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Tutoring English Online with FluentBe

One of Europe’s fastest-growing online teaching platforms, FluentBe has emerged as a great option. What’s it all about, and what do teachers need on their CV to get started?

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While there are all kinds of English teaching platforms available online, you might see something of a theme. Certainly, the interest in English within Asia is enormous, exemplified by platforms like Engoo, VIPKid and more. There are platforms like LatinHire, which cater to the growing Latin American TEFL market. The platforms available for users all around the world are plentiful, but platforms specific to Europe are harder to come by - enter FluentBe.

Founded and based in Warsaw, Poland, FluentBe is an impressive outfit that caters to a range of nationalities within Central Europe, though Polish adult students are a significant demographic. With fantastic reviews from tutors and tutees alike across Google, Facebook, Trustpilot and more, it’s clear that FluentBe has quickly become a popular English teaching platform.

Its popularity with students may come from the quality of teachers it recruits. FluentBe hires teachers with prior teaching experience, a bachelor’s and some experience of using facilities like Zoom in a professional context. We’ll cover the requirements in more detail, but with 95% of customers stating they’d recommend FluentBe (according to reviews), it’s clearly a recruitment process that works for everyone.

So how do ESL teachers get involved with the online teaching experience on FluentBe? Are there flexible working hours, like with other TEFL platforms? What teaching resources are available, and what requirements do you need beyond a good internet connection, hardware and a reliable computer?

Let’s find out!

FluentBe: An Overview 

While FluentBe doesn’t provide a comprehensive company history on its website, it is easy enough to find out how it came to be. Founded in 2015 by Jacek Perkowski and Milosz Ryniecki, FluentBe “...create unique value by combining both the advantages of a traditional school with the latest tech advancements”, according to Crunchbase

Providing both one-to-one and group lessons, with up to four students learning at a time, FluentBe’s easy-to-use interface and HD-quality lessons have found their intended market within Europe. With rounds of investment bolstering the company’s physical space and market share, FluentBe continues to grow, with the EdTech sector in general showing now signs of slowing down.

According to FluentBe, there have been over 200,000 completed lessons on the service. English lessons are performed by teachers from a range of countries, meaning that you don’t need to be a native speaker, and for learners, you can learn from, for example, a Polish teacher if you also speak Polish.

Accessibility is also a big factor: you can join FluentBe from anywhere in the world, and their platform can be used on a tablet, so you can even do lessons on the go!

What are the requirements to teach with FluentBe? 

So what do you need to work for such a reputable online language school? FluentBe are in the habit of recruiting qualified English teachers. As you’ll see, though, it’s not just native English teachers who are required to teach English on FluentBe.

Bachelor's degree 

To be a FluentBe tutor, you need to be a qualified teacher. Therefore, you’ll need a degree. Specifically, a degree in English/English literature will do the trick. 

TEFL certification

You must have a TEFL certificate in order to teach with FluentBe. The industry standard is 120 hours of TEFL training, but given the strict requirements of the platform, having a Level 5 Diploma or above will be beneficial.

Equally, an advanced TEFL certificate, specifically one pertaining to teaching English online, may help you stand out.

Native/non-native

Interestingly, FluentBe wants you to be a native speaker, just not necessarily of the languages you might expect. If you’re a native speaker of English, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Spanish, Portuguese or Hungarian, then you’re eligible. So, non-native English speakers can apply, provided they’re from one of the nations mentioned above.

Experience

You need one year of teaching experience to be accepted. Specifically, if you’ve taught adult learners, and have some online teaching experience, then that’s also a plus, as it’s mainly adults on the platform. If you’re looking for online teaching opportunities without experience, FluentBe isn’t the best option.

Download our teaching English online guide

FluentBe Job description 

So what’s it like to actually teach on FluentBe? Well, the first thing worth mentioning is how classes are conducted.

Typically, lessons are conducted one-to-one or in small groups, with a maximum of four students. Classes take place online, through platforms including Zoom, and last for an hour at a time.

You’ll be teaching mostly adults, and teaching resources are provided, including lesson plans. The primary goal of classes is to spark conversation, build confidence and get learners talking; whether that’s to you, or in many cases, to one another. More specific goals can be achieved with tailor-made learning programmes, whether it’s in business English, exam preparation or general proficiency.

While it’s mostly adults who use the platform, that’s not to say there aren’t younger learners. Courses for children over 7 years old and teens are designed with exam preparation and schooling in mind, so young ones can keep up with their lessons at school and thrive when it’s exam season.

Peak hours are between 4pm and 10pm, Central European Time.

How much can you earn teaching English with FluentBe? 

FluentBe pays a salary of $10/£8 per hour, rising to $12.50/£10.20 depending on experience and time served with the company. Group classes can garner a higher hourly rate.

Regularity and method of payment is negotiable, as is typical for teaching English online.

The application process for FluentBe  

Clearly a forward-thinking, profitable online language school, FluentBe is seeing plenty of interest from qualified English teachers. Just how do these qualified English teachers actually find work with the company, though?

Let’s explore!

How do I apply? 

The first step to finding work with FluentBe is using their online application form. You’ll need to provide basic information at first, including your name, address and, of course, your CV, which should be kept to two pages or less.

From that point, you’ll need to declare your level of education and abilities in other specific languages. Then, you’ll need to test whether you’ve got a stable internet connection: this is hugely significant, as it directly affects the quality of your lessons!

