Getting Started on PalFish

PalFish Beginner’s Guide


Welcome to PalFish! This is a quick-start guide that will help you get up and running in no time! A brief overview of Palfish:


PalFish is an online learning platform geared towards Chinese students aged 5-12. Your job will be to provide a fun and engaging class with the students. Most of your time will be spent reading through interactive slides and playing animated English games in 25 minute lessons. 


Please note that you must be a native English speaker from the USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, or New Zealand. 




  • Set your own schedule

  • $22/hr salary, plus bonuses

  • No commute! 

  • Work from home

  • It’s easy and really fun! 


Let’s get started! If you haven’t downloaded the app yet, you can use my link here. I get a small bonus if you pass your interview, and I will also receive a notification on my account that you’ve joined – so I can help you with any other questions you might have! You can also input my referral code manually, it is: 4trMI6


Why use my referral code?

  • I will help get your account verified

  • I will help you pass your interview

  • This guide took a long time to make

  • It’s a way to show kindness  🙂


Setting Up Your Account

Once you download the app, you’ll see the following screen:

Go ahead and enter your information. If you didn’t use my invite code, consider entering it here – 4trMI6 🙂


Next, you should see this screen (after a welcome screen): 

You’ll want to click the button at the top that says “complete information”. From there, you’ll see a list of things to fill out. Yes, it’s a real job, so take some time to do this properly. A few things to note:


For “teaching certificate” you only need one filled in. TEFL or TESOL (teaching english as a foreign language) certificates can be done entirely online in an hour or two, I have more details in the next section. You can even do it for free! 


For “work experience”, try to list anything related to children. Volunteer experience, personal tutoring, babysitting, being a parent, etc. 


For “text intro”, you should follow this guide that PalFish released. Take ten or fifteen minutes to write something substantial, and follow the guidelines. This is what parents will see when they book you as their child’s teacher. 


For the audio intro, people often just read their text intro/profile.Personally, I made up my own, separate from my profile. It’s up to you! Remember to use clear enunciation without crazy vocabulary. Will a child or their parent want you to teach them?


You want to get paid, right? Palfish uses Payoneer, a payment service based in New York. They used to use PayPal, but after their fees went up to 2.6%, it was switched to Payoneer which charges a flat fee (mine is $1.50). You’ll need a Payoneer account to receive your salary, and from there you can transfer it to any bank in the world. If you use my sign-up link, we both get a free $25 🙂


Official Teacher Application


This is confusing for many new teachers. Let me try to clear things up – there are TWO kinds of Palfish teachers


  1. A verified teacher (can do phone call lessons) 

  2. An official teacher (can teach the official course + phone call lessons)


You must become verified before you can become an official teacher. To become verified, complete the tasks circled in blue (“complete information” + “sound test”). Then, apply to be verified. As long as you made a good text intro, made a clear audio recording, and have some appropriate pictures in your profile, you will be verified in 24 hours. 


Next, you can tap the advertisement for PalFish Kid, circled in green. It will ask you to schedule a time for your interview. You must have your TEFL/TESOL to apply as an official teacher!


Please follow the pre-interview checklist if you want to pass.


You should get the results of your interview 2-3 business days. If you followed my advice, then congratulations! You are an official teacher! Go open your schedule 🙂


Getting Your TEFL or TESOL


This is probably the biggest roadblock for most new teachers, so I wanted to make a separate section for it. You can get your TEFL/TESOL in a couple hours, entirely online. Yes, it’s about $10-20 depending on which one you buy, and yes, it takes an afternoon. Personally, I think it was worth it to be able to work from home for over 3x the minimum wage.

Free TEFL?!?

While I cannot personally vouch for this program, some mutual friends of mine have used this free online TEFL program. If you absolutely cannot pay $15 for your certificate, this will probably work. However, I recommend that you go to groupon and buy a real course. They are super cheap, anyway. 


Getting Your TEFL or TESOL Course

The easiest way to get the certification is to go to and choose a TEFL package. Most teachers use the “international open academy” one, as it can be done in an hour or two and there’s no final project. Personally, I used TEFL Full Circle. I would not recommend it, because at the end I had to do a final project that had to be graded and the entire process took about 5 days. Stick with Open Academy.


Please note that all the courses say “120 hours” or “160 hours”. It won’t take you anywhere near that long to complete, it’s just a marketing gimmick they use to for getting accreditation. 


You can use either TEFL or TESOL. It doesn’t matter. Palfish may require a B.S. degree in the future, but at present, it is the only high paying ESL company that does not require a four-year college degree. 


Passing Your Course

Your TEFL/TESOL  course will consist of a few pages of reading and a multiple choice quiz at the end. Most of it is really simple stuff that you will know intuitively. You can always skip straight to the questions and google the answers…..but there is some genuinely good information there and it’s worth a read. 


