Honest Open English Review – The Truth about Teaching There (2021)

Open English Review

Open English Review Summary

Open English offers individual and group adult or child classes for experienced Native teachers. A degree is not essential, slots can be swapped without penalty, and Latin American hours can complement or provide an alternative to China. However, the pay is not the highest, and the hiring process can take time.

Pay (per hour):$7-13
Native / Non-Native Speakers accepted?Native
TEFL / TESOL / CELTA required?No*
Degree / diploma required?No*
Adult / child students?Both
Class size:1-5
Minimum hours (per week):10
*Requires either a TEFL certificate OR a Bachelor’s degree, not both

Open English Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Latin American hours/students offer an alternative to China or can complement those hours
  • Ability to drop and swap shifts without penalty
  • Simple application process with short recorded interview and no teaching demo
  • Options to teach adults or children

Cons:

  • Below average pay
  • Potentially slow recruitment
  • No regular students
  • Classes and teaching materials can become repetitive

Is Open English Legit?

Open English is a legitimate online ESL company, founded in Venezuela in 2006, and now based out of Florida, USA. They claim to be the leading online English company in Latin America, with around 2,000 employees and teachers who have taught over 600,000 students, while also delivering classes to Native Spanish speakers in the United States and Europe. OpenEnglish is a client school of LatinHire.

Open English Salary / Pay

Open English’s pay ranges from US$7-13 per hour, depending upon the time you teach (peak pays more), which is less than you can earn from an equivalent Chinese ESL company. Open English is not transparent about how they determine your pay rate, and it seems that they will counter-offer what you request in your interview so make sure you ask for the maximum amount, if given the opportunity. After completing a certain number of hours, with good performance, you can move up a tier and earn an additional $1 per hour.

Open English Payment

To be paid monthly by Open English you must either be registered with Wise or have an American bank account to receive an ACH electronic deposit.

Open English Peak Hours

Open English’s hours are 9am-11pm (Eastern Standard Time). The peak hours are weekday evenings (4-11pm) and all-day weekends.

While you must make yourself available for at least 10 hours a week (including 4 during peak times), you will not necessarily have to work all of these.

Open English’s schedule is relatively flexible, especially due to their ‘shift drop and pick up‘ system, where teachers can trade and pick up shifts with one another at short notice. This is in stark contrast to many online ESL companies who will hit you with a huge penalty for canceling lessons. Open English also allows two cancelations each month and you can take (unpaid) vacation time.

Does Open English Require A Degree?

Open English does not require that their teachers possess a degree or diploma (or be enrolled in one), so long as they have a TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certificate. Whilst you will be invited to upload a copy during the application process, this is purely optional.

Do Open English Require TEFL or TESOL Certification?

TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certification is highly desired, but a degree/diploma can be used in its place.

Requirements

In summary, to apply to Open English you must:

  • Be a Native English Speaker (preferably with a North American accent)
  • Be 18 years or over
  • Have experience of teaching English
  • Have either a TEFL/TESOL certificate OR be a Bachelor’s degree student/graduate (both qualifications are not required)
  • Possess a laptop or desktop computer with a microphone and webcam
  • Have access to a reliable, high-speed internet connection
  • Be available to teach at least 10 hours (4 peak) a week

Intermediate Spanish or Portuguese speaking skills, ties to Latin America and knowledge of the region/culture are advantages.

How Can I Apply To Open English?

You can apply to Open English by visiting their Teaching Opportunities page here. Once you click on the ‘Apply Now’ button, you will be taken through a series of screens introducing you to the company and the position until you’re presented with a form where you need to fill in the following information:

  • First and surname
  • Email address (Gmail is preferred)
  • Whether you are ‘legally authorized to work in the United States’
  • Confirmation that you are at least 18 years of age
  • Whether you are traveling outside of the US
  • Residential address
  • Open English unique ID (if you have previously taught with the company)

Once this information is submitted, you will be required to complete the following tasks:

  • Record a short video sample
  • Upload documentation including your resume, diploma/degree, and TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certificate (if applicable)
  • Take a speed test for your internet connection
  • Complete a brief grammar quiz
  • Enter your availability for teaching (this may be updated/amended at a later date)

Unfortunately, as Open English hires their teachers in batches, there is no fixed time frame from submission of your initial application to acceptance (for some candidates it took months). So if you are in a rush to work or struggle with patience, then maybe hedge your bets by simultaneously applying elsewhere.

