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Think Academy Review Summary
Think Academy provides online teaching in math and science to children in several countries. They pay $60-$120 for classes of 8-30 students lasting between 45-150 minutes. A Bachelor’s degree is required, you must commit to afterschool hours/weekends for a semester, and the interview is rigorous with only 4% succesful.
|Pay (per lesson):
|$60 – $120
|Location / language requirements?
|English-speaking (some positions require bilingual Mandarin)
|Degree / diploma required?
|Teaching certificate required?
|Teaching experience required?
|Student age (Adults/Children)?
|8 – 30*
|Minimum hours (per week):
|4 – 15*
Think Academy Pros and Cons
- Competitive pay compared to many online teaching companies
- Teaching certificate not required
- Curriculum provided
- Only 4% of teacher applicants are hired by the company
- Rigorous multi-stage interview process
- Large classes of up to 30 students
- Some lessons last up to 2.5 hours (150 minutes)
Is Think Academy Legit?
Think Academy (not to be confused with Thinkster Math) is a legitimate online education company that reportedly teaches over 800,000 students worldwide. It is the first overseas branch of TAL Education Group, which was founded in 2003 and also runs English language-company First Leap. In addition to TAL being listed on the New York Stock Exchange, Think Academy’s legitimacy is reinforced by being a WASC-accredited school that is also certified by the kidSAFE Seal Program.
Below is a video introduction to Think Academy:
About Think Academy Online Teaching
Think Academy International Education has an online presence in several countries:
- Think Academy United States
- Think Academy United Kingdom
- Think Academy Singapore
- Think Academy Hong Kong
- Think Academy Australia
- Think Academy Malaysia
- Think Academy Canada
There are also physical campuses located in San Jose, Seattle and Beijing.
Group classes are delivered to between 8 and 30 children (depending on the country).
Think Academy courses primarily teach primary and middle-school mathematics, though some Advanced Placement (AP) subjects are offered, including Economics, Psychology, Physics, Biology, and Chemistry.
Think Academy provides the training and curriculum, while teachers and assistants are expected to:
- Prepare and teach lessons using Think Academy’s curriculum and teaching guidance
- Grade homework, as well as other key teaching-related services
- Communicate well with students and parents to provide timely and customized feedback
Below is a short video showing a Think Academy math class in action:
Think Academy Salary Information
Think Academy pay is between US$60-$120 per lesson, depending on the class type and length (lessons can last between 45 minutes and 2.5 hours).
Paid training is available, along with opportunities for merit-based pay increases.
Think Academy Hours and Schedule
Most Think Academy teaching positions demand a minimum commitment of 15-20 weekly hours over the course of a semester, though for AP subjects 4-6 teaching hours are required each week (plus ‘a few additional hours of administrative work’). These are scheduled after school during weekday afternoons and evenings, as well as weekends.
The length of Think Academy classes varies depending on the country, subject and level, and they can be as short as 45 minutes or as long as 2.5 hours.
Think Academy Requirements
To become a remote Think Academy teacher you must be:
- A Bachelor’s degree graduate (STEM-related majors and a Master’s degree are preferred)
- Passionate about your subject and working with children, with a mission to provide better education to promote social development
- An excellent communicator with strong interpersonal skills, especially when communicating with students, parents, and colleagues, able to engage in fast, consistent, and direct communication
- Highly responsible, conscientious, punctual, reliable, and on top of organizational tasks
- Able to follow the curriculum to deliver high-quality teaching and provide feedback for refinement
- Willing to commit to the minimum hours, teaching during weekday afternoons, evenings and weekends, for at least one whole semester
- Legally able to work in the country if specified
Prior teaching experience is a plus but not mandatory for some positions, unless it is for an AP subject, in which case you must have taught that for at least 3 years with experience of the exam and a track record of producing significant score improvements.
Specific positions will require bilingual language ability on top of English (e.g. in Mandarin).
Think Academy Technical Requirements
To be able to run the Think Academy classroom app, you will need:
- An Operating System of Windows 7 or MacOS 10.12 and above
- Quad-core CPU
- 4 GB RAM
Chromebooks and Surface Books are not supported.
Think Academy Hiring Process
- To begin a Teach Academy application, first visit the Think Academy careers page on their website to search through the current job openings. These can be filtered by ‘Department-Teaching’, though you may also be interested in examining other roles such as Curriculum Development or Test Prep.
- Click on a job link. At the bottom of the description you will find a short application form asking whether you meet the basic requirements of the role and to upload your cover letter and resume/CV.
- Teachers from the UK and Singapore may alternatively email [email protected] or [email protected] respectively.
Think Academy Interview Process
The Think Academy interview is quite rigorous (which is why only 4% of teacher candidates are successful) and usually involves an initial screening interview with HR, before having to present a Think Academy trial class on Zoom. Depending on the position, this latter stage can stretch over 3 days, with you having to refine your presentation and re-present in response to critical feedback.
Some Think Academy interview questions that have been asked of previous candidates include:
- Tell me a bit about yourself.
- Why are you interested in the position? Why Think Academy?
- Why teaching?
- Any teaching experience?
- Any experience with kids or customer service?
- How do you communicate with parents?
- If you are hired, what may be the reason(s) for you to leave the company?
- Future plan in 5 years?
Think Academy Reviews
The Think Academy Glassdoor page provides an average score of 2.7 out of 5, with 35% willing to recommend the company. I have extracted and collated the comments from teachers specifically, who talk positively about pay, colleagues, and communication, but criticize the management, ‘exaggerated’ teaching style, poor work-life balance and unpaid additional workload:
- “Easy communication. Organized system. Efficient
- Okay pay in the field
- Good salary and friendly work environment
- Accommodating and helpful colleagues, decent working environment
- Young colleagues who are helpful. Less politics.”
- “Additional work with little pay
- Requires a hyperactive and exaggerated way of teaching as if kids are completely hard of hearing and think that this exaggeration will make kids like the teachers. Also seem to pride themselves on working overtime.
- No life-work balance, poor management
- Management mainly doing work for the sake of doing
- Company pays like service to work life balance. You can work to 2-3am every other day, and expect management to take it for granted that you did it.
- Workload is quite heavy at busy time”
Conclusion – Is Think Academy Good for Online Teachers?
There is obvious appeal in the relatively high pay rate that Think Academy pays its teachers compared to many other online teaching companies, however, remember they pay by the lesson not the hour, and classes can be lengthy and involve up to 30 students in some places. A word of caution to consider is the fate of TAL-stablemate First Leap, which had to stop employing overseas teachers when China banned their use, though the fact that Think Academy operates more internationally should provide a greater degree of protection than other companies linked to China.