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

Hellokid Review

Hellokid Review Summary

Hellokid are an online, Chinese ESL company that has been around since 2014. While Hellokid don’t require a Bachelor’s degree and their advertised pay rate looks promising, the reality is less appealing, especially when one considers the penalties and restrictive clauses in their contracts. Make sure you read this in-depth and impartial Hellokid review before you apply.

Pay (per hour):$8-22*
Native / Non-Native Speakers accepted?Both
TEFL / TESOL / CELTA required?Yes
Degree / diploma required?No
Adult / Child students?Children
Class size:1
Minimum hours (per week):12
*This is the advertised rate but doesn’t match real teachers’ experiences (see below)

Hellokid Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • No Bachelor’s degree required
  • One-to-one classes only (no group lessons may suit some teachers)
  • Interactive teaching platform (ClassIn)

Cons:

  • Low actual pay (for Native Speakers)
  • Extra charges to receive your salary
  • Inconsistent booking rates
  • Lots of potential penalties
  • Inflexible schedule – must work some weekend hours and at least 4 weekdays
  • Must work from a fixed address (not constantly traveling)

Hellokid Salary / Pay

Hellokid’s main tutor page claims to offer up to US$22 per hour, though the FAQ page adds the caveat that the minimum pay may be as little as $8 depending upon ‘experiences and demo performance’:

(Note the typo – not a professional impression to fill one with confidence in an English-teaching company!)

Anecdotally, Hellokid teachers report that it is extremely uncommon to get more than $15, even if you are a Native speaker, and most people end up realistically with only $8-10 per hour. Furthermore, all bonus schemes have been cut, and teachers are expected to occasionally test students for free.

After 6 months, following their probation period, Hellokid teachers may apply for a pay rise. If granted, this is unlikely to amount to more than an extra $1 per hour.

Hellokid pay their teachers on the 15th of the subsequent month via PayPal. Note that, under the question of ‘tax’, Hellokid mentions that teachers must pay any transaction fee over $20. As a consequence, one teacher reported that they had to pay $100 in order to receive their salary.

Hellokid Contract

You must commit to signing a 1-year contract with Hellokid, which may be renewed annually unless you suffer one or more of the following exceptions:

  • Low booking rate
  • Too many attitude and ability-related issues
  • Frequent hardware and internet malfunctions
  • Constant applications for leave

Your contract can be terminated by Hellokid for the following reasons:

  • If you fail your probation period (do not conduct enough classes through insufficient bookings)
  • If you experience network problems more than 3 times within 7 working days
  • If network modifications made by your local ISP impact upon your internet speed
  • If you become inactive for more than 2 weeks without formal notification

Should you wish to resign from your contract, you must submit a letter of resignation a minimum of 30 days before your official resignation date. Should you fail to do this, Hellokid will deduct a fee of $500 from your final pay. Payment will be withheld until you have completed their clearance procedures.

Penalties and cancelations

Not unlike many other online ESL companies, Hellokid will levy penalties on their teachers for a number of reasons:

  • If you request an ‘excused cancellation’ (power outage, system bug, crime, hospitalization, death), you must give Hellokid at least 4-hours notice, otherwise you will be penalized $3 per missed class. (Even with permission, canceled classes have a negative impact on your KPI score, meaning your qualifying period for a pay rise will reset to 6 months from that date.)
  • Unexcused cancelations (traffic, minor ailments, tardiness, personal problems, legal proceedings) will result in a $7 or $10 penalty depending on whether the request is made more or less than 4 hours before the class.
  • A ‘no show’, without communicating a reason, will result in a $15 deduction.
  • Being late or ending classes early incurs a $2 fine, while lateness of over 10 minutes is considered an absence and liable for a $6 penalty.
  • Failing to submit a lesson review within 24 hours of the class, or providing it in the wrong format, will result in no pay being received for that lesson.
  • If teachers are found using a 3G/4G internet connection instead of high-speed broadband (even as a backup), they will be fined $10 per class.
  • A consideration for digital nomads, or those who intend to teach whilst traveling, is Hellokid monitors your ISP address. They will deduct $10 per class should you work from an alternative location without their permission, on the grounds of network ‘instability’.
  • Each piece of negative student feedback relating to your teaching ability and attitude, or internet problems, will result in a $10 penalty. Negative feedback may be given for inappropriate dress (e.g. vests, tank tops) and accessories (e.g. tattoos, nose rings), poor lighting or a visually/aurally-distracting teaching background/environment.

