How can I help while doing it on my own schedule? With English being one of the most in-demand languages to learn, an increasing number of online platforms for teaching English to secondary learners have emerged.
Today, we’re going to take a detailed look into the application process for and what teaching English as a second language (ESL) to Chinese students happens to be like with the online platform GoGoKid.
The Classroom Conundrum
Before delving right into the application process and requirements, it seems best to offer a bit of background on whom exactly this online platform is designed for. GoGoKid is all about answering one question: How can I teach?
As someone working with students everyday in his own classroom, I go through the process of meeting many would-be teaching candidates as they substitute within my own school system. However, not many are certified, and the alternate certification routes can be intensive for some that want to interact with youth, teach, and inspire growth on their own schedule.
Because of the restriction commitment, it can seem incredibly difficult to be involved in different kinds of paid positions where you’re focused on helping the younger generations. Now, we have online companies such as GoGoKid that allow for an entryway for educated individuals to interact without having to fully reset themselves in their everyday lives. There’s no commute, and you’re not going to go through an uncertain process of substitute teaching where you might just be a glorified classroom sitter versus actual teacher.
GoGoKid is meant to take away these burdens while combining it with the convenience of a study abroad program in China. There’s no culture shock, but you get to work with eager Chinese students and shape their learning as a native speaker. You’re in the safety of your home, helping, and you’re making a difference.
If you’re curious about experiencing this educational pursuit, you really need look no farther and just keep reading along as we discuss the benefits that could be offered to you.
The Nitty Gritty Baseline Requirements
Before actually talking about the process, Gogokid sets out a few basic requirements that applicants should keep in mind before thinking about applying for a teaching position.
Gogokid doesn’t require a teaching certification, but you’re going to have to at least possess a bachelor’s degree in some form for consideration. Gogokid relies a lot on pitching your excellence to prospective families, so it’s a non-negotiable bargaining chip as far as education cut-offs go.
Additionally, there are some technical requirements that go hand-in-hand with the middle-of-the-road requirements on education. Neither operating system holds any bias against it; you’ll be using the later versions of the Mac OS (10.8x or higher) and Windows (7 or higher).
The rest are pretty standard requirements that one might expect for anyone planning to make video calls their career. You’ll need at least 4 GB of RAM with an Intel Core i3 or above in terms of CPU. Nothing too crazy for most computers even if the one you possess has a few years under its belt.
You’ll need a HD camera of some sort (internal or webcam) paired with a headset with a microphone that will be stable for the entirety of your classes. The two items are particularly stressed, so if you happen to have some older equipment (or any that might cut out) then you’ll want to consider upgrading prior to showcasing off any weaker equipment since it could showcase poorly in the to be discussed interviews and just in your continual evaluation going forward as you conduct class.
While this may seem like an obvious one; you’ll need a fast Internet connection. The required connection is a “Wired DSL Internet Connection – at least 20 Mbps.” I’m not sure how they could effectively screen this, so if you’re not dropping any calls that there shouldn’t be an issue again.
Google Chrome is also the recommended browser, so it’s highly suggested you go along and download it if you don’t have a copy already. While it’s only recommended, you can probably expect some compatibility issues otherwise that might pop up with the site or online classroom portal.
With all of this said, the pre-screening before you sign-up for an application doesn’t seem inherently that demanding for the service. If you have a college degree with a decent camera and headset to communicate with then you’re potentially a desired candidate potentially for Gogokid.
Of course, there often ends up being some additional nuance—and signing up shows some of the lurking elements.
Submitting Your Application: Basic Information
Once you’ve decided that you meet the baseline criteria and you feel confident, Gogokid has you create a standard account to begin the application process. The first questions are pretty standard affair for anyone who has ever done a job application before.
You’re going to enter your name, you’re going to confirm you can legally work in the United States, and you’re going to confirm there’s no potential visa situation that might make you inaccessible to work via your contracted period.
Following this, you’ll witness a question about your highest completed education level. From the introduction to Gogokid, it’s obvious that anyone not possessing a bachelor’s degree or above is removed from the equation. However, it does allow for lower education tiers as an option despite this.
I’m not sure if this was chosen to be included as an added screening device while looking through to test reading comprehension or otherwise.
However, I have seen a few annoyed user reviews where those with lower education requirements got frustrated about the process excluding them for this reason. As such, it seems likely that this was included for said reasons.
Next, you’ll include a phone number to be contacted by along with an email. You can substitute in an alternate email as well if you don’t want to use the one you registered with since you’ll be relying upon this for finding out when your scheduled interview time will be. It seemed like it was going to continue being very generic all in all until the online application funneled down into a very teacher-specific field arena.
Highly Qualified Candidates Preferred: The Teacher Section
After the standard information fields, the application becomes a lot more narrowed and specialized for the everyday applicant. If I didn’t possess an education background, I’d begin to think this part of the application instantly dismissed me.
However, it does allow for some wiggle room while still being biased towards more qualified candidates.
