Palfish Review: Is Palfish Worth It?

8.5 Total Score
A flexible way for teachers to earn a great income!

Palfish is a company that allows online English teachers to help students from China improve their English language skills. There are a few different ways English teachers can earn money with Palfish, and the platform offers a lot of flexibility!

Pay Rate and Incentives
9
Scheduling Flexibility
10
Teacher Support and Communication
7
Platform and Teaching Materials
8
PROS
  • Teachers can teach from phones or tablets
  • Palfish tries to keep teachers at least 70% booked
  • Multiple ways to earn money
CONS
  • Tech support isn't always responsive
  • Booking process isn't very clear for teachers
  • Bookings fluctuate throughout the year
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I teamed up with my friend Alexis for this Palfish review. Here’s what she had to say!

I started as a Palfish English teacher about a year ago, and I still teach with them.  Before writing this Palfish review, I taught about 850 classes with the company. Outside of Palfish, I have worked online with Japanese, Chinese and Thai schools since 2013, as well as in brick and mortar schools and universities.  I have taught students of all ages, including adults and kids, and I also teach Palfish Free Talk classes.

What Is Palfish?

To start this Palfish review, it’s important to know what Palfish even is! Palfish is an online educational platform that connects English teachers to students who wish to learn English. Students can have formal classes or informal conversations with Palfish teachers. 

Palfish is one of the best ways to teach English online, and teachers can give lessons as a side hustle or to generate a full time income online.

Palfish is an online company that offers English lessons to children and adults

The company is based in Beijing, China, and most of the students are also from China. If you can work on Beijing time, Palfish may be a great opportunity for you!

Palfish helps both kids and adults learn English. The company offers a more formal Official Kids Course (OKC) to children between the ages of 3 and 12, which hires more qualified teachers. Every Palfish teacher can also offer Free Talk sessions, and these are a great opportunity for new teachers!

I’ll walk you through every aspect of working for Palfish, including the differences between the two types of instructors. If you’re a qualified English teacher or a complete beginner, there’s a job for you at Palfish! 

Is Palfish Legit? Is Palfish Worth It?

Yes, Palfish is a legitimate company that pays teachers to help students improve their English skills. You can earn a decent income by working flexible hours, and you can always rely on your Palfish payment arriving in your bank account.

Is Palfish legit? Yes! This picture shows a woman teaching a child through an online platform.

Because of this, Palfish is definitely worth it! The company offers teachers an opportunity to work from home and teach a wide variety of students. A lot of other companies only offer classes to small children, but Palfish lets teachers help both adults and children.

A Review Of Palfish Requirements And Qualifications

The Palfish job application process is pretty straightforward. There are two types of teachers (Free Talk and Official Kids Course) who work at Palfish, and they have different job requirements and qualifications. 

To become a Palfish Free Talk teacher, you must have an English teaching certificate (TEFL, TESOL, or others). You do not need to be a native English speaker, and you don’t need a degree. A Palfish age requirement for teachers also doesn’t seem to exist, but there is a Palfish background check. 

This man is trying to apply to Palfish to become an online English teacher.

To become a Palfish Official Course Instructor and teach the Official Kids Course, you need to:

  • Be a native English speaker with a neutral accent from the UK, USA, Canada, Ireland, Australia, or New Zealand
  • Have an English teaching certificate (TEFL, TESOL, or others)
  • Have previous experience with kids, like tutoring, babysitting, or something similar
  • Meet the minimum weekly hour threshold

Because the Official Kids Course has stricter job requirements, you can usually make more money teaching these classes. They also provide a more stable income compared to Free Talk sessions. 

Ready to apply? Use my Palfish invitation code!

Palfish Technical Requirements

It’s important to discuss the technical requirements in this Palfish review because Palfish is different from a lot of other schools. Most online English schools require teachers to use a laptop or computer with an external webcam to teach classes. 

Palfish is one of the few companies that doesn’t!

