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

NovaKid Review

Novakid Review Summary

Novakid hires Native and Non-Native Speakers to teach children one-on-one, and its Moscow timezone complements Asian jobs. The pay is average for many, and you must have a degree, TEFL/TESOL and experience. It can take months to start teaching there, however, so it’s not a quick option.

Pay (per hour):$5-16
Native / Non-Native Speakers accepted?Both (Near-Native)
TEFL / TESOL / CELTA required?Yes
Degree / diploma required?Yes
Adult / child students?Children
Class size:1
Minimum hours (per week):20

Novakid Pros and Cons


  • Both Native and fluent Non-Native Speakers are accepted
  • Can withdraw earnings any time
  • European students and complementary timezone to Asian companies if used as a supplementary job
  • Pay is excellent for South Africans (average for others)


  • Need a degree, TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certificate and teaching experience to apply
  • High minimum hours requirement (20 hours a week)
  • Trial classes only pay 50% (20% for student no show)
  • Must commit to a fixed schedule in advance
  • Can take months from being accepted to start teaching
  • Glitchy website
  • Conflicting information from the company regarding Non-Native Speakers and teaching hours

Is Novakid Legit?

Novakid or Novakid Global (not to be confused with NovaStar Prep), is an online ESL school founded in 2017 by Russian entrepreneur Maxim Azarov. They have offices in Moscow, San Francisco and Krakow and teach 4-12 year-old children from 36 countries including Russia, Poland, Turkey, Germany and Spain. Underlining their legitimacy is the fact that their student numbers and revenue have grown 500% year-on-year, allowing the company to raise $5.75 million in seed funding in 2020.

Novakid online teaching is conducted via their own web platform, accessible through the Chrome browser. Novakid English classes are 25 minutes long, with teaching materials prepared and provided by the company.

How Much Does Novakid Pay?

The Novakid teacher salary isn’t advertised on their website, which always raises questions as to why. One reason could be the fact that different Novakid pay rates are offered depending upon your nationality. The Novakid teacher pay for Native Speakers is US$8 per class, whereas for Non-Native Speakers it is $2.50-3.00. As lessons are 25-minutes long, this makes the Novakid hourly rate $16 for Native Speakers and $5-6 for Non-Native Speakers.

Bear in mind that many Novakid lessons, especially in the early days, will be trial classes, for which you will only be paid 50% of your normal rate. If there is a no show, which often happens with trial students, the pay will be just 20%.

One advantage to Novakid is that, unlike many ESL companies who have weekly or monthly pay cycles, they will allow you to withdraw your earnings at any time. You will need a PayPal account to receive your Novakid salary.

There are Novakid bonuses when you convert trial classes and refer new teachers, as well as an extra $1 for every ten positive parent feedbacks you receive.

Novakid Working Hours

The Novakid schedule runs 7am-1am, Monday to Sunday. It operates on Moscow time, which is helpful for teachers looking to supplement their Asian teaching hours elsewhere in the day. The Novakid peak hours are 17.30-20.30 (MSK), Monday to Saturday.

The Novakid minimum hours requirement is 20 per week, which is higher than most other online ESL companies (and contradicts their other statement that they require at least 12 lessons a week). These do not have to include peak hours, however, you must commit to the fixed hours you select in advance for several months. This, again, seems contradictory to the company’s claims that it offers ‘Flexible working hours‘.

Novakid bookings are quieter during the European summer months, when many students take holidays. If you apply during this period, you won’t be onboarded until the Autumn/Fall.

How Can I Become a Novakid Teacher?

Novakid Requirements

Novakid provides mixed information regarding its policy on hiring Non-Native Speakers. One page of its website states that they are looking for ‘USA, UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa citizens only’. However, elsewhere on the same site it broadens this to encompass ‘Near-Native speakers from other countries with [a] BA degree or higher’. This seems more in line with their current policy, as we’ve seen Novakid recruiters targeting Non-Native Speakers with lower rates of pay.

If you are a Non-Native applicant, you may need to provide evidence of your English (C1 or higher) proficiency, such as an IELTS, TOEFL or CAE certificate.

