Honest Lingo Live Review – The Truth about Teaching There (2021)

Lingo Live review

Lingo Live Review Summary

Lingo Live offers opportunities to teach individual adult professionals through Task-Based Learning. While they don’t demand a degree or TEFL/TESOL certificate, you do need extensive experience (of 5+ years) and near-Native fluency. The pay is also not great and they don’t guarantee bookings.

Pay (per hour):$12-18
Native / Non-Native Speakers accepted?Both
TEFL / TESOL / CELTA required?No
Degree / diploma required?No
Adult / child students?Adults
Class size:1
Minimum hours (per week):15

Lingo Live Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • You don’t need a degree/diploma or TEFL/TESOL/CELTA (so long as you have 5+ years experience)
  • Opportunity to build long-term relationships with mature, motivated learners
  • Control over your schedule, lesson design and which students you take on
  • Opportunities for teaching languages other than English
  • Slack community to help build professional networks

Cons:

  • Pay rates are fairly average and not transparent
  • You must have extensive professional experience (5+ years)
  • Little company support in securing student bookings
  • Must create your own teaching materials
  • They’re not always hiring

What Is Lingo Live?

Lingo Live Language Services Inc. was formed in 2014 after Founder & CEO, Tyler Muse, learned Spanish over Skype. They offer language and communication training for Non-Native Speakers working in the tech industry, to help them ‘achieve career milestones – from running an agile stand-up meeting to nailing a performance review’. Lingo Live’s clients include Microsoft, Eventbrite, Zillow, Dell, LinkedIn and Slack.

As well as English instruction, Lingo Live delivers alternative programs in Mandarin, Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese, French and Italian, which will appeal to anyone who is fluent in and wants to teach one of these languages. 

How Much Does Lingo Live Pay?

Lingo Live (like a number of online ESL companies) does not openly share their pay rates. From what we can gather anecdotally, the Lingo Live teacher salary ranges between US$12-18 per hour. This will, as usual, vary according to your qualifications and experience, as well as what your response is to the application question, ‘What fee would you expect to collect for your services in USD?’ (so ask for the upper end when answering this).

Teachers are paid for each 45-minute lesson and 15-minute piece of written feedback they complete.

You will be hired as an Independent Contractor, and so are responsible for complying with the tax laws in your country of residence.

Lingo Live Jobs Description

Lingo Live teachers (or ‘Language and Communication Coaches’, as they’re called) will typically deliver language instruction to adult tech professionals from software engineering, UI/UX design, management, marketing, or sales, who are required to work in their Non-Native language (commonly English). These students are sourced from all over the world, including China, Japan, Taiwan, Canada (Quebec) and the USA, and can usually speak at an intermediate to advanced level already.

Lingo Live takes a relatively ‘hands off’ approach to matching coaches with learners, providing the platform but essentially leaving it to the coaches to do the rest. They thus expect teachers to already have some established presence as freelance professionals, and are probably not the best option if you’re just starting out in the industry.

As a Lingo Live coach, you create a profile, set your own times and manage your personal schedule, though you’re expected to be available for at least 15 hours a week. Learners search coach profiles to book lessons directly with them (so it’s beneficial to advertise any special skills or expertise you can offer), and the aim is to convert these into regular students (though without the additional sign-up bonuses offered elsewhere). It can thus take time to build up to a fully-booked schedule.

Lingo Live Lessons

Lingo Live lessons last 45 minutes and are delivered online 1-on-1, followed by a 15-minute window to provide written feedback (which is longer than many companies provide).

Due to the professional nature of Lingo Live’s learners, teachers are required to demonstrate their experience and success in delivering Task-Based Learning (TBL) (as is the case at Voxy). Coaches are expected to work with students in co-creating the learning experience, by integrating their real-life work tasks into the language lessons and including situational workplace scenarios for practice through role play.

Among a coach’s responsibilities, you must:

  • Design or creatively adapt resources to actively engage learners in the virtual classroom
  • Deliver engaging, meaningful, well-prepared lessons, targeted to help the learner grow in their most critical areas of language or communication in the workplace
  • Hold learners accountable to their learning goals, roadmap future areas for improvement, and clearly demonstrate where and how they’re making progress
  • Provide high quality, timely, and constructive feedback to learners that falls in-line with learning objectives

Lingo Live does give you access to their resource database of over 500 lesson plans and resources to help you design your classes.

Teaching Platform

Lingo Live uses its own bespoke interactive classroom (shown in the following video), though you’re expected to also have access to Skype for those learners who prefer it.

Lingo Live Requirements

Lingo Live insists that its applicants be able to demonstrate the following:

  • A proven history of impact in teaching, coaching or management (related Higher Education/certifications or 5+ years career experience)
  • An articulate and curated approach to goal-setting and progress-tracking
  • An established skillset in designing situated, Task-Based Learning experiences for their clients
  • Practice applying language and communication concepts to workplace performance, growth, and excellence
  • Able to work a minimum of 15 hours weekly with a flexible schedule to accommodate learners

Lingo Live does not make it mandatory to have a degree/diploma or TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certificate, so long as you can provide professional experience in lieu of this. Unfortunately, they do require you have a relevant background of 5 or more years without such qualifications. This does not necessarily have to be within teaching, as Lingo Live considers it an advantage if you’ve also worked in similar fields to its learners (primarily software engineering, UI design, marketing, or sales).