This is a screenshot from the Palfish Teacher app. Teachers can use their phones and tablets to teach English online.

Unlike other online schools, Palfish teachers can teach from a phone or tablet. They can also teach using data rather than wifi if they need to. 

To become a Palfish teacher, you need a tablet or phone that is fast enough to run the Palfish teacher app. Most up-to-date tablets will work (iPad, Android, Samsung, Huawei, etc.). 

The Palfish website doesn’t have a minimum connection or internet speed requirement, but having a decent connection will ensure that your lessons run more smoothly. If you want more students and hours, smooth and issue-free lessons are important!

Palfish Minimum Hours and Working Hours

Palfish requires teachers to work a minimum of 3.5 hours per week during peak times (6-9pm Beijing Time). The Palfish peak hours are:

  • Monday through Friday: 6pm to 9pm (Beijing Time)
  • Saturday and Sunday: 9am to 10pm (Beijing Time)

Students can book classes two weeks in advance, and teachers can set their availability three weeks in advance. Palfish hours may not be convenient for everyone, but a lot of people think the benefit of working from home outweighs the inconvenient hours.

Palfish Cancellation Policy

No Palfish review is complete without talking about the Palfish cancellation policy. Online English schools are notorious for having strict and unfair cancellation policies. The Palfish cancellation policy is very flexible though! 

Teachers can cancel Palfish lessons without being penalized, as long they cancel more than 24 hours in advance.  

It is a very flexible system, but if you want to keep regular students, it doesn’t pay to mess about with your schedule too much.  In the case of an emergency though, you definitely have more wiggle room than in other online institutions.

Palfish Penalties and Consequences

Cancellations are a lot different from teacher no shows. The Palfish No Show penalty system is pretty strict. However, penalties only apply if a teacher has made an appointment with a student and fails to show up, or the teacher cancels the lesson without enough notice.

This woman is screaming at her computer. She is upset because she received a Palfish No Show!

You will incur a penalty if you cancel a lesson within 3 hours for a Free Talk appointment or within 24 hours for an Official Kids Course appointment. 

The penalties include pay deductions and the possible suspension of your account. Do not cancel unless you have an emergency! You can submit documentation to Palfish in the case of an emergency though, and you won’t be penalized.

Palfish Classroom And Additional Props

The Palfish classroom is a simple virtual classroom that has two video feeds (one for the teacher and one for the student) and a slideshow. Teachers can also use a virtual white board and add their own slides to supplement the lessons. 

There is a timer function for playing games and a lot of different coloured pens, as well as fun filters (animals, hats, mustaches, etc.) you can use!

This is a screenshot of the Palfish background and classroom. This is what the Palfish classroom looks like on a phone.

Teachers are required to have an attractive Palfish background with the Palfish logo on display.  The guidelines are quite loose though.  I have an alphabet poster, a small whiteboard (with a cartoon border), and the company logo as my Palfish background. 

While the use of props is encouraged, it is not closely monitored. Teachers are left to use their own discretion. The company feels that if the parents and kids like you, you will succeed and they don’t need to intervene too much in your work.  

They do not micromanage like many other places. This allows you to focus on giving the best lessons possible!

What Is The Palfish Interview Process?

Applicants are required to submit a copy of their passport, teaching certificates and other qualifications, as well as their CV/resume. Once you submit your documents, you need to record a demo class to show your teaching style. 

This woman is going through the Palfish interview on her tablet. This Palfish review walks you through each step of the Palfish interview process.

You do not need to do a live Palfish interview with a Palfish staff member. Palfish recruiters simply watch your recorded video and decide whether they like you or not.  Once you pass the Palfish interview, the company expects new teachers to teach two trial classes for free. 

A lot of other schools require at least one (if not more!) live interviews and mock classes before hiring a new teacher. The Palfish interview process is a lot quicker and more straightforward, and the Palfish qualifications are more flexible. You can start teaching really quickly with Palfish!

