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Starkid English Review Summary

StarKid English offers great pay, guaranteed bookings, understanding support, a simple application process, and one-on-one classes with children between 4-12. Hiring can take weeks, it is selective of experienced, TEFL-certified graduates from North America or the UK, and you must commit to a consistent schedule.

Pay (per hour):$20-25
Native / Non-Native Speakers?US, Canada, UK
TEFL / TESOL / CELTA required?Yes
Degree / diploma required?Yes
Adult / child students?Children
Class size:1
Minimum hours (per week):0*
*would like a 2-day/6-hour commitment but not a requirement

Starkid Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Excellent pay (especially for one-on-one teaching), with attainable raises and bonuses
  • Regular students and reliable bookings – StarKid guarantees to fill at least 80% of open slots
  • Bookings made by the company, not by parents
  • Classes are available after 9pm, unlike with mainland Chinese companies
  • Simple and straightforward interview process
  • No strict cancelation penalties
  • Personable, understanding, and responsive staff

Cons:

  • Hiring process can be slow, selective and competitive – can take weeks to reply as only recruits when needed (to guarantee existing bookings)
  • Most teachers must be experienced and able to work in the USA, Canada or UK
  • Must commit to a consistent, regular schedule – not suitable for those requiring different hours from week to week
  • Platform is basic, lessons aren’t interactive and materials contain misspellings and typos

Is Starkid English Legit?

StarKid is a legitimate online ESL company, founded in Hong Kong in 2019. They are a small but growing start-up, primarily serving the Hong Kong student market, though they have plans to expand into other South Asian countries. As of July 2020 they had just 30 teachers, but this number has since grown to almost 100.

Starkid ESL Pay / Salary

StarKid pay their teachers a base rate of US$10 per 30-minute class, though there are additional incentives. There is a participation bonus of $1 per class should you start and finish on time, with no cancelations, no shows, or technical issues. There are also attainable raises of $0.5 (50 cents) once you convert your first 5 trial students, another $0.5 following 10 converted students, and a final $0.5 once you hit 20 conversions. As you can teach 2 classes within an hour (if delivered back-to-back), this means the hourly rate will be between $20-25, depending on whether you make the incentives.

The StarKid website states that you can ‘Earn Up to $3,000 USD per month’, which at the maximum rate of $25 per hour would require teaching 120 hours a month (or 30 hours a week), making this potentially a full-time opportunity.

If there are student no shows, you will still receive full pay for a regular lesson and half pay for a trial class.

StarKid pays on the 14th of each month via Wise (formerly known as Transferwise). They are willing to accommodate by using PayPal for the first month’s salary, but this carries higher fees with it.

Starkid English Hours / Schedule

The StarKid teaching hours are between 3-11pm, Monday to Sunday, with peak hours between 3-7pm (Hong Kong time, which is the same as Beijing Time). Note that they teach later than many mainland Chinese companies are allowed to, providing additional classes to earn from.

Lessons are 30-minutes long and can be delivered back-to-back (to maximize income) or staggered with a 5-minute break in between (though you’ll have to then keep track of the irregular start times).

There is no minimum hours requirement, though there is an unwritten expectation to open at least 6 hours of slots across two days, preferably staggered (e.g. Tuesday and Thursday) to accommodate students who want twice-weekly tuition, which is fairly common at StarKid (it is not unusual for some students to even take classes three or four times a week). You must therefore be willing and able to commit to a consistent schedule from week to week for these regulars, who will ultimately make up the bulk of your teaching once you convert enough of them. The contract is for 6 months initially.

Bookings are allocated by the company at least 24 hours in advance and are not made by the parents (nor is there a booking ‘frenzy’ each week). You will retain any trial students you convert, and will sometimes be allocated additional regulars given up by other teachers. There are also opportunities to pick up substitute classes.

Your open slots and schedule are set via Google Sheets, not a platform, and because there is an expectation of consistent hours you will have to inform StarKid of any changes you wish to make by messaging them through WhatsApp.

Because they are fairly selective and only recruit when needed, StarKid are able to guarantee bookings for at least 80% of the slots that are opened. Teachers there claim they haven’t had problems filling up all of their slots, and thus suggest only opening what you are actually able and willing to deliver, as you’ll be expected to stick with those students and times longer-term.

StarKid are praised by their teachers for being personable and understanding, without the extreme cancelation penalties of other online ESL companies. They usually allow up to 2 cancelations (with less than 24 hours notice) or 2 no shows a month, for reasons of sickness or emergency (though of course, they prefer to be notified as soon as possible). They request 2 weeks’ notice for any vacation leave. They are also flexible and willing to accommodate extended time off for events such as pregnancy.

Starkid Requirements

These are the requirements to teach at StarKid:

  • Be a Native English Speaker with a neutral North American or British accent, legally able to work in the USA, Canada, or UK
  • Have experience teaching ESL online (there is little training so you must know what you’re doing in a virtual environment)
  • Possess a Bachelor’s degree and a TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certificate
  • Have a computer with the Google Chrome browser installed

As StarKid are a small company, they have previously been able to apply some discretion to these rules on a case-by-case basis. Similarly, you can make up for any limitations in online teaching experience by using your introduction video to impress with your skills.