Hellokid Requirements

Hellokid technically accepts both Native and Non-Native Speakers, though they specify that the latter must be ‘Near Native’ in their English-speaking ability.

While no Bachelor’s degree is required by Hellokid, you will need a TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certificate, as well as previous experience of teaching English to young learners online.

Tech. Requirements

In addition to TEFL/TESOL qualifications and experience, Hellokid demands that your equipment matches the following technical specifications:

  • Fast and stable internet connection with a speed of at least 30Mbps download and 3Mbps upload (you can test your speed here)
  • A computer with an Intel Core i5 processor or CPU mark of at least 4000 (you can check this here)
  • A headset with a microphone
  • 3G/4G internet is forbidden (you will be deducted $10 for each class you’re caught using it)

Furthermore, Hellokid has the audacity to insist that ‘during classes, your families [sic] or friends cannot download anything or watch videos online, which will affect your network speed’!

How to Apply to Hellokid?

Currently it appears that the Hellokid website is down, so to apply you must send an email to recruiters@hellokidvip.com with your:

  • resume
  • computer processor information
  • internet speedtest result
  • link to a self-introduction video

Your introduction video should be 1-2 minutes long, and Hellokid wants to see and hear that you are ‘passionate about teaching English to young learners’, so be positive, lively and energetic. They suggest that you smile, speak about your professional background, teaching experience, qualifications, why you love to teach and what makes you a good teacher.

Hellokid Interview

Once your application form has been assessed and accepted, you will be invited to a Hellokid interview, or ‘video chat’, as well as a demo class. This will be conducted via Skype or ClassIn.

Should you pass this stage, you will be required to complete some Hellokid training, before undertaking a trial lesson with a real student. It is after this that you will sign a contract and start your on-boarding and (2-month) probation period as a Hellokid teacher.

Hellokid suggest the following tips to help you pass your interview demo and trial class:

  1. Display a lot of positive energy (be upbeat, happy and smile).
  2. Use TPR (Total Physical Response).
  3. Use props (toys, realia, whiteboard).
  4. Speak slowly and clearly with accurate pronunciation and model for the student.
  5. Correct errors in an encouraging way.
  6. Use a reward system (e.g., drawing stars on a whiteboard).
  7. A colorful and educational classroom background in good lighting can make you appear more professional and prepared.
  8. Use a short introduction at the beginning of the class with no more than 3-4 questions (e.g. ‘What is your name?’, ‘How do you feel?’, ‘How old are you?’)

Here are Hellokid’s tips videos:

Hellokid Classes

Hellokid classes are taught one-on-one with children between the ages of 3-16.

Upon employment, you will be expected to teach demo classes, lasting 20 minutes, and regular classes, lasting 25 minutes. Two classes constitute 1 paid teaching hour.

Hellokid’s teaching platform is ClassIn. Teaching materials are provided by Hellokid, and all interaction with parents is handled by the company. Communication between teachers and Hellokid is conducted via DingTalk.

Hellokid Hours

All Hellokid classes take place between the hours of 6pm and 9pm (Beijing time). You must be able to teach a minimum of 12 hours a week, comprising at least 2 hours on four different weekdays, and at least 3 hours on either Saturday or Sunday.

There appears to be some inconsistency in the number of Hellokid classes that are available, with teachers reporting differing experiences of having either high or low booking rates. As a low number of classes is a major factor in failing the probation period, it is worth being aware of and monitoring this.

You may apply for a limited amount of leave per month (no more than 2 days or 6 hours/12 lessons for fixed time tutors), so long as a formal request is made no less than 7 days in advance.

Hellokid Teacher Reviews and Experiences

Hellokid receives an average rating of 2.9 out of 5 on Glassdoor, with 51% of teachers willing to recommend them to a friend. Despite this, they have not received a 5* review since November 2018, with several 1* and 2* reviews being written much more recently:

These are the most-favourable Hellokid teacher reviews written during the last year, though they are still far from glowing:

Conclusion – Is Hellokid Worth It?

It is really hard to recommend Hellokid for the vast majority of teachers.

Their actual pay is too low (for Native Speakers especially) compared to what’s available elsewhere (not to mention their advertised top rate seems a tad dishonest). They offer no real benefits otherwise.

Their contract seems far too strict and inflexible in terms of minimum hours and penalties that can reduce an already low wage. We’re particularly uncomfortable with their clause penalizing people for working from alternative locations, which flies in the face of the travel opportunities and flexibility we expect from online teaching.

The negative reviews they keep receiving from their teachers should also serve as a warning to avoid them, unless you have already tried and failed to apply to other ESL companies.

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