If you're looking to teach English online, you might have come across a platform called Whales English. Is Whales English a scam? Is it worth your time? I had the same concerns, so I did some research, and what I discovered might surprise you.
Whales English Review:
Recommended: Worth a look.
What is Whales English?
Whales English is an online English school that was founded in 2013. Whales English offers qualified teachers the opportunity to remotely teach English anywhere in the world. The classes usually consist of 2 to 6 students in one session and the age group is mostly children, ranging from 3 to 18 years old.
There are some important things that you need to know about teaching at Whales English.
As of August 18, 2021, it seems like Whales English has wiped the schedule of most of their foreign teachers while they prepare to shift to different teaching material. It's unclear if Whales English will continue to hire foreign teachers.
This video explains the situation:
Is Whales English a Scam?
No. Whales English is not a scam. It's a legitimate company based in Beijing, China. Teachers are officially hired on contracts and paid on time.
Whales English Teacher Requirements:
The requirements to be hired as a teacher at Whales English are similar to other platforms.
Whales English Teacher requirements:
- Native English Speaker (UK, USA, Canada, etc.)
- Bachelors Degree or Higher
- TEFL, TESOL, or other
- Minimum of 1 Year Teaching Experience
- Background check required
If you meet the minimum requirements, an interview will be scheduled and you'll have to complete a mock class with the interviewer present.
Whales English Hardware & Internet Requirements:
- Windows 10 or Mac OS
- Intel i3 Processor Minimum
- 4 GB of RAM
- 20 Mbps ethernet connection
Does Whales English Require a Contract?
Yes. You need to sign a 12-month contract with Whales English which includes a fixed 8 hours minimum a week. There are penalties for breaking the contract or not meeting the minimum hours.
Is Whales English a Chinese Company?
Yes. Whales English is a ESL company based in Beijing, China. The peak teaching hours are 7 pm to 9 pm Beijing time.
How Much Do You Make at Whales English?
Whales English teachers can choose their own schedule, so it's difficult to say exactly how much you can earn. The rates for a 50 minute class start from $18 and can be as high as $27 with performance bonuses.
Whales English requires you to commit to 8 hours a week minimum. However, teachers can choose to work more hours. If you only work the minimum hours, at the starter rates, it comes to $144 a week.
It's possible to earn significantly more by opening more hours and earning performance bonuses. You can also earn a $5 bonus for working on the weekends during peak hours.
Whales English Bonuses:
- Full attendance bonus ($150 - $450 a month)
- $5 for every trial bonus converted to regular
- $5 weekend bonus
There are two types of classes at Whales English: Trial Class ($18/50 mins) and Regular Class ($20/50 mins). The Trial Classes offer a lower rate because it's a way for the student to see if you're a good fit. The goal is to convert Trial Classes to Regular Classes.
How Does Whales English Pay Teachers?
Whales English pays teachers in USD via direct deposit or Payoneer on the 15th of every month. Whales English does not support PayPal at the moment.
Now that you know about the requirements and rates, let's take a look at what it's like to teach at Whales English.
For more information, take a look at their official FAQS.
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Teaching at Whales English:
All the teaching is done through their online platform, and the teaching material is provided too. To start, most of the classes consist of two students. There's also the option to teach six students. Most of the students are between the ages of 4 and 12.
Types of Classes:
Before you dive into the classes, you need to go through the training material and complete four trial classes. These trials take about two weeks to complete. Remember to always hit the "Start Class" button or you might not be paid for the class.
Teaching at Whales English is quite straightforward. The teaching material is provided but you need to become familiar with it before you start the class. The material consists of Oxford Reading Tree, Reach Higher, and Bob's Books.
Whales English Pros:
Whales English does some things right. Here's what I liked most about their platform.
1 - Flexible Schedule
While you need to work for the 8 hours minimum during peak time, you are free to choose more slots. You can work as often or as little as you want, as long as you meet the minimum requirements.
2 - Teaching Material Provided
Whales English provides all the teaching material. You don't need to prepare any of your own material.
3 - Good Payment Rate
The pay is between $18 to $27 an hour, which is relatively high when compared to similar platforms. The bonuses are a nice addition too.
Whales English Cons:
1 - Lots of Unpaid Work, Grading & Writing Reports
This is a big issue for most teachers. Grading students and writing reports is done on personal time. As you can imagine, it can take a lot of extra time to grade material. In other words, there's lots of unpaid work and it can be quite demanding too.
2 - Frequent Tech Issues
Another major issue that a lot of Whales English teachers struggle with are regular tech issues, such as freezes and bugs. Even if you have a fast internet connection, you can run into tech issues on their platform. Common issues are slides freezing in place, webcams not working, microphones not working, and others.
3 - Rules Often Change & Poor Communication
Whales English has recently undergone new management, and it seems like the new team changed quite a lot of rules. It can be hard to keep up with the new rules and breaking them can lead to infractions.
The Bottom Line:
Overall, Whales English is not a scam, it's one of the higher-paying online teaching opportunities. At the time of this writing the company seems to be going through a major overhaul and things are in the air. If you meet the requirements, it's worth a look.
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