Recently over the last couple of months, the online ESL company, Dada, has been taken over by new management. In turn, this had led to substantial changes within the company, especially impacting upon their teachers. On top of this, the Chinese government are introducing requirements for online ESL teachers that teach Chinese students. Many companies till now have had varied requirements from accent, degree or no degree and TEFL qualification. With the increasing growth of teaching ESL online, teachers are now required to provide proof of a TEFL or TESOL qualification. For more details relating to Chinese legislation changes, please look here .
Specific to Dada
Dada was one of the top online ESL companies to work for. I previously worked for Dada for 9 months and they had some fantastic points going for them (see my original post here covering pros and cons). However, it appears that with all the changes they are presently making, many of their teachers have been fired, their mentors have lost their roles and they have placed a hiring freeze for any new teachers. Those teachers lucky enough to keep their jobs are being forced to sign a new contract and to meet new requirements including a degree, TEFL qualification and Criminal Background Check.
Personally, I really do think that all online ESL teachers should have some form of teaching qualification and, since the majority of teachers are working online with children, should have an in date CRB. But, the problem with Dada enforcing this so suddenly upon its teachers, is that they were only provided two weeks to complete and send in documents as proof, otherwise their contracts would be terminated.
For more details on what’s happening with Dada presently (as I said earlier, I left Dada in October and started with another online ESL company), please see this post written by Jason, founder of DigiNo and a previous mentor for Dada.
This post is mainly to be as honest and open by providing updates as they happen within the online ESL world. Whilst I worked as a teacher for Dada, I had an amazing experience. Working for Dada was my first step into the online world of teaching, enabling me to earn a full-time income, working a few hours a week and to be present in my two very young children’s lives. Without coming across Dada and being given the opportunity to grow and develop as an online teacher, I would not be in the position I am now. I have a lot to be thankful for with this company.
Even so, I really strongly advise with all the current uncertainties with which direction this company is going and the present way its teachers have been treated, I strongly recommend you to consider other companies, especially if you are new to online ESL teaching.
As I mentioned, I have started working for a couple of alternative online ESL companies. I did a lot of research when considering which companies to work for. I strongly recommend you to do the same. I also cannot emphasize enough the importance of diversifying your income. As an online ESL teacher, as Dada has demonstrated, you are easily replaced and you can find yourself without a job or income. As someone who, apart from blogging, solely teaches online to provide an income, it was so important for me to find stable companies, companies that treated teachers respectfully and that would compliment each other so that I could work for more than one. Below I have listed the two companies I currently work with to give you an alternative if you currently or were thinking of working with Dada.
This company is a relatively new company with big plans to come. Teachers were recently invited to an online call with the companies CEO to go through up and coming changes within the new year. UUabc really respects its teachers and provides opportunities for teachers to promote and take on additional roles within the company.
They provide all teaching materials for you and lessons are extremely interactive. Classes are taught with up to 4 students and all slides must be completed within the lesson. Pay is between $18-25 / hour with additional bonuses. Students are Chinese, so hours are during peak times in Beijing and more hours are available on weekends.
I have personally really enjoyed my experience so far of UUabc. I have joined during the winter season, so I don’t presently have a full schedule. However, each week my schedule has increased in bookings. Lessons have been such fun to teach that my shifts fly by and the students are an absolute delight. I find that because you are managing a number of students at a time plus have to get through all the slides during class time, your lessons are extremely focused. I have received immediate support during lessons for any student technical difficulties or no-shows.
If you would like to apply to UUabc, they do require a degree, experience and for you to be a Native English Speaker. To see more details of requirements, the application process and apply to UUabc, see this post here.
Presently, they have around 3000 new students expected to start in January, but until then new teachers are only being given a maximum of 6 hours teaching time. There is a waiting list for teachers requesting more hours, but with all the changes due in the new year, there should be plenty of hours available for all new and current teachers.
Related Post: Online ESL Interview Tips with Q and A Examples
SayABC is similar to UUabc in that you teach up to four students within one lesson. They also have an extremely interactive platform and lesson materials are fun and stimulating for students. You do have to get through all slides within the 40-minute lesson. Pay is $15 / class with additional incentives
- $4 / home room (a completed set of 9 lessons with the same students, if you complete all 9 with no penalties such as lates, technical issues, you gain the full bonus after completing the full set)
- Additional $7 for being a substitute teacher (if given a class within 24 hours of it starting)
- $8 per student who signs up after a trial class with you if they join within 5 days.
- There is no standby pay. Bookings are at Beijing peak times as you are teaching Chinese students.
What I love about SayABC, which most companies do not offer, is that I am not required to provide a minimum amount of hours every week. Obviously, the more hours you provide the more likely you will gain bookings. Plus their homerooms work on paired days so they prioritise these bookings to people who open this day sets each week (Monday/Thursday, Tuesday/Friday, Wednesday/Saturday and Saturday/Sunday). However, I have access to my own schedule and can open and close my own slots weeks in advance. They do prefer teachers to open their slots 14weeks in advance, but you can do it weekly. If I have opened a slot and it hasn’t been booked, I have the options to cancel this slot or set myself available as a substitute teacher. As a mum at home with two young children, flexibility is really important for me. You can alter any slot that is not a booked slot. My only negative about SayABC is that the support during class is extremely slow and not very efficient. You have to ‘book a ticket’ through the classroom platform and the support team message you via Skype. However, messages can take longer than your class time to gain a response – which isn’t too helpful. But, the Facebook community is really supportive and helpful, so any non IT related questions can be answered there.
SayABC is really organised as well, in that prior to each lesson, their platform performs an IT test for your computer system to help minimise technical difficulties for teachers prior teaching. They also have a pay section within the teaching platform, which displays a breakdown of your current months pay and updates every couple of days.
This company does require its teachers to have a degree AND TEFL in line with the Chinese government’s new legislation.
If you are interested in finding out more about SayABC, send an email and your resume to email@example.com
If you have your own experiences or updates on Dada, please do comment below to give light to current and prospective teachers.