Hello fellow teachers and aspiring teachers. With so many different online tutoring platforms out there, choosing one can make your head spin. Log in to Facebook, scroll through the various groups, and there you begin combing through the comments on each platform. You are hit with the cheerleaders of the group, the naysayers, and everything in between. At some point, you have to weed out the negativity, even the overly positive posts and find something that is genuine, and honest. This is exactly what I am aiming to do here. I am going to cover the top questions I see regarding Acadsoc, whom I am currently working with.
This, of course, is going to depend on your primary residence. Should it be that way, I don’t really think so, but you will be hard pressed to find a platform that does not pay based on location. There is, and always will be a variance in pay scales based on where you live. This is life folks! Acadsoc pays per hour, and for myself, being American born, living in the Netherlands get $12 USD per hour. This does not include daily bonuses, which are fairly easy to obtain. If you book most of your time slots, you get 10-20% increase for that day. On average, this comes out to about $14 USD per hour. I work 5 days out of the week, each day completing 10-12 classes per day. At the end of the month, I net about 1600 USD/1400 EUR. This, for me, is a livable wage. I keep life simple and therefore don’t have the need to pull in a large sum of money. Each of us is different, and our needs are different. I am certain, if you put in more hours on Acadsoc, you can easily pull in over 2K per month. The pay is lower on Acadsoc, compared to other platforms, however, you need no degree, no teaching certificate, and no experience. So, it is a good place to start, get your feet wet, and gain some experience. It is worth your while to obtain a TEFL or TESOL. Having this, will likely help you get higher pay and open yourself to more platforms.
The hiring process
This is pretty simple and straight forward. It only takes about 7-10 days to begin teaching.
- Your first step is to submit your interest through the Acadsoc website. You will be asked to send in your CV(resume), and it would be in your best interest to submit one that is updated and has a photo of you. Like it or not, they do want to see who they may be potentially hiring. So SMILE and get over it.
- You will be contacted shortly after for a short interview. If you have ever had an interview before, this one is no different. Typical questions, albeit, geared towards teaching and experience teaching. Be ready to respond to how you would react to situations in the classroom. More importantly, be yourself, be silly, and conduct yourself like you would in a class. I brought props to my interview to show exactly what I would do to grab the students attention. I even went as far to sing a little song showing I was OK with singing to the students. I am not a good singer! But that is not what they are looking for, they are looking for someone willing to build a bond with the students. This means getting over yourself a little and letting yourself be silly. This is not hard for me to do, but for others, I realize it might be. Trust me, once you let that silly flow, you will have fun!
- You will then have some training, both on your own and via Skype. Nothing crazy and very easy to get through, it is mostly to ensure you know how to operate their systems.
- Next…..your DEMO! Yes, of course, there is a demo, you can’t teach online without a demo lesson. This isn’t too different from any other platform, although it was strange to me that you don’t see the student. They have their camera off, in fact, it’s likely you will never see Acadsoc staff. They always turn the camera off. I personally think this is strange, but just go on as if you can see them. I just pretend that they are enjoying me, and reacting to me. Once you pass the demo, they let you start teaching immediately.
I can only speak to my experience, and trust me, I have heard many bad things about bookings, or lack thereof. To put it bluntly, if you are a negative person, you will not be successful. I consistently get lots of bookings, I am rarely open. Even when I have a student cancellation, I will usually get that slot booked before that time slot comes up. Additionally, they do pay for that time slot, if the student does not show or cancels, you get paid in full. This is a big plus for me. Now, there is an ugly side to the bookings too, they can and will book you last minute. You don’t sign up to be on standby for last minute bookings, you just are. If you are available, be prepared to be booked. I am not keen on this, because I am a planner. I always, prep my lessons, and this makes it impossible to do that. You have to just jump in and make the best of it. The upside… you do get used to it, meaning, you start to recognize the lessons, and over time can jump in those last minute classes and slay it like a boss! There is also the constant mishandling of the trial class information by the CS team. You will get a trail that says it’s for a 3-6-year-old, your lesson supports this, and you open your classroom to an adult student. Firstly, get a sense of humor about it, they will appreciate it, and it makes it less awkward. Secondly, do yourself a favor and start saving trial class materials for all ages to be ready to change without hesitation. It is by far a perfect system, but you can work with it if you maintain a positive attitude about it.
Staff and Management
The staff and technical support teams certainly leave much to be desired, and many of the CS support members do not speak good English. This is a challenge and a bit of a sore spot for me. That said, you get more bees with honey! Be nice, and they are typically more receptive to helping you. Keep in mind the management is likely overworked and has many teachers barking at them all day about system issues, booking issues, and so on. This isn’t your concern, however, I have to ask the question, how would you react in that situation? I have a fairly good working relationship with my manager, even though, at times he does not respond to me.
Sick Time/Time Off
I had the unfortunate experience of getting very sick not that long ago. I know full well, that canceling classes is not a good thing to do, and will result in penalties and loss in pay. Acadsoc is no different. When I was sick, I reached out to my manager, explained the situation, and didn’t cancel classes that were already booked, but asked that my open slots be locked. Yes, it was hard teaching sick, but I had breaks in between, and no penalties because nothing was canceled. Sure, I made less, didn’t get as many bonuses, but I was also nursing a cold, and they were not heartless pricks about it. Bear in mind cultural differences too, this does play a role. You decided to teach Chinese children, or adults online, you have to consider cultural differences are a factor in how the company is run. This does not make it OK, but does help me swallow that pill. Again, it boils down to your perspective.
The material is decent at times, but other times, it is terrible! Like many other platforms, creating their own content, you will find errors, but be a diligent teacher and make sure you are teaching through those errors. Acadsoc also allows students to load their own material, this means you will get worksheets from their books at school scanned in. You are, in this case helping with homework. At first, getting a one-page worksheet and being asked to make it last 25 minutes was annoying. Over time, I have curated lots of content to add to these classes. This, in many cases, has lead to great relationships with my students. Where the course material lacks, you have a chance to shine, to find ways to connect with the student and think outside the box. I have grown to like this, I have the freedom to be creative!
Simply put, they are amazing! I have kids, teens, and adults, and I love them all for different reasons. My sweet spot is kids that are between 7-12 and then adults, however, I have ones in between that I love too! There are numerous challenges on Acadsoc, they have problems with staff, materials, technology, much like any other platform. The reason you are doing this is for the students. At least, I hope that is the reason you are doing this. It is not for everyone, and some of the issues with Acadsoc may be a deal breaker for you, if that is the case, look elsewhere. Trust me, there is a platform for everyone. I find my joy in the students and the relationships I build with them. There is nothing more joyful for me when I watch a young student thrive, and watch their eyes light up when they understand a new concept. This is why I am here! This is why I do this!
Working with Acadsoc has been a learning experience. It has its challenges, and there are days that I want to scream when the website keeps crashing, the CS team is assigning me trial classes for a 3-year-old, but it is actually an adult, and so on….but then I get a student that lights up my day, and all the crap doesn’t seem so bad. You will undoubtedly find fault in any platform you are on. None of them are perfect, and if anyone says otherwise, they are not giving you an honest look at the company. On the other side of that, are the naysayers, the people that are quick to criticize the moment something doesn’t go their way. I try to land somewhere in between and give an honest look at the perfectly imperfect world of online teaching. Would I recommend Acadsoc? It depends, if you are someone that has no degree, no experience, but a heart to get started in online teaching, yes I would. I have grown in this process, I have learned, not least gained new relationships with many great students and fellow teachers.
Still have questions? Let’s chat! Leave a comment, or come join our FB group at Teach English Online – TEFL/TESOL/ESL/JOBS/!