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How I Work From Home as an Online ESL Teacher with Qkids

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Have you ever considered working from home as an online ESL teacher? Here is everything you’ve ever wanted to know about online ESL teaching with Qkids!


Online ESL teaching is becoming an increasingly popular method of earning extra income from home. When I first heard about online ESL teaching (teaching English as a Second Language), I was intrigued. I searched online for ESL teaching companies hiring Americans, and after extensively researching and comparing several different companies and their job opportunities, I decided to apply with Qkids.

Online ESL Teaching with QKids

In my opinion, Qkids is by far the best online ESL teaching company to work for. In this post, I share what it’s like working for Qkids and why I believe Qkids is head and shoulders above their competition.

Introduction to Qkids

Qkids is an online teaching service based out of Xiamen, China that hires Americans to teach English to Chinese students. Teachers and students are connected through a virtual classroom, and lessons are taught within Qkids’ interactive teaching platform. Qkids offers their students a fully immersive English learning experience through conversational English lessons.

What it’s like working for Qkids

My typical day working for Qkids looks like this:

Wake up at 5:30 AM.
Being a total night owl and not a morning person, this was difficult for me at first, but the benefits of getting up early far outweighed the comfort of staying in my cozy bed. I love that I am up early, able to teach at Qkids for a couple of hours, and be done shortly after 9:00 AM. I still have my entire day ahead of me, with plenty of time to get my other daily responsibilities done.

It’s an awesome feeling to be so productive in the morning and to have earned some money all before my day begins.

Begin teaching at 6:35 AM.
After getting ready and making some hot tea, I head to my computer and log into the Qkids software. I typically teach 4 classes each morning. My first class begins at 6:40 AM, and we are required to be logged into the classroom 5 minutes before your scheduled class time.

Teach my classes.
I spend about two-and-a-half hours teaching my 4 classes. There are a few minutes available between each class, where I can quickly run to the bathroom if I need to or grab a drink of water.

End teaching shortly after 9:00 AM.
My last class ends at 9:10 AM. When I am done teaching my four classes, I log out of the software and move on with the rest of my day.

The Students & the Lessons

The students I teach at Qkids are between the ages of 5-12 years old.

I have found that the students’ ages do not necessarily correlate with their English speaking skill level. For example, I have had a few older students who are new to learning English, and are in the lower-level classes. And I have had students who have been in higher-level classes with more advanced English speaking skills, but yet they are much younger than their peers.

The students are such a joy to teach! I am always warmly greeted with smiling faces, lots of waving, and tons of “Hello, teacher!” shouted at me from sweet, grinning faces halfway around the world. It’s a wonderful way to start the morning.

Each class is 30 minutes long and may have anywhere from 1 to 4 students.

I teach the classes from within Qkids’ interactive online teaching platform. Each lesson is provided for me, so there is no lesson planning needing to be done on my part. I simply review each lesson the evening before, so I am familiar with what I will be teaching the next day (this takes only about 5 minutes or less each night).

Qkids-online-esl-teaching-software-screenshot

Qkids Staff

The staff at Qkids is comprised of several trainers, technical support, and class management support, among other departments.

When I first began working at Qkids nearly a year ago, I was assigned a trainer to help me through the hiring process. Once hired, my trainer stays with me throughout the course of my teaching career at Qkids.

My trainer’s name is Ivy, and she is awesome! She is never more than a text message away (Qkids uses an international texting app called WeChat, to allow easy communication between teachers and their trainers). She provides me with occasional feedback on my teaching and is always incredibly helpful with any questions I may have.

I can’t say enough good things about the Qkids staff. They are kind and timely in their conversations with us and responses to our questions, they are compassionate and understanding when we need time off, and the wonderfully unique quality they possess is that they actually listen to their teachers’ feedback.

If something is not working well and we let them know, they listen and they are quick to address the problem. If we ask for some improvement to the software or the way things are run, they always take our suggestions into consideration, and many updates and improvements have been made based on our feedback.

One example is the new mobile teaching app that Qkids has recently developed. We had asked them for a teaching app for a little while now and boy, did they deliver! We can check our schedules, preview the lessons, view our banking information, and more — all right from the app! It’s still in its beta stage and hasn’t been officially launched as of yet, but it is an extremely valuable tool that the teachers are so excited to have.

QKIDS Mobile App

In the past year that I have been working for Qkids, they also have made several changes and improvements to their teaching software, which has greatly improved the student-teacher classroom experience. The improvements made to their software have helped us teachers deliver a richer learning experience to our students and makes our job as teachers a little bit easier as well.

It is such a pleasure working for this company – you won’t find a nicer bunch of people to work with!

