These days, most people spend a lot of time on their phone. They’re usually browsing social media, texting, taking photos or playing games, so it only makes sense that there’s a market to learn from it too.
And that’s exactly what’s happening.
There's a growing market of ESL-learning apps like NiceTalk, Snaplingo, and PalFish that are making it possible for students to learn English from their phone – and for teachers to earn money from it.
It goes without saying that working from your phone is something that a lot of people would be interested in, so today, we’re going to be taking a closer look at one of these companies.
We’ll be reviewing PalFish, and seeing how it compares to DaDa, a more typical, desktop-based teaching platform.
Some Initial Comments on PalFish
Before we get into the review, it’s worth mentioning that there are two distinctly different ways to work for PalFish. You can be hired as a regular teacher or as an official Kids Course teacher.
These are two very different roles. Regular teachers work in a similar way to those on log-in-and-talk style platforms like Cambly. Official Kids Course teachers are schedule-based and their jobs are more similar to platforms like DaDa.
With that in mind, we’ll mainly be looking at information relevant to the Official Kids Course teachers, but we’ll also touch on regular teachers too.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s look at some pros and cons that both companies share.
Pros of Working for DaDa and PalFish
- You can work from home or whilst traveling.
- You get a rewarding work experience and job satisfaction.
- The potential to earn at least $15/hour at a minimum.
- Relatively light workload with little planning or preparation time.
Cons of Working for DaDa and PalFish
- Teaching all day can be demanding and draining.
- It can be tough to self-motivate when working from home.
- You might be working in unsociable hours depending on where you live.
- There are occasional frustrating tech issues.
These are the main similarities and differences in a nutshell, but there is plenty more we haven’t talked about just yet, so let’s get into the details.
Hiring Policy [DaDa vs PalFish]
If you’re interested in working for DaDa, you’ll need to:
- Have a Bachelor’s Degree
- Speak English at a native level
- Have a stable internet connection and a headset with mic
- Teaching certification, such as TEFL, TESL, CELTA
- Criminal background check
Additionally, it would help your application to stand out if you also have some teaching or childcare experience
One of the great things about PalFish is that they have a very low barrier to entry. Unlike DaDa, you don’t need a BA to apply to be an official Kids Course teacher, you just need:
- to be a Native speaker from the UK, US, CA, NZ, AU or IE.
- a mobile phone that has at least 3GB RAM
and that’s it!
Stand-by Time Pay [DaDa vs PalFish]
DaDa has one of the most generous policies in the online ESL market regarding stand-by time pay for teachers.
During your contracted hours, you're entitled to 50% pay for empty slots that haven't been booked, or for classes where students don't turn up.
This means that you’re guaranteed to take home at least half pay no matter what, but empty slots will usually be few and far between anyway.
However, this 50% pay policy doesn’t extend to part-time hours, so if you want to work part-time hours it’s worth choosing periods where you think you’re most likely to be booked.
Unlike DaDa, PalFish doesn’t offer any standby time pay for periods which aren’t booked. This means that, if you’re a regular teacher, the onus is on you to market yourself well and ensure you have a full schedule.
However, they do guarantee 100% of your pay for no-shows as long as you remain in the class for the full duration of the class.
Cancellation Policy [DaDa vs PalFish]
Almost all online ESL teaching companies include some kind of cancellation policy in order to deter teachers from taking time off, and DaDa is no exception.
If you’re late to class or absent from a class without authorisation, you’ll incur financial penalties. The fees and financial deductions depend on factors like how late you were, but it’s all clearly outlined in your contract.
They also have a blanket rule that teachers will lose 10% of their paycheck if they take more than 2 days off in any given month.
Read more about this below:
This might seem a little unfair, but I can kind of see why it's necessary, and they'll often waive the fees if the teacher's reasons are genuine.
PalFish regular teachers set their own hours and work whenever they want, so they don’t have to worry about being locked into a schedule that they can’t meet. Therefore, it’s unlikely they’ll need to cancel classes that often.
