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Nao Now Tutoring Review Summary

Nao Now Tutoring is a US-based education company that provides online ESL lessons for adult and child students, mostly from South Korea. They want Native English Speakers who have their Bachelor’s degree or are currently enrolled and pay $18-26 per hour, depending on experience, though hours can be hard to come by.

Pay (per hour):$18-$26*
Location / language requirements?US & Canada/Native English Speaker
Degree / diploma required?Bachelor’s or proof of enrollment
Teaching certificate required?No
Teaching experience required?Yes
Adult / child students?Both
Class size:1+
Minimum hours (per week):0
*$11 for substitutes on call

Nao Now Tutoring Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Decent base pay rate (though it doesn’t cover prep and report writing)
  • Curriculum is provided to tutors
  • Tutors decide their schedule, with no minimum hours requirement
  • Tutors can get a sub for a session if needed
  • Choice of 1v1 tutoring session or group classes 
  • Both child and adult students are on the platform

Cons:

  • Unpaid prep/reporting time
  • It can be hard to build a full schedule, with competition for students/classes
  • Late/early time zones for teaching can be difficult to manage
  • The company is selective about which tutors it hires
  • The curriculum can become repetitive
  • Financial punishments/penalties

Is Nao Now Tutoring Legit?

Nao Now LLC is an online English language tutoring company that was founded in 2020, based in Dallas, Texas, and is still in the start-up phase of its development. This video provides a brief introduction from some of its tutors:

The company claims that their ‘online 1-on-1 and small group classes are designed and taught by native English speakers, many graduates of Ivy League colleges’, however, these represent a small fraction, according to one Nao Now teacher who contacted us:

“I have had students ask me what it’s like to be part of this prestigious Ivy-League, and how can they get in and I have to break it to them that I did not go to an Ivy-League school (nor would I recommend it knowing people who did). Few teachers – only 5% of the them last I heard – are ivy-league grads (now maybe even less).”

Nao Now uses learning about culture and science to drive their instruction. Nao Now has lessons that are connected to cultural topics ranging from talking about Times Square to Lady Gaga, which are shared online through Canvas. However, in the view of our contact from the company, the “so-called curriculum that they provide is schematic at best with lots of ‘filler and therefore necessitates prep – or else lessons get real repetitive real fast, and they’re already pretty skimpy”.

Nao Now Tutoring Salary

Nao Now tutor pay starts at US$18 per hour, but depending on your experience it could be higher. Nao Now is a contract job. 

It is possible, after working 6 months, for Nao Nao tutoring pay to be raised to $26 an hour.

There is an option to become a substitute tutor, offering $11 an hour to be on call and $18 for any teaching that is picked up in that time.

It should be noted that these rates cover teaching time only, while Nao Now additionally requires an extensive report to be submitted after each class, which can take 20 or more minutes to write and is unpaid time.

Nao Now Cancellation Policy

Be aware that Nao Now has introduced a system of punishments where they financially penalize teachers, sometimes for more than they would have earned for the lesson. For example, their August 2022 attendance policy has it that:

  • A ‘NO-SHOW’ (without advance warning) carries a $25 penalty per class.
  • A cancellation (without proof of a legitimate excuse, e.g. a doctor’s note or death notice) elicits a $15 penalty.
  • Tardiness during peak hours – not responding to a student 4 minutes before class – counts as a NO-SHOW.
  • Tardiness during non-peak hours = $1 fine for each late minute up to 15 minutes, when it becomes a $25 NO-SHOW fee.
  • Three NO-SHOWs and/or cancellations within 3 months will result in termination.

Teachers have reportedly quit “en masse” in response to these policies.

Nao Now Tutoring Hours

Nao Now Tutoring lessons last either 30 or 60 minutes on Zoom, not including the time to write-up the reports that follow. There is no minimum hours requirement.

Most students come from South Korea, which means teaching early in the morning or late in the evenings, depending on your time zone. In addition, substitutes are often needed to cover the peak hours of 4-10am (Eastern Standard Time).

