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Earn Up to $26 per Hour Teaching Online

This post has been sponsored by Magic Ears.

Teaching English online has taken the work-at-home world by storm the few years. More and more people are finding this industry meets a lot of their telecommuting demands – a flexible schedule, fulfilling work and worthwhile pay.

In this online role, tutors are helping children – and sometimes adults – around the globe improve their conversational English. In most cases, these positions do not require formal teaching education or a state certificate. Instead, many companies are just looking for a bachelor’s degree in any subject, an eagerness to work with children and a great personality.

There are a lot of companies today with ESL tutor positions available. Today, we are talking about Magic Ears.

In our Magic Ears review, we will not only be sharing details on pay, prerequisites and work environment but also first-hand experiences of two Magic Ears tutors.

How Much Does Magic Ears Pay?

Online tutors can make up to $18 – $26 per hour.

Full breakdown:

  • Base Pay is $9-11 per class, based on credentials.
  • Earn an up to $1 per class Participation Bonus by arriving to class 3-10 minutes early.
  • Earn an up to $1 per class Peak Time Bonus by opening 60+ slots per month during peak hours. (Peak hours subject to change.)

Together, these incentives bring the starting base pay to $22/hour. Many new tutors have no trouble securing these incentives!

What are the peak hours?

Currently, peak hours are as follows:

  • Mon–Sun: 7:00–9:00am (EDT)
  • Sat & Sun: 9:00–10:30pm (EDT)

These hours can change based on student demand, time of year, etc.

Any weekly hour requirements?

Magic Ears has no minimum requirements for teaching hours outside of the 6-month commitment.

How/when are teachers paid?

Payments are finalized on the 10th of each month through PayPal or bank transfer.

What are the teacher requirements?

  • Eligible to work in North America (US/Canada)
  • Bachelor’s degree or current university enrollment
  • Minimum 6-month commitment
  • Proper equipment (i.e., computer w/camera, headset)
  • Strong internet connection

What’s the classroom size? How long are classes?

Up to four students per 25-minute class, plus 5 minutes for student evaluations after the class concludes.

How are teachers scheduled/booked?

  • Magic Ears tutors log into the teacher’s portal to mark their teaching availability
  • Parents log into the student platform to book their children’s classes
  • Magic Ears uses that information to match registered students to available tutors.

This system enables Magic Ears to eliminate the need for tutors to appeal to parents directly, which, in turn, helps to create an environment that values community over competition.

Classes are assigned based on ranking. After teaching 10 classes as a Freshman, tutors can become Juniors and fully open their schedules to teach as many or few classes as they please. Tutors with higher rankings book more classes, but no Magic Ears tutor ever goes a week (or even a few days) without a class, even at the beginning of their contract.

What’s the application/interview process like?

  • Submit an official application online (~5mins)
  • Participate in virtual “mini-demo” of Magic Ears platform (~10mins)
  • Attend virtual Magic Ears training (~30mins)
  • Teach an online trial class with real Magic Ears students (~25mins)
  • Complete a background check (3-5 days)
  • Sign official Magic Ears contract (~5mins)
  • Start teaching!

Prospective tutors can earn up to $18 total for participating in the application and interview process.

How long is training/onboarding? How soon can a new teacher expect to be in the classroom?

The process varies depending on the individual’s qualifications, but, in general, it can take up to a month. For highly qualified individuals, they can potentially get through the process and start teaching within 48 hours.

What are some of the biggest surprises new teachers experience?

I think that’s best answered by Magic Ears teachers…

Michelle Lea Winebarger

What do you love most about teaching at Magic Ears?

The number one thing I love most about teaching with Magic Ears is the connection I feel with the students and fellow teachers. Even though we have students that are oceans apart for only 25 minutes, I feel like I learn so much from them as a teacher. They truly inspire me to be a better world citizen.

The second thing I love the most is the connection that is promoted through the various Magic Ears social media platforms. The time and enjoyment that goes into these groups remind me we are an entire community of educators. We share so much in common and the Magic Ears culture is to promote that connectedness through quality videos available on YouTube, funny memes they share on their Facebook pages, and the importance of getting together through meet-ups with other teachers.

In an industry that relies on technology and working from home, it is easy to feel disconnected. I have made some very genuine friendships with other Magic Ears teachers, some in my home state of Tennessee and some that are on the other side of the country! Without Magic Ears’ commitment to connection, these friendships would never have existed.

What is something you wish you knew before taking your first class?

Your first class will NOT go perfectly AND THAT’S OK.

Magic Ears really is supportive of their teachers and want their teachers to succeed. They are so understanding about trying to work WITH their teachers, instead of against them, to keep the quality of education on par with American standards. Magic Ears is one of the most understanding companies I’ve seen and experienced in terms of teacher satisfaction, also.

The things that are important to our teachers such as a flexible scheduling policy and emergency cancellation policy is important to Magic Ears, too. Feel confident that Magic Ears really does have your back as a teacher.

What are some of your favorite props or teaching tools?

My favorite props and teaching tools are things I find around my house. You don’t need an arsenal of toys, flashcards or a fancy printer to give effective, fun lessons.