Open English Interview Questions

For the Open English interview you will have to record 1-minute answers to 3-5 questions (you may re-record your answer up to 3 times). These are genuine questions that teachers were asked in past Open English interviews (so we advise you prepare answers in case they come up again):

  • What is your teaching experience?/Describe your teaching experience.
  • Do you have any online teaching experience?/How long have you been teaching English?
  • Why would you like to work with Open English?
  • What motivates you to teach?  
  • What is your teaching philosophy?  
  • How would you deal with different types of students?
  • What would you do if you were in a class and a student was being disruptive?
  • Give an example of how you would explain a specific grammatical structure to a true beginner level student.  
  • How would you react to a student that asked….. (example)?

Open English Classes – What Is Teaching at Open English Like?

Ages, class sizes and levels

Open English offers both private (one-on-one) and small group (4-5 students) instruction to adults, or children and adolescents between 8 and 14 years of age (under the ‘Open English Junior’ brand). There are also larger groups classes where you will be teaching remotely to students who are in-situ at one of Open English’s learning centers.

You are not supposed to be assigned beginners’ classes unless you can speak Spanish or Portuguese, however, in reality this rule isn’t always followed, so be prepared to not be able to communicate easily with your students!

Class length

Classes last 25 minutes and begin at the hour and half hour mark. Open English students have a choice of two different topics daily, and can request either classic instruction or informal conversation for their class. At the end of each lesson you will need to quickly write feedback for each of your students, consisting of something they did well and something to practice at home.

Teaching platform

Open English online teaching is conducted via Zoom, and it is common for students not to share their video camera during class due to connectivity issues. The consequent lack of non-verbal cues can be challenging for some teachers and make it difficult when writing up individualized feedback. In group classes you are expected to rotate your students in response to each lesson slide.

Scheduling

The Open English calendar is prepared a month in advance. You may find yourself occasionally with a slot but no class, in which case you will have to grade student assignments, correct written sentences or answer questions concerning grammar. You will need to keep refreshing your browser for new tasks, as to be paid you must complete a certain number within the hour. 

This is Teacher Lexi’s view of Open English, though bear in mind that she didn’t work there for very long (in response, an Open English Academic Specialist contacted us to say that ‘the lessons are designed in such a way as to be able to taught without prep once you are familiar with the format’):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zr0fNbPz4mU

Teaching materials

Teaching materials and slides are provided by Open English, so it is not necessary to develop your own curriculum in order to teach. Open English also offers videos, games and speech-recognition tools that can be used. They do encourage any additional teaching tools and resources that you can integrate and would improve the English learning experience for the student to help them achieve their goals. Open English has a teaching hub too, where training and podcasts are available.

Open English’s teachers, or ‘Academic Specialists’, are expected to employ individual experiences, qualifications, methodologies, and formative feedback when delivering classes. There is also the potential to become involved in additional roles within the company, including curriculum design and development, quality assurance reviews, and project pilots for improving the student experience.

Open English Teacher Reviews

Open English receives an average score of 3.8 out of 5 on Indeed and 3.7 on Glassdoor, with 75% of employees willing to recommend them to a friend.

Here is the most-recent Open English review on Glassdoor (at the time of writing):

In contrast, here is a negative Open English review recently written on Indeed:

Conclusion – Is Open English Worth It?

Open English provides some rare advantages over many companies, most notably the ability to teach students in a time zone and country different to China, and their system of avoiding cancelation penalties by swapping shifts. However, you must be patient during the application process and be aware that the pay rate is not the highest.

You can apply to Open English here.

Other non-China companies can be found here.

To help update this review or share your experiences, please use the contact form.

One thought on “Honest Open English Review – The Truth about Teaching There (2021)

  1. Thanks for thorough info! I’ve worked for OE for 5 years and many teachers live outside of the US. I just want to mention that in case some is looking at them specifically for this reason.

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