I should have known better, with an International online tutoring program. We corresponded by email several times, got my ZOOM interview all situated, then the appointment day/time came and....the site had trouble logging me in. Then, it would not recognize the Interviewers ID (as provided in the emails) kept telling me "invalid ID" . A load of b.s.
I worked as a teacher for 51talk. With students able to book lessons 1/2 hour before they commence with NO NOTIFICATION sent to teachers it is a totally unworkable situation. And top it off with US$16 penalties if 1 second late for a lesson which only gives you US$7.50 you can continually owe more money than you make. Everything is setup for 51talk to extract fees and penalties from teachers.
Wake up 51talk and create notifications for teachers.........It is ridiculous the systems you have in place for any teacher to plan their day and have productivity.
The training is stupid, and the trainers can't even speak english properly. I don't know how these "trainers" gained experience teaching english when they can't speak it themselves.
You are not guaranteed a job and you can git fired in the so called "training". The final two sessions before the test are not training. You can lose your job there. The give some applicants chances to improve after they have given advice and re-do it. But I didn't get a chance. Due to this I was NOT PAID for the hours of time I wasted on this. DO NOT ASSUME YOU WILL BE PAID FOR THE TRAINING!!!!! My trainer was rude, and unresponsive to my mock lessons which made it difficult. The other teacher she helped and let re-do her slides (so inappropriate and unfair) did the same thing. I made sure to not respond to her mock class.
They want you to get the kids to memorize english and play stupid little games. THIS IS NOT LEARNING ENGLISH. I feel sorry for the families relying on this company to teach their kids.
Do not waste a second of your time on this pathetic company where they treat professional with advanced degrees that are native speakers so poorly. There is no time for this if you are actually INTERESTED IN IMPROVING YOUR TEACHING SKILLS. You area robot thats just meant to read a nonsensical script and play stupid games.
51Talk was showing red signs even before I started the training but I gave them the benefit of the doubt.
1. The first training was for 5 hours and this was with no pay.
2. The second training is with pay however, the trainees are required to do various tasks after the training. This tasks are time consuming and with no pay.
3. They penalize teachers for absences of $16 per session regardless of reason; doctor's or hospital's note are not accepted, they will penalize the teacher, period!
4.Poor communication. They will say one thing on an email and another thing on the next email.
5. It is difficult to get a hold of technical support. If a teacher is having an emergency, it is likely that the response time from tech support will take 12-24 hours.
6. Waking up at 3 in the morning to accommodate the time difference.
I work 2 jobs. I work as a teacher and I also work as a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist for foster children. I accepted the job offer from 51 talk as a gig and because I enjoy working with young children.
After the 3rd day of training with 51talk, I received a feedback on one of my tasks from the trainer at 1:00 A.M. PST. I was asked to redo my task and to submit it on the same day before 4PM PST. At 4 PM PST, I also had to attend the 51talk training. I did not have enough window to accommodate everything in such a short period of time so I messaged my trainer, Allan Zhang asking for a one time extension. The trainer, Allan Zhang was very unfriendly and unprofessional with his responses. But again, I gave him the benefit of the doubt and in order to ascertain the gest that I was getting from his messages. I reiterated and reworded my plea multiple times. However, my understanding was correct the first time. His main response was "other teachers were able to do it so, so should you" and "you should have done your task correctly the first time, then you wouldn't have to redo it". Allan Zhang continued by telling me that I had 15 hours to redo my task. I responded by asking him to reconsider just that "one time" and pointed out that the 15 hour he was referring to, includes my bedtime and my time at work. Again, I only asked for a one time consideration but Allan Zhang responded in an unethical and unprofessional manner.
To those who plan to work with 51Talk, think, think, and think again. The only "Pro" I see is that, if teaching is your passion, the job will give you a great sense of fulfillment....working with kids is happiness by itself. As for the rating, I would have given them a "Negative" if it was an option for the review.
To know an in-depth review of 51talk, please visit this page Https://www. facebook.com/51talk-Philippines-Stay-away-from-51talk-135843080371972
Basically, this company likes to use cheap gimmicks like bloated earning figures to attract applicants even if a starting teacher only earns P50 per class/lesson/student. While max earnings is only P66 per lesson/class/student not to mention it is a booking system - you have no control on who will book your class.
The company earns money off of the teacher by way of inhumane deductions from penalties on uncontrollable situations like power outages, internet problem, sickness and emergencies. The deduction are from P250-P300 per missed lesson/class/student. If you have 5 booked lessons then it's going to cost you big time. To add insult to injury, they would promise , during your on-boarding, to waive your penalties upon the presentation of a proof. But once you start your tenure, it is no longer the case.
