Everything you Need to Know Before Teaching English on Cambly
Updated: May 1
Are you a native or fluent English speaker? EFL or ESL teacher or tutor? Do you love meeting new people, exploring different cultures and chatting for hours on end?
If you answered yes to any of these questions then teaching on Cambly may be the side hustle you've been searching for.
If you find this article helpful and decide to apply please consider using my referral link by clicking here. To be transparent, if you apply using my link and complete 10 priority hours I will receive $20. Regardless, I hope you find the information below helpful and feel free to reach out and comment with any questions you have.
What is Cambly?
Cambly is an English learning platform where students have the opportunity to speak with native or fluent English speakers to improve their language skills. Some are looking for direct guidance and lessons, others only wish to converse with a speaker to improve their fluency. Tutors can specify their strengths on the site (IELTS preparation, grammar expert, conversationalist etc.) so that they attract appropriate students.
What Am I Expected to Teach?
Students join Cambly so they can improve their English language skills. Each student is unique and has their own goals. This means there is no set curriculum that you have to use on Cambly. Some students may just want to sit and chat during your session, others may want more structure and guidance on grammar and vocabulary. During your class with a new student, I suggest asking them what their goals are and why they want to learn English. These questions can help tutors choose appropriate materials and lessons for their students. Cambly offers courses and has a huge library of articles and conversation topics that you can use to help structure your lessons. Since tutors are only paid for the time they speak and not for prep you may also request that your student review the Cambly courses and choose a lesson of interest that you can then review with them. That being said the majority of students I have met on the platform have only wanted to have a conversation or have requested help on writing an email or essay in English.
What Hours Can I Work?
Unlike many platforms that work with students from one specific region, Cambly operates in countless countries across the globe. This means tutors can turn on their computers and log on at any hour. The job is flexible and fun and you have total autonomy regarding the amount of hours you work.
Remember that your students may be living in a different time zone than you. For example, if you log on at 5 pm EST do not expect to speak with someone from China because they are probably sleeping. Choose times that you believe would be popular for a particular region. For example, when I log on at 2 pm EST I speak mostly with students from Saudi Arabia and Turkey who want to practice English before going to bed.
How Do Students Contact Me?
Once a tutor logs on and completes a quick connection test they become visible to potential students. Students peruse tutor bios and introduction videos before selecting a tutor.
Tutors have the option to log on at any time to teach, however, they can also sign up for what Cambly calls priority hours in addition to accepting reservations from students. Signing up for a priority hour means you are committing to being online for an entire hour. Although you may not end up speaking with students for the full hour, Cambly guarantees fifteen minutes of pay. During the hour you can take a five-minute break at any point you are not on a call. Priority hours are a great way to meet new students and hopefully impress a few who will request a future reservation. Students who want to reserve you as their tutor will submit a request which you can either accept or deny if it is not at a reasonable hour.
How Long are Sessions?
Sessions range from 5-minute free trials to 2 hour sessions. Once a call begins you can see the students remaining minutes at the top of the screen. If you are unavailable for the full time you can politely inform the student and they can decide whether they want to chat with you for the time you are available or end the call and connect with a different tutor.
Cambly students can purchase packages ranging from 15, 30, 60, and 120 minute daily sessions. The student may choose to have sessions either once a week or multiple times a week. At 3:00 am the student's minutes will refresh for the following day.
How Much Do I Get Paid?
Unfortunately, the pay is fairly low (0.17cents a minute~roughly $10.20 an hour) so it is definitely not a get rich quick scheme but what it lacks in pay it makes up for in interesting people and conversations. On the plus side, if you are living abroad, $10.20 may be a liveable wage.
Tutors are paid for the time they speak with students. During priority hours you are guaranteed at least 15 minutes' pay regardless of whether or not you converse with a student, however, it can be frustrating logging on with the expectation to teach and you spend the session or at least part of the session twiddling your thumbs and scrolling through Instagram. Everyone's journey is different but fortunately, I have only had a few slow days. On average I spend around 45 minutes chatting with students during a priority hour. In order to avoid low activity for tutors Cambly considers its number of tutors and its student demand before accepting/hiring new tutors.
How Do I Get Paid?
Cambly currently pays weekly using PayPal. You must set up or connect your PayPal account before beginning to tutor. Since you are considered a an independent contractor you are responsible for keeping track of your payments and handling your taxes on yearly earnings.
If you are interested in applying and found this article to be helpful please consider using my referral link by clicking here.
Have other questions or want to connect? Comment below or send me a private message by clicking on the about section.
Happy Teaching :)