PandaTree Review Summary

PandaTree is a US company teaching children Spanish and Mandarin in groups or 1v1. They pay $18-24 an hour to fluent speakers with a relevant degree and 2+ years of experience working with children. You must commit to 15+ hours a week, though these aren’t guaranteed, and cannot work for another teaching company.

Pay (per hour):$18-24
Location / language requirements?US-based, must speak English and Spanish or Mandarin fluently
Degree / diploma required?Yes, with focus in Education or language
Teaching certificate required?No
Teaching experience required?2+ years working with children
Student age (Adults/Children)?Children aged 2-17 years
Class size:1-5
Minimum availability (per week):15 hours

PandaTree Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Competitive rate of pay
  • Employed (not contract) position, so company contributes towards taxes
  • Training paid by the company
  • Positive teacher reviews (though few and dated)

Cons:

  • Must speak English AND Spanish or Mandarin Chinese
  • Rigorous application process involving at least 3 rounds of interview/teaching demos
  • Hours not guaranteed as parents select tutors (company even suggests parents change tutors regularly)
  • Cannot work at another tutoring company while employed with PandaTree

Is PandaTree Legit?

PandaTree is a legitimate language learning company that was founded in 2014, and specializes in teaching Spanish and Mandarin Chinese to mostly American children. Their legitimacy is underlined by having raised $2million in seed funding, their ACTFL-aligned curriculum, and being featured in media outlets such as Fast Company and the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

What Is PandaTree Online Teaching Like?

PandaTree tutoring is conducted through the company’s online video platform, either one-on-one or in groups of up to 5 children between the ages of 2-17 years. As required by ACTFL guidelines, 90% of each PandaTree foreign language lesson must be conducted in the target language, either Spanish or Mandarin Chinese. Classes last 25 or 50 minutes, and are adapted to suit the level and interests of each student, often following this type of structure:

  1. A session will begin with the teacher and student catching up over what is happening in their lives.
  2. A quick game will be used to revise new words learned in the previous lesson.
  3. A new topic will be introduced by the teacher, based on the student’s interests, using materials such as short videos and pictures as a discussion point.
  4. New words will be reviewed in the final minutes of the lesson.

To sustain the child’s interest and engagement, PandaTree teachers might also draw upon elements of the PandaTree curriculum that include:

  • Working on a learning module
  • Learning a tongue-twister or poem
  • Watching a short cultural video
  • Taking a quiz
  • Having a debate
  • Performing a role play
  • Writing a story together

Parents may upload homework or assignments 24 hours before a session, if there is specific work they wish their child to practice for any school language classes.

PandaTree tutors must email parents following each session to update them about their child’s progress and what new words they have learned. Lessons are also recorded and made available for parents to view for up to 7 days.

This video provides an introduction into how PandaTree online tutoring works:

PandaTree Salary Information

The PandaTree pay rate ranges between US$18-24 an hour, including:

  • $18 an hour for onboarding and training
  • $10 per 25-minute 1v1 lesson and $20 per 50-minute 1v1 lesson
  • 10% bonus rate if over 30 hours are taught within 2 weeks (i.e. $11 for 25 minutes, $22 for 50 minutes)
  • Experienced tutors paid $12 for 25-minute and $24 for 50-minute group lessons.

Unlike the majority of online teaching companies, PandaTree hires its teachers as part-time employees not as contractors. The advantage of this is that the company provides tax contributions, and there are periodic reviews providing access to additional paid training and development. However, a big disadvantage of PandaTree employment is that you may not simultaneously work for another online tutoring company, which limits one’s flexibility, security and diversification of risk, as many online teachers like to maintain a ‘portfolio’ of companies they pick up classes from.

Teachers are still paid for student cancellations that occur less than 24 hours before the lesson start time.

PandaTree payments are credited to teachers every 2 weeks via direct bank deposit.

PandaTree Hours and Schedule

PandaTree lessons last 25 or 50 minutes, with younger children (10 and under) usually performing better in shorter classes and older students preferring longer sessions that allow for deeper discussion. Usually, 5-15 minutes of prep is required ahead of time.

The company operates 7 days a week, between the hours of 8am-11pm (Eastern Time), though it is busiest during non-school hours (early evenings and weekends during term-time, mornings and early afternoons during summer).

PandaTree tutors may choose their own schedule within this, so long as they make themselves available for a minimum of 15 hours a week. More than 30 hours taught over a 2 week period earns teachers 10% extra on their pay.

However, it is important to stress that hours are not guaranteed as parents are the ones who decide which teacher they want for their child based upon profile information. PandaTree even encourages parents to ‘try different tutors from time to time‘, which rather than supporting individual teachers would presumably undermine them and their security of hours.