There are a whole lot more infos in the link I posted above.
There no perfect company but 51talk is beyond imperfect but more on being shady and pathetic. Always remember that nobody in their right mind to write negative reviews about a company if there are none and a good/decent company will always speak for itself and doesn't need cheap gimmicks.
I got excellent reviews from my students, but my Evaluator gave me a zero. Also, they claimed I had absences which would cost me P1,000 for one week's hard work. I was not absent a single day and I had screenshots to help my case. If you work here, take screenshots of EVERYTHING. But I think you should just move on. They make you do free lessons supposedly for promotions. They only tell you that after you are launched. Also, the pay is really low. If you are gonna be exploited, do it for more money, because there will be many reasons that they will try to make you less valuable. I think students are the prime raters and the consistency of my five star rates from my students are more valuable to me than that of a hired Evaluator who may have an agenda. Just saying.
Deceitful company. They don't follow what it is in your contract. They will do as they please. 51talk may get away with what they are doing for now. But I'm pretty sure one day, karma will have its way with them.
Here is a link to their policy. This has only been consolidated and posted as of 6/15/17.
I have worked for 51 Talk for almost a year now and there have been some good and many very bad experiences.
To start with, the lesson plans are provided. They are obviously written in the Philippines and there are some small grammatical and fluency problems. That is not that big of a deal and the students actually seem to like having the teacher correct the flaws in the lesson.
Once you have been at the company for a while, getting student 'bookings' are not an issue. To begin with, though, you will struggle to find regular students and have to perform many 'free trial' lessons for potential students. These are mind-numbing as you will mostly be teaching colors or numbers to children with absolutely no English background and possibly no experience with online learning.
As stated in the policy page, students can both leave a review of you as a teacher and leave messages in a bulletin board (which I have never seen). This can be frustrating as bookings are very much determined by other student's review of you. For a beginner teacher, this can mean that one bad review will cause you to lack bookings for several days. There is no way of contesting a rating. So, as mentioned by others, if the student complains about their internet connection, it is poor reflection on you. This is indescribably frustrating.
I personally have never experienced the payroll issues that others have and have always received a wire transfer to a US bank within the posted time frame. (Once a month on the 12th)
The problems are if you experience any issue like connectivity or the need to cancel a lesson. If you read over the policies, they sound reasonable in theory. A small fee if you cancel a lesson over a day in advance and increasing the closer you get to the time of the lesson. The problem is that the attendance number to call in an emergency NEVER connects to a real person. I have tried it even when I wasn't missing a lesson just to test it. And if you try their support page to chat with someone, you will wait for at least an hour before you are connected to someone. The teacher support should be considered non-existent.
All this being said, I still work for them part time as does my wife, and I enjoy the regular students that take my lessons. I do feel that I have a good impact in their learning and actually have fun teaching them. I can attest to the honesty of the other reviews on this page and feel their frustration. If you are a self-sufficient worker and can intuit how to work their system, you can succeed with this company. If you can not, they will most likely cause a stress ulcer.
I was supposed to interview. We set a date and time, and the interviewer never called. I was told to reschedule. The interview failed to call again. Don't waste your time and effort!
Support offers no help. They are all full of scripted answers and you will realize they do not care about you. This company is out to make money on students hand over fist. There is no appreciation for the teachers. Lesson materials suck, so many improper translations; it is a total embarrassment.
The people, such as the recruiter and the trainers that I dealt with face-to-face were helpful, competent and friendly. The teaching was great and I had pages of 'excellent' student evaluations.
The day to day experience of deailing with the company outside of that was painful. There were endless tech and admin issues requiring disproportionate time and energy to deal with.
The real problems were the growing number of issues that, at first appeared to be glitches, or oversights but then were clearly signs of a business operating in bad faith.
Goal posts changed for promotions, required training - for promotion- became inaccessible (no bookings available for weeks and then when I booked in the trainer was not given my correct details and did not include me); hours trying to sort out payment in a timely fashion - within the standard pay cycle, which I thought was organised but I still have not received a transfer for well over 100 lessons. Slots automatically filled for Free Classes that I did open (I knew before I started I was away on these days) and then being told I would be billed penalties for these classes.
The students were great. The basic administration was hopeless and the policies reflected a complete lack of awareness of the distinction between employee and contractor as well as requirements of doing business in a global context today. Most of all though: payment. Work somewhere else if you want to get paid.
waste of time. they are a joke. not worth even wasting your time.....