Making Money Working for Qkids

Qkids pays their teachers a flat rate of $8 per 30-minute class.

Additionally, there are bonuses available to increase the earning potential to a maximum of $10 per class.

There is a $1 bonus per class if you teach more than 15 classes per week. And there is another $1 bonus per class that is based on your teaching ability (this is considered the performance bonus – how well you did teaching each class).

Earning both of these bonuses brings your hourly wage to $20 per hour, which is not bad for a part-time work-from-home job!

Payment

Qkids teachers are paid through direct deposit. The bank transfer fee is covered by Qkids, so every penny I earn teaching is paid directly to me.

Payday is once per month, no later than the 15th of each month. I am paid for the entire previous month of teaching.

So, for example, on August 15th I will be paid for all the classes I have taught from July 1st to July 31st.

Benefits of ESL Teaching with Qkids

In addition to being paid for an incredibly rewarding job teaching amazing students, there are also several other great benefits of working for Qkids.

Flexible Schedule

Qkids allows their teachers to choose which days and hours they would like to teach. This works so well for our family, as I get to teach in the early morning and have the rest of the day available to me for homeschooling my kids, working on my blog, and all other housework and responsibilities.

They do have some evening hours available on the weekends (and on every day of the week during the summer), but evening hours are typically not a good fit for our family, so I’m glad they are not a requirement.

Ability to Work From Home (in your pajamas!)

One of the greatest things about working for Qkids as an online ESL teacher is the ability to work from the comfort of your home. It’s wonderful to not have to drive to and from work.

And as an added bonus, you only have to be presentable from the waist up – which means I may or may not teach all my classes in a nice top and pajama pants.

Innovative, Easy-to-Use Teaching Software

When it comes to teaching platforms, I believe this is where Qkids really shines.

I have seen other companies’ teaching platforms, and they simply do not compare to the platform at Qkids.

When you log into the teaching software, you are able to quickly and easily find what you’re looking for in conveniently-located sections. You can view your schedule, preview your lessons, view your earnings, update your payment information, take additional training classes, communicate with the staff, and so much more.

This is the same software I use to teach the lessons out of, and it’s so nice to have everything in one spot with only one login.

Fun Interactive Lessons

The Qkids lessons are completely interactive, and students get to learn through stories, games, contests, and more. A group of specially designed characters unique to Qkids is seen throughout each lesson, and the children become accustomed to the familiar faces of each character (I mean, who couldn’t love a cute, pink Monkey named Momo)?

Qkids also offers special themed classes throughout the year, based on seasons and holidays. For example, last December, we got to teach super fun Christmas-themed classes, where we teachers were able to teach our students a cute Christmas song about Santa. The kids loved it, and even some of the parents would come over to the computer and sing along with us.

This summer, Qkids came out with specially themed insect classes, where we teach our students all about different insects. My favorite part was when I got to show my students the live caterpillars my kids and I were raising for a homeschool project.

Referral Bonuses

Qkids gives teachers the option of earning referral bonuses by recommending and referring other people to become Qkids teachers. This is a great additional perk of working for Qkids and is a nice way to supplement your teaching income.

Contests & Prizes

There’s always something fun going on behind the scenes at Qkids, and one thing that the staff loves to do is hold teacher contests.

Throughout the year, there are many opportunities to get involved in several different types of contests.

For example, Qkids recently had a contest for the best teaching backgrounds. As Qkids teachers, we are required to have a neat and clean background, with some sort of colorful teaching-related decorations. I entered my background into the contest and was pleasantly surprised to have won one of the third-place spots!

I received a $20 bonus added to my teaching account, and Qkids also sent me a canvas tote bag with their logo on it (and a picture of Koby the Koala dressed as a pirate!).

Other types of contests Qkids has held in the past include writing contests where teachers could submit an original story, themed video contests, and even a contest where teachers could apply to win an all-expense paid trip to visit the Qkids headquarters in Xiamen, China!

You’ll never know what sort of fun contest the Qkids staff will think of next!

Special Events

Qkids will occasionally hold special events just for teachers.

For example, last December, all Qkids teachers were invited to join in on a live Facebook Christmas party, held at Qkids headquarters in China. The staff gave a virtual tour of the building, introducing all of us teachers to the members of each team.

We were able to put faces to all the people at Qkids who we are in communication with on a daily basis via email or messaging. It was tons of fun and such a cool experience.

Learning About Other Cultures

This is one of the most rewarding and fascinating things about being an online ESL teacher.

The students – and even the staff – are always so eager and excited to learn more about American culture, and they love sharing their Chinese culture with us teachers as well.