PandaTree Requirements

Here are the requirements to become a PandaTree tutor:

  • Live in the U.S., and legally permitted to work there (new hires complete an I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification)
  • Articulate, native-fluency speaker of Spanish or Mandarin Chinese
  • Strong English speaking and writing skills
  • 4-year Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree or PhD with a focus on education or language
  • 2 years of experience teaching or working with young children, ideally in a classroom setting. Prior tutoring experience (online or in-person) is also helpful
  • A love of helping children
  • Patient, kind, energetic and FUN. Tutors need a friendly, engaging and encouraging presence over video-conference
  • Enjoys singing, playing games and using puppets to engage young learners
  • Ability to be punctual for tutoring sessions
  • Available for tutoring at least 15 hours a week, including during the school year
  • Willing and able to commit to 9+ months of working with PandaTree

PandaTree Technical Requirements

  • Reliable, high-speed internet connection: Minimum 100 Mbps download and 10 Mbps upload (test your internet speed)
  • Laptop or desktop computer, less than 2 years old, Mac or PC
  • Camera and microphone (built-in or plug-in)
  • Good lighting for an evenly-lit face
  • Quiet, private, interruption-free room with a plain background to conduct online tutoring sessions

PandaTree Hiring Process

Open positions can be viewed on the PandaTree careers page. At the bottom of each job description you will find a link to ‘Apply for this job’, where you will then be asked to submit the following information:

  • Name
  • Email address
  • Headline
  • Address
  • Photo
  • Education
  • Experience
  • Summary
  • Resume
  • Cover letter (explaining your language teaching qualification and your experience working with children)
  • Are you currently living in the U.S. and are you legally authorized to work in the U.S.?
  • Are you currently working for another online language tutoring company?
  • Have you previously worked as a language teacher?
  • Do you have a 4 year degree from a college or university?
  • Ideally, how many hours would you like to work each week?
  • What days of the week and times of the day are you available to work?
  • Were you referred by another PandaTree employee? If so, what was their name?

Should your application form pass the company’s screening, you will be invited to an online interview.

PandaTree Interview Process

Prospective PandaTree tutors must undergo at least 3 rounds of interview.

The initial interview is conducted via Zoom, and lasts around 30 minutes. These are some PandaTree interview questions that have previously been asked:

  • What is your experience working with children ages 2-17?
  • What ages do you feel most comfortable with? / What age would you like to teach?
  • How do you engage your students? / What would you do to keep students engaged?
  • What is your teaching style?
  • What was your past experience regarding AP Chinese teaching and curriculum development?
  • What do your students say about you?
  • What does your boss say about you?
  • How do you respond when a student says they learned another word for the same object?

If you pass this stage, you will then be invited to teach at least 2 (unpaid) practice lessons with volunteer students, which are evaluated by hiring managers.

Successful candidates will finally have to provide 2 references and complete a background check. The whole PandaTree application process can take a few weeks.

Any questions can be directed to hiring@pandatree.com.

PandaTree Reviews

The PandaTree Glassdoor page provides a high rating of 4.6 out of 5, with 91% willing to recommend them, though this is calculated from just 15 reviews and nothing since 2021 curiously (the company is still operating as we write this). We have collated the positive and negative comments from these PandaTree job reviews below, which offer praise for the flexibility, management, and admin support, with some criticism over the pay, teaching materials, and part-time nature of the work:

  • Advantages:
    • “Very flexible about the working time. Good management. The support team is excellent.
    • Flexible work time, great manager
    • Sufficient support from the tutor support when there is a tech issue
    • The flexible work schedule is good
    • Create your own working hours, work from home (or anywhere), supportive admin team. I would recommend to anyone who enjoys online teaching.
    • The administrative is very supportive and they help you with everything you need!
    • It is flexible and the staff is always there to help you out.
    • It’s an outstanding organization! Team members are very supportive. I can reach them easily whenever I need their advice. I teach classes at my convenience from home. If you have the opportunity to work here, you would enjoy it too.
    • 1. Amazing administrative and technical support (before, during and after a lesson). 2. They provide in job training for you. 3. Payments are always on time. 4. Friendly reminders before a class starting. 5. Flexible work schedule. 6. They truly care about their tutors and their needs. 7. They especially care about the kids learning. 8. Amazing teaching material/modules that is constantly being expanded on.
    • *Convenient working hours. *Excellent tutor support. *Lots of teaching content. *Well equipped teaching platform. *Remote job.
    • Flexible schedule Owners who truly care about their customers and their employees Great camaraderie and teamwork; no “backbiting” Managers who are always available Staff ideas and proposals taken seriously Warm, positive, fun, and “smiley” culture Strong trust, loyalty, and employee appreciation
  • Disadvantages:
    • Some teaching materials needed to be updated. The salary is OK for online teaching job.
    • Part-time job, cannot do it as a full time worker
    • Lack of career development opportunities
    • Low pay but not bad for an online teacher
    • It is part time work, so no other benefits
    • They openly discriminated against me because of my work permit. Even though I had the qualifications to do the job and there was no contract involved that would go further my permit, Carlos said it was very likely I wouldn’t get the job because of that. After I received an email stating I respected the decision but asked what was the reason I didn’t get the job, they never replied. My permit allowed me to work without any problem or sponsorship, and it is illegal to discriminate based on the expiration of the permit or even asking that.”

Conclusion – Is PandaTree Worth It?

PandaTree offers a competitive rate of pay for online teachers (in the current climate), a flexible schedule, paid training, tax contributions, and positive reports from a selection of teachers who have worked there. However, there are caveats to consider, in that those teacher reviews are few and dated now, while the perks of employment means committing solely to this company, even though hours are not guaranteed and PandaTree’s marketing actually encourages parents to switch tutors.

You can apply for PandaTree jobs here.

A full list of other online teaching companies can be found here.


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.

Content copyrighted