Starkid Application Process

There are three stages to the StarKid application process:

  1. Submit your resume, certifications and introduction video
  2. Pass the interview
  3. Attend an online training session

There are 2 ways to apply to StarKid. You can submit the following details through a sign-up form on the StarKid website:

  • Name
  • Email address
  • Number of years of teaching experience with kids (less than 1 year, 1-2 years, or 3+ years)

You can also email your resume, introduction video (including a short teaching demo) and copies of your degree and TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certificate directly to [email protected]. This route will speed up the process as they’ll request the additional information and documentation from you in any case.

As StarKid only hires new teachers when they’re required (in order to guarantee existing bookings), you may be put on a waiting list and it can take weeks (or months) before you’ll receive a response. It’s likely you’ve been unsuccessful if nothing has been heard after 8 weeks, though it is acceptable to send a follow-up email enquiring, and you can reapply once you have more online ESL teaching experience (candidates with 3+ years are prioritized, then 1-2 years, and finally less than 1 year).

StarKid Demo

The video you send to StarKid should be 3-5 minutes long, with a brief intro of no more than 1 minute saying who you are, where you’re from and what your experience is. For the remaining minutes, provide a short teaching demonstration pitched towards an intermediate student (a topic like weather is appropriate for StarKid’s curriculum), displaying your extension skills, a secondary rewards system, TPR, and methods of engagement (e.g. pictures or props). Make sure your classroom space looks professional and well lit, with clear sound and good video quality.

StarKid Interview

Should you be invited to attend a StarKid interview, it will take place on Zoom and be relatively informal and relaxed, lasting no more than 30 minutes. Be ready to discuss your relevant experience, teaching history, degrees, certifications, where you’ve previously taught and why you enjoy teaching ESL. Also have some questions prepared to ask about the company.

If you pass the interview, the final stage is a training session, where you will be walked through an imaginary lesson on their Chrome-based platform in order to learn its features. This will take around 15 minutes.

Before you start teaching, you will record a 30-second video introduction for any trial students, and discuss your hours and availability with the company (expect to receive bookings on your first open day, so don’t overcommit yourself too early, as your schedule needs to be consistent).

Starkid English Teaching

StarKid online English learning is conducted on a bespoke platform accessible through Google’s Chrome browser (which you’ll need to have installed on your computer). It is fairly basic in its functionality, with no timer or reward system, meaning you’ll need your own secondary system (physical props or ManyCam is compatible), though it does provide the ability to draw on the screen.

Classes are 30-minutes long and are conducted one-on-one with children between the ages of 4-12 years, or levels 1-8. Hong Kong students tend to have more English exposure than mainland Chinese students, and so you might find they are a bit more proficient at speaking.

Teaching materials are provided, and each lesson comprises around 20 or so static (non-interactive) slides introducing vocabulary, sentences to reinforce meaning, CCQs (Concept Checking Questions), activities, and a review at end, with grammar, mathematics or science concepts depending upon the level. The materials are quite dense, and you’ll need to factor in free talk time when pacing, however, StarKid doesn’t insist on covering everything or in the prescribed order, allowing you to adjust according to the student’s needs. Expect to encounter typos and misspellings, and you might have to look up context ahead of time to teach some of the more topical content (e.g. countries or dinosaurs).

Feedback is provided after class which is relatively short and simple, and there is a feedback bank that teachers contribute to which you can draw upon. You will have to rate the student as poor, fair, good, great or excellent in 1) social studies/science, 2) speaking and listening, 3) reading and writing, and 4) grammar. Their concentration, reaction, expression and interaction is also each scored between 1 and 5 stars.

StarKid are open to receiving suggestions from their teachers regarding their curriculum, platform and student proficiency levels. Communication is done via WhatsApp and there is also a private Facebook group for teachers.

Starkid English Reviews

Being a relatively young company, there are not many Starkid ESL reviews available online, nor is there a StarKid Glassdoor page yet. What we have found has mainly been on Facebook and been overwhelmingly positive, especially regarding their bookings, pay rate, understanding staff and absence of extreme penalties:

Conclusion – Is Starkid Worth It?

StarKid are an exciting, upcoming challenger in the online ESL space, and they’re definitely worth your consideration should you meet their requirements and don’t mind committing to a regular schedule. Though their platform and materials could be improved, the company’s working on this with teachers’ input. While there is an element of risk around newish companies without many reviews, what we’ve heard about their excellent pay, consistent bookings and understanding staff makes them too appealing a prospect to ignore. Just be prepared to be patient whilst waiting for them to process your application, and perhaps delay until you’ve built up at least a year (preferably 3 years) of online ESL teaching experience as they can be selective.

You can apply to Starkid here or by emailing your resume, introduction video and certifications directly to [email protected] (recommended).

Other non-China companies can be found here.

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


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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