One of the most common questions you hear from people searching for online English teaching jobs is, ‘Which English teaching companies hire non-US citizens?’.
If you’re from the UK, Australia, or any other native English-speaking country outside of North America, the pool of employers you get to choose from is considerably smaller. However, there are still plenty of opportunities out there.
From this pool, DaDa (formerly DaDaABC) and SayABC are two companies that really stand out from the crowd.
|Pay: $15 - $21 per hour|
|Pay: $15 - $22 per hour|
SayABC might be a great alternative for current DaDa teachers. But how does it stack up against DaDa?
We’re going to answer that question for you in this full comparison of DaDa vs SayABC. Let’s start by looking at what they both have in common. Here are some pros and cons of both companies.
PROS of Working for DaDa and SayABC
- Can pay over $20/hr
- No commuting costs – work from home
- Additional bonuses available
- Minimal planning time required
- Learn about other cultures
CONS of Working for DaDa and SayABC
- Your schedule may not always be fully-booked
- Frequent technical problems
- Language barrier with management
- Possibly unsociable hours depending on location
Now that you have a general idea of the similarities, you’re probably wondering how to choose between them.
Well, we’ve done the hard work for you by scouring the Glassdoor reviews, speaking to existing employees, and gathering company data. All this will allow us to compare, in detail, the key differences in 6 main areas, starting with…
Hiring Policy [DaDa vs SayABC]
Recently, DaDa has made some sweeping changes regarding their hiring and cancellation policies. Right now, all DaDa applicants are required to have:
- A Bachelor’s degree (in any field)
- Native English-speaking accent
- A teaching certification, such as a TEFL, TESL, CELTA
- Criminal background check
Outside of these requirements, it also helps to have relevant teaching or childcare experience and a strong internet connection.
Click the image below for an article detailing their experience as a stay at home mom and DaDa teacher:
SayABC requirements are slightly different than DaDa’s. There are five things you’ll need in total:
- Native English speaking ability
- A Bachelor’s degree
- 2+ year teaching experience
- A fast computer and a solid internet connection
- A TEFL, TESOL, or CELTA certificate (preferred)
The good thing here is that the SayABC requirements are less specific when it comes to education. If you don’t have your degree just yet, but you’re a final year student, you can still land a job. Unlike DaDa, you don’t actually need a TEFL certificate either, but it certainly helps!
In regards to the teaching experience, don’t be afraid to apply without it. Even if you don’t have a year’s teaching experience as a teacher in your home country, the chances are you might have some kind of experience you can draw upon to help you meet these SayABC requirements.
For example, you could mention any mentoring you’ve done, or any extra-curricular tutoring, or even childcare experiences. Other online teaching experience counts towards this too!
Read a SayABC review from a current teacher below:
Stand-by Time Pay [DaDa vs SayABC]
No comparison of DaDa vs SayABC would be complete without a look at stand-by pay, so let’s start by taking a look at DaDa.
DaDa's policy is that they won't pay you full pay unless you're teaching classes. For standby time (meaning periods when you don't have any classes booked) during your contracted hours, you're only paid 50% of your regular hourly wage.
This only applies to contracted hours. During part-time hours (i.e. overtime), you won't be paid anything for standby time. You'll only be paid if you're teaching.
This can be a pain, so try to only book extra part-time hours for periods you expect to be busy. Otherwise, you may end up sitting around twiddling your thumbs for a few hours without making any money.
The exception to the above is when you have had a class scheduled but the student doesn’t turn up or cancels last minute. In these instances, you’ll still be paid, which is good because it happens quite a lot.
Unfortunately, SayABC doesn’t pay you for standby time at all but this might not be a huge problem as it’s likely that you’ll hardly have any standby time at all.
The official SayABC website states that 90% of teachers on the platform teach four 40-minute classes per day, and SayABC reviews from other teachers are mostly positive about the booking rate.
From what I gather, your schedule is likely to be full most of the time, so stand-by pay shouldn’t be too much of a concern.
Cancellation Policy [DaDa vs SayABC]
The cancellation policy refers to how the company deals with things when a teacher has to cancel classes.
DaDa has overhauled their cancellation policy recently, and the new policy differentiates between 3 different kinds of cancellations. It's a little complicated, so bear with me and I'll do my best to explain it!
Here’s how it works for each of them:
1. Short term cancellations
A short-term cancellation refers to any class canceled by the teacher at least 24 hours before it's scheduled.