For official Kids Course teachers, however, classes are booked in advance. Their cancellation policy is that, if you miss more than 6 of these classes in a 6-month period, you lose your job.
Again, it might seem a bit harsh, but it’s easily avoidable if you try to be as punctual as possible.
Hiring Process [DaDa vs PalFish]
Here is DaDa’s hiring process in a nutshell:
- Apply online.
- Pass a 5-10 minute skype interview.
- Complete some platform training with a mentor.
- Teach a 30-minute demo class with a real student.
- Sign the contract, fill out your profile and start teaching!
Read more about DaDa's requirements below:
The Palfish hiring process is different for regular teachers and official Kids Course teachers.
For regular teachers, it’s as easy as:
- Signing up online
- Filling in some basic profile information
- Recording a 30-second introduction video and submitting the application
- Waiting a few days for your account to be verified.
They’re a bit more selective about their official Kids Course teachers, so you’ll also have to go through an interview and mock class if your applying for this role.
It’s worth mentioning that the applicant acceptance rate is supposedly very high due to the high demand for teachers to meet the rapid expansion of the Kids Course.
Pay [DaDa vs PalFish]
DaDa pays between $15 and $25 per teaching hour, based on the applicant's experience, qualifications, and demo class.
You can also supplement this with incentives like trial class conversion bonuses, attendance bonuses and more.
This is one of the highest pay rates in the online ESL teaching industry.
PalFish pays their teachers in RMB, so you’ll have to watch the exchange rate for accurate figures here.
They offer official Kids Course teachers a starting rate of 50 RMB per 25-minute class, plus an extra 5 RMB for turning up on time.
Currently, this works out at around $16 USD per 50 teaching minutes. Not bad when you consider the low entry requirements and the fact that this is just a starting rate.
It can go up as you teach more classes, to a maximum of 70 RMB per class ($20 per 50 minutes).
PalFish also offers a ton of other bonuses, including:
- A student sign up bonus of 200¥
- A bonus for perfect attendance of 200¥
- A Prop bonus of 100¥
Regular teachers can set their own rate and teach through free talk whenever they want. Prices will be competitive, so it’s important to set your rate as low as possible at first, then increase it once you’ve built a following and got some reviews.
Check out how pay compares with a similar online teaching companies:
Class Bookings [DaDa vs PalFish]
With DaDa, you’ll be assigned regular students who you’ll teach once or more per week in one-on-one classes. These classes are 30-minutes long and are taught using the platform’s own courseware.
Students don’t choose their own teachers, they’re assigned by DaDa, so you tend to be fully booked pretty quickly.
You can also teach trial and interest classes. Trial classes are 14-minutes long and interest classes are 30-minutes long. If you sign up for extra part-time hours outside of your set schedule, you'll mainly be teaching these types of classes.
Read more about DaDa part-time hours below:
There’s a lot to talk about with the PalFish class booking system, so let’s start by looking at the different types of classes you can teach.
There are four types of classes, which are:
- Free Talk classes
Teachers set their own rate and work whenever they choose.
- Regular classes
Official Kids Course teachers will be teaching these one-on-one classes on a set schedule.
You can teach up to six students in these classes and you set the rate per student.
- Live shows
These are webinar-style classes which many people do to free to market themselves to students.
You’ll be teaching from your phone via a headset or headphones and all lesson materials are provided for official teachers.
Official teachers have set schedules and can open slots during Beijing peak times. They must open at least 7 slots per week or they’ll be restricted from teaching trials for a few days.
Once you’ve opened your slots, the PalFish team will fill it with trials. If these trials decide to stay on the platform, they’ll become your regular students.
DaDa vs PalFish… Final Thoughts!
That’s all there is to know about PalFish and DaDa – two very different companies which are both great options for prospective online teachers to work for.
If after reading all that, you’d like to apply for DaDa, click the button below to start your application:
Or if you would like to become a teacher for PalFish, download the teacher app from iTunes below:
Or read about how another similar online teaching company compares below: