31abc Review Summary

31abc is a smaller Chinese company that provides regular, long-term students for TEFL/TESOL-qualified, experienced North American and UK graduates. The base pay (before bonuses) is mediocre, however, and they’ve cut it before. Read this impartial 31abc review to find out if you should still apply.

Pay (per hour):$12-20* (+bonuses)
Native / Non-Native Speakers accepted?US, UK, Canada
TEFL / TESOL / CELTA required?Yes
Degree / diploma required?Yes
Adult / child students?Children
Class size:1-2
Minimum hours (per week):6
*$12 starting pay

31abc Pros and Cons


  • Potential to establish a stable teaching schedule for 1-2 years
  • Opportunity to build long-term relationships with the same students
  • Teaching materials provided


  • Average starting salary
  • Track record of pay cuts
  • Stringent recruitment requirements
  • Mixed communication from the company
  • Fixed long-term schedule won’t suit teachers requiring flexibility from week to week

Is 31abc Legit?

31abc is a small but legitimate online ESL company that has been around since 2016. They are based in Shanghai and have ambitions to become a more widely-known education brand by training a million Chinese children by 2025.

31abc Salary / Pay

31abc pay is made up of a base wage and a bonus. The starting base wage works out at US$12 per hour (comprising two 30-minute classes at $6 per class). There is the potential to increase this to $10 per class, or $20 per hour, through the company’s 5-tier system, though you have to teach thousands of lessons to reach this point. Also be aware that, common to many Chinese ESL companies, 31abc has a recent track record of cutting their pay rates (from $32 and then again from $16 per hour), so what you’re offered may be revised and reduced later on.

The base pay can be topped up by a bonus rate of $2 per class, which is judged upon your attendance and Quality Control evaluation. This has the potential to increase the starting base pay to $16 per hour, bringing it more in line with better-paying companies. Furthermore, if you manage to convert your trial class students into regulars, then you will earn a signing up bonus of $5.

31abc also runs a referral scheme worth up to $100 for each teacher you manage to recruit (after they’ve passed their 2-month probation period).

31abc pays their teachers monthly through Payoneer.


As is typical in the industry, 31abc will penalize coaches for being late (by more than 2 minutes), technical problems/interruptions (of more than 2 minutes), not clicking the attendance button 20-60 minutes before class (informing the student that they’re online), and any cancelation without 14-30 days prior notice. 2 days sick leave is allowed, so long as you can provide a doctor’s note.

31abc Hours

31abc coaches (as teachers are known there) must work a minimum of 2 hours (7pm-9pm), 3 days a week (regular classes are delivered as part of a fixed schedule every other day – either Monday, Wednesday, Friday, or Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday).

31abc coaches create their availability for trial classes by selecting time slots of 0.5-4 hours, between the hours of 6pm and 10pm (Beijing Time), Monday to Saturday. 30 minutes is scheduled for each class (28 minutes of which is taught). There are, therefore, 8 time slots available each day, starting at each half hour mark.

31abc claims that their teachers can achieve booking rates of 90%-100%.

31abc Requirements

  • Be a national of the USA, Canada or UK
  • Hold a Bachelor’s degree or higher
  • Have a minimum of 1 year of teaching experience
  • Possess an ESL teaching certificate, e.g. TEFL/TESOL/CELTA/TKT

31abc coaches must be Native speakers from the USA, UK and Canada. As the 31abc website states that they employ ‘coaches from all over the world’, so long as you hold one of those nationalities they will allow you to teach from any location, which will suit travelers and digital nomads.

Regarding qualifications and experience, prospective 31abc coaches must already possess at least a Bachelor’s degree, TEFL/TESOL/CELTA/TKT certificate and 1 year of ESL teaching experience.

