Working for an English teaching company like First Future normally means you only earn when a student books a class with you. This isn’t much of a problem for teachers who already have several students who regularly book a class with them. But this is a challenge for new teachers who just signed up with the company.
Due to this, some native English speakers may be put off from working as an ESL teacher. But this is not the case with one company. First Future.
The company is one of a few that guarantees payment of the hourly rate even if the teachers are twiddling their thumbs waiting for the student to book a class.
Interested? Then, continue reading and find out more about First Future.
Teaching Online With First Future
First Future is not your typical English teaching company since it does not only have its own teaching unit, it also connects teachers with smaller English teaching schools. So, aside from featuring its own online teaching platform, the company also helps its partner schools and academies find English teachers to hire. This is similar to Two Sigmas.
It is a business-to-business (B2B) company providing teaching and management services for its partner schools and academies. They provide a dedicated project supervisor to manage the teams the company provides these schools and academics.
But for teachers, the most important thing they find appealing about First Future is that it gives its online teachers guaranteed pay equal to their full hourly rate even if they don’t have a class. The guaranteed pay is given if the teachers are on a Fixed Shift schedule. This is probably what many English teachers are looking for.
Two Types of Teaching Schedules
The company has two types of teaching schedules:
- Fixed Shift – The teachers have a guaranteed working schedule every week and are paid even if they do not have any classes. They are required to teach at least two hours for four days each week or a minimum of eight hours a week.
- Flexi Shift – The teachers can open or close their schedule whenever they like, but are advised to open their availability for the following month to maximize their earnings. There is no minimum number of hours the teachers should teach.
For Flexi Shift teachers, only “No Show” classes are guaranteed payment. If the class is cancelled at least two hours before the schedule, the payment isn’t guaranteed.
Teachers on a Fixed Shift may be asked to complete certain projects for a specific time period. The project will be discussed when the teachers are assigned to work on them.
The company has high expectations for Fixed Shift teachers. They are required to remain consistent with the performance and attendance standards of the company. If for any reason they cannot show up for a specific schedule, they should inform the company at the soonest possible time.
Teachers can also work both a Fixed and Flexi Shift if they want to. They can opt to open a Flexi Shift around their Fixed Shift schedule.
So, at this point, you’re probably raring to go and sign up with the company.
But before that, let’s talk about the requirements of First Future for its online English teachers.
What are the Requirements to Teach at First Future?
The following are the requirements to become a First Future teacher:
- Native English speaker from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, or New Zealand (Filipino teachers should consider 51Talk)
- Bachelor’s degree in any subject as required by the Ministry of Education of China
- 120-hour TEFL or equivalent certificates
- One-year teaching experience, either face-to-face or online
Aside from the professional requirements, the teachers should also have the following equipment:
- Desktop or laptop with at least a fourth-generation i3 Intel 3.0 GHz processor and 4GB RAM
- Standalone web camera
- Headset with noise-cancelling feature and a built-in microphone
- Wired internet connection with an upload and download speeds of at least 10 Mbps both ways.
The internet connection is crucial since this is the minimum speed to allow teachers to access the online platform of First Future.
How Much does First Future Pay?
Now, let’s talk about pay. The starting base salary of the teachers is between $8 USD and $12 USD per hour. Teachers selected for special projects will get an additional payment of up to $4 USD per hour depending on their experience and qualifications. This is slightly lower than some companies like VIPKid or DaDaABC.
Another thing to take note of is that the company offers six special leaves to teachers each year. These leaves allow them to avoid penalties in case they are absent from their classes. The leaves can be tagged as emergency or medical leaves in situations when the teachers are sick.
The rates are evaluated after 12 months and eligible teachers can receive a raise depending on their performance, attendance, and overall contribution to the company. Moreover, teachers who have taught more than 500 classes within a six-month period can also be eligible for a pay raise after six months.
Bonuses and Incentives
First Future also offers bonuses for its teachers. The bonuses are as follows:
- Up to $3 USD per hour performance-related bonus through the Monthly Class Bonus
- $1 USD additional pay for every group class
- $1 USD per hour additional pay for working on the weekends
- Additional bonuses for projects basing on the performance of the teacher.
How do you get Paid?
The teachers can expect to be paid by the 10th day of the following month. This means their pay for January is released on or before the 10th of February.
Payments are made through PayPal, Payoneer, or through a local bank transfer.
First Future Contracts and Taxes
Since the teachers are considered independent contractors, First Future does not require them to sign a contract. The teachers are only asked to acknowledge the receipt and agree to the terms of the Independent Contractor Service Agreement of the company.
