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SkimaTalk Review Summary
SkimaTalk is an online teacher marketplace serving adult Japanese and South Korean students. They hire Native Speakers to teach 25-minute ESL classes and pay $12.80+ an hour (after a 20% commission). No degree or teaching certificate is required, but you must be willing to teach 3 free classes.
|Pay (per hour):||$12.80-$48|
|Native / Non-Native Speakers accepted?||Native|
|TEFL / TESOL / CELTA required?||No|
|Adult / child students?||Mostly adults|
|Minimum hours (per week)||0|
SkimaTalk Pros and Cons
- No degree, TEFL/TESOL certificate or teaching experience is required
- Materials are provided and can be supplemented with other resources
- Straightforward application process with no interview or teaching demo
- Must be a Native Speaker
- Must conduct 3 free sessions
- SkimaTalk retains 20% of all earnings
- Difficult to earn enough to make this a full-time job
- It’s a marketplace, so teachers must build their brand – no guarantee of classes
Is SkimaTalk Legit?
SkimaTalk is a legitimate ESL marketplace, founded in 2012 and based in Tokyo, with adult students mostly from Japan and South Korea. Classes are conducted online 24/7 using Skype, with all earnings split 20/80 between the company and teacher respectively.
How Much Does SkimaTalk Pay?
The SkimaTalk teacher pay can amount to ‘more than $1,000 each month’ for top performers, according to their website, which would not be enough to make this a full-time job for many. The minimum SkimaTalk pay rate is $8 per 25-minute session, which is set by the system, though teachers can increase this to up to $30. 20% of a teacher’s SkimaTalk salary will be retained by the company, however, and the first three sessions are unpaid. The hourly rate, after this revenue share, will thus range between $12.80-$48.
Teachers are paid once a month, by the 10th (or the following business day if this falls on a weekend or Japanese holiday) via PayPal (minus its fees).
There are penalties for cancelations ($3 per session) and no-shows ($9 per session), which will be deducted from the teacher’s subsequent SkimaTalk salary.
These are the requirements to apply to become a SkimaTalk teacher:
- Must be a Native English Speaker
- Must be passionate about helping students succeed
- Must have prior English teaching experience
- Must demonstrate commitment & reliability
- Must present a professional demeanor at all times
- Must be willing to teach adult learners
No degree or teaching certificate is required. Teacher training is preferred but not essential.
SkimaTalk Application Process
To begin your SkimaTalk online tutor application, you must first sign up with your email address on their website.
Once you have confirmed the registration email, create your account by providing a:
- Skype name
- Time zone
- Native language
- Whether you’re a Learner or a Teacher
Next, fill in your SkimaTalk Teacher Profile with the following information:
- Profile photo (5mb maximum size, PNG, JPG, or JPEG format)
- First and Last Names (option to keep the last name private)
- PayPal Email Address
- Country and Region of Origin
- Country and Region of Residence
- Native Language
- Other languages (Native-Level, Advanced, Intermediate or Elementary-Level)
- Your Speciality in One Sentence
- Written Introduction
- Video URL (here are examples on Youtube)
- Teaching Speciality with Details/Teaching Resources (Maximum of 10)
- Resume – School, Category, Major/Speciality, Degree, Years From and To
- Identity Verification – Facebook account URL, LinkedIn account URL
- Copy of your driver’s license/identification (5Mb maximum size, PNG, JPG, or JPEG format)
You will then have to pass a simple SkimaTalk teacher guidelines test about how the company works and its policies (the guidelines can be consulted here).
The application review process should take about 1 week.
To stay qualified as a SkimaTalk teacher, you must continue to meet the following criteria (reviewed at the start of each month):
- Ensure your profile is complete with a professional introduction (video preferred) and high-quality profile photo
- Maintain a student rating score of 4.5 or higher
- Have a cancelation ratio of less than 10%
- Have a no-show ratio of less than 5%
SkimaTalk Online Teaching
SkimaTalk ESL classes last 25 minutes and are conducted on Skype. Students are advised by the company to take at least two sessions in a row, so be prepared to teach back-to-back and plan your schedule accordingly (there is the option of a 5-minute break in between, though this does not have to be taken).
Open sessions can be scheduled between 30 minutes and 8 days in advance.
Uncommonly for a marketplace, SkimaTalk provides learning tools and course materials, though they do encourage the supplementary use of external resources if these will improve your class. Beginner-to-Intermediate sessions are based on role play, while Intermediate-to-Advanced sessions involve case studies covering the following topics and skills:
SkimaTalk suggests the following best practices for its teachers (some will seem obvious to seasoned online educators):
- Hit the ‘I’m Ready’ at the beginning of every session
- Be punctual. It’s best to be a few minutes early to every session
- Adjust your speaking speed according to the student’s ability level
- Use the Skype message box frequently
- Give feedback frequently
- Prepare a learning plan
- Say hello and goodbye at the start and end of each session
- Leave feedback after the session on the SkimaTalk website
- List lots of available sessions
SkimaTalk also provides this list of ‘important things to avoid’ (again, some may seem obvious):
- Don’t fail to show
- Don’t ask for your student’s email address
- Don’t conduct sessions at a cafe
- Don’t turn off your video without a student’s consent (the only exception is if the internet connection is bad)
- Don’t speak too quickly, i.e. Native-speed
- Don’t forget to give feeedback
- Don’t eat, chew gum, or consume alcohol during SkimaTalk sessions
Here is a comprehensive document outlining SkimaTalk’s teacher guidelines.
To increase your visibility on their platform, you can earn a ‘Pro Teacher’ designation once you have met the following criteria and passed a 3-question certification quiz with a score of 100%:
- Conducted over 50 sessions
- Average rating of 4.75+
- No-show ratio of 2% or lower
- Cancelation ratio of 4% or lower
- Over 20 followers
Pro certification will be revoked if the number of followers, student rating, no-show or cancelation ratios drop.
SkimaTalk Teacher Reviews – Working for SkimaTalk
There are not a lot of SkimaTalk reviews online written recently by teachers at the company. The SkimaTalk Glassdoor page gives the company an average score of 2.3 out of 5, with 45% willing to recommend them to a friend. This is relatively low, though it is calculated from just 7 reviews and none more recent than July 2020. They include positive remarks about the nice students and flexible schedule but criticism at the revenue sharing ratio and 3 free classes as well as some lack of communication:
Conclusion – Is SkimaTalk Worth It?
While on the face of it, an hourly rate of $16 plus might seem reasonable to many, when you deduct 20% and have to give 3 free classes this becomes a lot less appealing. Unfortunately, revenue sharing is a major downside of teacher marketplaces, along with the extra work they take to attract students, though with the elimination of most Chinese ESL companies more people are forced to consider this pay-off. There are still conventional companies outside of China you should investigate first.