 1 point for a regular class, or 10 points if it’s in a double points slot.
- Keep 8 weekly time slots open. You’ll get 2 points a week just for that. Note that for each time slot, you can either set yourself to available just for that day/time, or at that time every week. You need slots set to weekly to get these points.
At the end of each month, your points are added together. Your total will determine your pay rate for the following month. Remember, classes are 25 minutes, so you can teach two per hour.
Note, these rates of pay include a 5 yuan “on-time bonus” for each class.
|55 yuan (approx. $8.50)
|75 yuan (approx. $11.50)
Teaching English Online to Chinese Students
So, it’s your first online teaching job and you’re wondering how it’s going to work? What are the kids like? How old are they? How do you engage them through a screen and how do they respond to you? Let’s talk a bit more about teaching English online to Chinese students.
Usually the kids are aged from around 3 to 12 years of age. The vast majority of students I teach are aged 4 – 9.
Typically, you’ll hear a parent in the background if you are teaching a younger kid. Sometimes the parent will be present throughout the whole class, but generally they’ll be out of sight of the camera. You might hear them prompting the kid, encouraging him/her in Chinese or correcting him/her. Some will be there intermittently throughout the class.
I was initially a little nervous about having a parent watching over my shoulder. But bearing in mind they can watch any or all the replay anyway, I see it as a positive. The more interest they take in the child’s learning, the more likely it is that your student will be motivated and well-behaved in class. This makes your life much easier – the kid learns more, teaching is rewarding and everyone is happy!
Teaching English Online to Chinese Students – Behaviour
On the subject of behaviour management, Chinese kids are probably some of the best behaved kids you’ll find. (Disclaimer: there are exceptions!) I say this, having taught in Thailand in a school where the kids ran riot. I’d never seen anything like it. Personal experience aside, I can say that education is taken very seriously in China. Add this to the fact that the parents are paying a lot of money for their children to learn privately with a native speaker, and you’ll rarely have problems managing behaviour in class.
Teaching English to Chinese students is something I highly recommend.
Teaching Younger Students
I’ve taught younger students during trials and it can be a challenge. They can often lack focus, and waving stuffed animals at them can be of limited benefit. In my experience, it’s paramount that the parent is there to encourage them if they are under four. Even some four year olds (and sometimes older kids) can struggle to focus. At this level, it’s important the parent has realistic expectations of what can be achieved in lessons. Naturally the kid isn’t going to suddenly spurt out fluent sentences. However, by listening to a native speaker, they will be absorbing what they hear. Learning is occurring even if they say very little at this stage.
Most of the above is beyond your control, because the parent may not even speak English.
My key tips are:
- Be as upbeat, energetic and theatrical as you can be to maintain the child’s attention
- Use filters, stuffed animals and other props to engage the kid.
- The more the kid speaks, the happier everyone is. Repetition is key!
Teaching Online Classes From Home – or Anywhere!
Teaching online classes from home requires a little preparation. And I mean a little.
But if you do want to go to town creating an artistic background for yourself, knock yourself out!
Palfish require you to :
- wear a blue T-shirt. This must cover your shoulders and look clean and professional. Don’t wear sleeveless tops or anything provocative. I
- display the Palfish logo in the background. There are various versions of this around. I just Googled “Palfish logo” and picked one I liked.
- Use props. This stumped me a little at first as I began life as a travelling teacher, already failing to travel light! I decided flashcards were the way forward and made my own from thin card. Additionally I purchased a small stuffed fish and later, a small toy monkey. These can really help engage the kids.
- Palfish also ask us not to show facial piercings or tattoos.
As I am not artistic, I’ll admit I didn’t engage in creating an exciting background. But in addition to the Palfish logo, I did colour my name onto card and stuck that below my logo.
Whatever you choose to do, remember to keep it big and bold. It’s going to appear quite small to students looking at you through their device screens.
Palfish Technical Requirements
Here are the basic recommended requirements when you teach English online with Palfish.
- Teach on a smartphone or tablet only. Palfish is app-based and you won’t get the full functionality on a computer (for example, filters). Palfish require you to teach on the app, although a desktop version is available for emergencies.
- If you’re teaching on an iPad, use one from 2017 or newer. Android devices are fine too, these are what I use.
