CleverKid Review Summary


CleverKid is a new startup from Canada offering $26 per hour to teach 25-minute online classes 1v1 with children from non-China countries. There are no penalties or written feedback and leave is flexible, though there’s a waiting list, a fixed schedule of 10+ hours a week, and only Americans and Canadians can apply.

Pay (per hour):$26
Native / Non-Native Speakers accepted?US*, Canada
TEFL / TESOL / CELTA required?Yes
Degree / diploma required?Yes
Adult / child students?Children**
Class size:1**
Minimum hours (per week):10
*Not California, New York or Washington State **adults and group classes may be added in the future

CleverKid Pros and Cons


  • Excellent pay – one of the highest-paying companies outside of China
  • No penalties/fines
  • Flexible leave policy, so time can be taken off when needed
  • No written feedback
  • Scoring rubric provided to help interview prep.
  • Don’t overhire, to protect teacher hours
  • Paid training


  • Only hires Native Speakers from Canada and the US (minus California, New York and Washington State)
  • Long waiting list
  • Must commit to a fixed schedule of 10+ hours a week

Is CleverKid Legit?

CleverKid English is a legitimate start-up from Canada, launched in August 2021. CleverKid ESL teaching is aimed at countries outside of mainland China, currently Hong Kong and Taiwan, with plans to expand into Singapore and Turkey in the near future. With only 26 teachers at launch, they are accepting applications to help facilitate growth.

CleverKid Online Teaching

CleverKid online tutoring currently consists of 25-minute one-on-one classes with children aged 6 years and above. CleverKid targets younger, elementary-level students at the start of their English language learning as they want to develop long-term relationships, though the company does hope to add adult and group classes in the future.

CleverKid uses Zoom integration within its website portal as its teaching platform. Interactive lessons, including games, are provided based upon the Reading Eggs curriculum. One advantage of CleverKid is there is no after-class written feedback, as classes are recorded and parents can check on their child’s progress by watching the replay.

CleverKid classes are parent booked, but the company doesn’t take on large numbers of teachers and will market each individually until their schedule is filled.

As a new start-up, CleverKid is open to receiving input from their teachers, and they wish to promote transparency and clear communication within the company.

CleverKid Salary / Pay

CleverKid pay is a simple US$13 per 25-minute class, or $26 per hour, making it one of the highest-paying companies outside of China. Consequently, they currently have no additional incentive or bonus schemes.

Unlike many punitive ESL companies, CleverKid does not fine its teachers, so you will not have any deductions from your pay.

CleverKid offers a rolling 6-month contract.

CleverKid payments are made bi-weekly via bank transfer or PayPal.

CleverKid Hours

CleverKid teaching primarily takes place between 5-9pm (Hong Kong Time) on weekdays and 9am-9pm on weekends.

There is a minimum hours commitment of at least 10 hours per week, with classes lasting 25 minutes (plus a 5-minute break).

CleverKid operates a fixed schedule, as regular students book classes 2-3 times a week for 3-6 months, so you must be able and willing to sign up for that commitment once you set your schedule on the calendar.

CleverKid does offer a flexible leave policy, allowing its teachers to take time off with 48 hours notice. Less than this, you are allowed 1 ‘no questions asked’ emergency leave day a month (additional days require proof).

CleverKid Requirements

CleverKid ESL jobs require that you:

  • Be a Native speaker from Canada or the USA (not California, New York or Washington State)*
  • Hold a Bachelors degree in any field
  • Have an accredited ESL certificate, e.g. TEFL/TESOL/CELETA, unless your degree is in TESOL (they don’t accept the unaccredited VIPKid TESOL)
  • Possess 1+ year of teaching experience (online preferred)

*this may change as the company expands and/or laws change.

CleverKid Teacher Application Process

There are 4 stages to the CleverKid application process:

  1. apply via email
  2. 20-minute interview and teaching demo
  3. contract-signing, background check, and profile setup
  4. 30-minute paid orientation/training session

To apply to become a CleverKid English teacher you must email an expression of interest to [email protected] (you cannot apply through their website). In reply you will be sent company info. and an application form to complete and return with your resume/CV and introduction video. The introduction video should be 1-minute long, showing your personality, teaching background and what you can offer as a CleverKid teacher.

Once you’ve submitted your application form and video, you should receive a confirmation of receipt within 48 hours, though be patient as there is currently only one person doing the hiring and there has been a flood of applications following China’s new regulations.

As CleverKid doesn’t over-hire, to ensure existing teachers receive sufficient hours, the company doesn’t formally evaluate every application immediately and will review them in the order received when needed, so it can take time to hear whether your application has been successful.

CleverKid Interview

Once your CleverKid application has been evaluated and accepted, you’ll be invited to attend an online interview via Zoom. This will last a total of 20 minutes, split between 10 minutes of questions plus a 10-minute teaching demo.

Common CleverKid interview questions will cover your teaching background, experience, ability to commit to the required hours, and strengths and weaknesses as a teacher.

For the CleverKid demo lesson, you will have to teach a 6-year-old child (played by the interviewer) on the subject of ‘food’. The materials will be sent beforehand, along with the rubric used to score you, so if you study this and practice you should be in a good position to pass. To help, here’s a summary of what the interviewer has said they’ll be assessing:

  • professional appearance
  • teaching space with nice background and good lighting
  • sound quality (microphone headset preferably)
  • teachers who are composed, cheerful and pleasant
  • use methods of modeling (e.g. ‘I do, we do, you do’)
  • avoid incidental language (grade for beginner-level students)
  • use of repetition
  • fun and engaging
  • TPR
  • props
  • reward system
  • praise student enthusiastically
  • positive energy
  • good communication skills (clear instructions)
  • classroom management
  • time management

Props and reward systems can be physical and/or digital.

CleverKid aims to email the interview outcome within 24-48 hours. Should you be unsuccessful, you can reapply after 3 months.

CleverKid Reviews

As a brand new company, there are currently no CleverKid teacher reviews available, so let us know your experience of the company.

Conclusion – Is CleverKid Worth It?

CleverKid is an exciting new option for online ESL teachers, with their high pay, flexible leave, and absence of written feedback or penalties. The main drawbacks are the waiting list, fixed schedule, commitment of 10+ hours a week, and the fact they only hire Canadians and Americans (minus certain states) at this time. Being a brand new start-up, the realities of working there are not quite known yet, but they seem to be setting out with a teacher-orientated focus that bodes well and makes them worth considering if you meet their requirements.

To apply to become an ESL teacher with CleverKid, email your expression of interest to [email protected].

Other non-China companies can be found here.

As a recap, Kelly from CleverKid answers the most frequently asked questions in this video:

More information can be found in the Cleverkid Facebook group.


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.

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