During American holidays, the Qkids staff will always put together something very special and sweet for us teachers – even if it’s a holiday they do not celebrate themselves!

For example, last year during Thanksgiving, the entire Qkids staff recorded a very special and heartfelt Thanksgiving video and sent it to all the teachers. I’m not gonna lie – I was so touched and teary-eyed watching the video! They care so much about their teachers, and it’s so heart-warming to see them take time out of their busy days to celebrate with us.

Likewise, at the beginning of this year, we were encouraged to decorate our teaching backgrounds with some sort of Chinese-related decorations, to celebrate the Chinese New Year with our students (which is celebrated in February). This was not mandatory, but the students’ eyes would light up when they saw their American teacher joining in on the festivities of their holiday.

It’s such a special honor to be able to take a peek into the culture of someone halfway around the world, and it’s so humbling to know that sharing your culture is such an influential experience to the young Chinese students you are privileged to teach.

How You Can Work for Qkids Too

As the company continues to grow and gain in popularity among its competitors, the need for qualified teachers continues to rise. If online ESL teaching with Qkids is something you think you might be interested in, then keep reading to find out how you can become a Qkids teacher, too!

Qkids-Characters-Darby-Koby-Momo

Qualifications & Requirements

In order to be eligible to work as a teacher for Qkids, you must be able to meet the following requirements:

  • Reside in the United States or Canada
  • Native English speaker
  • Bachelor’s degree or currently enrolled in a university program and working towards your degree (does not have to be a teaching degree)
  • Experience working with children in some capacity (previous teaching or tutoring experience, babysitting, homeschooling, etc.)
  • Either PC or Mac
    specific system requirements:
    – cpu: dual core 2.0GHz or above
    – cpu model: i5/i7 series (for laptops) or i3/i5/i7 series (for desktops)
    – memory: 2Gb or above
    – graphic memory: 512Mb or above
    – system: Windows 7 (or above) or MacOS 10.9 (or above)
    *Note: Chromebooks, iPads, tablets, and Linux operating systems are currently not accepted, as they are incompatible with the Qkids software.
  • Stable internet connection, preferably hard-wired using an ethernet cable
  • Webcam (either an internal webcam that’s built into the computer or an external webcam)
  • Noise-canceling headphones with a microphone – I use and love this headset, but this headset and this headset are both great options, too.
  • Availability of 6 hours (12 classes) per week (this is the minimum time commitment, but you may teach more)

How to Apply

To apply for a teaching position at Qkids, you will need to submit the following required materials:

  • Resume
  • Availability
  • Screenshot of computer specs
  • 1-2 minute introduction video: Introduce yourself, share where you live, your educational background, and any experience teaching or working with kids. Then read a short children’s story (you will probably want to read an excerpt from a children’s book, as opposed to the whole book, as your video should be no longer than 2 minutes). You can upload your video to your application as a link through YouTube, Google Drive, Dropbox, or something similar.

The Hiring Process

The hiring process is a simple and relatively quick six-step process:

Step 1:

Submit all required materials on the application page (view the section directly above this to see a list of required application materials).

Step 2:

Initial screening. Qkids staff will review your application and intro video and will get back to you via email if they feel you are a qualified candidate.

Step 3:

Demo Interview 1. This is a combination of basic interview questions and demonstrating your knowledge of the Qkids software. In Demo Interview 1, you will spend most of your time demonstrating technical proficiency (i.e. knowledge of the Qkids’ teaching platform buttons, tools, and how to manage sound and video quality). Prior to this demo, your trainer will have you download the interactive teaching software to your computer, and will assign you some training videos to watch. These videos will fully prepare you for this step.

Step 4:

Demo Interview 2. In Demo Interview 2, you will have a full Q&A interview session for about 25 minutes. Afterward, you will briefly demonstrate some of your teaching skills and personality and may be asked to role play a lesson scenario with your trainer. *Bonus tip – Having a few simple props (like a few flashcards or a puppet) for this demo lesson is not required, but will be viewed favorably by your trainer.

Step 5:

Trial Classes. You will teach anywhere from 2-5 actual lessons with students. You will receive family feedback on those classes, as well as feedback from your trainer. Your trainer will also make note of any areas that need to be improved upon, so pay close attention to your feedback, and make sure you apply those changes in your next trial class(es). You will also be paid $8 per completed trial class, whether you end up receiving an offer at the end of your trial period or not.

Step 6:

Hired! After you have successfully completed all of your trial classes, you will receive an offer from your trainer to join Qkids as an online ESL teacher.

