There are all kinds of online English teaching platforms; Cambly, Preply, Italki and so many more, that facilitate English learning with students of different age groups, requirements and proficiency. While ease of use and open access for all ages is undoubtedly a good thing, what if there was a platform specific to children, that could help them in school?
That’s where the Novakid ESL platform comes in. A company that places experienced teachers with 4-12-year-olds exclusively, Novakid caters to school pupils across the world, providing one-to-one lessons with qualified tutors at affordable rates. Focusing on the core principles of learning English – speaking, reading, writing and listening. With interactive online lessons, Novakid is designed to provide a flexible, low-pressure learning environment for kids.
What does it mean for TEFL teachers? Simply put, it’s a platform that’s excellent at developing core teaching skills, and adapting to the demands of young learners. What’s more, payment is quick and easy, there are opportunities to foster positive relationships with students located around the world, and set young people off to school with the confidence only a tutor can provide.
It sounds wholesome, and it is. Still, like every online teaching platform, it’s important to review objectively, examine the application process, and evaluate the pros and cons. How does Novakid stack up against the online teaching behemoths?
Starting in 2017, the international team at Novakid has seen exceptional growth over recent years, both through private investment and increased customer attention. With students in 50 different countries, 2,000 teachers are signed up to work for Novakid.
How has Novakid developed its strategy beyond some competitors? Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, machine learning, and AI. The “gamification” of English learning helps kids stay engaged with lessons while playing, while AI identifies “1,500 ‘micro-skills’”, monitoring factors to include English proficiency including “how well the child has mastered a particular grammatical structure” and “whether he/she often forgets words or pauses in their speech”.
Students take part in 25-minute sessions, which also include interactive games and quizzes. Whether a student is in a class or not, they can continue to play games, take part in “creative” homework assignments and, like Duolingo for example, maintains a points and rewards system for their online avatar.
If it sounds futuristic, it is. Yet, despite this very forward-thinking approach, some teaching fundamentals remain. As a teacher, you’ll be part of an international team that must engage with students, go over spelling, grammar, phrasing and so much more that they’ll need to progress in school and boost their English proficiency.
The focus is very much on fun and on maintaining linear progression, so while there are laughs and excitement to be had, it’s also a challenge for any teacher to match the energy of the material.
What are the requirements to teach with Novakid?
So, you want to become a tutor on Novakid? Compared to other online English teaching platforms, Novakid has a strict set of criteria for applicants. This is largely due to the nature of the platform being specifically for children, with discerning parents being the ones who sign their kids up for the learning service.
It’s not the same as other providers; while the likes of italki, Cambly and other ESL companies provide more casual, conversational and interactive online lessons of their own, Novakid has a very direct and specific curriculum devoted to improving children’s English skills and creating a comfortable environment for kids and parents alike. Experience working with children is imperative (teaching experience is particularly helpful) and there are other important criteria you’ll need to meet to have any hope of landing a job with Novakid.
To work with Novakid, you’ll need to hold a bachelor’s degree or higher.
A high-quality TEFL certificate with at least 120 hours of training is necessary to work for Novakid. A DELTA or CELTA qualification would also be accepted – if you have an international teaching certificate that’s properly recognised, you’ll meet the requirements.
Along with a BA degree and an appropriate TEFL teaching certificate, you’ll need to have at least 1 year of experience working with children to qualify for a role with Novakid. Online teaching experience isn’t a necessity, but the service describes teaching experience as a “plus” in its guide to the hiring process.
Can non-natives teach English with Novakid?
Yes, non-native English speakers can teach children on Novakid, provided they hold a BA degree or higher, and meet the other criteria, including an international teaching certificate. Working with non-native speakers as teachers can have real advantages, as those who have learned English themselves will have deconstructed grammar, punctuation and syntax that native speakers haven’t. It also means your child can get to grips with different accents, which will boost comprehension long-term.
As ever, online English teaching requires time and availability. To work with Novakid, new teachers must be able to commit to at least 20 hours of teaching per week. With a ratio of 500,000 students to around 2,000 teachers, being flexible and consistent is utterly vital.
You’ll also need to be computer-literate, have an understanding of modern teaching technologies, and have some understanding of gaming. Games are a crucial part of the Novakid experience; these interactive sessions can include video game interfaces (as shown here).
Talking of technology, if you’re stuck on Windows 98, you’re unlikely to be a viable candidate to teach in Novakid’s virtual classroom. Having a modern laptop or desktop computer, installed with the latest software, is clearly very important. A headset with listening and microphone functionality would be a major boost, although headphones and a microphone can be sold separately. A reliable internet connection means you’ll have no problems connecting to your students in the virtual classroom – if parents have paid for the privilege, it won’t go down well if your connection cuts off halfway into a lesson!
Novakid Job Description
What does a Novakid teacher do, then?
Lessons are typically 25 minutes long – the optimal amount of time to teach younger children – and in those lessons, you’ll be working to a set curriculum. To be a successful teacher on Novakid, you have to have energy, a sense of humour and patience. Again, these are young kids, so your ability to bond with them and keep them smiling and learning is absolutely crucial.
Depending on the age of the students, parents will observe classes. From ages 4-6, the parents will typically be on the call, and at any age, parents will observe the initial few lessons. As the service is used by parents, this is to be expected, and they’ll be able to help their child get through the initial stages of learning the language.
Novakid’s curriculum was designed by experienced ESL teachers and methodologists, and English is taught as though it was a native language. Through vigorous testing, and continued updates to the courses, Novakid maintains a curriculum that really works for younger school pupils and gives them the confidence to go into real-life classes and participate.
