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If you’ve spent any time on this website before, you’ll know that we’re all about helping you to save more money – whether that’s to help you to pay off your credit cards, save up for a big vacation, or just put a little extra away for your retirement.
We’ve all heard the saying ‘time is money’, but too few of us take that virtue seriously and let it influence how we choose to spend our time. All that extra time we spend sitting around watching TV could be being used to maximize our earning potential.
But finding a side hustle that works for you takes time and research. After all, you don’t want to end up burnt out, overworked, and wishing you’d never even bothered.
That’s why, today, we’re going to be reviewing DaDa – an online teaching company which can help you to earn some extra cash from the comfort of your own home.
We’ll be taking an in-depth look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of working for DaDa and comparing it to other online English teaching platforms.
In this review of DaDa, we’ll be answering all the questions you should be asking before you consider applying, including:
- What is DaDa?
- Why should I work for DaDa?
- How are DaDa classes booked?
- How much does DaDa pay?
- What are DaDa classes like?
- What is DaDas hiring policy?
- How flexible is DaDa?
Like I said, your time is valuable, so without any further delay – let’s jump right into it.
What is DaDa?
DaDa is one of many online English education companies based in mainland China and is the first company of this kind to partner with the American TESOL Institute, as well as National Geographic, Pearson, and McGraw-Hill Education.
Their online platform connects native English speaking tutors with children between four and sixteen years old for one-to-one lessons aimed at developing their conversational English, vocabulary, and grammar.
Most students are from China but they also cater to other markets around the world, such as Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Korea. They even have some students from as far west as France and Germany.
Most importantly – they’re one of the largest, most successful, and most well-paying online English tutor employers on the market.
With over a hundred thousand students using the platform, as you might expect, the demand for teachers is high. They have over ten thousand teachers currently working for them and more coming on board every day.
Their constant search for new teachers to meet growing demand makes them one of the first companies prospective online English teachers come across when they begin their job search, alongside other big names, like VIPKID and SayABC.
Why Should I Work for DaDa?
Before we get into the nitty-gritty details, it might help to look at some general pros and cons of working for DaDa to help you get an overall picture of whether it seems like the kind of job you’d be interested in doing.
Like any job, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows – it has both it’s good and it’s bad points.
As an optimist, I like to focus on the positives, so let’s start with the good stuff.
The Advantages of Working for DaDa:
- It’s one of the few online teaching companies that pay over $20 per hour
- You can work from home or while traveling
- No planning or preparation time is required
- It’s a rewarding job that comes with the opportunity to learn about other cultures
- It offers a set schedule and guaranteed pay
- You have the flexibility of taking additional part-time hours
Now that we’ve covered the major benefits, let’s look at the other side of the coin.
The Disadvantages of Working for DaDa:
- You may need to work unsociable hours, depending on your time zone
- There can be frequent and frustrating technical issues
- You’re very reliant on a working laptop/computer.
- You’re locked into working a minimum number of hours a week
- It can be isolating to work from home
- Working with children can be demanding and exhausting
If on balance, you feel that this kind of job is something you’d be interested in, read on and we’ll get into the finer details – there’s still plenty more to talk about.
How are DaDa Classes Booked?
To begin working with DaDa, you’ll need to commit to a set schedule before you sign your contract. You have to agree to work at least 4 hours per week, and these 4 hours have to be spread across two non-consecutive days. The exception to this is if you want to work weekends, in which case you can work on consecutive days.
These four hours can only be during Beijing peak hours, as that’s when students can book classes. Beijing peak hours are between 6 PM and 9 PM Monday to Friday, and pretty much all day on the weekends.
If you’re in the US and you want to work weekdays, this is probably going to mean an early start, as the time difference means that peak hours fall between 6 AM and 9 AM in Washington, DC.
You know what they say though: ‘the early bird catches the worm’! If you’re willing to wake up a little earlier, you can squeeze in a few lessons before work and add earn a little extra.
Once you’ve agreed on a schedule and started working, they will fill it with regular students for you, and you can see your bookings a few days in advance.
DaDa classes are all booked by the company’s own administration staff – and this is a good thing. Why? Because the alternative is for the students themselves, or their parents, to book your classes – and nobody wants that.
Platforms which have the parents select the teacher they want tend to create a competitive atmosphere where, if you’re not marketing yourself well, you don’t get booked. This puts added pressure on the teacher and makes things much less enjoyable.
With DaDa, that isn’t a problem, as you’re simply matched to a student based on your availability.
Once you’ve taught a lesson with a regular student, you’ll usually teach that same student at the same time every week. This means you know who you’ll be teaching and at what times, allowing you to prepare in advance if you’re the kind of person that likes to plan ahead.
It also means that you’ll have the chance to build up your rapport with that student and watch them develop over time, something which many teachers find rewarding.