- Use a device with at least 4GB of RAM – if possible. Now, don’t panic if yours has less. I have taught on a tablet with 2GB. I don’t recommend doing this and I am occasionally booted out of the app suddenly near the end of a class, when it all gets too much for my device. However I’ve usually been able to re-open the app promptly (or quickly switched device when that didn’t work) and finish teaching.
This not ideal. But if you’re new to Palfish and want to make sure it’s for you before investing in a new tablet or phone, it’s worth considering. Other teachers have reported success teaching on 3GB tablets. Bear in mind these tablets most likely won’t work with Palfish forever. Ideally have a back-up device at hand with the app already installed in case you need to switch. Getting a complaint at the beginning of your time on Palfish won’t help your bookings.
My Technical Recommendations for Teaching on Palfish
- Invest in a decent tablet. Working on a device with a good screen size is soooo much nicer than struggling to read the small print on a phone. (Been there, done that!) You wouldn’t try to do a regular office job on just a phone. So make your life easier and make teaching more fun by treating yourself.
- Charge your device prior to teaching. I once tried to teach on my phone whilst charging it. It overheated and closed all non-essential apps including Palfish. Eek!
- If possible, ensure you have both Wifi and 4G internet access. If your Wifi plays up or you have a power-cut, you’ll be happy you topped up your data!
- Be careful if using a Bluetooth speaker. Read on…
Bluetooth may Interfere with Wifi
If you’re going to use a Bluetooth speaker, check first whether Bluetooth interferes with your Wifi. I’m no techie, but sometimes they use the same frequency. In this case, Bluetooth can interfere with Wifi, with sometimes odd results. I have only ever had one warning of any kind on Palfish (no complaints) and it was for this reason. I was experiencing slide lag, ie the student was seeing a different slide to the one I was teaching. This resulted in a lot of confusion and I assumed the error was a Palfish issue.
However, I received a written warning from Palfish. They said I had a slow connection, yet I knew I didn’t. When I asked for evidence they sent me a latency graph. I have no idea what this is about, but I learnt that the problem was related to using Bluetooth and WIfi together. So, if your Wifi and Bluetooth use the same frequency, either change this (don’t ask me how!) or be prepared to switch to 4G on your device to avoid a problem.
What are the Peak Teaching Hours on Palfish?
Looking to get a lot of classes quickly? Open up your schedule! Whether you want to teach online part-time or full-time, open up as many slots as possible and set them to “weekly”. This way, regular students can book in with you at a fixed time slot. These could become your students for many years to come.
Naturally, kids go to school and to sleep! So peak teaching times are broadly speaking, evenings and weekends.
Whether you want to teach online part-time or full-time, opening up the most popular time slots is going to be the fastest way to get classes.
Palfish state that the peak times are from 17:30 – 21:30 on weekdays and 9:00 – 21:30 on weekends. I’ll break this down into what I’ve found are the most popular times.
The absolute most popular times are weekday evenings from 19:00 – 20:30 Beijing time (BJT).
I find it’s easy to be fully booked from 18:00 – 21:00, 7 days a week. If you’re keen to work longer hours, it’s worth opening things up from around 17:00 – 21:30.
The next most popular times in my experience are weekend mornings, from 9:00 – 11:00am BJT. However, students could be free at any time over the weekend and it’s common to get bookings throughout the day.
Summary : How to Teach English Online with Palfish
I hope this article has been a useful resource in helping you learn more about what it’s like to teach English online with Palfish. Starting any new job comes with challenges, and teaching online classes from home is no exception. Whether you’re looking to teach online part-time or full-time, being a Palfish teacher is both rewarding and fun. I love the flexibility of being able to work from anywhere and set my own hours.
Also, teaching English online to Chinese students is ideal as Chinese kids are some of the best behaved in the world!
If you’d like to teach English online without a degree, here is the link to Apply to Palfish again. Please ensure you click it from a smartphone or tablet as you’ll be prompted to download the app. Please also use my invitation code 29232074. I’m happy to help you through the application process, please contact me through the site. I hope you find this helpful – good luck on your Palfish journey!
Thinking of Teaching in a Classroom Instead?
I’ve done both! Check out my feature on Online Teaching or Classroom Teaching?.
Here I go into the main differences between them, so you can work out what you’re best suited to!
Need a TEFL course?
If you don’t have one yet, check out my article, Want an TEFL course? for further details.