Frequently Asked Questions About Qkids

I often get asked a lot of questions about working for and applying to become a teacher at Qkids. I’m hoping this FAQ drop-down section will be helpful to you (click on the plus symbol to view the answer to each question).

Yes! This is a real part-time job with a real, reputable company. Online ESL teaching is a relatively new industry that has been around for a few years now, and is rapidly increasing in popularity.
Qkids does not ask you to provide them with any sensitive personal information, other than your bank account number when setting you up to receive payments (you enter this information yourself, into the secure teacher portal).
Yes! Here are some tips to help you do your best during the hiring process.

For your intro video, make sure to SMILE, speak slowly and clearly, SMILE, be animated, SMILE, have a neat and clean background….oh, and did I mention to SMILE?

I can’t even begin to tell you how many candidates look like they are standing in front of a firing squad when recording their video.

Act natural, be yourself, and SMILE, SMILE, SMILE!

As for the demo sessions, the best thing you can do is come fully prepared. Study the training videos carefully; they will show you how to use the software and teach the lessons. Your trainer is watching to see if you have prepared for the demo or not, and he or she will know if you haven’t prepared.

And finally, for the trial classes…just relax and do your best! Your trainer will review your trial classes, and will be watching to make sure you were able to implement your training into the classroom.

They are not looking for perfection!

They understand that you are probably nervous, and that this is all new to you. You will improve as a teacher over time, so don’t worry about making little mistakes. Just do the best that you can, and you’ll be fine!
Not at all! The lessons are designed to be a fully immersive English-learning atmosphere, so both you and your students will be speaking in English the entire class time.
Nope! Qkids requires candidates to have a Bachelor’s degree (in any field) or to be currently enrolled in a university program and actively working toward your degree. A teaching degree is preferable, but definitely not required.
No. If hired, you will be an independent contractor.
Since you will be working for Qkids as an independent contractor and not an employee, the company will not be withholding taxes on your behalf. As an independent contractor, you will be responsible for reporting your income on your tax return and paying the appropriate amount of taxes on your income.

As for how much you should save from each paycheck – I am not a tax advisor, so I really cannot say. The amount saved from each paycheck for tax purposes will vary for each person, but most people hold back about 20-30% of their pay. In order to determine what is right for your situation, and so there are no surprises come tax time, I would suggest you speak with a tax advisor or an accountant.
No. Qkids does not require you to teach with them for a pre-determined length of time. As an independent contractor, you can terminate your teaching agreement whenever you wish.
The classes are held during China’s “peak” hours (which are the times most children are awake and home from school) – usually their evenings (on school nights) and their mornings (on the weekends).

Of course, this is reversed for us Americans – we teach in the early morning times during the week, and the evening hours on the weekend.

To make communication of teaching times easier on everyone, and to eliminate any confusion with international time conversions, Qkids relays all times in EST (Eastern Standard Time).

The available time slots for teaching are:

Monday through Sunday:

6:40 AM – 7:10 AM
7:20 AM – 7:50 AM
8:00 AM – 8:30 AM
8:40 AM – 9:10 AM

Friday and Saturday evenings:

8:40 PM – 9:10 PM
9:20 PM – 9:50 PM
10:00 PM – 10:30 PM
10:40 PM – 11:10 PM
11:20 PM – 11:50 PM

*Note – During the months of July and August, there are extra summer time slots available (due to the students being on summer vacation). In addition to the hours listed above, the five extra evening classes are also available every day of the week.

And for those of you who are visually-oriented people (like me) who need to see these days and times laid out in a table, here ya go:

The minimum number of classes required per week is 12 classes (6 hours).
No. Due to the time difference and the students being in school for certain hours of each day, the time slots listed above are the only available class times.

The maximum number of classes available, if you were to be available for all time slots, would be 38 classes (19 hours) per week. For the summer months, the maximum allowed number of classes would be 63 classes (31.5 hours) per week.
Unlike other online ESL companies, where you post your profile and you only get scheduled classes if the parents like your photo and bio, Qkids will schedule your classes for you each week according to your availability. You are not guaranteed to have every time slot of your availability filled each and every week, but more often than not, I have a completely full schedule.
Qkids will not guarantee all of your available time slots to be fully booked each week, but they make every effort to fill your availability.

As with any online ESL company, there will be busy times and slower times. During the busy seasons, you can expect to have a consistently full or almost full schedule. During the slower times of year, your class schedule may be reduced a bit.

You will have to be a little flexible in this area, but honestly, my classes have never been reduced to a point where it’s caused a dramatic decrease in my income.
You can view your schedule in the online teacher portal, or through the new Qkids mobile app. Your classes are assigned on a weekly basis and are always complete for the upcoming week by Sunday evening.
No, you will not need to plan lessons because the lessons are all provided for you in the teaching software.