Palfish Free Talk Teacher Registration Process

All teachers must complete the Palfish Free Talk Teacher registration process to work on the Palfish platform. This is a very simple process and only consists of a few steps. Here’s how to apply for Palfish.

Palfish Teacher App Download

The first step to applying to Palfish is to download the Palfish teacher app straight to your phone or tablet. You can get the app from either the Apple App Store for iPhone and iPad or Google Play for Android. Make sure to download the teacher version of the Palfish app!

Create A Palfish Account

After your download is finished, you need to sign in with your phone number and enter the Palfish verification code the system sends to you. 

The next step is to select your gender, create a username and password, and add a profile picture. 

You should then be able to set up your profile, which is what the students will see and read about you. 

This is a screenshot of an online profile. When you download the Palfish teacher app and set up your Palfish teacher profile, students will be able to learn more about you.

Every applicant, regardless of whether they want to be a regular teacher or an official teacher, fills out the same profile page. Once you submit your profile and Palfish verifies it, you can then apply to be an Official Kids Course teacher. 

Check out the Palfish guidelines for some useful tips and advice on this first step.

How To Set Up Your Palfish Teacher Profile: Palfish Text Intro

Your Palfish text intro is your chance to introduce yourself. You should write about your education experience, English teaching certificates, work experience, teaching style, any teaching achievements you have, and hobbies. Try to keep this all relevant to the job! A strong text intro can help attract students and increase your Palfish earnings!

How To Set Up Your Palfish Teacher Profile: Palfish Audio Intro

The Palfish audio intro is a quick 30-second voice introduction. You can talk about your teaching philosophy, hobbies and other interests. It may be good to mention how you can help students with their pronunciation and speaking skills – don’t just spend the 30 seconds talking about yourself!

A woman talking into her phone. You can record a Palfish audio intro to help students learn more about your before booking a class with you.

Make sure to be in a quiet space and focus on clear and precise pronunciation – your students will hear this and will choose teachers that are clear and easy to understand.

How To Set Up Your Palfish Teacher Profile: Palfish Auto-Reply Message

Here you record your Palfish auto-reply message. This is what the students will receive when chatting with you for the first time. You could say hello and goodbye in Chinese (Mandarin) to add something a little unique and personal for your students!

Palfish Verification Process

The Palfish verification process can take up to 2 business days. Make sure all your profile information is filled out correctly the first time to make sure it all goes smoothly. 

If you don’t hear back from Palfish after a few days, try contacting them to find out more about your application. Palfish will send you a message with your application result. 

If you’re successful, great job! You should be able to start teaching right away. If you also wish to become a Palfish Official Course Instructor and teach the Official Kids Course, you need to pass a Palfish interview.

Ready to get started? Apply now!

Palfish Official Teacher Interview

Once Palfish verifies your profile, you can then apply to become a Palfish official course instructor of the Official Kids Course. Here’s how to go through your Palfish Official Teacher interview.

Complete Your Palfish Application Form

To start your application, you click on the blue “Application” icon on the Palfish teacher app, and it takes you to an application page for the Official Kids Program. You fill out the two sections, and a representative will be in touch to set up a Palfish interview.

Palfish Mock Class Interview

The Palfish Mock Class Interview involves teaching a 25-minute mock lesson to a Palfish representative, who pretends to be a 6-year-old student. You receive the teaching slides in advance to use in the lesson. Be sure and practice! 

It’s worth setting up your Palfish background behind you before your mock class, making sure that it’s child-friendly. Your teaching style should be enthusiastic and positive – remember the “student” is only 6-years-old, so you need to keep them engaged. You also need to speak slowly and clearly. Using props can also be a big plus! 

Check out this video for a more in-depth guide and helpful tips on how to pass your Palfish interview and start teaching English online.