Different courses are available on Novakid for each student depending on age, which take place 2 or 3 times a week, depending on the level. There are also intensive courses to provide some extra help. These intensive courses include two lessons per week, for 5 or 7 months.
How much can you earn teaching English with Novakid?
Typically, Novakid pays teachers around £20/$25 per hour at the upper end of the scale, with experience and qualifications affecting your starting pay. There are bonuses, including stock options for teachers, which – given the growth of the company since 2017 – can pay out rather well.
Performance bonuses can also come into play if your students are progressing, and you’re gaining positive reviews from satisfied parents. There’s also a referral bonus – if you’re able to bring qualified, experienced teaching talent on board, there’ll be some money in it for yourself and the teacher you’ve referred.
Novakid also provides training opportunities to teachers, so the possibilities for career progression and, in turn, a bumper salary are always in play.
Discover additional information about the salary for teaching English online.
The Application Process for Novakid
There are five crucial steps for applying to work for Novakid, and working with the 2,000 other tutors that make the service one of the most reputable online English learning providers. So how’s it done?
How do I Apply?
Step 1: you need to set up your application through Novakid’s recruitment portal. Here, you’ll upload relevant documents, such as your degree certificate and teaching qualification, as well as detailing your employment history. Step 2: you must take an equipment test, ensuring you have all the necessary hardware and software to successfully teach on the platform.
If the company approves everything up to this point, you’ll be onto Step 3: an interview and demo lesson. If you have some teaching experience, this might not be too daunting – if you don’t, there are excellent videos on YouTube which will help you plan out a great demonstration.
The third step is a 25-minute interview with staff at Novakid, on the company’s meeting platform. This will include a 10-minute demo lesson, so be sure to brush up on techniques for teaching young learners, and what’s expected on the Novakid platform.
Some advice: it’s a great idea to become acquainted with Novakid’s YouTube channel. Here, you’ll get an idea of the presentation style, the types of lessons, and the overall tone of voice used on the teaching platform.
Based on your interview performance, you’ll be progressed to Step 4, completing a self-paced course to get you up to speed with Novakid, and to explore the methodologies and software on the online English platform. Provided that all goes to plan, you’ll be offered a contract, and then Step 5: you can start teaching!
Novakid: pros and cons
With any online platform, there are advantages and disadvantages. What does Novakid do well, and what stops it from being a perfect environment for teaching English online?
- Flexibility. While teachers are expected to be actively tutoring for at least 20 hours a week, this still means you can have an excellent work/life balance, and you’re not tied to a 9-5 schedule. Novakid teaches students from all over the world, so you’ll need to be flexible and adaptable to different time zones, but in terms of working life, you’ll find you have plenty of time to make the best of the platform.
- One-to-one teaching is also a major tick in the pro column for Novakid. As a teacher, there’s nothing better than seeing student progress in real time, and through regular, scheduled one-to-one lessons, you can make a tangible and lasting difference to a pupil’s learning experience.
- CV Building: To perform successfully as an ESL tutor on Novakid, you must be computer literate, excellent at learning new software and more than adept at teaching young students. Novakid also provide training opportunities to teachers, which sets Novakid apart from some of its online English teaching competitors.
- Novakid isn’t just open to native speakers. That’s an advantage, as some companies don’t accept even near native speakers.
- Payment. You can’t set your own rates, but Novakid pay well compared to some competitors, and there are incentives based on performance and the number of children you teach. Payment is regular and simple; a real plus!
No online English teaching platform in the world is perfect, however.
- Restrictive: While the set curriculum and lesson plans can be useful to newer teachers, more experienced ESL teachers might feel somewhat restricted by the platform. If you’re the experimental type, or have your own very determined ideas about what young learners should be taught, you might find Novakid to be abrasive with your own lesson plans and ideals.
- Range of student ages. Let’s be clear; this is a learning platform for kids aged 4-12. This’ll mean a distinct tone of voice when you speak to students and a lot of patience. If you want to teach adults, Novakid isn’t for you – the name’s a dead giveaway.
- Minimum number of hours: If your aim is to work online across platforms or fit online tutoring around full-time work elsewhere, Novakid might not be an ideal platform.
- Strict requirements: While they do assure that qualified TEFL teachers are working with children, the need for a degree and teaching qualification might rule out some talent who might’ve been ideal otherwise.
Reviews for the teaching experience and customer experience on Novakid are extremely mixed, with the platform eliciting some extreme reactions, both good and bad!
On Trustpilot, Novakid has a rating of 4.2 out of 5, with parents from a variety of countries around the world generally happy about their child’s experience. Teachers are generally described as friendly, lessons are engaging and though there are technical and pricing issues, the platform is generally reviewed well. On Glassdoor, Novakid has a 4.1 out of rating from employees, with many a review saying that the company compares favourably with other ESL platforms online.
On job site Indeed, however, Novakid doesn’t fare quite so well. A 3.1 rating is comprised of some very positive, but also overwhelmingly negative reviews. Some former employees have complained that attendance is too strict and that the company are too quick to penalise teachers who work hard but experience technical issues. There is also some discontent with the changes at the corporate level and in curricula. With this said, some teachers believe there aren’t unjust penalties, and that Novakid is the best online teaching company to work for, offering flexibility and linear career progression.
Based on reviews, it seems that the experience of teaching on Novakid can be extremely variable. Those who love it will willingly say so, but others are far from convinced. Customers, in the main, seem happy to recommend the service.