Honest COREnglish Review – The Truth about Teaching There (2021)

COREnglish Review

COREnglish Review Summary

COREnglish has a low barrier to entry, with no mandatory qualifications to apply and all English speakers considered. However, they are limited by the inconsistent pay and treatment given to teachers by their client schools. This in-depth and impartial COREnglish review will help you decide whether to apply.

Pay (per hour):$2-20
Native / Non-Native Speakers accepted?Both
TEFL / TESOL / CELTA required?Willing to obtain
Degree / diploma required?No
Adult / child students?Children
Class size:1-6
Minimum hours (per week):20

COREnglish Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Not mandatory to have a Bachelor’s degree or teaching experience.
  • TEFL/TESOL/CELTA not required until after acceptance.
  • Both Native and Non-Native Speakers can apply.
  • Backup options are available if you’re not accepted by one school.

Cons:

  • Inconsistent and hidden pay rates across schools and between Native and Non-Native Speakers.
  • Little control over which online school you’re sent to.
  • Alleged unprofessionalism or prejudice from some educational partners.

Is COREnglish Legit?

COREnglish is a legitimate company based out of Salt Lake City, Utah (USA). Founded in 2016, they were originally a small start-up serving the Latin American ESL market, but since 2018 they have pivoted more towards Asia (and primarily China).

What COREnglish is not is an online teaching company in their own right. Instead they serve as third-party recruitment agents (like iBestTeacher) connecting ESL teachers with 15 educational companies and schools internationally, including Waijiaoyi, JXChinaESL, TAL Education, QuQuABC, and Topica Native. COREnglish claim to have hired 3,251 teachers, serving 7,520 students.

COREnglish Salary / Pay

COREnglish is not transparent about their pay scales, probably because this varies so much between the client schools they serve. They don’t mention it on their website or in job advertisements, other than saying candidates will receive an email about it, and the amount will be ‘based on experience’, the ‘teaching season available’, and with a ‘higher rate for experienced teachers’. Anecdotally, it’s reported that COREnglish online teachers can be paid anywhere between US$2 and $20 per hour, and Non-Native Speakers will be offered an amount towards the lower end of that.

To earn your assigned hourly rate, you must either teach one 45-minute class or two 25 minute-classes. COREnglish has paid trial classes available and, based upon performance, can pay for standby classes and student no shows too.

Teachers are paid via direct bank deposit or PayPal between the 10th and 15th of each month. The cut off date is usually the last day of the previous month.

COREnglish contracts require a minimum commitment of 6 months and are renewable.

As an independent contractor, you will be responsible for paying your own taxes according to which country or state you are registered for tax purposes.

COREnglish Hours

Teachers are expected to give COREnglish a fixed 25-hour weekly schedule, and you must work a minimum of 20 hours each week. These can be selected from between 6pm-11.30pm (Beijing Time), Monday to Sunday.

As COREnglish works directly with schools, they control the booking rates and guarantee your bookings. 

COREnglish Requirements

COREnglish sets a comparatively low bar for entry as they don’t insist on a Bachelor’s degree or teaching experience, and they consider all Native and Non-Native Speakers (though the latter will receive a lower pay rate). Teachers only need to be ‘willing’ to acquire a TESOL/TEFL/CELTA at the time of their application, though Chinese Government regulations mean a 120-hour certificate is necessary before you can start teaching. COREnglish state that the following requirements are preferred but are not mandatory, so do not be put off applying if you do not meet all of the criteria:

  • Be a student, graduate or certified teacher.
  • TESOL/TEFL/CELTA certification, or willingness to obtain one.
  • Degree in any field (Preference given to degrees in Language and Education).
  • You do not need to speak a language other than English.
  • You can join with or without experience (Experience teaching ESOL/ English to young learners is preferred).
  • Be available during 8pm–12pm EST.
  • Commit to teaching at least one complete semester (2-4 months).
  • Have a punctual and responsible work ethic.
  • Possess a positive attitude.

