How to Teach English Online from South Africa in 2021

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So much of our audience is South African, that I decided to help our readers with our “How to Teach English Online” South African edition.

South Africa is often a country overlooked by online ESL job providers because it is sometimes seen as a non-native English-speaking country. However, we have searched high and low on the internet and found a few well-known companies that hire those from South Africa.

TEFL Certification for South Africans

Before we talk about the companies that hire South Africans, we’d first like to remind you about getting a TEFL certificate. When you become TEFL certified, you have a much greater chance of getting hired by a company.

A TEFL course I highly recommend for South Africans is the 168-Hour TEFL Academy Course. This high-quality, level 5 course will ensure you stand out above everyone else, and a lot of South Africans take this course when they want to teach abroad or online. For more information about The TEFL Academy courses, see my TEFL Academy Review.

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the top ESL jobs for South Africans. These major companies pay in US dollars, so sign up for a suitable payment system like Payoneer.

Teach English Online From South Africa: Companies Hiring

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1. Magic Ears

  • Requirements: one year of teaching* experience, TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certificate, degree required
  • Pay: up to $12 per hour
  • Equipment: laptop with high-speed internet, headset, webcam
  • How to Apply: fill out your information, complete a recorded interview, teach at a trial demo.

Magic Ears is an online ESL company for children between the ages of 4-12 years old. Teachers will be tutoring ESL to kids in China.

While it is not mentioned on their website, it is believed that Magic Ears pay up to $12 per hour for teachers from South Africa.

Magic Ears requires teachers to have some kind of ‘teaching’ experience. This does not have to be the traditional teaching experience. Coaching, volunteering, and mentoring experience all apply.

Magic Ears operates a 4-on-1 model, which means that teachers have up to four students in the classroom. Lesson material is provided and the company books the teacher’s classes, so they can guarantee a regular schedule.

The peak hours (busiest time slots) are between 7 pm and 9 pm (GMT+8) Beijing Time. This is from about 1 pm to 3 pm South African time. You can convert this to your timezone here.

For more information about Magic Ears, see our Magic Ears review.

Apply to Magic Ears.

2. Landi English

  • Requirements: Teaching experience preferred, TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certificate, degree required
  • Pay: up to $12 per hour
  • Equipment: laptop with table internet (2 Mbps download speed and 2 Mbps upload speed), headset, webcam
  • How to Apply: Submit your CV, do an interview, complete orientation and profile

If you speak English at an idiomatic level and have a neutral accent, Landi English may be the online ESL company for you.

Landi English is an online ESL company for children between the ages of 5-10 years old. Teachers will be tutoring ESL to kids in China.

Landi English pays teachers between $10-$18 per hour. Teachers are required to teach a minimum of 12 hours per week, spanning across a four-day period.

There are usually two students in each class. Lesson material is provided by the company.

The peak hours (busiest time slots) are between 6 pm and 9 pm (GMT+8) Beijing Time. This is from about 12 noon to 3 pm South African time. You can convert this to your timezone here.

Apply to Landi English.

3. Palfish

  • Requirements: Teaching experience preferred, TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certificate
  • Pay: set your own rates, average is $10-$18 per hour
  • Equipment: laptop with table internet (2 Mbps download speed and 2 Mbps upload speed), headset, webcam
  • How to Apply: Submit your CV, do an interview, complete orientation and profile

Some teachers have even made Palfish work for them.

Palfish is an app which allows native and non-native teachers to earn money teaching ESL.

Palfish has a freetalk part of the app which enables non-native speakers to earn money by receiving calls from native and non-native speakers.

This can actually become quite lucrative. While the average teacher earns $10-$18 per hour receiving these calls, other teachers decide to charge a higher rate of up to $45+.

Teachers can expect to receive calls from children and adults. Palfish requires teachers to do some marketing on their social feed, so that students can find teachers more easily.

Teachers can very flexibly add times to their schedules for when they can work. Teachers can work around the clock but be mindful that most of the audience who use Palfish live in China. There are no minimum hours required and teachers can set their own rates.

See my Palfish review for more information about Palfish. You can download the app on your phone or tablet by searching for it on your app store.

4. Cambly

  • Requirements: No qualifications required, TEFL/TESOL/CELTA preferred
  • Pay: $10.20 per hour for teaching adults, $12 per hour for teaching children
  • Equipment: High-speed internet, headset with microphone, webcam
  • How To Apply: Create your profile and upload a video introduction, wait for account approval

Cambly is a great choice for teachers who need to fill in there extra hours, as it operates on a 24/7 basis.

Cambly enables teachers to meet students from all over the world. This means that your day could involve teaching a Japanese college student, a Turkish businessman, or even a Saudi Arabian prince! (I’m sure this is not common– but I’d thought I’d throw it in there!)

This job focuses on conversational English, although some students have other requests. The job is quite relaxed, and teaching material is available on the platform if teachers decide to use it.

There is an option to teach children on Cambly. If you do not wish to teach children, you can engage with adults on the platform. Teaching children requires you to take a seperate recorded demo lesson.

Apply to Cambly.

5. Dada

  • Requirements: neutral accent, Bachelor degree, TEFL/TESOL/CELTA preferred
  • Pay: $12-$22 per hour
  • Equipment: High-speed internet, headset, microphone, webcam
  • How To Apply: Fill their online application, take an interview, submit documentation and background check

Dada is an online ESL company for children between the ages of 4 to 16.

Dada pays teachers between $12-$22 per hour. The more hours teachers work, the more they get paid. Each class is 25-minutes long and teachers are expected to complete a feedback report at the end of each class.

Dada allows teachers to have one-on-one classes with kids. These are regular classes that allow teachers to have the same students for many months, if not years!

I’ve personally worked with Dada for over a year and a half and I love my students so much. The disadvantage I’ve found is that the company pay was cut drastically as a result of the pandemic.

Apply to Dada.

Advice for South African Teachers

There are many online teaching companies out there; just be vigilant, and the right opportunity will come knocking on your door!

Teachers can also choose to go freelance or independent, and join a site like Preply.

Other companies such as VIPKid are currently taking on teachers from South Africa on a trial basis to see how things go. With that in mind, there is a company for everyone!

In Conclusion

Teaching English online is certainly a fun, interesting career to have. But there are some downsides; for instance, you have to manage your own taxes, be motivated to work and accept the conditions of the online ESL companies.

On the other hand, you have great freedom to live and work from the comfort of your home, travel, and learn about those from other cultures and backgrounds.

Nevertheless, teaching English online is a great part-time gig and can even be made into a full-time job if you are serious about it.

I hope I’ve been able to answer your questions about how to teach English online from South Africa. Find out more about teaching English online below.

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I am a 24-year old online ESL teacher from rural Ireland. I started teaching in 2016 and have since taught in the UK and Europe. This blog aims to help educate you on the existing possibilities of becoming an online teacher. Please show some love and support by sharing this article with others. Thank you!

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