Honest TutorABC Review – Read Before Applying! (2022)

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TutorABC Review Summary

TutorABC provides 1v1 and group classes to adults and children in Taiwan and Japan. They hire Native and Non-Native Speakers with degrees and teaching certificates, the application and automated interview is quick, cancellations are flexible, but pay varies by nationality and low student ratings lead to termination.

Pay (per hour):$3.60-$22.22*
Native / Non-Native Speakers accepted?Both
TEFL / TESOL / CELTA required?Yes
Degree / diploma required?Yes
Adult / child students?Both
Class size:1-6
Minimum hours (per week):6
*depending on nationality

TutorABC Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Quick application and automated interview process – no live interview or long teaching demo
  • Bookings are usually available from the start
  • Teachers may cancel classes up to 4 hours in advance without penalty
  • Teaching materials provided

Cons:

  • Pay rate dependent on location – much lower for teachers outside North America/UK
  • Must have a degree and teaching certificate
  • Booking rates can drop off
  • Termination if rating from students drops below a 9.5 average – no chance to appeal unfair ratings
  • History of changing contracts and cutting pay
  • Must be comfortable teaching both adults and children
  • Have to deliver lessons even if no students are present (no shows)
  • Minimum commitment of 6 peak hours a week (including 4 on weekends)
  • Technical issues without adequate support

Is TutorABC Legit?

TutorABC is a legitimate online English teaching company, founded in 2004 and incorporated in 2008, that has employed over 30,000 teachers from 135+ countries to deliver 180 million classes to 200,000 TutorABC students between 5 and 65 years of age.

Is TutorABC the Same as iTutorGroup?

There is some confusion online as to whether TutorABC is the same company as iTutorGroup. Both brands were owned by Ping An Insurance Group, with iTutorGroup operating as the parent company in China while TutorABC concentrated on the Taiwanese market. However, as of 2021, the two companies have split, though they still bear a resemblance in their previously-shared policies, practices and culture that have carried over.

Where Is TutorABC Based?

The TutorABC headquarters is in Taipei, though the company is incorporated in Hong Kong, while TutorABC online teaching is delivered to students in Taiwan and Japan.

How Much Does TutorABC Pay?

TutorABC teacher pay is based primarily on location. Below is the TutorABC pay rate for the 5 countries the majority of ESL teachers come from:

NationalityPay per 25-minute classPay per 45-minute classHourly pay rangeHourly pay range (in USD)
USA$9.10-$10.80$12.70-$15.90$12.70-$21.60 $12.70-$21.60
CanadaC$11.90-14.10C$16.80-$21C$16.80-$28.20$13.24-$22.22
UK£7-£8.30£10-£12.50£10-£16.60$13.21-$21.92
South AfricaZAR61.3-72.6ZAR86-108ZAR86-145.2$5.41-$9.13
PhilippinesUS$2.60-$3.10*US$3.60-$4.50US$3.60-$6.20 $3.60-$6.20
*pay quoted in USD not PHP

An American teacher informed us they were offered a lower rate of $8.50 (for 45 minutes) and $6.40 (for 25 minutes) because they lived in Thailand, but their contract said the rate would be adjusted if their location changed.

On top of the TutorABC base rate, there are also Completion and Contribution Bonuses if you teach 5 hours a week and 20 hours a month respectively. The base and bonus rates increase as you teach more hours and move up through the 10 pay tiers (e.g. at 100 overall hours, 300 hours, 600 hours, 1,000 hours, etc.).

TutorABC Payment

The TutorABC salary is paid via wire transfer on the 10th of each month.

TutorABC Hours

TutorABC hours are available 24/7. You must commit to teaching 6 peak hours a week (including 4 on weekends). TutorABC peak hours are between 7.30-9.30pm (China Standard Time), Monday to Sunday, plus 8.30-11.30am and 1.30-4.30pm on weekends.

So long as you meet your minimum hours commitment, you will also qualify for the Completion and Contribution Bonuses that kick in at 5 hours a week and 20 hours a month respectively.

TutorABC English classes for ‘juniors’ (children) are one-on-one and last 25 minutes, while adults classes are 45-minutes long and can be delivered either one-on-one or to groups of up to 6 students. TutorABC teachers must be willing to teach both age groups.

Booking rates for TutorABC English teachers are reportedly good to begin with but can drop off.

The TutorABC cancellation policy is quite flexible, allowing teachers to cancel 4 hours in advance of a class, while vacations can be booked through the TutorABC teacher portal with a week’s notice. There are still fines for lateness or no shows.

From April 2022, Tutor ABC’s new Student Absence Policy requires teachers to deliver a lesson even if no students have shown up. The normal rate is paid, though no ratings are left in such instances.

TutorABC Requirements

These are the TutorABC teacher requirements to apply:

  • TutorABC recruit English speakers at an idiomatic level (including Non-Native Speakers)
  • Bachelor’s degree or above (Education majors preferred)
  • TESOL/TEFL/CELTA/Teaching License (or equivalent); PGCE & QTS are highly preferred
  • Recognized teaching experience (online preferred)
  • Commitment of 6 peak hours per week (including 4 on weekends)
  • A desktop or laptop computer with Windows or MacOS

Another one of the TutorABC teaching requirements after being hired is to wear a dark blue polo shirt for all classes, as modeled below:

To continue your TutorABC employment you must maintain an average rating of 9.5 from your students and not receive more than 1 complaint for every 50 classes you teach, otherwise you risk termination.

TutorABC Application Process

The TutorABC hiring process is mostly automated and so can be completed in one sitting within half an hour.

To start your TutorABC consultant application to become a tutor, visit the TutorABC application portal and click ‘Sign Up’. You will be prompted to enter your email address and create a password.

