Are you looking for a flexible, fun and no-prep online English tutoring opportunity you can teach from your phone from anywhere? Become an online ESL teacher with Palfish

This highly comprehensive guide, written by an experienced PalFish teacher, will introduce PalFish and work you through the whole application process.



No degree required

Unlike most other Chinese ESL companies, PalFish do not require a degree!

Teach from your phone

Teach from your phone or tablet using their user-friendly app

Fun learning activities

PalFish's lessons contain fun games, interactive activities, songs, cartoon clips and more!

Marketing tools

Attract more students with pictures, videos, livestreams or their reading app


PalFish offers teachers two teaching options – the Official Kids Course (OKC) and PalFish Freetalk. You have the flexibility to focus on just one side or teach both.

Official Kids Course



Native-level English Speaker

With a passport from the USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Europe or South America

Smartphone / tablet

You must have an up to date smartphone or tablet - note that you cannot teach from a computer

120+ hour TEFL certificate

Your certificate must be at least 120 hours, fully accredited and have online verification codes

No degree required

Unlike most other Chinese ESL companies, PalFish do not require a degree!


Check out this in-depth review from Katie, experienced PalFish teacher and Abridge Academy education director. 

Hiring Process Overview

  1. Register your phone number here and download the app when prompted
  2. Complete the initial application form, create your tutor profile and upload required documents
  3. Teach a recorded demo class
  4. Pass the PalFish bootcamp training
  5. Complete the PF1 and PF2 trial class preparations
  6. Teach two probationary trial classes to real students

Creating your Profile

Scroll through this presentation on how to put together a perfect PalFish profile which passes their application requirements, appeals to parents and highlights all your skills/ experience. 

Getting Paid

In order to receive payments from PalFish, you will need to set up a Payoneer account. This is similar to other online payment systems such as PayPal, but allows you to receive international payments with lower transaction fees and a better exchange rate.

Setting up Payoneer is relatively straightforward – simply visit their website. You will also need to upload some documents verifying your identity and address. Note that it may take a few days for Payoneer to verify your documents, as this must be done manually, hence why PalFish asks you to set up Payoneer at the initial application stage.

Bonus: benefit from a $25 bonus if you sign up for Payoneer via our link, paid once you have earnt your first $1000!

Passing the demo class

Once you have passed the initial verification process, you will then be invited to schedule your demo class. Note that, although you need to schedule the demo class on the booking system, it is a recorded demo class – there is no live student. 

Review the presentation slides (right) which guide you through the key assessment criteria and top tips to achieve full marks!

Check out the video below from Abridge Academy’s education director and experienced PalFish tutor, Katie, for some top tips!

All demo classes on PalFish are the “Hello Monkey” slides, which are also used for the PF2 (PalFish level 2) trial classes with real students once you have been hired. 

In this presentation, we will work through all of the slides and share top tips for TPR, activities and interactions to score full marks.

Bootcamp Training and Trial Preps

Once you have been approved as a PalFish teacher (congratulations!) you must now complete their “bootcamp” onboarding training. This seems daunting, but can be completed in just a couple of hours. It covers important PalFish policies, TEFL teaching skills and top tips for teaching younger kids through PalFish’s more interactive platform.

Next, you need to complete the PF1 and PF2 trial preparations. These work in a very similar way to the demo class, except that you can start them any time (no need to schedule them on the booking system), can re-do them as many times as you like, and they only use the AI assessment.

Important: Make sure you carefully time when you complete the trial preparations such that they are just before you have two days of maximum availability (and ideally do them on a Friday just before the weekend – kids have more availability on weekends too). This is because you receive 48 hours priority bookings for trial classes once you have completed the training and trial preps!

Probationary Classes

During your first 48 hours on PalFish, you will be given priority booking for trial classes. It is really important that you make the most of this opportunity to teach as many classes as possible, ideally convert some trial students into paying customers, and show off your teaching skills to your PalFish admin. I cannot emphasise enough how critical these first 48 hours are for setting you up for continued success on PalFish!

  • Open up as many timeslots as possible, including all peak hours (marked as “hot” on your schedule) – yes, that might mean some very early mornings!
  • Hang around the app homepage at 2 or 32 minutes past the hour, which is when teacher no-show classes are released as emergency substitute classes (an easy way to pick up new students).
  • Make sure your profile is complete, you have uploaded an introductory video and started adding some fun posts to your moments.
  • Watch your timings and tech! You absolutely do not want to be late for any classes or have any tech issues, as this may flag you up as unreliable.

Ongoing Success

PalFish does not automatically guarantee classes for teachers, so it is important to be aware that you will need to put in additional work to attract and retain students. They provide detailed guidance as part of the bootcamp and mentor training within the app, but here are a few quick pointers to get you started:

  • Before every class with a new student, send them a quick message saying how excited you are to teach them!
  • After each class, send detailed and personalised feedback through the feedback report, then follow up with a private message. You could send them a certificate (particularly after “passing” the trial class or completing an end of unit review), provide a follow up worksheet or record audio summaries of the keywords/ sentences from the class.
  • Post valuable “moments” on your Instagram-style news feed. These could include flashcards of keywords from your favourite classes, useful worksheets, super-short (tiktok-style) video lessons, summaries of difficult grammar points, or simply updates on your day/ travels/ hobbies with a list of keywords they can learn. Always think about what value this post adds to the reader, and avoid generic “book classes now!” posts which come across as quite spammy…
  • Consider doing some “live” classes, which means you will be more prominently featured on the student app. Popular lives include reading kids story books, sharing advice on exam preparation (for older students), or simply introducing yourself. Lives also add to your teaching hours, so it helps make your profile look less inexperienced!
  • Create a student’s group chat, where you can invite your students. Here you can encourage additional engagement, for example asking a “question of the day” for students to share their views on. This is a good way to build more of a long term relationship with students.
  • Be active on the reading app. Read a couple of books each day (these are also great to share in your student’s group), comment with positive praise on students’ book recordings or “grow up” videos, and send plenty of likes/ shells to your favourite kids.


So that’s our comprehensive, in-depth guide to getting started teaching English online with PalFish. Don’t forget to start your application here or go back to our jobs board to check out other opportunities – good luck with your online teaching career!