If you're thinking about teaching English online, you may be unsure which ESL platforms are the best for you.
Teaching English online allows many people to work and travel and SkimaTalk is one of the most flexible platforms for teachers.
In this article, I will review SkimaTalk, a lesser-known ESL teaching platform that has great potential for teachers to make money online.
While SkimaTalk is often overshadowed by popular ESL platforms like Palfish and Cambly, this review will give you all the information necessary to determine whether SkimaTalk is the platform for you, and more importantly, how to get hired.
SkimaTalk is one of my favorite ESL platforms, which is why I decided to write this detailed review.
SkimaTalk provides a platform to connect English learners with ESL teachers in one-on-one video sessions.
The Japanese-based company has students from all over the world, however, most students are Japanese adults.
Lesson blocks of 25 minutes range from role-playing, interview preparation to casual talk with materials provided within the platform.
SkimaTalk offers a wide range of lessons that range from casual conversation, scenario role-plays, and interview and IELTS preparation.
Why teach with Skimatalk
Unlike a lot of ESL companies, SkimaTalk lets teachers take full control.
Teachers choose hours, rates, and lessons offered.
The self-scheduling platform means teachers can teach as much (or little) as they want.
However, Skimatalk rewards active and well-rated teachers. Students review teachers after each class, which gives other students the opportunity to choose the right teacher for them. The more you teach with SkimaTalk, the more you can increase your pay rates.
SkimaTalk also has some of the most polite and respectful students I've encountered in my ESL career.
Students are mostly professional Japanese adults and lessons are generally enjoyable, friendly and fun.
What you need to teach with Skimatalk
On top of an internet connection and headset, teachers are required to conduct lessons via Skype.
As with any online ESL role, you'll need these essentials to teach with SkimaTalk:
- A laptop or computer
- A strong wifi connection
- A desk
- A quality headset
To improve your classes it's always advised to have teaching equipment and games handy. I recently wrote this must-have ESL teaching equipment guide to give teachers an edge in their classes.
SkimaTalk only hires native English speakers, however, does not strictly require a Bachelor's degree or TEFL. However, I strongly recommend obtaining a TEFL certificate, as it goes a long way towards getting hired with ESL schools.
IELTS teaching with Skimatalk
Adding a specialization to your SkimaTalk bio can attract more students and make you more money.
I highly recommend becoming an IELTS specialist. I recommend taking an IELTS training course online. By adding IELTS to my SkimaTalk profile, I was able to land more classes with students needing to practice for their IELTS exam. You can also set higher rates for IELTS students as they are specialty classes.
If you're considering becoming an IELTS specialist, you can read my top 10 reasons to become an IELTS teacher here.
How to get hired with Skimatalk
SkimaTalk is an automated platform meaning there is no in-person interview required.
Instead, you'll need to submit a profile for review. Make sure to have immaculate spelling and grammar. I use the free Grammarly extension to proofread my work as I go.
You'll also need to upload a short video. This video is added to your profile for potential students to view - so make it good!
Acceptance times for profiles can vary. My application was accepted within a couple of weeks, so stay patient.
Once you're in, you can immediately start teaching whenever you want.
How lessons work
Teaching with SkimaTalk means you work your own hours. There are no mandatory hour quotas needed to work.
Teachers schedule their available time blocks from within the Teachers' Portal which then becomes available for students to book lessons.
Single lessons are conducted in 25-minute sessions, but students will occasionally book double blocks for a 50-minute class.
Once both teacher and student are confirmed for a time, it's the teacher's responsibility to add the student via Skype and call them at the agreed time.
While the lessons are conducted on Skype, lesson materials and chatbox are available on SkimaTalk.
How much money do Skimatalk teachers earn?
An interesting aspect of teaching with SkimaTalk is you can set your own pay rate.
SkimaTalk takes 20% of the total amount earned, so if your rate is $9.00 per 25-minute class, you'll take home $7.20.
While you can set your rate, when starting out you'll get more classes by lowering your rate to compete with other teachers. Once you grow a following and have frequent students, you can slowly up your rate.
Payments are made through PayPal and paid monthly.
Quick teaching tips for working at Skimatalk
1: Set a competitive rate to help build-up your profile reviews, followers and rating. You can then increase your rate as an established SkimaTalk teacher.
2: Try to schedule for Japanese peak times (before and after work) for more bookings.
3: Use the materials provided. SkimaTalk has great teaching materials which go a long way to assisting with lessons.
4: Be outgoing and non-imitating. Japanese students can often be quite shy, so you'll need to do a lot of the talking. If you make the students comfortable enough, they will be likely to book again with you.
5: Ask for another lesson. After a good lesson, ask your student when they would like to chat again. This is a good way to secure another class.
Is Skimatalk right for you?
SkimaTalk is a great English teaching platform for native English teachers who value freedom.
While it can be hard to make a lot of money starting out on SkimaTalk, it provides another source of income if you're working between multiple ESL platforms.
Teachers who put a lot of effort into their classes can built a loyal following and increase their rates to meet demands.
All-in-all, SkimaTalk is one of the best ESL companies for new teachers who may not have a degree, TEFL or prior teaching experience.
You can apply for a job at SkimaTalk here.