Palfish Pay Rate, Salary, And Bonuses

Pay rate and salary are one of the most important aspects of any job, so I wanted to make sure to cover them in this Palfish review. Palfish pay and earnings for online teachers varies, especially between Free Talk teachers and Official Kids Course teachers. Here’s a basic overview of Palfish pay:

  • Free Talk: Teachers set their own rates (usually between $12 and $17 USD per hour)
  • Official Kids Course: The Palfish hourly rate is up to $22 USD per hour plus bonuses
  • Seminars and Live Streaming: Teachers set their own rates (pay rate varies)

There are a few different aspects of Palfish pay that you need to know about, so I’ll discuss everything in more detail below.

Palfish Free Talk Rates and Pay

If you’re a Palfish Free Talk teacher, you can set your own pay rate. Don’t get too greedy though! If you set your pay rate too high, you won’t get many callers.  You need to be realistic and remain competitive with other teachers’ rates.

This is a screenshot from the Palfish teacher app that shows the teacher's Palfish free talk pay rate. You can set your own rate with Palfish.

Between 1.5 and 2 RMB per minute is a pretty standard Palfish Free Talk pay rate ($12.70 USD to $17.00 USD per hour).  Palfish says that Free Talk teachers usually earn around $10 to $18 an hour in their marketing materials. 

Some teachers earn much more or much less based on the quality of their lessons and their experience on the platform. Bear in mind when setting your pay rate that you charge per minute, as per Palfish’s teaching model.

A clock with money growing next to it. Since you set your own Palfish pay rate, you can earn anything you want!

Obviously the higher your price, the more you can earn, but I recommend thinking carefully when setting your rate of pay. Many students can be price-sensitive, especially with new teachers. 

If you’re a new teacher and have little experience, the best way to get students is to have a rate that’s not too high, but not too low either. Once you have become more established on the Palfish platform, you can raise your rate.

Palfish Commission

Palfish takes a 20% commission on all Free Talk lessons. The more you earn, the more you pay in commission. Unfortunately, this is a pretty standard protocol for online teaching marketplaces. 

There is no commission for the Official Kids Course, as these pay rates are the same for all students. You also don’t get charged a commission for live streams, which I’ll discuss a little later on.

Palfish Official Teacher Pay

Palfish Official Teacher Pay is up to $22 USD per hour. Palfish determines your pay rate based on your qualifications and experience, as well as the number of classes you teach each month. There are also bonuses you can earn on top of your base pay rate. The Palfish bonuses are:

  • Don’t Be Late = 5 RMB per class
  • Student Sign-Up After Trial = 200 RMB per student
  • Perfect Attendance = 200 RMB per month
  • Prop Bonus = 100 RMB (one-time bonus to buy props)
Arts and crafts supplies to make a Palfish background for your classroom.

Your actual Palfish OKC pay rate depends on how many classes you taught during the previous month.  You receive 5 points for each class you teach, and the more classes you teach, the more points you collect throughout the month.  

At the end of the month, you will know your hourly rate for the next month.  This can vary from 55 RMB to 75 RMB per 25 min class.  If you complete 100 classes in a month without being late or absent without warning, or cancelling within 24 hours, you also get a bonus of 200 RMB.

Overall, Palfish pay rates are competitive with other major online schools. The bonuses can really add up to a lot over a month, too. I don’t know of any other school that gives teachers a one-time bonus to buy props, so this alone is a great perk! 

Apply to Palfish now!

Palfish Philippines: Another Group Of Teachers

To be more inclusive and accessible to families who may not have a lot of money to spend on online English lessons, Palfish also has a special offering for its Official Kids Course. 

There is a version of the Palfish Official Kids Course where parents can select a Filipino teacher rather than an American, British or Australian teacher.  The teacher requirements are the same, but the teacher will have Filipino nationality.

Because of the economic situation in the Philippines, these teachers receive a lower pay rate than other Official Kids Course teachers. This is a controversial topic in the English teaching world, but some see this as an opportunity for both Filipino teachers and lower-income students.

