PalFish – beautiful in its simplicity.

PalFish offers two different sections. ‘Free Talk’ and Official Kids Course (OKC).

What is free talk?

Free talk is exactly as it sounds. You get paid for just chatting to Chinese ‘students’ online. It looks like a couple of online companies such as DaDa and First Future have adopted the name ‘Free Talk’ because of its success. However, make no mistake, PalFish is the original and the real deal.

As the original, PalFish is of course beautiful in its simplicity. For free talk it’s literally a question of registering with the app, pushing the ‘Start Tutoring’ button and waiting for the call.

The students will browse through teachers profiles on the student app and choose a teacher based on basically who they think will be cool to talk to. This is what it looks like for them.

There are 2 rate of pay categories;

  • ‘First call’ is set to attract a lot of students and is 0.5 to 1.5 rmb/min.
  • ‘Standard Rate’ is between 1 and 5 rmb/min.

Just to give a brief breakdown of the potential earning in USD @ 1 rmb/Min it’s between $9/hour and at 5/min its about $45 per hour.

For the Free Talk option, you don’t need any qualification. There are no nationality requirements and you literally get paid for having an online conversation in English.

Official Kids Course (OKC)


The requirements for the OKC are a little stricter. They only accept applications from the ‘big 6’ Nationalities

– U.K, USA, Australia, Canada, Ireland and New Zealand.

You will need a 120 TOEFL certificate which needs to verified along with your passport. Verification takes about 2 days.

Also it’s important to mention you will need to pass about 6 unpaid trials to qualify as an OKC teacher.

The trials

A trial is a 25 minute class without a student. So you have to run the class as if you were teaching a student but an imaginary one. This has it pro’s and cons.

Most teachers take up to three tries to pass but it’s nice to know that you decide if you pass or give up, not a person who might be having a bad day. You will pass if you push keep trying.

Expect frustration and be prepared to spend up to 6 or 8 hours struggling. Honestly, it’s not bad compared to the onboarding of other schools where you have to wait for up to a week to do some training because their schedule is packed.

I knocked my trials out in two days but I did pass most of them first time, I’m not new to the game. It really is up to you how quickly you get them done.

For me from initial application to having passed verification.

Teaching imaginary students

It’s a bit weird teaching an imaginary student but that student can be as good or bad as you wish it to be, so my student is usually amazing which affords me the opportunity to shower them with praise.

The way it assesses you is through facial recognition and your interaction with the slides, I believe it also listens to key words. The A.I. is very advanced. Honestly it’s so impressive it’s almost scary.

As soon as you’re verified, you go into an admin group with 1000 odd teachers people in all willing to give a helping hand. From there you can join various other groups that can help you with various different aspects of teaching, getting students and dealing with difficult situations.

On the money!

Base pay starts at 55 Yuan per class which works out to roughly $16.5 per hour and goes up to 75 per class which is roughly $22.5 per hour.

The base pay is established on a points based system seen below.

User profile on Palfish app

This resets every month. So, how many points you accumulate in one month determines your base pay for the next.

Being on time, not missing class, not having complaints etc. will build you points. It’s a little complicated, but basically, be decent and do a good job and you’re golden. Which I think is pretty reasonable.

The Downside

The biggest complaint with Palfish teachers is the slow going to get classes when you start off.

PalFish staff and teachers will tell you to post moments and do ‘Lives’ which is a live online podcast to showcase your talents and attract potential students. Many teachers complain that they’re doing this and still not seeing results.

You can sponsor lives to increase their advertising or post them organically. New teachers will use Lives and moments to showcase their skills to attract students.

To the best of my knowledge this is also unique to PalFish

This is how they look:

Rocket fuel for getting students.

Palfish has a really awesome ‘Reading App’ for the students where they can read books, record and post their progress, watch movies to learn English and much more.

This means teachers can log into the reading app, record readings and post videos to showcase your skills. 10s of thousands of students can then see them. As opposed to the teacher app which only shows students who are following you or fellow teachers.

Compared to the other online companies I’ve worked for, PalFish is by far the most technically advanced and unique company. I see them leading the way forward as opposed to copying a formula.

Palfish app screenshot Palfish app screenshot 2

Mobile only

The last thing to mention but most certainly not the least is that PalFish works exclusively on mobile devices. No need to have a dedicated fiber line plugged in, good computer specs, external cameras or other various annoying requirements.

I’m going into my fourth month of teaching with PalFish and whilst other companies such as Say ABC, Hello Kid and VIP Kid pay more and offer more stable fixed schedules I really appreciate simplicity and effectiveness of it.

PalFish truly is beautiful in its simplicity, user friendliness and the support base is second to none.

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