All candidates must meet the following Novakid requirements:

  • Hold a BA degree or higher
  • Possess an international teaching certificate, e.g. TEFL, TESOL, CELTA or DELTA
  • Have at least 1 year of experience teaching children (online teaching experience preferred but not necessary)
  • Be willing to commit to a minimum of 20 teaching hours a week

Furthermore, you must own equipment matching these technical specifications:

  • Modern laptop with Windows 8 or more / MacOS 10.10 or higher
  • 2GB RAM, 128GB HDD/SSD, 1GHz CPU or more
  • Installed Chrome Web Browser
  • HD Web camera (720p or 1020p)
  • Headphones with a microphone
  • Fixed broadband internet connection of 10Mbps or faster (you can test your speed here).
  • UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply) backup battery

Novakid Application Process

Novakid jobs are usually available at the start of the academic year in the European Autumn/Fall season. If you apply long before this, especially over the quieter summer months, then you may not be onboarded to start teaching until then.

There are five main steps to the Novakid application process:

  1. Complete online application form and grammar test
  2. Equipment test
  3. 30-minute interview and demo lesson
  4. Self-study training materials and quizzes
  5. Sign the contract and fill out your teacher profile

Begin your application on the Novakid sign up page. Here you will be asked to submit the following information:

  • Full name
  • Teaching experience summary (specify your total teaching experience in months/years, whether online/offline, and with kids/adults)
  • Upload your diploma/certficates
  • Upload or link to your Novakid introduction video (no longer than 1 minute or larger than 1GB)
  • Birthday
  • Languages spoken
  • Gender
  • Nationality
  • Referral source
  • Degree
  • Referee name (if applicable)
  • Email address
  • Nationality
  • Grammar test score – You must first take the grammar test here, where you will be asked questions such as ‘Fill in the gap with the most appropriate word: The car is coming, watch _______ !’ You have 60 minutes to take the test after registering your name and email address, and 15 minutes to finish it once you’ve begun. There are 30 questions and you need to answer 20 correctly.
  • Skype ID
  • WhatsApp phone number
  • Available start date
  • Details of 3 previous employers (organization, job title, dates, duties)
  • Education and qualifications (institution, dates, specialization)
  • Teaching certificates and English proficiency tests
  • Additional education/courses

Novakid Demo Lesson (Novakid Interview)

Should your initial application be accepted and you pass the grammar and equipment tests, you will be invited to a 30-minute Novakid interview primarily comprising a demo lesson.

It is important that you prepare with the resources provided ahead of time, particularly the level guide, as your interviewer will be playing 3-4 different levels of student and may ask you if they’re matched to the correct level. You’ll only have a short time to look over the slides for the different levels, so you need to be comfortable thinking on your feet and adjusting your teaching to match. Teacher Lexi goes over Novakid’s levels in this video:


You will be expected to display modeling, repetition, TPR and positivity, though try not to go too over-the-top with your energy and performance as European companies are a little more reserved regarding this than their Asian counterparts.

Top tip: don’t do too much extension in the vocabulary stage (save this for the sentences and grammar section); follow their lesson structure and objectives.

You can expect to receive the outcome of your demo lesson via email within a couple of days. Should you fail, you can reapply after 6 months.

Novakid Interview Questions

As the Novakid interview is mainly focused on the demo lesson, you won’t be asked many specific interview questions. Do expect to talk about your previous teaching experience, and what ages/levels of children you prefer and are comfortable teaching (to be successful, you’ll need to demonstrate that you can cover their entire age range of 4-12 years).

Novakid Teacher Reviews

The NovaKid Glassdoor page rates the company as 4.8 out of 5, though this is averaged from just 9 reviews, all of them largely positive regarding the curriculum, flexible schedule, teacher support, and rate of pay for teachers from lower-income countries. The few cons that are mentioned include inconvenient hours for teachers in some timezones, inconsistent numbers of students, ‘stressful’ technical checks, and a glitchy website.

Another big complaint, seen in a teachers’ Facebook group and on Youtube, is the fact that it can take months for a new profile to be activated after signing the contract, so they’re not a good option if you’re in a hurry for work.

Conclusion – Is Novakid Worth It?

Novakid is a great option if you’re a South African teacher (and don’t receive Native Speaker pay rates elsewhere). For others, the pay is ok but one would expect a bit more for the stringent requirements of a degree, TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certificate and teaching experience. The demo lesson can be intense, with you essentially having to teach three different classes, and you must be comfortable thinking on your feet. While the Moscow timezone will be attractive to some wanting to supplement Asian income, the biggest issue is the months-long wait many candidates have before they can start teaching, meaning Novakid is not a good option if you’re desperate to find work quickly.

You can apply to Novakid here.

Other non-China companies can be found here.

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