If you’re Filipino, you can apply using the button below!

Palfish Student No Show: Pay And Policies

For a Palfish Student No Show, you receive 100% of your pay. You must wait in the classroom for the whole duration of the class during a Student No Show. You cannot leave early. 

For a Palfish trial no show, you will receive 50% of your pay. You can leave the classroom halfway through the scheduled time slot though. There’s no need to wait the whole time.

Palfish Contract

There is no official Palfish contract, but you can always find all of the details of your Palfish account and agreement pretty easily on the Palfish teacher app. There is a page in the portal where you can clearly see all this information and know where you stand at all times.

Palfish Payment Method: How To Get Paid

Your Palfish pay day comes once per month. Palfish only sends out a teacher’s payment if it meets the required payment threshold, which is currently set at 200 RMB (around $30 USD). 

For those living in China, Palfish pays directly into a Chinese bank account. If you live outside China, Palfish pays through Payoneer. Make sure you have a Payoneer account before applying!

The Palfish fee is $3 USD for payments sent through Payoneer. Similar to PayPal, you can then withdraw the money from Payonner into your own bank account. 

You get paid in RMB, and your earnings will then be exchanged into USD based on current exchange rates. If you live outside of the United States, or in a country which doesn’t use USD, you may have to exchange the pay again. 

A Walkthrough Of The Palfish Platform

The Palfish teacher app works on your mobile device or tablet. It’s a platform for audio or video calling between teachers and students. You can set up a live feed, create lessons and seminars, and determine your own class schedule. 

Palfish also allows teachers to follow other teachers and students, set their own pay rates, and check their student feedback and total hours worked. 

An additional feature of the Palfish app is called Moments. Moments allows teachers and students to post messages or lesson ideas, or anything related to the ESL world, for others to read, watch, or follow. 

Here’s a really helpful walkthrough of the Palfish teaching platform:

Palfish Job Review: Free Talk

To start earning money, there are the two main Palfish jobs in the Palfish teacher app: Free Talk and Official Kids Course. 

The first Palfish Job is Free Talk. Your Free Talk students can be kids or adults, but most of mine have been adults.  My Free Talk callers tend to be students and business people. These classes can be booked ahead of time or can be spontaneous, as people can call you whenever you turn on your “Teacher Online” button. 

Screenshot of a Palfish freetalk teacher profile.

You can talk about anything the students want to discuss. Often, this might include proofreading an essay or listening to a speech they need to make for their work to check for pronunciation errors. 

There are also suggested discussion topics you can pull up in the Palfish teacher app or that the student can browse. You can share pictures with the student, too.  You can decide if you want to do voice chat or video chat, but most adult callers seem to prefer audio chat.  I have always found my Free Talk callers to be very friendly. 

Students choose their own Free Talk teachers based on their Palfish teacher profile, so make sure yours is complete, up-to-date, and attractive to students!

Palfish Job Review: Official Kids Course

The other Palfish job review I want to write is about the Official Kids Course. This course offers set lessons to children and they can buy them in packages.  This is the program Palfish is really pushing on the hiring front

These one-to-one lessons are for children aged 3 to 12 and are 25 minutes in length. They use Palfish official course material, so there is no need to plan your lessons. Lessons are standard for all students and parents schedule them in advance.

Screenshot of the Palfish OKC classroom. OKC is the Palfish Official Kids Course.

The lessons are well-structured, and they’re bright and attractive to the kids.  Some concepts may be a bit abstract for young learners (e.g. recycling), but you can use props to help you, or even audio translate the key term first.

Palfish Feedback

Palfish feedback is very important for both students and teachers. Making your lessons fun, engaging, and helpful will help you earn positive feedback from your students. If a teacher has a high feedback score, more students will book them!

Palfish feedback is slightly different for Free Talk and Official Kids Course teachers. Free Talk students can leave a comment and rate their teachers from 1 to 10. For Official Kids Course classes, parents can give teachers a rating from 1-5 stars.