The first question drop begins with asking about the length of the applicant’s teaching experience or career. It begins with a small range of zero to six months while progressively climbing up in years until capping out at forty-five years of experience.
If I didn’t have the classroom experience that I possessed, the monthly field would at least help me regain some confidence that there was a buffer until the actual interview.
The following question clarifies exactly what type of K-12 experience that the applicant possesses. There’s four categories consisting of: I teach/have taught students in a K-12 school, I teach/have taught in a structured homeschool environment that supports federal K-12 education standards, I attended K-12 schools in the USA and/or Canada, or none of the above.
I was impressed that they’re recognizing teaching in a homeschool environment as valid experience. As long as parents do stick to the federal standards, an involved parent would definitely have a wealth of experience especially if they were highly invested for several years.
Still, the option to just have attended school does suggest they’ll consider someone who just knows and has experienced a classroom environment.
The final two entries are simply where the user heard about Gogokid. The majority are educational media outlets along with the standard that is Youtube/Facebook. It’s a nice de-escalating question right before the final question for the potentially nervous applicant.
As I would expect with any educational job requirement, the big essay question arrives last. Gogokid simply asks why the applicant wants to teach online. The text box gives just shy of three thousand words for the applicant to fully profess their desire here.
If you don’t have the in-classroom experience, this is clearly the area where they allow for a lot of effort for the less qualified candidates to catch their audience’s attention. Of course, with how job applications are read, it’s immensely important that the applicant writes a very convincing hook to draw the screener into considering them. Additionally, if you do have the classroom experience it gives a good amount of room to discuss what exactly you have and have not done in terms of student learning and growth.
Following this, Gogokid mentions the interview will come next, and we’ll look at what is contained within shortly along with sharing some related criteria for it.
As the application indicates as you complete it, Gogokid isn’t looking for only highly qualified candidates. You’ll be required to conduct a thirty-minute classroom session where you’ll showcase your teaching skills to a recruiter. Additionally, they “recommend that you enter the classroom 15 minutes prior to your scheduled time on the day of your interview to test your equipment.”
This initial interview will decide your basic rate depending on how it is evaluated. As a result, it’s important that any interested individual be sure to give himself or herself adequate time to prepare their end of the spectrum before entering the classroom setting. I would highly recommend mock preparation and practice sessions with someone in preparation simply because you’re risking being placed in a lower income bracket than your skills might indicate depending on one bad classroom session.
Interviews can be a little tricky to occur since they showcase for the next available four days. So, if it doesn’t work out you can check back daily for any tweaks until you find a slot that works for you. Regardless, the small window does allow you a little more preparation wiggle room for displaying yourself.
From Gogokid’s interview section website, it gives a very broad overview on what techniques you’ll be evaluated on: “Through the interaction with a foundation level student, you will utilize this opportunity to showcase your ESL teaching techniques, engage the student, elicit responses, complete sentences, and demonstrate classroom management.”
So, the base descriptor is pretty education field jargon-filled. In layman’s terms, you’ll work with a beginner level student to teach them English in an interactive manner while gauging responses, modeling how to use sentences, and managing your time as you go through the educational material to be covered. It can sound intimidating, but it’s all just a fancier way to describe you working through your lesson.
Gogokid does list a more extensive grading rubric, however; I’ll break it down for the most interested parties.
One-Star, Two-Star, Three-Star Rating
Gogokid provides a performance guide for applicants that breaks down to three rating types. Three-stars means you’ve passed, two stars means improvement is needed, and one-star suggests you are near failing the application process. These three star ratings are then applied individually to your classroom usage and explanation, teaching techniques, and presentability.
We’ll roughly break down the categories since they’re pretty jargon filled once again.
Classroom Usage and Explanation Mastery
At the first criteria breakdown, you’re going to be evaluated on how well you use your on-screen classroom via the Gogokid portal. First off, you’re going to have to grant the student stars (up to five when they’re doing well) to showcase mastery within the lesson. It’s implied that you can’t be too strict or stingy in giving them out in order to incentivize the student to feel like a success.
Afterwards, you’re going to have to use your own reward system to show the student that they’re doing well and exceeding expectations. You’re given freedom in what kind of reward you’re going to use, but you can assume rather easily that it’s something small that will have to be done on screen while also being suitable for a very young audience. All-in-all, it’s a small note to tell you to be prepared because you could easily have a student that could exceed your expectations.
The remaining parts are a bit more direct in terms of how you’ll be graded. You’ll be expected to make use of props and visual aids to help immerse the student in the English learning process. It’s pretty standard to see bulletin style boards with the alphabet posted, but you’re going to get more points the more creative you are (so long as it’s not too intense or busy).
Gogokid always wants you to extend and elaborate on your explanation of the content you’re covering in the class. To further clarify, you are going to adjust your classroom lesson time to the student’s understanding.
If they understand it well, you can ask more relative questions according to their skill level. If they don’t understand it, you’re expected to try explaining the content in different ways on the spot to further reinforce the subject. In short, you’re going to be following a very no child left behind approach on the lesson’s concept.