Had my interview on the 6th of April and a group Skype chat after a week to be given very basic instructions on their photo requirements and to be sent an Induction Manual (lasted 3 mins completely pointless at 2 o'clock in the morning). I am still waiting since the 4th of May after I provided them with a qualifying photo and voice recording to be scheduled an induction training. I can no longer see my trainer online on Skype and she is no longer responding to my messages. Extremely unprofessional I was referred by I friend, which she ended having a lot of issues with them as well.
The following is an email exchange depicting jus ONE of several ways in which this sham of an operation works. To set the scene - My ISP's signal dropped, knocking my modem offline for 3 hours during which were scheduled 6 lessons. They expected verification of my claim for being offline in the course of instructing a lesson. My earnings were docked for missing those lessons and the following day's lessons.
I sent a screen capture of the incident and immediately contacted 51Talk via skype as soon as things unfolded, and provided to them my ISP account info should they choose to speak with the ISP to receive official verification of my claim from a company representative.
Please see the attached documentation.
Sorry teacher but contacting your Internet service provider is not part of our role anymore. Once you have the proof send it here and we'll have the request for penalty adjustment to our fees team for validation. Thanks.
Sean - AA Support
I sent a screen capture the billing statement from my ISP issuing me a credit during the outage.
Via a chat page:
Chat transcript from date 02/19/2017
NA - Charlie Joseph (10:31:40): Sean:
Please see the attached as verification of my appeal for absence on 2/17/17. The attachment reflects credit to my account for the Internet outage on 2-17-17. Will this document suffice? Also note that my classes from 2-17-17 onward were to have been cancelled. It appears that they were not cancelled.
Sean - AA Support (10:32:33): Hi teacher Charlie, i'm Sean and I'll be assisting you today.
NA - Charlie Joseph (10:33:00): ok
Sean - AA Support (10:36:56): Sorry teacher but a written correspondence coming from your internet service provider. I'm afraid that a discrepancy from your billing would not be considered by our fees team. Send your internet service provider a formal letter/email for a request of the proof that there was an outage that affected your lesson. Thank you.
Sean - AA Support (10:37:08): Sorry teacher but a written correspondence coming from your internet service provider is required*
NA - Charlie Joseph (10:41:56): Sean, I will again try. However, please consider the following: Has it ever occurred to you that someone like me who would go to the lengths ai have gone must be telling the truth? Liars or dishonest people are, by their nature, lazy and would not pursue a matter like this with vigor. There is nothing to "lose face" about as far as my perspective. When a matter goes on for the time that this has, one has to invoke their sense of discernment and humanity and let those qualities be their guide rather than absolute adherence to formalities whose logic lacks any sense of humanity.
NA - Charlie Joseph (10:47:39): Are yiu still there?
Sean - AA Support (10:47:42): I do get your point, yes you are right we could see your effort in doing a follow up to straigthen out this matter. Sadly, as much as we'd like to be sentimental with our teachers effort or track record perse, process wise it would not be possible since the protocol would always end up looking for a solid proof before having to decide whether the request is plausible or not.
NA - Charlie Joseph (10:54:38): If my efforts do not manifest plausibility, then nothing will. in essence, my efforts and submissions are to date, being dismissed as being invalid, therefore my word is not being given credit. Don't equate sentimentality your own judgement and ability to arrive at conclusions on the basis of your own intellect. Entities that lack the capacity to practice discernment using intellect and adhere to structures must either adapt or revise those structures that otherwise restrain their leadership from exercising independent thought.
Sean - AA Support (10:56:46): Our apologies, but this is not about giving credit. This is 51talk making sure that there are no gray areas when it comes to disputes. This is to make sure that the proof required for a dispute is purely black and white. If there's none then it's a no go, if there's one then it's up for validation. For now there's no valid proof yet we could get from you that's the reason we can't send a request for an adjustment. Whenever you have the letter/email from your internet service provider just send it here so we could move to the next step. Thank you.
NA - Charlie Joseph (10:58:09): Again, I will try. However, my classes were to have been cancelled. That's what I was told would happen. They have not been cancelled. Penalties continue to accrue.
Sean - AA Support (11:02:41): Yes, you're page has been locked but all you still need to attend all your booked classes since there are no means for us to close/cancel or have you requested for the remaining classes to be marked absent?
Sean - AA Support (11:04:30): Teacher, please know that it's already the end of our shift and the office is closing now. Just make sure to send the requested requirement for your dispute so we could handle it correctly. Is there anything else I could assist you with?