However, you will need to review each lesson to familiarize yourself with the teaching objectives and interactions.

My suggestion is to quickly preview the lessons the night before (this usually takes no more than 5 minutes) and possibly have some props available to aid in teaching (not required, but extremely helpful).
Props are not mandatory, but they are highly encouraged.

Unlike some other online ESL companies, you do not need to have a huge arsenal of props to begin teaching for Qkids.

I would suggest grabbing a few flashcards (perhaps a pack of numbers, a pack of letters, and/or a pack of colors) to begin with.

Household items such as pens, pencils, markers, and fruit are inexpensive items you probably already have on hand that will be helpful in your lessons.

A hand puppet might be a fun thing to incorporate into your teaching. I have a panda hand puppet I use in my classes, and both my students and their parents love it!
Qkids tries to match the same teachers and students together whenever they are able to, but you will mostly see new students in each class.
No. Qkids staff communicates with the parents and provides occasional class feedback. Once in a while, you may see a parent or two on your screen. I always make sure to say hello to the parents when I greet their child – they seem to appreciate the acknowledgement.
In the case of illness or other legitimate reason, you can cancel any scheduled classes without penalty by notifying Qkids staff at least 24 hours in advance. Unlike some other online ESL companies who charge you or severely penalize you for canceling classes, there is no penalty for canceling your Qkids class as long as 24 hours’ notice is given.

If canceling your classes with less than 24 hours’ notice due to an emergency, the Qkids staff is incredibly accommodating and understanding, but will deduct attendance points from your running total, which will result in a slight loss in your bonus pay.

This attendance policy is extremely reasonable and gives teachers (especially stay-at-home moms!) a bit of flexibility in case of child-related emergencies (like in the case of missing classes due to a sick baby, for example). I believe that Qkids’ attendance policy is unique in the online ESL teaching world and is yet another way they set themselves apart from other companies.

As far as requesting time off for planned vacations – no problem! Simply email Qkids in advance to let them know the dates you need off (emailing this request a month in advance is encouraged and preferred).
If you are at all interested in the possibility of teaching with Qkids, I encourage you to apply sooner rather than later, as positions are filling fast. If you’re still on the fence about applying, perhaps this may help you decide:

This job is perfect for:
  • Someone who wants to work from home
  • Someone who wants to earn some extra side income
  • Someone who is unable to teach during the day, due to other obligations and responsibilities, but has time to fit in classes either in the morning or at night
  • Someone who loves working with children
  • Someone who enjoys teaching others
  • Someone who is reliable and dependable
  • Someone who can be friendly and animated (remember: lots of SMILES!) while teaching
This job is not right for:
  • Someone who dislikes working from home
  • Someone who does not have time to commit to a part time job
  • Someone who is unable to work during the available time slots or can’t meet the minimum class scheduling requirements
  • Someone who dislikes working with kids
  • Someone who is unreliable
  • Someone who is severely technologically challenged and has a hard time using a computer

My Final Thoughts on ESL Teaching with Qkids

This job has been such a blessing to our family. It’s provided a way to add an additional stream of income while allowing me to continue to stay home with my kids.

As a total introvert, I originally thought that I may not be able to teach students online. I was afraid I would be too nervous, but I went out on a limb and gave it a try anyway.

To my surprise, not only was it a lot easier to step out of my comfort zone and begin teaching, but I found myself enjoying this job far more than I ever anticipated. Watching a student learn and embrace a second language and seeing them excel in that new language is such a rewarding experience that I wouldn’t trade for the world.

If you’re thinking of applying to become a Qkids teacher, or if you have any additional questions about online ESL teaching with Qkids, feel free to leave your question below in the comment section or contact me here. I’d be more than happy to answer any additional questions you might have!

So tell me — what do YOU think about online ESL teaching with Qkids?

Are you thinking about becoming an online ESL teacher with Qkids? Or maybe you already are one? What benefits do you see to this work-at-home job? Tell me your thoughts below — I’d love to hear them!

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Kristine
Kristine is a busy homeschooling mom to four awesome kids and the wife of a professional computer geek. Her passion is to help encourage other moms while teaching the importance of giving yourself a little bit of grace in this crazy yet blessed calling of motherhood.
Smart Living Mama_Kristine Bessell_profile picture_circle

Hi, I'm Kristine!

I'm a busy homeschooling mama, a blessed wife, and an imperfect child of God. I help overwhelmed moms learn how to simplify the day-to-day and give themselves some much-needed grace in the joys & struggles of motherhood.
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