31abc are also looking out for the following soft skills in their coaches, which you will need to demonstrate in your cover letter, resume, interview and demo class:

  • joyful
  • optimistic
  • eager
  • good with young children
  • able to build oral and aural skills
  • can overcome teaching difficulties/barriers
  • student-focused

31abc Technical Requirements

  • Laptop computer with at least Intel i5 7200u or Ryzen3 22oou CPU / desktop with at least Intel i3 4130 or AMD FX 6100 CPU
  • Have Skype and Zoom downloaded
  • Stable internet connection with minimum download speed of 20 Mbps and upload speed of 4 Mbps (you can check your internet speed here)
  • Phone with WeChat app downloaded
  • Payoneer account to receive payments
  • Good lighting and appropriate educational background decorations

31abc Application Process

  1. Email your resume and cover letter to [email protected]
  2. Pass the 31abc interview and demo class
  3. Pass the training phase
  4. Pass the mock classes
  5. Start teaching

Begin your application by emailing your resume and cover letter to [email protected]. Make sure that you highlight that you possess the necessary nationality, qualifications, experience and soft skills outlined above.

Not much specific information is shared about the 31abc interview and demo class, other than that it takes place via Zoom. However, you should expect to face questions regarding your professional experience, qualifications, teaching methods and philosophy. You can find an extensive list of real ESL interview questions here to help you prepare. Your demo class will likely be a similar length to the real classes (28 minutes), and as you’re expected to teach younger children, bring lots of energy, TPR, props and a reward system with you.

Once you’ve passed the interview and demo class, you will move on to the training phase, where you will learn about 31abc’s courseware, software and administration. You will need to pass tests in each of these areas, as well as demonstrate what you’ve learned in one or more unpaid mock classes, before you will be allowed to start regular teaching.

Working for 31abc

31abc online teaching is delivered either one-on-one (for trial classes) or to a pair of Chinese students (regular classes) between the ages of 4-12 years. Pairs are matched according to their English language level and to encourage group learning. Both types of class last 28 minutes (though you will be paid for the full half hour).

Successful trial classes are important for securing regular students, as they will determine whether the parents decide to sign up their child with you. This provides opportunities to establish very stable, long-term teaching relationships, as students are enrolled for an average of 1-2 years.

Here is a recorded example of a 31abc trial class:

31abc teachers coach students through the company’s bespoke teaching platform, which allows them to share their desktop and educational materials. To aid student engagement, their program is designed to combine gaming principles with ESL practices.

31abc’s teaching materials are self-developed by the company and are based on established textbooks from leading educational publishers, though you are encouraged to supplement this with your own.

You will have to record a 31abc intro video for your coach profile, but here is a video giving tips on how to approach this:

31abc Reviews

31abc receives an average rating of 3.4 out of 5 on Glassdoor, with 51% of teachers willing to recommend them to a friend. The biggest complaints are regarding pay cuts and the closure of the teachers’ chat group, and while some teachers criticize the company’s communication and support, others praise it (making their experiences very subjective).

Here are the most positive 31abc reviews:

These are the most negative 31abc reviews:

Conclusion – Is 31abc Worth It?

It’s hard to find compelling reasons to recommend 31abc. Their biggest selling point is that their regular students sign up for 1-2 years, and so you can have guaranteed classes, with the same students, every other weekday for that period. However, whilst not the same duration, other companies still offer regular students over several months and pay significantly more than 31abc. With a degree, TEFL/TESOL certificate, teaching experience and North American/UK nationality that 31abc demands, you can have your pick of ESL companies, and we’d recommend you not sell yourself short here, especially when 31abc has already proven their willingness to slash salaries when it suits them.

You can apply to 31abc by emailing your resume and cover letter to [email protected].

A full list of other online teaching companies can be found here.

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Dr Daniel Spence

Daniel Spence is the founder of Online Teaching Review. He has been an international teacher since 2008, an award-winning academic, author of two books, and holds a PhD, MA, BA (Hons), and TESOL.


Teacher Aa · 05/27/2021 at 10:40 am

Hi, I would just like to know if anyone is getting paid more than the $6-7 base pay per class. Is anyone who is just hired being offered higher than this? I just want to make sure based on my qualifications that they’re paying me no less than other teachers who have equivalent qualifications. If anyone doesn’t mind sharing I’d really really appreciate that. Thanks!

    Dr Daniel Spence · 05/27/2021 at 12:53 pm

    Thanks for your comment. It’s my understanding that you’ve been offered the standard pay rate for a new applicant. Higher rates can be earned once you put in the hours. I’m sure someone will say if they’ve experienced anything different.

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