NA - Charlie Joseph (11:04:58): I spoke with a representative about this incident and indicated that until the matter was resolved, my future lessons should be reassigned to another teacher. I was told that this would be done.
NA - Charlie Joseph (11:05:25): No. May your evening be a good one.
I emailed to 51Talk a letter from my ISP supporting my claim. 51Talk's response:
Hi Teacher Charlie,
Good day. We do not remove penalties due to ISP issue since it was an error on your end, not a system issue.
As an NYSE-listed company, 51Talk expects all its teachers to be prepared to conduct booked lessons at all times. Thus, please ensure that you have a backup for both your power and internet. We are sorry to inform you that your penalty disputes have been declined by HBT Fees.
Thank you for your utmost understanding.
My final reply:
You must be insane, "Terrence"!
I've read the reviews about 51Talk and this scenario, but didn't choose to believe them. I wanted to extend the benefit of the doubt.
It's so disgraceful, dishonorable and shameful of your "company" to expect independent contractors to have a backup generator and their own backup ISP "handy" for just such an occurrence.
Even after being told that what I provided is what would be needed, to see that it really didn't matter anyway....your company is a sham; nothing but deceitful.
You, Terrence, should be embarrassed to be working for a company with such low standards. The company is probably disrespecting your humanity and deceiving you as well. You just haven't awakened to that possibility yet.
Some day I hope that you will realize just how deceitful your employer is. If you already know this, then you are just as despicable as the company leadership is.
DO NOT dare to thank me for my "utmost understanding". It hasn't been given to you. You, and your explanation aren't deserving of my understanding.
Now, go home after work, look your loved ones in the eye and say to the, "I did my job with integrity and value placed on excellence." If you really mean that, you truly are brainwashed. If you don't mean it, you're a hypocrite!
In this day and age of social media and networking, rest assured that news travels far and wide quickly.
Keep the ill-gotten money. You must need it far more than do I. Consider it a pity-offering to you and to your illusion of a company with a noble mission.
Tip for consumers: Stay away from this faux "service" unless you are willing to be demeaned, frustrated, made to feel like a liar, and are willing to be penalized at the drop of a dime!
This company demoralizes you because they work on a double standard. Whatever, students say is taken as gospel even if the teacher has screenshots to prove otherwise. The student can evaluate the teacher as having a bad internet connection without providing a screenshot of their own connection speed. These student evaluations affect the teacher's service score. Students usually choose teachers with high service scores. 51Talk often wants you to rate new students but if you score a student low and they get upset and give the class a low evaluation 51Talk will not defend you. Of course penalties against you are lightning quick. Count your classes to make sure you are being paid properly because classes are often missed in the company's favour.
This company has an entire department devoted to flagging and fining it's teachers. Basically, they work overtime taking their money from you!! If you complain, they punish you by cancelling your classes and giving thenm to someone else especially those on the Free Trial team!! It is so mean, what they do!! My morale went throught the floor and I absolutely LOVE to teach and I am very good at it. Shame on 51talk. By the way, they have so many bad reviews, they have tried to change their name to TWOSIGMAS, same company. Be careful!
Tip for consumers: Do not apply to 51talk or Twosigmas, there are many others to work for. Look on Dave's ESL café.
They are just good at getting new recruits(teachers or tutors-to-be) but if you are already a part of the organization, everything is a scam! They do not consider any proof of errors of their system, like when their chat system is down and it's hard for a teacher to be able to log in, every screen shots, proofs that there was an error will not be accepted and you'll have to pay for it even if it's the system's fault. You will not earn here, maniac, stupid and disrespectful Chinese students can't even be reported for their negative attitudes. Penalties are unimaginably fair, for PHP50 per hour if you miss a class or if a student just decided to mark you absent even if you're not it will automatically be a penalty for an amount of PHP300 per class. This is not a good company to work at not even close to bad but perfectly worst than any company I've heard.
If you want to work for someone with a management style straight out of the 1950's this is the place. No questions are every answered. All decisions are made in China. Procedures are not tested. We do this as a standard practice no need to test for a new use. Examples of how software should work are not provided. The teacher is told the set up the first time. But for only one case among several. If something doesn't work it must be your fault and you should spend your time working it out with tech support. (This is only a problem as they never tested to see if the procedure would work.) Company uses three different interfaces to students with varying levels of quality. They are doing you a favor to let you work for them. Business policy makes no sense. They raised the rates 33% for native language teachers which resulted in a 70 to 100% loss of bookings for teachers.
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