Interview process 

If your application passes muster, and you have a good internet connection, you’ll be asked to take part in an interview with FluentBe. The interview itself is very straightforward; you’ll be asked typical questions including “Why do you want to work for us?” and “Why do you want to teach online?”. Make a good impression, and the next step will be up to two demo lessons.

FluentBe Demo Lesson

A big part of the FluentBe hiring process is a demo lesson, or indeed two demo lessons, that make up part of the overall interview. You will almost certainly have to provide demo lessons if you are hired by FluentBe, which give prospective clients a flavour of what your teaching goals are, your desired outcomes, and some background on the company.

In essence, your application demo lessons will have to follow a similar path. You’ll need to introduce yourself to a client - in this case, a real English language student - explain your career trajectory to this point, your specific interests in terms of language learning, and ask the client to speak about themselves.

Though these demo lessons shouldn’t last longer than 10 minutes, there’s still plenty of time to ask the client about their own lives, their motivations for learning English and what they want to achieve. Ideally, you should have a good picture of the client and their goals by the end of the demo lesson. Certainly, they should have a very clear idea of what you offer as a teacher.

If you successfully navigate your demo lesson (or lessons!) then you’ll be asked to join the FluentBe team.

What to consider before you start 

It all sounds extremely straightforward, working with FluentBe, and it’s certainly an interesting option for any online teacher who meets all the job criteria. However, as with every company, there are some essential factors to consider.

Do I have the right technology?

We’ve already covered the importance of a good internet connection, but to really thrive on FluentBe, you’ll need more than that. For starters, you’ll need to have access to a computer with recent software updates, a webcam and a headset (or, separate headphones and a microphone). Ideally, you’ll have a decent amount of memory; this way, the computer will perform to its maximum, and you can save lessons onto your hard drive.

Do I have the right amount of time to teach?

Or, perhaps more to the point: what’s the goal, here? If your aim is to work full-time as an online teacher through FluentBe, you should be able to make a decent living teaching students. This, of course, is incumbent on being able to attract a sufficient number of students, with group classes paying more than solo lessons.

With a middling pay rate, working with FluentBe is worth it if you’re willing and able to put the time in. For more casual online teachers, it might not be the best option.

Is this the right company?

There are, of course, some idiosyncrasies to FluentBe that might mean it’s not suited to your tastes. For example, if you’re unable to work the peak times of 4-10pm, then you’re at a disadvantage. If you want to teach a specific age group, and don’t want to teach classes with multiple learners at once, then FluentBe probably isn’t the way to go.

Furthermore, if you’re looking to develop your own teaching materials, or you want to work on a dedicated learning platform, then FluentBe isn’t necessarily the best choice. However, if you can work the right hours, you don’t mind using Zoom, you’re open to all kinds of learners, and you want lesson materials given to you in advance, then this Poland-based platform represents a fine option.

FluentBe: Pros and cons 

As is the case for any online English teaching platform, there are advantages and disadvantages to FluentBe. What are they, though? When it comes to your own ambitions as an online English teacher, are any of these factors crucial for you?

Let’s explore.

Pros

  • Flexibility: Though there certainly are peak hours on the FluentBe service, there’s still a great deal of flexibility for TEFL teachers who want to dip in and out of online teaching.
  • Ease of use: If you can operate Zoom, and the FluentBe software, then you’ll have no problems.
  • Teaching materials: You don’t have to create your own teaching materials, which is a huge time saver!
  • Tech: You won’t need to buy anything beyond the typical online teaching set–up: webcam, laptop, headset and a decent computer is all you need!
  • Availability: You ought not to struggle for students, with FluentBe continually growing in popularity.

Cons

  • Requirements: to work on FluentBe, you need to be a qualified teacher. For newbies who want to give teaching a try online, this might not be the best option.
  • Salary: while the salaries available on FluentBe certainly aren’t the worst in the industry, they’re not particularly high either.
  • Peak hours: though there is a great deal of flexibility, you’ll really need to make yourself available during FluentBe’s peak hours to make the most of the service.
  • Creativity: while the provision of lesson plans and materials is a great thing, it might mean feeling stifled from a creative point of view.

FluentBe: Reviews

Reviews for FluentBe online are variable, and this is in large part down to the platform’s relatively recent emergence. The reviews that do exist are either very positive, or somewhat damning.

On Glassdoor, for example, FluentBe scores 4.4 out of 5 from just under 30 reviews. The service’s support team, customers and overall ease of use have garnered positive responses, but the low salary is a sticking point for several teachers.

Meanwhile, Indeed’s rating of just 2.3 out of 5 is very much affected by the extremely low number of reviews. In terms of what’s there, the responses dictate that while the pay isn’t great, the support team is very helpful.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q. How do I become a remote English tutor?

    The best way to become a remote English tutor and work online is by gaining a TEFL qualification. The industry standard is 120 hours of training. From there, you won’t find it hard to gain employment remotely!

  • Q. What are the requirements for FluentBe?

    You need to be a qualified teacher who speaks English, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Spanish, Portuguese or Hungarian fluently. You’ll also need 1 year of experience teaching non-English speakers.

  • Q. When are FluentBe’s peak hours?

    The peak hours of activity on FluentBe are between 4pm and 10pm, Central European Time.

  • Q. What salary is on offer at FluentBe?

    Typically, you can expect to earn $10/£8 per hour on FluentBe, rising to $12.50/£10.20 with experience. Group classes pay slightly more.