As more and more people around the world seek out English language teachers a new learning platform has emerged, online classrooms. There are increasingly more and more companies which connect ESL teachers to eager students around the world, one of those is Magic Ears.
What is Magic Ears?
Magic Ears is one of the many online ESL teaching platforms targeted at Chinese youngsters interested in learning English from native speakers. It is a fairly new learning program, having been released in 2017. Like similar websites, Magic Ears targets students between the ages of five and twelve and hires teachers from the USA, Canada, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.
How Much Does Magic Ears Pay?
The payment structure which Magic Ears uses takes a bit of explaining as the rate varies depending on how many hours you teach. The base rate, per 25 minute class, depends on your experience but ranges from $9-11. On top of that you’ll receive a $1 bonus per lesson if you arrive to your first daily scheduled class 3-10 minutes early and complete each of your lessons as scheduled. Finally, there is what is called a ‘peak time bonus’ which is another $1 per class but is received only if you open 60 or more peak hour slots in a month. Peak slots are determined by Magic Ears and may vary slightly but are usually from 7:00-9:00 PM Beijing time. All of this means that you have the potential to earn up to $13 per 25 minute lesson or about $26 per hour of work.
Update 2021: Pay is now negotiated during the hiring process. Magic Ears’ base pay is higher than most other companies. With bonuses/incentives teachers have the ability to earn up to $26 an hour.
In addition to understanding the rates offered it’s important to know a few other points when it comes to the money you’ll be making. Firstly, as you’ll be employed as an independent contractor, it is your responsibility to pay and declare taxes, Magic Ears will not take them out of your pay. Finally, your pay will come through on the 10th of the following month and can be paid through either PayPal or direct bank transfer.
Hiring and Interview Process
So, now that you have an understanding of what you’ll be doing as a teacher for Magic Ears and how you’ll be compensated, the next step is applying.
1. Submit Application
As previously mentioned you’ll need to be from either the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, or New Zealand. Applications from citizens of other countries will be rejected immediately.
All teachers must also hold a Bachelor’s Degree, or be currently enrolled in a Bachelor’s degree program (must provide official transcript), and an ESL certificate. A 120-hour TESOL certificate can be obtained through the Magic Ears University for just $20.
Do you meet all of the requirements? Great, you can submit your application here.
2. Interview Demo
After your application has been accepted you’ll move onto the demo stage. The demo lesson can either be live, and you’ll be teaching a Magic Ears employee acting as a student, or you can record and submit it.
Update 2018: Magic Ears introduced the Magic Ears Application Fast Track (MAFT), which aims to get new applicants in the classroom within 48 hours of submitting their application. Should your interviewer be especially impressed with you, you might be invited to go through this shortened application process. You can learn more about the fast track process here.
3. Magic Training
If all goes well through the demo you’ll head into trainings, there are two trainings, one will be in a small group and the other will be you one-on-one with the trainer.
Update 2021: No longer required. Watch the training videos instead.
4. Trial Class
Finally, one of the last steps of the lengthy hiring process is your first lesson with an actual student, which is a trial class and will be evaluated by trainers. If you paid attention through the trainings and apply what was said there, this trial class should be a breeze.
5. Background Check & Sign Contract
When you’ve been approved through your trial class you’ll have a simple background check and then will sign your contract. Each Magic Ears contract runs for six months at which point you’ll likely be offered a new contract to resign. You can take time off during any contract, but are required to give 14 days notice to the company.
6. Begin Teaching
With the hiring process and paperwork behind you it’s time to begin teaching. But first you’ll want to set up a schedule that works for you.
Work Schedule and Hours
As mentioned earlier, the more classes you teach the more you get paid per class, and specifically if you are teaching during that peak time during the Beijing evening hours which is 7:00-9:00 AM east coast time. Beyond those two busy hours, bookings will also be available 5:00-7:00 AM east coast time and from 9:00-9:30 AM. Also, on weekends peak hours are available from 9:00-10:30 PM and regular booking slots are available from 10:30-7:00 AM.
Unlike VIPKid and some other online teaching platforms students are randomly assigned to teachers. This means a parent will book their child in for a specific class at a specific time and then Magic Ears will randomly assign that student to a teacher who is available at that time. So, you will mostly be teaching new students each day and may not see any particular student more than once.
Typical Magic Ear’s Classroom
So now you’ve been hired, you’ve opened slots and students have been assigned to you. It’s time to get in the classroom. Each 25 minute lesson will consist of you, the teacher, along with four Magic Ears students. All the material needed to teach the class is already prepared for you, so you do not need to prep, however it can prove quite beneficial to review the slides before you go into the classroom and get any props you may want to use together.
The expectations of you in the classroom are quite straightforward and what you would expect of any professional environment. You are asked to teach the entirety of the 25 minutes and not skip any of the prepared material. You should be dressed appropriately and be in an appropriate setting with a suitable classroom background. You should not be eating or using your phone during class, and after each class you’ll be required to write an evaluation which is due within 12 hours of the class completion time.
Ready to apply to be a Magic Ears teacher yet? If you’re looking for a remote position and enjoying being in the classroom with children it’s an excellent opportunity which provides flexibility and the chance for a decent paycheck each month.