Tech Requirements

COREnglish says you can teach from anywhere in the world, so long as you have access to a stable internet connection. More specifically, your equipment will need to match the following technical specifications:

  • Operating System: Windows 7, 8 or 10, MacOS 10.13 and above. Chromebooks and Linux are not compatible. Having a backup computer is recommended.
  • CPU: Intel: i3-2000 or higher (Pentium or Core II CPUs are insufficient to handle the video encoding needed for the classroom).
  • Memory: 4GB or higher. Close all other programs including browsers during class if you have 4GB RAM or less.
  • Browser: Google Chrome Version 5.1 and above or Firefox Version 4.7 and above.
  • Webcam: Logitech Webcams are recommended. Please do not use third-party video effects software during class, like ManyCam or YouCam.
  • Headset: USB or earphone jack headsets are recommended over ear buds. Do not use any wireless or Bluetooth headsets to ensure the best teaching quality. Having a backup headset is also recommended.
  • Internet connection: wired connection through an ethernet cable is preferred, with a stable speed of at least 2 mbps for download and upload (you can test your internet speed here).

COREnglish Application Process

The COREnglish hiring process should take around 1 week. You can begin a COREnglish application by visiting here and clicking on either the ‘Start Teaching Now’ or the ‘Apply Now’ button. A form will then pop up where you will have to enter the following personal information:

  • First and last name
  • Email address
  • Skype ID
  • Date of birth
  • Where you heard about COREnglish
  • Highest education level
  • Teaching qualification (if applicable)
  • Teaching experience (if applicable)
  • Recent resume (upload)
  • Recent photo (upload)

After you have submitted this information, wait for COREnglish’s response via email (check your spam folder or add ‘corenglish.com’ to your secure domain list to ensure you see it). You will receive an email request for a short video recording.

Once COREnglish has matched you with one of their schools, you will be invited to perform a technical check, formal interview, and 25-minute demo class with a real student. Demo teaching materials will be sent in advance. The interview will usually last around 30 minutes, when you can expect to be asked about your experience, qualifications, motivations, teaching philosophy and understanding of basic English grammar. Within 24 hours, COREnglish will let you know whether you have passed or not.

Should you fail your interview or demo, all is not lost, as COREnglish has helped candidates apply to alternative schools following an unsuccessful first attempt.

Top tip: COREnglish’s schools want to see you using the TPR teaching method in your demo class.

A COREnglish teaching candidate outlined their negative interview experience on Reddit in 2020. It should be noted that the client school usually conducts the interview, not COREnglish (in this case, QuQuABC). Nor should this case be seen as necessarily representative, as plenty of candidates on Trustpilot attest to having had a positive recruitment experience with COREnglish. What this account does demonstrate, however, is that there are limitations to what COREnglish can control as recruiters, and not all of its schools may be equal in professionalism or their treatment of teachers:

COREnglish Online Teaching – What To Expect

If you are hired through COREnglish, your lessons will usually last either 25 or 45 minutes, and will be delivered one-on-one or to groups of around 6 students. Students should already have some prior knowledge of English and not be complete beginners.

Teachers can expect to receive different students from week to week, unless a student specifically asks to have classes only with the same teacher during their learning period. The transactional nature of this arrangement may not suit teachers who like to get to know their students and develop longer-term relationships with them.

The curriculum is already designed for each class, so you are not expected to create your own teaching materials. It is recommended that, before teaching, you review these resources sent via email or on the online platform.

Depending upon which client school you end up with, there are a variety of teaching platforms you could be expected to use, including ClassIN and Baija cloud.

COREnglish Reviews

COREnglish has a 4.3 out of 5 average rating on Glassdoor, with 83% willing to recommend them to a friend. However, this is generated from just 6 reviews, and none newer than 2019. Here is the most recent COREnglish teacher review there:

It is important to acknowledge the serious accusations of racial prejudice leveled in one negative review below (this is not the first time we’ve heard this type of claim in the ESL industry). However, it is unclear whether this interaction was had with a COREnglish staff member or someone employed by one of their Chinese client schools. The exchange also allegedly took place over 2 years ago now, and so bear in mind that, if true, it may no longer reflect the current organizational culture:

A South African teacher on Trustpilot provides a more up-to-date perspective, though they were invited to leave this review by COREnglish:

Conclusion – Is COREnglish Worth It?

COREnglish is worth applying to if you are a student without a degree, and don’t have a TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certificate yet or any prior teaching experience, as you will still be considered (though don’t expect to be offered a high rate of pay). Also, if you have been turned down by other ESL companies, then COREnglish is a good way of hedging your bets with backups due to its 15 client schools they recruit for. For more experienced or qualified teachers, it’s hard to recommend them ahead of actual teaching companies who are more transparent about what pay and bonuses they can offer (which will commonly be higher).

You can apply to COREnglish here.

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