As long as you give 24 hours notice, you can cancel up to 8 of these classes per month, and you won’t be charged a financial penalty. If you cancel more than that, you’ll be fined a set amount per class depending on what type of class it is.
This seems pretty generous, but a lot of teacher’s feel it’s unfairly weighted against those with more contracted hours, which makes a lot of sense.
If you have a lot of contracted hours, you might have 8 classes in a single day, which means you can only really miss one day per month.
A teacher with a smaller contract, on the other hand, might only have 1-2 classes a day so they can miss multiple days per month.
2. Medical emergency cancellations
If you don’t give 24 hours notice, DaDa classes it as a last-minute, medical emergency cancellation. If you have a doctor’s note, DaDa’s policy is that you won’t incur any financial penalties.
If you can’t provide a note, your pay will be deducted a set fine per class that you miss, plus you won’t get paid for that class.
3. Long-term cancellations/leave
DaDa has recently decided they should be accommodating teachers who need to take extended periods of leave. Now, teachers can request one long-term leave period (14-30 days) every six months.
You won’t be paid for the classes you miss, but you also won’t get any financial penalties.
In a nutshell
Basically, if you don’t give adequate notice, or miss more than 8 classes per month (outside of your long-term leave allowance), you’ll probably get hit with a financial penalty.
This new DaDa cancellation policy has become a bit of a thorn in the side of existing DaDa teachers, with many voicing concerns that the new policy is less than fair – but we’ll leave you to be the judge of that.
For now, let’s see how it compares to the SayABC cancellation policy.
Don’t worry – the SayABC cancellation policy is much simpler and more straightforward!
They’re also much more lenient. There are no financial penalties from your regular salary for sick days and holidays. You just need to notify them over skype or email if you can’t make a class, and they’ll reassign it to another teacher. Woohoo!
Instead, SayABC uses financial incentives as a deterrent. You’re eligible for a very generous bonus for punctuality which is lost if you miss any scheduled classes. Teachers are unlikely to give this up on a whim, so the policy works well.
Hiring Process [DaDa vs SayABC]
Okay, before we get into the hiring process, I should reiterate that DaDa has been in a hiring freeze since some time in October 2018, meaning this process is currently on hold.
If/when DaDa does start hiring again, though, their interview process will look a little something like this:
Step 1: Apply online
Step 2: Have a 5-to-10-minute Skype interview
Step 3: Brief platform training with a mentor / Demo class with mentor acting as a student
Step 4: Complete a 30-minute demo class with a real student
Step 5: You’re in! Sign your contract, fill out your profile and watch the training videos.
SayABC’s hiring process is very similar. Here’s the SayABC interview process in a nutshell:
1. Sign up on the website
2. Have a 40-minute SayABC interview which includes a 15-minute demo class with the interviewer. You can also choose to self-record this in advance if you prefer.
3. Complete a 1-hour mentoring session
4. Complete a real evaluation class with 4 students
5. Start teaching
It seems like a lot, but the whole application process can be completed in as little as a week or two. It moves along quickly!
The most important part of the whole process it the interview, so here are some tips to help you nail it!
SayABC Interview Tips
The first thing to do is to prepare answers to some of the most common questions that the interviewer will be likely to ask. Here are a few examples to start with:
- What teaching experience do you have?
- How is classroom teaching different than teaching online?
- How would you deal with an angry/upset/distracted student?
- Tell me about yourself
Prepare answers to all of the above, and other basic questions about your qualifications, likes and dislikes, etc.
Remember that your interviewer will probably be a non-native speaker, so answer in simple, straightforward language and speak clearly. If the interviewer can’t understand, they will think your students won’t be able to either. Overly-complicated words won’t get you any credit here!
After that, it's the pretend class with the interviewer. They will act like a 6-year-old and ask you to teach them. Here are a few tips to help you get through this part of the SayABC interview:
- Don't be awkward. Yes, it's an adult pretending to be a student. Yes, it's not a normal situation to be in. But nonetheless, don't let the interviewer see that you're uncomfortable. Laugh, play along and keep smiling.
- Smile and be energetic all the way through. They want you to be 2-parts teacher, 1-part children’s entertainer.
- Have some puppets on-hand and use them when the interviewer pretends to be distracted to regain their attention.
- Have a whiteboard and marker to hand to illustrate words, draw pictures, and play games.
- Make sure your background is well-lit and put up some educational aids like posters and letters for extra points!
If you do all of the above well, you’ll nail the SayABC interview!
Read more about the SayABC hiring process below:
Pay [DaDa vs SayABC]
DaDa offers a respectable flat rate that can be anywhere between $15 – $25 per hour, depending on your performance during the hiring process.
