Toucanstalk Review Summary

Toucanstalk is a Chinese online ESL company still hiring Native English Speakers and Filipinos, paying $12-16 and PHP150 respectively plus bonuses. They want certified/experienced teachers with an undergrad degree or higher who can commit 20-40hrs/wk over peak times to teach 26min 1v1 classes with adults and children.

Pay (per hour):$12-16
Language/location requirements?Native English Speakers and Filipinos
Degree/diploma required?Undergraduate (Bachelor’s degree) or higher
Teaching certificate required?Yes
Teaching experience required?Yes
Class type:Online 1v1, 26mins
Student ages/levels?Both children and adults,
Chinese students
Hours (per week):Minimum 20hrs for Native Speakers/40hrs for Filipinos,
across 5am-midnight, peak 7pm-10pm (BJT)

Toucanstalk Pros and Cons


  • Chinese students of all ages, for those who miss teaching that timezone/type of student
  • Full-time or part-time
  • Simple initial application
  • Training and teaching materials provided
  • Bonuses


  • Mediocre base pay rate
  • 2-tier recruitment, with less pay and more hours expected of Filipino teachers
  • Big time commitment – must be able to open a high number of slots, covering peak times
  • Not much information available about the company
  • Only a small number of biased teacher reviews at present

What Is Toucanstalk?

Toucanstalk is an online ESL education company based out of Dalian, China. Though they apparently launched in July 2019, it is in 2023 that they started a major teacher recruitment drive on Facebook. While the company’s website leaves a lot to be desired (featuring broken images, a Japanese translation button that doesn’t work, whilst missing a SSL certificate, privacy policy and terms and conditions page), Scam Advisor still gives it a trustscore of 77 out of 100.

Toucanstalk students are primarily Chinese, both adults and children, in spite of that country’s 2021 ban on foreign-based teachers (which led to Online Teaching Review focusing more on alternative non-China companies for our readers). Toucanstalk gets around these regulations, according to its recruiter, because they “have the license to operate and [they] own a certificate number issued by the Chinese government”.

Toucanstalk uses ClassIn for its online platform, and provides training and teaching materials.

Toucanstalk Salary Information

The Toucanstalk pay rate varies depending on your nationality:

  • Native English Speakers can earn US$12-16 per hour
  • Filipino teachers earn PHP150 an hour

In addition, the company claims to offer a number of incentives, including:

  • Monthly class bonus
  • Good feedback bonus
  • Good enrollment rate bonus
  • Referral Bonus

However, Toucanstalk has not publicly shared details of the specific requirements that must be met to qualify for these schemes or how much they are worth.

Payments are made monthly via PayPal.

Toucanstalk Hours and Schedule

Toucanstalk ESL classes last 26 minutes and may take place any time between 5am-midnight (BJT), Monday to Sunday.

Teachers can work part-time or full-time so long as they cover the peak slots of 7pm-10pm on weekdays and weekends, and make themselves available for a minimum number of hours which varies according to the position:

  • ‘English Native Speakers’ must commit to 20+ hours a week
  • ‘Home-Based ESL Teachers’ (from the Philippines) are expected to open at least 40 peak hour slots per week

Students may book an open slot up to 2 hours ahead of time.

Toucanstalk Requirements

Toucanstalk’s teacher requirements are:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Excellent English language ability
  • Undergraduate (Bachelor’s degree) or higher
  • Teaching certificate/experience
  • High integrity and discipline
  • Commit 20-40 hours a week (depending on position) during peak times
  • PayPal account
  • Laptop or desktop computer with:

To earn the higher rate of $12-16/hr, you must be an English Native Speaker.

Toucanstalk Hiring Process

There are 5 steps to the Toucanstalk hiring process:

  1. Online screening
  2. Skype interview
  3. ClassIn demo class
  4. Receive an offer and requirements for your teacher profile
  5. Orientation (every Sunday)

To begin, email your CV/resume, self-introduction video, and your available slots (as a full or part-time teacher) to [email protected].

When recording your self-introduction video, the company advises that you address the following points whilst speaking naturally into the camera (and not reading from a script):

  1. Who are you?
    • Introduce yourself.
    • What is your name and what languages do you speak?
    • Mention your credentials, work experience, or other interesting background information.
  2. What are your lessons like?
    • What do you enjoy about teaching?
    • Do you have a prefered method, and what is your attitude towards language teaching?
    • You might include specific details about the activities you do during lessons, show materials you use, or teach potential students their first word or phrase.
  3. Show your personality
    • Smile – make students feel welcome
    • Be yourself – Show or tell something interesting about yourself. Do you have special hobbies that students might enjoy discussing with you? Choose (appropriate) clothing or a background that represents you.

It can take 20 working days for your Toucanstalk application to be screened. Successful applicants will be invited to an interview on Skype, where they will be asked basic questions about themselves and their previous teaching experience.

Toucanstalk Reviews – What Is It Like Working for Toucanstalk?

Toucanstalk does not yet have a Glassdoor or Indeed page, and there are only a small number of reviews by teachers of the company to be found scattered across social media.

One teacher in this Facebook group claimed it was difficult to get class bookings at Toucanstalk, though this was admittedly from second-hand information that was then challenged by the company’s recruiter:

Another Facebook discussion in the ‘ESL Teachers – Philippines’ group provides several effusively-glowing reviews. However, it is somewhat suspicious that these are concentrated around a single thread, posted within a few days of each other, rather than collecting more naturally over a period of time in a variety of places.

They also make use of persuasive language and calls to action such as “Be one of us!” and “Join Toucanstalk now!”, which suggests that these comments were written primarily with the intention to recruit on behalf of the company. If you take what they say with a pinch of salt, then these ‘teachers’ claim that:

  • “The management is supportive and caring, providing us with the necessary training and resources to deliver quality lessons. I can also communicate with my fellow teachers regarding our student’s lesson material…
  • “The flexible schedule allows me to balance my work and personal life. The payment is once a month, but it is stable and fair, and I always have enough classes to fill my time.”
  • “A very detailed training (one-on-one), Admins are so considerate… The students are nice, not rude. For me, as long as you do your best, follow the rules, you will not get the penalty…”
  • “The coaches and management team have been amazing in their support and guidance, always creating a good learning environment for students and teachers. The company’s commitment to professional development, resources, and communication has greatly contributed to my success and job satisfaction.”
  • “Even though I’m new here, the number of student bookings is impressive, and the lesson materials are easy to use. I also appreciate the flexible scheduling system that allows us to work when we’re available.”
  • “I appreciate this company’s emphasis on teachers’ rights and empowerment. They adhere to standards and enable teachers to teach in a manner that suits their students’ needs.”
  • It offers a great work-life balance, with supportive management and a friendly staff that promptly addresses any issues.”
  • “Flexible working hours, reasonable salary, and recognition through incentives are additional perks.”
  • “A commendable company that values its employees. Moreover, there are a lot of polite and nice students enrolling on this platform.”

There is this Toucanstalk ESL review on YouTube, though again the bias is apparent with it imploring viewers to “join our growing team!” It tries to convince by talking positively about the company’s professional development training and support, “competent salary” with bonuses, booking rate, and friendly and respectful students:

Conclusion – Should You Apply to Toucanstalk?

Toucanstalk is a rarity these days in being a company that is still allowed to hire foreign-based teachers for Chinese students. This type of teaching suited many, though do not expect the old levels of pay. The lack of unbiased teacher reviews also makes one hesitant about them until the company becomes a bit more firmly established. In the meantime, for other opportunities check out our full list of online teaching jobs.

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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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