You’re probably wondering how many bookings you’re likely to actually get. Well, I have good news on that front too – DaDa teachers are typically fully booked within a few weeks after their start date.
They will ease you in for the first fortnight or so. You’ll probably have around 25% of your schedule filled in your first week, then 50% in your second week, then on your third week it should be almost completely filled.
This is great because it means that you can be pretty sure that you’ll get a full or almost-full paycheck at the end of every month, as you’ll likely be working through all your contracted hours.
It’s also worth mentioning that there are also ‘part-time hours’, which work a little differently – but we’ll talk more about this later.
How Much Does DaDa Pay?
Pay is probably the number one most important factor here, so let’s cut to the chase and get into the numbers.
DaDa pays their teachers between $15 and $25 per hour – a very generous hourly rate that’s significantly above the industry standard.
The exact rate you’ll be offered will depend on your performance during a demo teaching class, your experience, and your qualifications.
Of course, there’s a big gap between $15 an hour and $25 an hour, and as you know, we’re all about squeezing out every last penny here, so let’s look at some things you can do to get the top end of this offer:
- Tell them your honest salary expectations during the interview. During the application process, you’ll have a very short skype interview with a recruiter. It’s not uncommon for them to ask you what you expect to get paid.
Be honest and tell them what you’ll happily work for, but don’t sell yourself short. If you say $15, they have no reason to offer you more than that.
- Nail the demo class. The trial class will be 30 minutes long and you’ll be teaching a real student. Your performance here will play a crucial role in determining your pay offer, so you have to nail it.
To do so, watch some YouTube videos of DaDa classes first so that you know what to expect and look over the courseware you’ll be teaching. It helps to write down a few fun games and activities you could play beforehand and get some props like puppets to help you seem more well-prepared.
Most importantly, be enthusiastic and keep smiling throughout the lesson – they’re looking for fun, friendly teachers.
- Emphasise your experience. Even if you have no prior teaching experience, the chances are that you’ve done something in the past that you can draw on.
If you’ve ever worked in childcare, taught others in any capacity, or worked in any sort of managerial role, you can use it to sell yourself. These experiences prove transferable skills that will help you to be a good tutor, so point them out.
- Don’t be afraid to bargain. If they send you an offer less than the amount you were hoping for, you can always ask for more. They might not be willing to increase the offer, but if you ask politely and explain why you think they should reconsider in a professional way, they just might.
As long as you do it in the right way, and don’t come across too demanding, there’s little to no chance that they will revoke the offer completely, so don’t be too concerned about ‘scaring them off’.
In addition to the standard hourly pay rate, DaDa also provides lots of bonuses and incentives that can significantly increase your paycheck. These bonuses have included, in the past:
- A 50 RMB ($7.50) bonus when a trial class student signs up to the platform
- A 700 RMB ($100) bonus for referring other teachers
- A 1000 RMB ($150) bonus for having perfect monthly attendance
- Various additional monthly bonuses for other tasks
However, DaDa often amends and revises their policies on bonuses and incentives, and some of these have since been replaced by a points system, whereby the same tasks are awarded points instead of cash bonuses. These points can then be redeemed against Amazon gift cards. This may change again in the future.
Now that we’ve covered pay, let’s look at what teaching DaDa classes is actually like.
What are DaDa Classes Like?
As you probably already guessed, you teach DaDa causes through an audio-video feed using a webcam and microphone. You do this on the ‘DaDa Class’ platform, which you can download or access through a Chrome web browser.
On the platform, you can see yourself and the student, plus a screen which shows the slides for the lesson you’ll be teaching. This is known as the ‘courseware’ and is provided by DaDa.
You can also draw on the screen to play games like tic-tac-toe, circle pictures on the screen, or generally use in any way you see fit. The student can draw too, but you can turn off their ability to do this if you feel like it’s a distraction.
The platform also has an in-built reward system, where you can give the student gold stars for good behavior or work.
There are three types of DaDa classes: trial, interest, and formal. Let’s take a look at each of these in turn.
These are your regularly scheduled classes in which you teach the same student each week. They’re 30 minutes long and you’ll be teaching them through DaDa’s own courseware. This courseware is not so great compared to western schooling standards, but it does the job.
It’s important to set up regular routines for your formal classes, as it will help both you and the student. For you, it helps to manage your time and fill the lesson without having to just read through the courseware all lesson. For the student, it helps them understand what to expect from each lesson.
These routines might be as simple as starting every lesson with a song or playing a game after finishing a chapter of the courseware.
These are another type of 30-minute class that you’ll usually only teach during part-time hours (we’ll get to what part-time hours are later on). They’re with students you don’t regularly teach and are kind of like supplementary classes to their regular schedule.