You can also boost your income with bonuses for attendance, trial-class conversions, and recruitment.
In fact, the recruitment bonus can be one of the best ways to start earning a passive income online.
Click the image below for more information on how to earn the recruitment bonus:
SayABC offers one of the best pay rates in the entire online ESL industry. The basic SayABC pay rate is $15 per 40-minute class, plus an extra $4 per class for attendance.
The attendance bonus is really easy to achieve, you’ll get it just for attending 9 lessons in a row with no absences. Therefore, your typical SayABC pay rate should actually be $19 per 40-minute class.
After averaging this out over an hour, it works out at around $28.50 per teaching hour.
That must be it, right? Nope, there’s more. You can also get other bonuses on top of that to really boost your SayABC pay packet.
- You'll get an extra $7 if you're asked to take over another teacher's classes at the last minute or part-way through.
- You’ll get $8 each time one of your trial class students signs up to the platform.
- You can earn $100 extra for referring friends or family to the platform. I’ve mentioned this already, but referral bonuses really are a great way to make a passive income. Learn more about how I earn referral bonuses here.
With so many variables, it’s difficult to predict how much you’ll earn with SayABC each year. There’s no set SayABC salary – it all depends on how many classes you have booked, what your availability is, and what kind of bonuses you land.
That being said, if you want a really thorough breakdown of how much you can earn with SayABC, and an estimate of what your SayABC salary is likely to be after tax and other deductions.
Read a dedicated and updated SayABC pay post below:
Class Bookings [DaDa vs SayABC]
Both DaDa and SayABC offer classes during peak times in Beijing, and both also book your classes for you, so you don’t have to worry about competing with other teachers.
With DaDa, you agree on a fixed schedule and they fill it as soon as possible with regular students and the occasional trial or interest class. You teach 1-1 classes and will have plenty of time to get to know your students. You can watch them develop over time which makes it a very rewarding experience.
You can also book part-time hours in advance, where you’ll mainly be teaching trial and interest classes.
Click the image below to learn more about part-time hours with DaDa:
Unlike with DaDa, you don’t have to commit to a regular schedule with SayABC. You can choose between two different types of classes: trial classes or regular classes.
If you want to teach regular classes, you send off your available SayABC hours and commit to a 5-week fixed schedule.
You’ll then be assigned groups of students which you’ll teach for 9-classes in a row and work through a single scheme of work. Unlike DaDa, there can be up to 4 students in each class.
If you want to teach trial classes, you only have to sign up for the time slots a day in advance.
All classes are scheduled during regular SayABC hours. These operating hours are evenings (Beijing time) Monday to Sunday, plus weekend mornings.
ManyCam – DaDa vs SayABC
However, SayABC does not allow ManyCam, due to them believing it slows down the system. Some teachers still use it regardless.
Check out the beginner's guide below if you're not familiar with ManyCam:
SayABC vs VIPKID
Before we wrap up, I wanted to quickly take a look at SayABC vs VIPKID.
I know we’re comparing DaDa vs SayABC here, but seeing as VIPKID is one of the most well-known online ESL employers out there, I thought it might be useful to see how SayABC stacks up against them too.
In the interest of keeping things brief, here’s a table summarizing the key differences between SayABC and VIPKID:
DaDa vs SayABC… Final Thoughts!
That’s a lot of information to digest! Don’t worry – we’re nearly done. There are just a few final things worth pointing out.
South African Teachers – SayABC and DaDa
If you're a South African and you've already begun the hunt for an online teaching position, you've probably already noticed that it's more difficult to find a position than if you come from another native English speaking nation.
The good news is that both companies have a very inclusive hiring policy and will consider all ethnicities and nationalities, as long as you’re a native speaker. I’ve heard nothing but positive reviews from SayABC employees in particular regarding this.
In summary, after speaking to multiple teachers about their experiences with each company, there really isn’t a bad option here. Most people I’ve spoken to in the past are more than happy with their treatment, paychecks, and workload.
The DaDa Ice Age
However, the recent changes to DaDa have meant that this is starting to change. More and more teachers are growing unhappy with DaDa’s changing policies. SayABC, on the other hand, seems to be going from strength to strength.
|Pay: $15 - $21 per hour|
|Pay: $15 - $22 per hour|
Ultimately, it all comes down to personal preference, but hopefully, this post has gone some way towards helping you decide which company is right for you.
For more from the Online Teaching Wars, check out another crucial comparison below: