If you’ve spent any time at all researching online English teaching jobs, you will be alarmed at how fake some of these sites look. It’s not uncommon for a stock image of a man in headphones to take up 90% of the screen and for the other 10% of the screen to be occupied by Chinese characters. There’s really nothing more disconcerting than having to google translate job requirements for an online English teaching position.
Often, websites for these online teaching companies offer scant information about the position. And when there is information, it’s generally just a list of qualifications/requirements for candidates. To find out anything at all about the actual job, you’re expected to send an email to what may look like a spammy email address. And even when the email address seems professional, it may feel like a headache to actually get in touch with these folk, only to find out it will be a 2 hour per week contract paying you $8 in total.
Our advice is not to let bad web design, a lack of details or poor translation put you off. There are other places you can go to find out all the information you need to make the decision. The internet is home to a literal army of online English teachers in the exact same position. They are continually posting reviews, recommendations and advice for teachers in the same boat. All you’ve got to do is know where to look.
You’d be surprised at how many of these dodgy-looking sites are actually legit. Like other careers, there are no shortcuts when it comes to a proper job hunt. You’re going to have to commit a few hours to figuring out what’s what in the online English teaching universe and reading up on the various online English teaching companies.
There’s no easy way around it and to skip this step might land you locked into a contract with poor conditions and missed pay slips. This shouldn’t be the case, if you do your research, there’s no reason why online teaching won’t be as convenient and lucrative as it sounds.
The best places to find trustworthy online ESL teaching reviews
Not all the online teaching companies will have reviews listed here (in fact, not many will have a presence on this site), but it’s generally a good place to start your search. They typically have detailed reviews as the process requires users to answer specific questions.
2. Google is your BAE
The online English teaching companies should be all over Google, so it’s worth doing a thorough search on them. This will throw all sorts of listings and we recommend looking further than just page one. Tabs are there for a reason, so use them. If you take anything away from this blog post, it’s this: search, sigh, and then, search again.
Online teachers are on the tech-savvy end of things and there’s only one place that all tech types seek information. Reddit might seem like a monster, but it’s chock-full of teachers answering questions about various online teaching companies, including VIPKID. There are subreddits that will answer your every concern. The internet is a helpful place, so use it. We recommend checking out the subreddit dedicated to online TEFL teachers.
This is better than any review site. Chances are any company you’re wondering about has already been mentioned in the numerous questions posted by online TEFL teachers every day. But if you don’t feel like trawling through other people’s queries, why not post your own question.
Quora will let you do it on a specific thread and select people to ask the question to. Just searching “teach English online companies” will throw up questions and answers that might already offer plenty of honest feedback about the companies you’re wondering about.
4. Facebook groups
If you really want the honest truth about an online ESL company - avoid their company Facebook and jump straight to one of these groups. You’ll bypass all the nonsense. There will be more than enough people willing to give you their opinions about companies and conditions.
We recommend the following:
These are all full of teachers chatting about their positions.
Now, I know what you’re thinking - anyone can write reviews on the internet and employees are probably penning odes to their own companies. But it’s pretty easy to spot a fake review and there are as many honest ones out there. So before I tell you where to search for reviews, I’m going to show you how to spot the fake ones peppering those very same pages.
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How to spot a fake teaching English online job review
Someone writing a fake review often seems vague
They will list benefits and not go into much detail. This is because it’s hard to say much about something you haven’t actually experienced. Honest reviews for online teaching jobs usually focus on the details of the role because they’ve been in your shoes and know what people looking at reviews need to know. Honest reviewers tend to be specific about their own experiences and qualifications as well as giving thorough examples of working with the company.
It sounds weirdly sales-y
Use your common sense, the minute you feel like you’re being sold the online job, back right up and have another google. It’s not to say that a fake review is lying, just that what you want is a little more insight than a sales pitch.
It’s all about the reviewer
The more you see the words “I” and “me” the warier you should be. Psychologists have found that when people are lying - they tend to try and make their experiences seem more personal. A real reviewer will mention themselves, but perhaps in passing, their review will most likely focus on the role and company.
The same review is cross-published on numerous sites
This one is easy to spot, and if you see the exact same answers cropping up over and over… with the same wording, then it’s probably a copy and paste hack-job.
Verbs versus nouns
Honest people tend to have some cold-hard facts and their reviews will be full of nouns, so do a little count. Fake reviews are heavy on the verbs as they try to get you to believe their drastic sounding stories.
Check the timestamps on reviews
If all the good reviews are written at pretty much the same time… be warned! I’m sure there’s some universe where every online teacher logs on at the same time feeling like passionately sharing the positives of the company they work for…but we’re not in that universe. Generally speaking, real reviews will be spaced out. A concentration of reviews for a particular company during office working hours on one particular day in June of 2018 might be a good reason to get suspicious.
Review the reviewer ️♀️
Most honest reviewers come with a profile attached. Have a nosey…do they answer similar questions on the site and are the answers genuinely helpful. If it’s on a social network, it’s easy to see if they’re a real person and you can double check LinkedIn to make sure they’ve actually been a teacher. Not everyone has a big online footprint, but it’s not hard to find out a little bit more about the person writing it if you take a minute to look.
The review is sloppy
People being paid to post fake reviews aren’t paid a lot and usually per review. This means their reviews can leave a lot to be desired and if you’re seeing terrible punctuation, poor spelling and just plain bad English...well ask yourself this - is this person really an English teacher? I don’t know any English teacher worth their salt that would leave a trail of typos in their wake!