How I Earn $22/Hr Working Online (By Teaching English)

Updated on January 4, 2020
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I taught on Palfish for 2+ years, earning 4 figures monthly for about 20 hours per week. It was fun, culturally enriching, and lucrative!

What Is Online Teaching?

Teaching is a satisfying and impactful job
Teaching is a satisfying and impactful job

Around the non-Western world, there has been a tremendous rise in demand for English learning and an emphasis on "your English, your future" for young people. This makes for a fantastic opportunity for the English speakers of the world.

To satisfy the increasing demand, many English learning centers and companies have popped up in the past decade. While most are in-person schools, there has been a marked rise in online classes taught via video calls.

What is Palfish?

Palfish is a Chinese e-learning company specializing in early childhood education
Palfish is a Chinese e-learning company specializing in early childhood education

Palfish is an online learning platform that connects teachers with students (mostly Chinese children between 4-12 years old). Palfish is done entirely through an app, instead of a website or Skype. This makes it a lot simpler to set up your account and use on the go (if you are traveler). You can check out their app and website at the link below -


How Does It Work?

Lessons are one-on-one and last 25 minutes. You have lesson slides provided to you, which are typically animated, contains songs, short stories, and/or games to guide the lesson. Your job is the guide the student through the slides and correct their reading and pronunciation.

Most students are there to learn (Asia takes its education very seriously) and are really excited to meet a foreigner. There's a good chance you are the first Western person they have ever met! China is a closed-off and homogeneous country of 1.38 billion people. It will be as interesting for them as it will be for you, and I guarantee that you will learn a great deal about Chinese culture as well! I made many friends during my time with Palfish.

How Much Money Can I Make?

It is entirely dependent on the number of classes you decide to teach
It is entirely dependent on the number of classes you decide to teach

Of course, money is important. Let's break it down:

Palfish salaries are determined by how many classes you teach. This has two components: the number of time slots you choose to open in your schedule and the number of bookings you actually get.

In my experience, I had no trouble maintaining a full booking schedule for however many slots I had open. There is simply an incredible demand for English teachers, and China is the most populous country in the world by a very, very long shot (except for India).

Pay starts at $8 per class, or $16 per hour (each class is 25 minutes). If you choose to teach more more classes, you will earn more per class, up to $11 per class or $22 per hour. There is no scheduling commitment - just open your schedule and your time slots will be booked by the Palfish administrators, parents or even the students themselves.

How Much Did I Make?

In my first month as a teacher, I made $830. Two months later, I had nearly doubled my income to $1544, and my highest month was three months later in August, where I made $1971.

As the summer came to a close and my free time shrunk, I cut my schedule down to about 15-20 hours per week depending on exams and tests. In my first eight months on Palfish, I made an average about $1500/month, which was great spending money for a college student! Students and parents were constantly asking me to open more time slots, and I have no doubts that I could have doubled that income pretty easily. I personally know some Palfish teachers that made 6k per month.

Those numbers are possible because teaching classes isn't the only way to money on Palfish. You have the ability to offer individual lessons at your own personal rate, group lessons, paid live streams, etc. Perhaps I will write another article on these alternate income methods on Palfish at a later date.


So - What Do I Need?

  • TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate. This is the biggest hurdle, although you can do it online for about $10. If you are in the USA, check Groupon for TEFL deals. Don't let the TEFL requirement scare you - it's honestly super easy. It's mostly reading with some multiple-choice comprehension questions at the end of each chapter. You will receive a PDF certificate - just take a picture of it to upload to your profile and you're set.
  • Blue t-shirt. This is the official color of Palfish. You can use any shade of blue.
  • Phone or tablet to teach on. I highly recommend an iPad.
  • A colorful background for the room you teach in. The more creative, the more the kids will like it.
  • Enthusiasm and a smile! This is, honestly, one of the most important things. Kids and parents are looking for a friendly and engaging teacher that their children are comfortable with.


What DON'T I Need?

What's nice about Palfish is that you don't need a degree or any teaching experience to get started. I began as a college student with no experience, and I wasn't even that good with answering students' grammar questions! Fortunately, students are almost always concerned about correcting their pronunciation and practicing their conversation skills, so there's no need to worry about having a deep knowledge of English grammar or anything like that.

A knowledge of Chinese (the most common nationality you'll be teaching) is totally not required, either. In fact, you could get in trouble for speaking Chinese in class, since the students' parents are paying extra for an English-only environment.

You don't need a curriculum or lesson plan - it is all provided to you by Palfish! All you need is your face and English voice to guide the student along in the lesson.

The students are pretty cute!
The students are pretty cute!

Give It A Try!

When I first read about Palfish in a reddit comment, I thought it was a total scam. I'm glad I downloaded it and gave it a go - it gave me spending money during college, a solid financial footing post-graduation and really enriched my experience by exposing me to such an interesting and different culture. I really encourage you to at least try it out!

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      • Joanna14 profile image

        Christine Hulme 

        2 months ago from SE Kent, England

        Interesting idea. We had two young people staying with us once who did this (or similar) and travelled around during the Summer. A nice way to live perhaps, as you can do it anywhere. Will check it out.

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