Uploading Your Certificate

After you pass, you’ll get a PDF certificate. Just copy down the certificate number and enter that on the PalFish app. You only need ONE TEFL/TESOL/Teacher’s Certificate, not all three. Once you’ve completed one, you don’t need to complete any other ones. There are some programs that charge you extra for a PDF copy of your certificate, but you can usually “preview” your certificate in some way. Just use that to jot down the certificate number, and you’re good to go. 


Passing Your Interview

Got all your info filled out? Great! Let’s get ready for the Official Kids Course interview! Here is a great youtube video by a friend and colleague of mine that will prepare you really well. Key things to remember:


  • Preview the lesson that you will be demoing.

  • Be lively and animated. Smile a lot. Remember, they’re kids. 

  • Use your props!

  • Remember to introduce yourself

  • Use verbal praise (good! excellent!) and body language (thumbs up).

  • To indicate you want them to repeat a word, cup your hand around your ear


If you used my referral, I will also message you and see if you need help! Please don’t hesitate to reach out 🙂


Prepare for your interview. Many people fail, because they hold their phone in the air, do not have a teaching background, or do not use TPR. If you take it seriously, you should pass just fine. 


Pre-Interview Checklist


  1. Must be a native speaker from the USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, or New Zealand. Sorry, no exceptions. Unfortunately, I didn’t make the rules.


  1. TEFL or TESOL certificate

This sounds intimidating, but I promise, it’s actually really simple and you can complete it online in a few hours. Go to and search for “international open academy”. It should cost you about $10-15 depending on which sale is going on, and will take just a few hours to complete. It’s a series of multiple choice questions, and at the end you’ll get a PDF certificate with a certification number. That’s all you need. Done. The rest of this stuff is quick and easy to finish!


  1. Teaching background

This is simple, but important! Make sure you have a kid-friendly background for holding classes. It  should have at least one PalFish logo visible, and ideally you should have some stuffed animals or other toys. Once you pass your interview, you will get a one-time bonus of $15 that you can use towards props. I bought these finger puppets, and they’re really great for shy younger students.



  1. A stable holder for your tablet/phone

You can get a cheap one on Amazon for $15-20. You must ensure your device is stable during your interview, or you will not pass. You can’t hold it in the air! This is a common reason why people fail their interview.


  1. Good lighting!

You need to look professional by having appropriate lighting. This also really helps when you’re doing an early morning class and look a little tired, too! You can find them for as cheap as $15, though I really recommend a nicer one with adjustable brightness and warmth. 


  1. A blue shirt – any shade will do!

If you’re feeling really fancy, there’s actually a PalFish shirt on Amazon! But, you can really wear anything that’s blue. Cover up any tattoos and remove any piercings. Beards are OK. PalFish is pretty chill, but you shouldn’t look sloppy, especially to the parents of your students.. 


What’s The Classroom Like?

Here is a screen capture of a lesson I taught recently. Lessons are generally focused on practicing sentence structures and pronunciation – this one was about morning routines. 


I have arrows to flip between the lesson slides, and must teach for at least 25 minutes (there is a timer at the top). 


There are a variety of tools: I can draw in different colors, set a countdown timer for the student, upload my own lesson pictures, or use about 30 different virtual reality face filters (I’m using a microphone in this lesson). I can also give stars as a reward. 


My Palfish Story


My name is James, I started my journey on Palfish in October 2017. Palfish was my way of generating income during college, but it became much more lucrative than I expected! The ability to set my own schedule was amazing. Since then, I have graduated school and moved on to the tech field. However, I continue to do Palfish because it is so much fun! 


Can you make a living on Palfish? Yes, absolutely. I do Palfish part time, and make anywhere from $1000 – $2000 per month depending on how much I open my schedule. I personally know many teachers who make 3k, 4k, and a few have even hit 6k. It is totally dependent on how many hours you want to work.  


This job is perfect for the following people:


  • College students

  • Stay-at-home mothers

  • Supplemental income/second job

  • Anyone sick of retail/fast food/Uber 

  • Digital nomads

It probably sounds like another internet scam, but it’s real. Here is a screenshot of my Payoneer account withdrawals (again, working part time). 


If Palfish sounds like it would fit your needs, I encourage you to check it out! If this guide has been helpful,  please consider using my referral code. I’m trying to take my girlfriend on an extra nice vacation this summer 🙂


Optional Gear


  1. Stylus

I use these Mixoo styluses, and they’ve lasted me a long time. Again, not needed, but a stylus will let you write much more neatly than with your finger. If you play games like hangman with your students, a stylus is essential. And, if you are using your phone, it’s handy to have for such a small screen. 


  1. iPad

I recommend you buy this after you pass your interview and decide you want to commit to PalFish. Yes, it’s pricey, but the base model is actually pretty affordable, typically around $270. Remember that this will be a tax write-off, too. It is so much better than squinting at a small phone screen, and also you don’t want to put so much strain on the phone that you use daily. Yes, Android tablets do work, but they are not as smooth or bug-free, and I frequently see teachers complaining about poor performance and lag. If you already have an Android that is compatible, great! Otherwise, don’t buy one specifically for PalFish.


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