I use my dry erase board in EVERY class. I can use it to spell words, draw simple pictures, and for extensions with upper-level students. And props don’t have to cost a ton of money!

Students love seeing things we use every day like our food and drinks, cleaning supplies, and bathroom items like soap and toothpaste. Some of my other favorite props are my inexpensive, knock-off Ken and Barbie, a stuffed dog and rabbit, a collection of balls, photos of my family and friends, a stack of books, and a large collection of Sharpies.

I have a small collection of 25 props that I can use for multiple things. I can use the Sharpies for colors and counting. I can use the photos for a variety of things from boy/girl, old/young, tall/short, etc. I use the dog and rabbit for “NOT” props – For example, if I have a lesson over koalas and kangaroos I can hold up the dog and ask, “Is this a kangaroo?” And the students love yelling, “Nooooo!” So instead of going out and buying a new prop for every class, I really utilize what I already have and use them in new ways!

What tips do you have for a new teacher?

  1. Utilize the free workshops available on the teacher portal! We were all new teachers at one time and with these workshops that are led by senior teachers and Magic Masters, you get 1-on-1 time for a huge variety of topics and interest areas. And they are FREE! These workshops are also a great way to get to know your co-workers and share ideas. Even with 500 classes under my belt, I still take workshops to keep myself fresh and up-to-date with our policies and to get new teaching ideas.
  2. Trial and error is ok. If you are a first-time ESL teacher like myself, sometimes you think one particular prop will work well and it flops big time. Or you think that you have the newest game down pat, but the kids just aren’t understanding your instructions. THAT’S OK. A sign of a good teacher is being able to learn from your mistakes. I’ve learned so much of what works by trial and error.
  3. Be adaptable. Even though each class flows pretty much the same way, there will always be things out of your control. Be flexible and adaptable. As long as you keep your cool, you can deal with any behavioral situation with the aid of the HELP button and the IT team.
  4. Make every moment count and learn from your students! When those unexpected instances happen in class that you weren’t planning on, make the most of them! One particular class that sticks with me is when a student brought out a whole package of raw beef to show me during a lesson on making a burger. She was so proud to have that package of meat to show me and her classmates and it genuinely made us all laugh and smile. It surprised me so much I started using it myself during lessons over food. If a student brings a prop to class that might not fit exactly with the lesson, try to find another way to work it into the lesson with vocabulary they are familiar with for their age and level.
  5. Give genuine feedback and praise during each class. Each student has their own unique qualities, make sure they know you appreciate that by acknowledging their efforts and successes. Be genuine in your praise. A student will know when you are giving empty praise if you tell them, “Good job!” when they did not do something correctly. Taking the time and effort to really ensure a student is comfortable with the lesson objectives will pay off in your self-satisfaction as a teacher and in your ratings!

Charre Williams

What do you love most about teaching at Magic Ears?

The thing I love most about Magic Ears is how accomplished I feel as an ESL teacher.  Partnering with Magic Ears has given me such a huge sense of pride both professionally and personally. Working with this company has been an absolute game changer.

I purposely wear my Magic Ears hoodie to run errands, because I am always so excited to tell others what I do, how it works, and the response is always, “Wow, that sounds amazing!” I love how every day is different.  I get a chance to meet new students daily. I have personally taught over 5100 students, and it has truly been my honor!

What is one thing you wish you knew before teaching your first class?

One thing I wish I knew before teaching my first class is that belief in yourself will save you!  You have to enter class with confidence and an open mind from the very first second you turn on your camera.  Understand that you have 25 minutes to make a difference, so no time to waste!

When you are given your very first class, Magic Ears know you are ready and that you have what it takes to provide an awesome experience, so go for it!  You will quickly find the energy these classes give you can be addicting!

What are some of your favorite props or teaching tools?

Some of my favorite props to use for teaching would be my fruit and stuffed animals.  I feel it is so important to make connections with your students. Using stuffed animals is almost always a win-win for me!  If I bring out my stuffed dog, my students race to get theirs! It is awesome!

Above all, to me the best prop should always be …..YOU!  You can use all the props in the world, but if you don’t get and keep their attention, convey the lesson in a unique way and have fun, there is a chance your students will not reap the full benefits of a Magic Ears class!

What tips do you have for a new teacher?

The most important tips that I have for a new teacher are to be coachable and go with the flow.  It is responsible to prepare for your lessons every night, take the time to create a direction at which you feel your students will benefit the most from the material, but let’s face it, they are children!

Things will not always go as planned, a lot of the time, it turns out even better! Allow for your innovative bug to kick in!

Being coachable is huge with this company.  Magic Ears teacher Development style is amazing!  The team takes the time to focus on YOU, your needs, your best attributes, what you can improve on and your value to the company does not go unnoticed.  You are not just teacher #8214 with this company, but a valued member of family that wants the best for their teachers and students equally.

Final Words

I hope our Magic Ears review has helped put you at ease with not only the application process for online ESL tutors, but also the work environment. This can be a really fun and fulfilling gig for the right person. That person could be you!

Ready to apply? Start the Magic Ears application here.


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