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At Anomalous Educator, our goal is to help you transition your teaching career into online mode. There are a number of ways to do this, of course, but one of the most popular methods is to teach English. First Future is one of the more popular platforms, which pairs native English speakers with Chinese students looking to learn English. Similar to other similar online and in-person teaching gigs, no Chinese fluency is required.

One of the biggest perks of First Future is that the hours are based around Chinese time zones, so if you have a day job or another gig, you can teach early in the morning with First Future and earn additional income without having to worry about it conflicting with your schedule.

For more information on the First Future teaching experience, I’m going to hand the mic (of sorts) to Rondola (name changed to protect privacy), a current First Future teacher, to share her experience with getting hired and working with the company.

Take it away, Rondola!

How do you get scheduled for an interview, and how long does the process take before being hired?

I applied online and I was recruited by a staff member from DigiTEFLers, who followed up with me after receiving my application.

The requirements are:

  • Any kind of degree
  • Being a native speaker of any of the following countries:
    Australia, New Zealand, England, Ireland, South Africa, USA, Canada.
  • Holding an ESL Teaching Certificate (of any kind, mine is just a local one and not internationally recognized)
  • 2 years teaching experience

When you apply you have to record a small introduction video. In this video you have to show the recruiter that you are:

  • Lively
  • Young
  • Vibrant
  • Engaging

If they feel that you don’t show enough of these characteristics then they will pull up excuses such as:

  • A degree with preference going to those with a Masters in TESOL, Education or English
  • recognized TEFL certificate from a 120-hour face-to-face training course

The process didn’t take long at all, probably 1 week or 2 and you’re ready to start teaching.

How flexible is the schedule? Can you work when and where you want?

Once recruited by DigiTEFL, you’re hired by First Future. You can either teach directly with First Future and open up your timeslots every day from 8pm-11am, but you won’t get many bookings.

What First Future does with their teachers is that it outsources you to different online teaching companies in China.

When you accept a Project (e.g. Donut English or PUXIN English) there is no more flexibility — you’re on call from 5am to 8am. You don’t always have classes but you have to be on the computer and sometimes they give you only 5 minutes’ notice for a class.

You can request a day off with 2 weeks notice, but absence records will deduct your bonus, depending on what caused your absence (with notice, short notice, or without notice).

What certifications or degrees are needed?

  • A degree with preference going to those with a Masters in TESOL, Education or English
  • recognized TEFL certificate from a 120-hour face-to-face training course

I have neither and I still got hired – the bottom line is that your introduction video is more important than the degrees.

How many hours per week can you typically work?

In CST time (GMT-5) you have the following options:
Monday- Saturday 5am-8am (3 hours in the morning with a fixed project)

There are more projects during the summer months, which allow you to work in the evening, but I don’t know their exact time tables.

With First Future’s platform you can open up your timeslots from 8pm-11am every day, but it’s not likely you will get booked that much, I’ve only received a few bookings extra between 8am-10am

What is the starting pay?

I don’t know anyone else that teaches there so I’m the only reference I can give, but I think they offer some teachers more, and others less.

My base pay is $13 USD per hour and I get several bonuses for doing either groups classes, weekend classes, or having a good attendance record.

The hourly rate goes up to $18 USD per hour.

Another positive point with my Donut Project now is that they have bought out my hours, so whether or not I teach I will get paid the full 3 hours a day. I’ve been working there for 4 months and I’ve got 5 regular students whom I teach 4 hours a week in total, the other 8 hours a week I’m on standby, and usually only sub 1 or 2 classes a week. So I get paid for 12 hours, but only work 5 in many cases.

What else do I need to know before getting started?

First Future uses a terrible means of communication. They have all the teachers in a QQ chat and of course people talk about nonsense or personal stuff, but then sometimes QQ personnel says something important and you just totally miss the message.

Because OF COURSE, I have that chat group on mute. The worst part is that Donut English, the project I’m on, also has an app which they have all their teachers in, called WeChat, and you are summoned to sub a class in the group chat, with a tag.

But in the same group the teachers have to report on their classes: camera not working, student can’t hear me, I can’t load the files, server is not working, etc.

The problem is that among all these messages you could get tagged: @YourName Need you to sub a class at 6am, log in to xxxxxx. So if you think you can close your eyes for a bit at 5am because you have no classes until 7 am, you can forget it:

Pling
Pling
Pling
Pling
Pling
Pling: @Rondola sub a class now……FML

I often wing it, or set my alarm every hour because classes start at either 5, 6, or 7. I mute the whole group, hoping they didn’t need me today.

Other than that I love it!

Interested? Apply here.

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