Become a Cambly Tutor: How to Get a Job Tutoring ESL Online
If you’ve ever wanted to teach ESL online but you don’t have much experience, then keep reading! Cambly is a great ESL job especially if you are just starting out in the world of online teaching. I recently started teaching online with Cambly in order to make some extra money in the afternoons. It’s a great job and so far I really enjoy it. Here’s how you can become a Cambly Tutor too.
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What is Cambly?
Cambly is a bit different than the other company I work for. With VIPKid I only teach children in China but with Cambly I teach adults from all over the world. I’m currently on the waitlist to also tutor with Cambly Kids but it’s a long waitlist and I haven’t been accepted yet.
Cambly is an online learning platform where people from all over the world can learn English. This means that while with VIPKid I have to work around China’s timezone, with Cambly I can work flexibly within my own time zone. This is why it was such a great opportunity for me since I live in Mexico. Now, I can supplement my income not only with early morning and evening classes (due to China’s difference in timezone) but I can work at any time of the day that I want to.
Pros of Working with Cambly
- You get to teach adults. Personally, I prefer teaching children, but teaching adults is nice because adults are generally well-behaved and actually want to learn. Some of the middle school kids I teach with VIPKid clearly just don’t want to be in class. They’re only there because their parents are forcing them to be. So with adults, generally, you have well-behaved people who genuinely care about learning.
- You can make your own schedule. This is actually typical of most online ESL teaching jobs. With Cambly you have no minimum amount of hours that you have to work per week so that means that you can take a full week off whenever you need to.
- You can teach at any time of day. This is my personal favorite part of working with Cambly. With Cambly I don’t have to only work really early in the morning or late at night like I do with my other jobs. I can work any time of day. Generally, I choose to teach in the late morning or early afternoon, but you can customize your schedule so that it works best for you.
- You don’t need any previous teaching experience or a degree. Your official title on Cambly is ‘Cambly Tutor’, not ‘Teacher’, which means they accept almost anybody. You just need to have a native or fluent level of English to teach ESL with Cambly.
- Even though you prepare your own lessons, most of it is just conversation practice. You basically get paid to be an online friend!
- You don’t have to be from Canada or the USA to tutor with Cambly. You can be from anywhere.
Cons of Working with Cambly
- Since you don’t need experience or a degree, the pay is less than other online ESL jobs. With VIPKid and SayABC the pay is anywhere from $16-$22 USD per hour. With Cambly it’s just $10.20 USD per hour.
- You get paid per ‘talk time’ not per hour that you’re available or waiting for a student. Cambly pays per ‘talk time’. This means that if you have a student who has reserved a class for you and they don’t show up, you will only get paid for 15 minutes of waiting for them, but nothing more than that (that’s only $2.55USD). If you are in a Priority Hour (this is when anyone can call you and you have to answer all the calls that come to you) and you only teach for 30 minutes of the hour, you will only get paid for 30 minutes.
- Some Free Trial Students can be really awful. I’ve talked to many Free Trial Students who have been amazing and have since started paying for regular Cambly lessons. However, sometimes perverts will pretend to be Free Trial Students and will actually just be performing sexual and inappropriate acts as soon as both your cameras turn on. This happened to me once where I thought I would be speaking to a potential student and let’s just say that when I logged on, the student’s face wasn’t what I saw.There is a way to deal with this though! To avoid awful things like this happening during a Priority Hour, make sure you first go into your settings and block all trial students’ cameras as a default. If something like this does happen, you can ban a student from Cambly for life. That’s what I did. Once you have a good set of regulars you won’t necessarily need to do Priority Hours anymore. You can just stick to teaching Regulars through Reservations. (There’s more of an explanation about Priority Hours versus Reservations below).
- You have to prepare your own materials. Cambly isn’t like VIPKid or SayABC, where there’s a bunch of Powerpoints already ready for you to teach. The nice thing about Cambly is that it’s mostly just conversation practice sessions so there’s never too much to prepare. Cambly also has a massive library of resources, worksheets, dialogues and activities that you can send to your students in the chat section of your class with them and then you can do the activities together.
How to Get Hired as a Cambly Tutor
Cambly’s application process is so simple and easy. All you have to do is fill out some basic information about yourself. Then, you’ll be asked to record a short introduction video of yourself. This video will be shown to potential students so they can get to know you a bit before they choose to book a class with you. Next, you will just have to wait for a few days (or weeks depending on how many new tutors Cambly needs) to hear back and see if you’ve got the job.
Tips for Your Introduction Video
First off, here is a link to my own introduction video in case you want to see an example. Here are some tips on things to do when you make your own video:
- Introduce yourself using your first name. This one is pretty obvious but if you’re nervous about filming yourself, then it’s still good to keep in mind.
- Talk about where you’re from and what languages you speak. It’s sometimes good to mention if you speak any languages other than English. This shows that you have experience learning a foreign language too and that you may be able to offer extra assistance to people who speak your second language and who are trying to learn English.
- Talk briefly about your schooling, qualifications, and teaching experience. If you don’t have a TESOL Certificate or teaching experience, make sure you find a way to talk about what makes you a great English Tutor.
Priority Hours versus Reservations
Ok, so what’s the difference between Priority Hours and Reservations? In your schedule, you can open up something that’s called Priority Hours in one part of the portal. Once you open a Priority Hour, say for 11 am, you need to show up and be ready to teach from 11 am-12 pm. For the full hour, you will basically be ‘on-call’. Any student will be able to call you and you need to answer every single call that comes your way. Some of the students may want to just have a 2-minute chat with you and some might want to have a 30-minute discussion. To be prepared with these conversations, it’s a good idea to have a document or piece of paper filled with conversation starters and questions that you can ask your student so that the conversation doesn’t lull.
The other way you can teach with Cambly is by opening up Reservation hours. These are hours that you can teach ONLY if someone reserves a class with you. People can actually make reservations with you within your Priority Hours too. Remember, with Priority Hours, you need to be available to teach for the whole hour. With Reservations, you can say that you’re available from 11 am to 2 pm for example, but it could be that you only get booked to tutor students from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm. If this is only within your Reservation hours and not your Priority Hours, you don’t have to show up until your first class starts at 11:30 am.
The best thing you can do when you’re first starting is to open up as many Priority Hours as possible. This will give you access to a ton of students who will hopefully book sessions with you again. Once you’ve taught a good amount of Priority Hours and have a steady stream of regular students, you can stop doing Priority Hours if you wish, and just open up Reservations.
Other Posts You Might Like:
- Get Hired to Teach ESL Online with VIPKid and Work from Wherever
- SayABC: How to Get a Job Teaching ESL Online to Work from Wherever
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