Slack is used to post details about new students, however, there is a lot of competition for these, and our informant warned us not to expect a full schedule:

‘You can’t get hours at this school as a teacher. Maybe 5 hours a week if you’re lucky. They use slack to message everyone and they post new students for us to fight over. Often this is done at odd hours. Everyone has to comment on the posts: “choose me” “I’m available” “please I need hours”…it’s completely humiliating! Some posts will actually say “for Ivy League teachers” and of course there really aren’t any. Desperate teachers will write “I went to Berkeley but I’m available”, or “Is  Penn State okay this time”… 

Nao Now Tutoring Requirements

  • A Bachelor’s degree or proof of enrollment in a BA program
  • Excellent command of the English language (Native English Speakers from USA and Canada preferred)
  • Ability to teach students of all ages and from different backgrounds
  • Ability to work after-hours, on weekends and public holidays, as required
  • Display patience and cultural awareness

Though the Nao Now website advertises that ‘many’ of their tutors are ‘graduates of Ivy League colleges’, this seems to be stated primarily for marketing purposes, being more a preferred than an essential requirement, with most of the current teachers having never attended these institutions.

Nao Now Tutoring Application Process

  1. Fill out an initial application. Tutors will need an updated resume, and a copy of their transcript, current enrollment or degree. 
  2. Interview involves intrapersonal questions and basic interview questions. Tutors applying are also expected to give a 15-minute demo lesson using the Nao Now curriculum. The interview process lasts around 45 minutes.
  3. Acceptance into Nao Now. 
  4. Tutors begin booking classes, based on the level of English proficiency they were hired to teach. 
  5. Students pick the module they want to learn through Canvas modules. 

To apply to become a tutor for Nao Now, visit the website, select ‘Tutors’ on the homepage and click on apply. Fill out the questionnaire, attach a transcript or proof of degree, a resume, and write a quick introduction to use as an elevator pitch with a new student. Once submitted, Nao Now sends an email confirmation that the application is under review. 

Nao Now Tutoring Interview

Tutors who pass the initial screening go through a 45-minute interview process, where they are expected to answer questions and give a 15-minute Nao Now demo lesson. During the interview, tutors may be asked to give a pretend pitch where they must persuade parents as to why they would be the best tutor for their child.

Nao Now Tutoring Reviews

The Nao Now Glassdoor page provides a collated rating of 4.7 out of 5, with 93% willing to recommend them, though this is calculated from just 18 reviews and none since 2021 (at the time of writing). The main points from these Nao Now reviews can be summarized as follows:

  • Advantages:
    • Flexible admin
    • Flexible hours and schedule
    • Good communication
    • Sweet and enthusiastic students
    • Enjoyable and engaging pre-made curriculum
    • Flexible, accommodating and attentive management
    • Autonomy over topics taught
  • Disadvantages:
    • Time zone differences can be difficult to manage
    • Flow of students can be inconsistent
    • Only part-time work

As has been cited over the course of this review, we had a current Nao Now teacher share their discontent with us at some of the harsher realities that are not widely reported about the company, such as the unpaid reporting time, introduction of financial penalties, competition for limited hours, misleading marketing regarding their number of Ivy League graduates, and the repetitive curriculum. They added:

“The exploitation at this school is astounding – though not completely uncommon in the freelance ESL industry. The reason I am coming forward is that newbie teachers are asking about Nao Now on FB [Facebook] forums and Nao Now is lying to them.”

Conclusion – Is Nao Now Tutoring Worth It?

Though the base pay rate that Nao Now offers looks attractive considering the current state of the online ESL industry, bear in mind this only covers teaching hours and not unpaid prep and writing time which is required. There are also financial penalties for transgressions. While the hours are flexible, schedules are difficult to fill, with competition for students making this a part-time option at best. The fact that disgruntled employees are already whistleblowing at such an early stage of this company’s development is also a cause for concern.

You can apply to Nao Now Tutoring here

A list of other companies can be found here.

Contact us to help update this article, share your experiences, or suggest other companies to review.


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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