In fact, the company allows the teachers to work on another platform as long as they are able to manage their schedules.
Teachers are responsible for filing and paying their taxes since they are independent contractors.
What’s the Recruiting Process Like?
The recruitment process of First Future depends on how fast the teachers can complete the required tasks as well as submit all the necessary documents. The process is as follows:
- Download the application form and fill it up
- Submit the application form and book an interview. The teachers can expect the response within 48 hours after submitting the form.
- 30-minute interview
- After passing the interview, the teacher will have to attend an initial mock class to assess their teaching skills. The initial mock class also allows First Future to evaluate their confidence level before the hourly pay rate is offered to the teacher.
- The teacher will also be guided on how to use the platform as well as given feedback on the initial mock class.
- After passing the mock class, the offer letter with the details on the role and hourly pay is provided.
- After accepting the offer, the teacher will be asked to submit a picture, video introduction, and a written introduction. These will be placed on the profile section of the First Future system.
- Then, the teachers will go through Phase 1 training where they will learn online teaching basics, including using the platform, navigating the interactive materials, and how to engage the student through guided learning and TPR (Total Physical Response).
- The teachers will then book their final demo class where they should demonstrate their ability to use the teaching platform as well as to conduct a class that is consistent with the standards of the company.
- After passing the final demo class, the teachers will be given their first Teaching Badges to allow them to start teaching Flexi Shift classes.
Tips for the Interview
While passing the interview process may be easy-peasy for veteran teachers, new teachers will need all the help they can get. So, if you’re new, you should go through the following tips so you can ace your interview with First Future.
- Be energetic and animated since interviewers will be looking for this in the teachers they will work with.
- Most of the questions may be practical questions. These questions include the teaching experience of the teacher or how they will teach verbs to students. With this in mind, the teacher should already prepare to answer them.
- To prepare well for the final demo class, the teacher should make sure to take advantage of all the self-help materials, including the quizzes, sample videos, and lessons. These materials are all available through World Campus, the learning portal of First Future.
What is the Work Schedule Like?
The teachers have three options when it comes to the work schedule. They can choose the Fixed Shift, the Flexi Shift, or a combination of Fixed and Flexi Shift schedule.
If you opt for the Fixed Shift, you should render at least two hours of work for four days each week. The exact working schedule will depend on the project you will work on. Moreover, Fixed Shift teachers should commit to sticking to the schedule for at least three months.
Teachers who are on a Fixed Shift schedule normally work around 15 hours every week. There are others who work more than this depending on their availability.
One very important thing to take note of is that Fixed Shift teachers are guaranteed payment even if their classes do not push through when the student is absent.
For Flexi Shift teachers, they can choose when to become available for classes. While they can opt to work based on their own schedule., they may want to make themselves available during peak hours.
The peak hours at First Future are as follows:
- Mondays to Friday: 5:00 PM to 11:00 PM (China Standard Time)
- Saturday and Sunday: 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM (China Standard Time)
There is no minimum number of hours that Flexi Shift teacher should reach, but their pay isn’t guaranteed if the student cancels the class at least two hours before the schedule. The pay is only guaranteed if the student fails to show up for the class.
Flexi Shift teachers are also advised to plot their availability schedule a month ahead to allow the students to know what time the teachers are available.
Fixed and Flexi Shift
Teachers can also combine the Fixed Shift with a Flexi Shift. So, if they are assigned to a particular project with a fixed schedule, they can make themselves available before or after their fixed schedule.
For instance, if the teacher’s Fixed Shift schedule is from Monday to Friday between 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM (China Standard Time), they can open the Flexi Shift schedule on the weekends or from Monday to Friday from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM (China Standard Time).
The First Future Teaching Platform
The First Future teaching platform offers a lot of benefits for teachers, albeit not all financial. But the most important benefit is the guaranteed payment even if they don’t have any booked classes for Fixed Shift teachers.
Flexi Shift teachers will also receive a guaranteed pay if the students do not show up for their scheduled class without giving a two-hour notice.
Additionally, the platform also gives their teachers leave credits that they can use to be absent from class without incurring any financial penalties.
The monetary and non-monetary benefits offered by First Future makes it a rather appealing platform for teachers who are exploring the idea of teaching English online.
The Takeaway on First Future
If you’re in the hunt for a teaching platform that guarantees your pay even if you don’t have any booked classes, then you should consider signing up with First Future.
Have your Say about First Future Teaching
What are your thoughts about teaching online with this company? Is it a winner or do you recommend another one? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.
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