You must have ‘Native linguistic and cultural proficiency in the language you’re applying to coach’, meaning Non-Native Speakers can apply so long as they are fluent. You must also be able to provide teaching expertise in at least one of the following linguistic areas:

  • PRONUNCIATION – accent, stress patterns, understanding & being understood, intonation, vocabulary, comprehension
  • PRESENTATIONS – impromptu or prepared, vocal variety, body language, public speaking, motivating, storytelling
  • CULTURAL – figurative language, humor, immersion, awareness, sensitivity, metaphor
  • INTERPERSONAL SKILLS – socializing, networking, collaboration, persuasion, negotiation, speaking up, explaining
  • WRITING – clear and concise, actionable, grammar, literary devices, style and structure, proofread/edit
  • LEADERSHIP – self advocacy, empowerment, conflict resolution, empathy, mentoring, feedback

Lingo Live Technical Requirements

  • Must be comfortable with technology, teaching online and using online tools (e.g., sharing materials, virtual classrooms, Google Drive)
  • Laptop or desktop computer with Windows 7/8/10 or MAC OS 10.8x
  • Intel Core i3 or above
  • At least 4GB RAM
  • Up-to-date Google Chrome browser
  • HD camera (integrated or external)
  • Headset or earbud headphones with microphone and stable output/input connections
  • High-speed broadband, DSL or cable internet (no dial-up), with speeds of at least 3Mbps (you can test your internet speed here)
  • Skype and Zoom software installed
  • Natural light or bright environment that ensures your face is well-lit

Lingo Live Application

To apply to become a Language and Communication Coach, you must visit the Lingo Live website and submit the following information:

  • First and last name
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Location (city)
  • Resume/CV (upload)
  • Cover letter (upload)
  • Google Drive link to a sample lesson plan you think is appropriate for the Lingo Live client base (ensure sharing settings are updated to ‘anyone with the link can view’)
  • Region you’re located (Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe/Africa/Middle East)
  • City/country of residence (where you’ll be coaching from)
  • Your Native language
  • Any other languages you speak and your proficiency level
  • Languages you’re interested in coaching – English, Japanese, Mandarin, Spanish, French, Italian, or Portuguese (must be Native Speaking or fluent to coach)
  • In 250 words or less, what does it mean, or what tactics have you used, to deliver “task-based situated learning that drives impact in the workplace”?
  • How many years of experience you have teaching or coaching PRONUNCIATION (e.g. accent, stress pattern, understanding and being understood, intonation, vocabulary, comprehension) 
  • How many years of experience you have teaching or coaching PRESENTATION SKILLS (e.g. impromptu or prepared, vocal variety, body language, public speaking, motivating, story telling) 
  • How many years of experience you have teaching or coaching on CULTURE (e.g. figurative language, humor, immersion, awareness, sensitivity, metaphor) 
  • How many years of experience you have teaching or coaching INTERPERSONAL SKILLS (e.g. socializing, networking, collaboration, persuasion, negotiation, small talk, speaking up, explaining) 
  • How many years of experience you have teaching or coaching WRITING (e.g. clear and concise, actionable, grammar, literary devices, style and structure, proofread/edit) 
  • How many years of experience you have teaching or coaching LEADERSHIP (e.g. self advocacy, empowerment, conflict resolution, empathy, mentoring, feedback)
  • Which are you most passionate about coaching (select up to 4): PRONUNCIATION, PRESENTATION SKILLS, CULTURE, INTERPERSONAL SKILLS, WRITING, LEADERSHIP
  • If operating in the USA, are you currently established before the IRS as an independent business owner with a federal tax ID and/or as an LLC? 
  • Your upload and download speed in Mbps (according to: https://fast.com/)
  • Your most recent version of Google Chrome
  • Skype ID
  • What fee would you expect to collect for your services in USD? (feel free to provide a range) 
  • How you heard about Lingo Live
  • LinkedIn profile (optional)
  • Professional website (optional)

Be aware that Lingo Live is not constantly hiring. If they are at the time you apply, then you will be contacted with the next steps, otherwise your application will be filed for any future vacancies.

Unfortunately there is very little information about Lingo Live’s actual interview process, however, you can expect to face questions regarding your professional experience, qualifications, teaching methods and philosophy (be sure to focus on TBL and the responsibilities and requirements outlined above). It might help you to read up on Voxy‘s interview process and the questions they ask, as they are a company that similarly emphasizes TBL.

Lingo Live Reviews

Lingo Live’s Glassdoor page gives them an average rating of 4.2 out of 5, with 80% of reviewers willing to recommend them to a friend. This seems quite high on first impression and when compared to other online ESL companies, but that score is dropping as more-recent Lingo Live reviews have been less flattering regarding company management and the treatment of its employees:

The last 5* Lingo Live review was all the way back in 2018:

Conclusion – Is Lingo Live Worth It?

Lingo Live will appeal to those who want to teach older learners in a more professional context. That’s their biggest pull, and the fact that, so long as you have the right background, specific qualifications and nationality do not matter. In wanting over 5 years of experience, however, one would expect a higher wage in return, and that qualifying period and the lack of hand-holding in booking and retaining students means Lingo Live is not an option for relative newcomers to the industry, or those wanting to fill their schedule quickly.

You can apply to Lingo Live here.

Other non-China companies can be found here.

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