Palfish Guidelines And Tech Support

The company places you in a Palfish mentor group when you start and you can ask about Palfish guidelines there. Depending on your mentor, these groups can be a great way to learn more about working with Palfish. They are also a great place for all your general support questions.

Palfish Mentors help you learn about being a Palfish teacher. This picture shows two women using an online platform together.

If you need Palfish tech support, especially during a class, you need to contact the tech team directly. The in-class tech support is on the “Report” tab. You can request tech assistance or ask the support team to pass on information to your student’s head teacher. 

Unfortunately, the tech support isn’t very good sometimes. I often find them unresponsive in the classroom at least 60% of the time!  

Additional Palfish Job Review: Palfish Seminars

Outside of the main Palfish jobs, teachers can also give Palfish Seminars. These seminars involve teaching English to classes of two to six students, and they can be about any topic. 

Palfish asks that seminars include pictures to help guide the discussion. Teachers can set their own pay rate for the seminars, and the rates are set per person who attends. All teachers can lead seminars. These are a great way to earn money quickly!

Additional Palfish Job Review: Palfish Live Streaming

Palfish Live Streaming works just like any other live streaming service – you talk to the camera and it streams live to anyone who wishes to listen!

A computer on a desk. A woman is giving a Palfish livestream on the screen on the computer.

This is something Palfish offers that is different from other online teaching programs. It gives you the opportunity to broadcast to a large group of students (there is no limit) on a topic of your choice. It can be informative or random!

You can either charge students to watch or just use the live streams to gain publicity on the platform. They can be a great way to gain a presence and reputation among the students! 

Students can pay to watch replays, too. This is a great opportunity for even more income! Every teacher can live stream. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Free Talk or Official Kids Course teacher.

Personal Palfish Review: The Benefits

There are a lot of benefits of working as a Palfish teacher. And what would a Palfish review be without discussing them? Overall, it’s an excellent platform. Teachers have so many different ways to make money teaching English online! Here are some other benefits:

  • Unlike other online schools, Palfish teachers can teach from a phone or tablet. They can also use data rather than wifi if they need to.  
  • With time, you will build up regular students. This helps you earn a stable income. 
  • Palfish also gives you trials to supplement your workload if your schedule is not at least 70% full. I have never heard of other online English jobs doing this!  
  • Palfish encourages you to open as many hours as possible, and it is actually very flexible. You do not have to work set hours if you don’t want to. Overall, it’s a lot more flexible than other online schools that I’ve worked with.

Ready to get started? Apply now!

Personal Palfish Review: The Downsides

Of course, there are also downsides to any job. A Palfish review isn’t complete without mentioning some of them. 

  • There is something unclear about the way Palfish delegates classes. The parents do pick the teacher, but head teachers and sales staff can also recommend teachers. Palfish doesn’t tell teachers what this process involves.
  • The trials seem to be arbitrarily distributed, so you never know when you’ll get trials. It’s quite a convoluted system. Like I said before though, Palfish tries to keep your schedule at least 70% booked!
  • Palfish bookings can and do fluctuate according to each teacher’s experience, as well as holidays, public events, and the different seasons. However, you can expect a fairly regular schedule when you have gained some regular students!

Final Palfish Review: A Flexible Platform For Online ESL Teachers

Palfish is an established and reliable online English teaching job. It’s also one of the few platforms that pays well and doesn’t require a degree! There are a few different ways for teachers to make money with Palfish, including Free Talk and Official Kids Course classes, as well as seminars and live streams. 

The more you work, the more money you make with Palfish. The company treats teachers pretty well overall, which is different from a lot of other online English schools. I would definitely recommend that you apply to Palfish, whether you’re an experienced online English teacher of a completely new teacher! 

Ready to get started? Apply now!

Chad started Langoly to help others learn and teach languages more effectively. He's a language enthusiast, and loves reviewing language learning and teaching resources.

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