As an extension point, Gogokid reminds that the teacher make use of all of the online classroom functions including but not limited to a drawing tool, a text tool, and a color-changing add-on. The use of on-screen activities help further bridge the language divide without intimidating the student by making it as friendly and on-demand as possible. Finally, you’re just going to have to meet your lesson within a 25 to 28 minute time frame while meeting different student level needs (broken down by trial, core, assessment, and project classes) if you progress that far in.
Finally, you’re just going to have to make sure that you, as the educator knows the course content. You’re going to be scheduled for classes in advance, so you need to review the content to think of how to present it in the allocated time frame. This one goes without saying, but I’m sure they’ve seen some off-the-cuff interview performances before.
Teaching Techniques Mastery
The first criterion for your teaching techniques comes in the form of your non-verbal communication. As many students will be having you as their first foreign language teacher, it’s expected that you use your body language and gestures to further reinforce understanding. If you rely totally on your speech, you’re going to get a very lost student.
The remaining criteria are tie-ins to this along with re-statements from the first classroom grading area. If a student can’t understand, you need to slow it down. If they can understand, try to make it flow more naturally in such a way that the student is challenged.
The idea of appropriate vocabulary and instruction comes next. Don’t be excessively verbose, and deliver instructions in clear, short sentences. The fewer words the better as long as they’re guiding.
If a student makes a mistake still, you’re expected as an educator to correct them. Be encouraging to the student while constructive in such a way that the student doesn’t end up discouraged by the process. You also should make sure to keep the student’s attention throughout the lesson by making your information presentation as creative as possible.
You’re going to have to keep encouraging the students through this process. Additionally, you need to make the content digestible in small chunks. In short, you’re just being very careful of keeping the student involved and responsive to however you are presenting the material.
While a bit repetitive as far as grading criteria, it can help to consider these over as you think of the prospective students on a case-by-case basis.
The final area touches on the visual and aural responsibilities of the teacher.
Do Your Best to Be Presentable
The first bit of information that Gogokid touches on is that the student will be solely focused on you and the background in your camera shot. As such, you’re going to want to decorate with colorful, fun education props for the student to respond to. Basically, you have to use your common sense here not to go overboard, so you may want to talk to someone with some visual design experience if you’re unsure or look for reference.
The remaining details are pretty straightforward. Dress in a casual yet non-revealing way that is still professional. In short, remember you’ll be dealing with younger youth.
Additionally, make sure you have a good lighting source so that you’re clearly visible. You’ll need to be close but not too close that students can study your visual cues while on camera. You don’t want to scare off any students that might be intimidated by a foreigner that is too close.
Once more, remember to be friendly and smile since that is what will make your students feel invited. If you follow all the suggestions, you should hit into the higher grading criteria that will result in you receiving a more ideal payment.
With that being said, how payment works with Gogokid is definitely a point that needs to be touched on since it’s an incentive-based contract.
So, the first thing to note is the payment scale isn’t as black and white as you’ll be earning fourteen to twenty-five dollars per hour based off your application process. On the payment page, Gogokid gives the statement: “As an independent contractor, your payment includes class payment and participation incentives on a credit score basis.”
While it does give an equation for how you scale up to the mentioned amount, it doesn’t really talk about how you get higher credit. Instead, any applicant is left going to a third party source.
Roughly, it works like so:
“Your score starts at 100 and goes up to a maximum of 120. If your credit score reaches 110, Gogokid pays you 110% of your base pay rate. If your score reaches 120, they pay you 125% of your base pay rate.”
If you do well, you’re eligible for your score to go up. That’s why it’s important for teachers to follow-up appropriately with parents and otherwise provide top-tier classes. So if you’re not into giving this your all, your wallet won’t ever reach the pinnacle.
With money discussed, there’s really one final area to touch upon. So how actually is Gogokid?
Is it Worth Experiencing?
Before getting into this topic, I want to say foremost that this is very much a labor of love that you can make money from. If you’re considering spending some time teaching English abroad, it can help you bridge the discomfort gap slowly. It’s a great way, in short, to gain ESL experience.
With that said, looking around at reviews of other individual’s online experience with Gogokid seems to boil down to a very average experience. There are some pretty strict requirements, so you have an unhappy crowd for that. Additionally, there are plenty of people that just want to maximize hours from home but booking can be tricky.
A Glassdoor review showcases the concerns well: “I didn’t have a single booking for my entire first month, despite having over 20 hours a week of open time slots in peak times. Income is impossible to predict because students have to choose to take your class, you can’t control whether or not they sign up for you.”
There may be some booking concerns, and Gogokid is a fast-paced environment that demands a lot for its clientele. But if you look across YouTube, you will see many people that just openly love it. If you’re going at it from a purely financial perspective, I can’t recommend it unless you desperately want ESL experience.
Regardless, Gogokid is a legitimate English teaching opportunity for those that want to connect with kids from China. If you’re excited about teaching, it doesn’t hurt to at least give the application and interview process a try. It’s one class, and you don’t have to go for excessive hurdles to get there.
You’ll never know until you actually try Gogokid.