Interest classes are great as you don’t have the responsibility that comes with your regulars, and you don’t need to make much progress each class – it’s more about the extra conversation classes.
Interest classes can be on topics like science, math, or other cultures. They’re also often just ‘story’ lessons where you read a short children’s story together and ask some comprehension questions.
Trial classes are only 14-minutes long. They’re free classes (don’t worry – you still get paid) for students to find out if they want to sign up for regular DaDa classes or not.
Some people love trial classes, and others hate them – it really depends on your personal preferences
The good thing about trials is that they’re short and responsibility-free as the student isn’t expected to make any real progress. As they’re always brand-new students, a lot of the time is spent with general introduction stuff anyway, so the actual teaching time is very short.
Of course, the potential to earn an extra $7.50 trial-class-conversion bonus helps too!
On the other hand, trial classes are important to the DaDa sales staff as they’re trying to get the students to sign up, so there is some added pressure from that. In trial classes, it’s not uncommon for DaDa staff to be watching the lesson and giving you feedback, which can be a little annoying and off-putting
You’ll mostly teach trials during part-time hours, but you’ll also occasionally teach them when your set schedule isn’t full, or during the first few weeks of teaching.
What are the students like?
Students are a mixed-bag of ability levels. Some students (often the younger ones) have little to no English ability. These are the hardest to teach as you’ll need to rely on gestures and repeat-after-me style vocabulary drilling an awful lot.
This can get boring for you and the student, but there’s not a whole lot you can do instead. Fortunately, most of the students have mid-level English ability, which allows you to be more creative in most lessons.
For the most part, students tend to be very disciplined and well-behaved, so classroom management is usually pretty easy. It definitely beats teaching in your average high-school classroom in the US!
How Flexible is DaDa?
There are some online teaching companies – like Cambly – that are totally flexible, with zero time commitment requirements. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective), DaDa isn’t one of them.
DaDa requires their teachers to commit to a set schedule. If you miss these classes without prior authorization, you’re considered to be AWOL and you may incur financial penalties.
DaDa also has a strict cancellation policy. If you take more than 2 days leave in any given month, you’ll lose 10% of that month’s paycheck. This is to deter teachers from taking too much time off and losing their regular students, but it can make life difficult sometimes.
It essentially means that, if you want that frugal summer vacation you’ve been planning all year, you’ll either have to take work with you or accept the fact that you’ll be losing 10% of your monthly payment.
All this means that DaDa really isn’t the most flexible option out there. It’s also much less suitable for remote workers who like to travel around as you need a stable environment to teach from. If you want to switch teaching locations, you need to notify the staff first and schedule an IT check.
Nonetheless, job flexibility isn’t important to everyone and, if that hasn’t put you off, nothing else will. With that in mind, let’s move on and look at how you can actually start working with DaDa.
What is DaDa’s Hiring Policy?
DaDa’s hiring policy is pretty straightforward. They’ll consider hiring anyone who:
- Has a Bachelor’s Degree or Higher
- Is a Native English speaker
That’s all you really need to apply, and you’ll have a good shot at getting through to the interview stage. However, there are some other things that recruiters are looking for too that will help your application stand out.
This includes prior teaching experience, a TEFL certificate or equivalent, or even better – a full teaching qualification from your home country.
If you have any of the above – you’re golden!
It might also be worth mentioning that DaDa claims that they don’t discriminate based on nationality, as long as you’re a native speaker.
This should be a given, but the sad truth is that a lot of native speakers from countries like South Africa are often denied job opportunities in the English teaching industry in favor of other nationalities.
DaDa will consider hiring South Africans, along with people from any other nationality that can speak English at a native level.
How to Join DaDa
To join DaDa, you’ll have to work your way through their application process. This process can be completed very quickly and, if you’re accepted, you can be up and running on the platform in just a few days.
Here are the steps you’ll need to go through to join DaDa:
Step 1: Fill out their online teacher application form on the DaDa website
Step 2: Schedule and complete a short, 5-minute skype interview with a recruiter.
Step 3: Go through some mandatory platform training with a mentor to make sure you’re comfortable using the software.
Step 4: Pass an observed 30-minute demo class with a real student.
Step 5: Accept your job offer, sign your contract, fill out your profile, and start earning money!
That’s all there is to it!
Programs Similar to DaDa
If you don’t feel that DaDa is a good fit for you, there are lots of other online teaching companies that offer a similar package. Here are some other online teaching platforms that you might consider as an alternative:
All of these offer pay rates in the same ballpark as DaDa, so they’re great options for prospective teachers that are looking for something that pays well.
That about covers it for our review of DaDa! That is pretty much all there is to know about working for DaDa so hopefully, it’s given you enough food for thought to be getting on with.
Also, if you’re interested in reading more about other ways you can earn a little extra from home, check out some of our other articles on making money here.