Once your account has been created, you will have to complete a short TutorABC teacher application form by submitting the following information:

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Gender
  • Date of Birth
  • Nationality
  • Current Location/Country of Residence (this will be verified upon onboarding)
  • Cell Phone Number
  • Highest level of education
  • How much teaching experience do you have?
  • Aside from ESL teaching, what fields do you have experience in?
  • Can you speak Chinese and what is your ability level? (for bilingual courses)
  • Do you have any teaching certificates? Yes/No
  • Referral Code (if applicable)
  • Where did you here about TutorABC?

After clicking the ‘Submit’ button, you will receive an immediate response. If you pass this screening, you will be presented with the pay rate in your home currency and peak hours for your time zone. At the bottom of the screen will be the option to ‘Attend Automated Interview Now’.

TutorABC Interview

To complete your TutorABC job application you must record your video interview, which is automated. This can be taken whenever you are ready.

Before the interview begins, you will have to run a quick TutorABC IT test. Make sure you have allowed access to your camera and microphone and are using a clean Chrome browser, as we had problems with too many extensions installed.

The first section of the TutorABC interview comprises 7 questions – 4 questions about you, your background and personality, and 3 scenario-based questions where you will have to act out how you would deal with that situation in the classroom. The second part of the interview is an English proficiency test with 5 multiple-choice questions.

You can think about the questions before pressing the ‘Start’ button. This initiates a countdown before giving you 60 seconds to provide your answer. If required, you can re-record your response.

Upon completion of the consultant test, the TutorABC recruitment team will review your interview and let you know of the outcome within 24 hours.

TutorABC Interview Questions

Here are the TutorABC automated interview questions that we were asked:

  1. Please tell us about any pertinent details regarding your work experience, educational background, or personality when it comes to teaching. We want to know about your teaching experience and your teaching style.
  2. What are your strongest personality traits?
  3. Do you think that teachers truly can have an impact on their students’ lives?
  4. If you could travel to any country in the world and live there for 1 year, where would you go and why?
  5. What would you do in the following mock scenario: John is a 6-year-old boy, level 1, he can’t sit still for a second. He’s jumping around, bouncing around everywhere. How would you take his energy and engage him in the class? Please act it out. (You may try to use TPR and props to make your session more interactive and fun)
  6. What would you do in the following mock scenario: Imagine you’re teaching David, a 6-year-old boy, and you ask him “How are you?” He repeats your question. What would you do to elicit a response from him, to help him answer the question rather than repeat it? Please act it out. (You may try to use TPR and props to make your session more interactive and fun)
  7. At your normal speaking speed, please now read the text on the screen: Please call Stella. Ask her to bring these things with her from the store: Six spoons of fresh snow peas, five thick slabs of blue cheese, and maybe a snack for her brother Bob. We also need a small plastic snake and a big toy frog for the kids. She can scoop these things into three red bags, and we will go meet her Wednesday at the train station.

And these were the TutorABC proficiency test questions with their possible answers:

  1. Students sometimes mispronounce words which have the same spelling but a different meaning, such as to record / a record, to present / a present. Choose answer from:
    • Practising linking
    • Distinguishing parts of speech through stress
    • Practising groups of consonant sounds
  2. Match reader actions with different ways of reading – They look at how the information is structured by noticing headings or introductory phrases.
    • deducing meaning from context
    • identifying text organization
    • reading for main ideas
  3. Match the examples of teachers’ language with the uses – You remember the ‘fair’ rule, don’t you, everyone? This is a test, remember. So only look at your own work, please.
    • Language for eliciting
    • Language for maintaining discipline
    • Language for setting the scene
  4. Match the classroom activities with the reasons for using pictures in class – Students, in groups, look at pictures painted by famous artists and express their opinions, using dialogue which they learned earlier to support them.
    • to raise awareness of intonation
    • to provide linguistic support before receptive skills work
    • to provide controlled spoken practice
  5. An achievement test assesses:
    • how well learners have learned what has been taught in class
    • if learners are at the right level to sit a public exam
    • whether students are ready to start learning a language

Working for TutorABC – TutorABC Teacher Reviews

The TutorABC Glassdoor page gives the company an average rating of 3.5 out of 5, with 57% of those who work for TutorABC willing to recommend them to a friend. There are generally positive comments about the flexible schedule, the students, teaching materials, and reliable payment. The list of TutorABC complaints includes the problematic rating system and company’s tendency to side with the students/parents, poor management, changes to contracts and rules, pay cuts, erratic and declining booking rates, and high teacher turnover.

Here are a sample of these TutorABC reviews:

Additional insights can be gleaned from teacher groups on Facebook. This TutorABC job review on there warns about a drop-off in bookings, the threat of low student ratings, lack of technical support, fines, and the company’s prioritization of the customer over its tutors:

We were contacted by a former TutorABC employee, who also drew attention to the poor support they received from the company, particularly when technical issues would be blamed on the teachers and resulted in lost earnings:

Conclusion – Is TutorABC Worth It?

It is hard to recommend a company where its own teachers do not trust it. There is clearly disillusionment from those who have worked for TutorABC over issues of pay cuts, contractual changes, a punitive rating system without adequate appeal process, and the appeasement of students/parents at the expense of teachers. It is hard to not to be left with the impression that the company sees its educators as a disposable and easily-replaceable commodity, and has little care for their wellbeing. The lack of job security, with the threat of student ratings hanging over teachers’ heads like the proverbial ‘Sword of Damocles’, means TutorABC does not seem worth it unless you have exhausted all other options.

If you wish to join TutorABC, visit the TutorABC sign up page.

A list of non-China companies can be found here.

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