Teacher Interview: Standing Out in the DaDaABC Hiring Process
Read the full Guide to Teaching for DaDaACB here (updated for 2018)
Interested in teaching online for DadaABC? Jason from DIGINO shares his experience working for them, including how he got hired and how he uses music to keep the students engaged. Even better is that Jason is a digital nomad and does all of this while traveling the world. Sound cool? That’s because it is – keep reading to see how he does it!
Want to work for DadaABC? You can apply directly here.
Quincy: Yeah, so, where are you now?
Jason: Right now I’m in Glasgow, Scotland.
Quincy: Okay. Is it easy to teach from there?
Jason: Yeah, yeah. Well, it’s easy to teach anywhere where there’s decent wifi.
Jason: A couple of months ago I was in Edinburgh and there was just no wifi there for some reason. I couldn’t get it anywhere, so, yeah, make sure you’ve always got good wifi if you want to teach with DaDa, yeah.
Quincy: Yeah. How long have you been teaching with them?
Jason: Since the beginning of June.
Quincy: Oh, nice, man. Okay. What’s your current schedule looking like?
Jason: My current schedule is, UK time, I’d work 11:00 til 2:00, and I do that Monday to Friday, five days a week.
Quincy: Is it the same class, or the same students?
Jason: You get regular students, so I have about five or six regular students, and most of the time, if you don’t have regular students, you’ll get trial classes which are short, 14 minute classes.
Quincy: Yeah, where it’s just, kind of like the students testing it out, I suppose?
Jason: Yeah, yeah. You have to have a lot of energy for that because you’re advertising the system. You’ve got to be really Jim Carey.
Quincy: Yeah. You’ve got really be an entertainer.
Jason: Yeah, exactly.
Quincy: Does DaDa incentivize you? Do they reward you if a trial class signs up?
Jason: Yeah, you get a bonus.
Quincy: Okay. I’ve seen them … They’re advertising heavily, and I really want to talk about the application process and how it went from when you applied to when you started your first class. How did you hear about them, and then, I guess, walk us through the process.
Jason: Yeah, well, I have a friend who recently moved to Chiang Mai, Thailand, which is the big hub of Digital Nomads.
Quincy: Yeah, of course.
Jason: He started working for DaDa, and he just recommended me. I’d recently quit my job. I’d quit my nine to five job to focus on writing my books and doing everything I wanted to do, and so it seemed like the perfect job to go alongside that. I sent off my CV and my quota and I got the job within a week.
Quincy: What was the interview process like? Was it just an email or was it in person … Not in person, but video.
Jason: Yeah. What happened is, they set up a Skype interview and it’s through their platform. You have a little interview and then you have an internet test, where they obviously test if your wifi is good enough, and then you’ll have a demo class, and a demo class will determine how much you earn, basically.
Quincy: What do you mean by that? Like, how good you are or what students you take, or what?
Jason: Yeah, just how good you are for the job. I think a lot of it comes into just how well you can express yourself, because with teaching online, it’s almost as if you’re using sign language, because you have to say things … If you want them to speak to you you have to say, “Oh, can I hear you?” You have to probably be really expressive, so if you’re just say there, like, “Say apple,” you’re not going to get much out of them.
Quincy: Okay. Would you use an apple or do you use props and stuff?
Jason: If I’m talking about apple I’ll just use … I just do that, the sound effects. I’ve got a puppet. You just use anything you can grab. I made this really rude thing out of a chopstick. It’s like, “Oh, can you see [crosstalk 00:05:04]?”
Quincy: Oh, okay, that’s pretty good. That’s nice.
Jason: It’s anything you can think of, really.
Quincy: Yeah. With the demo class they had you do, did they give you a topic or were they just like, “Give us five minutes of class,” and it was up to you?
Jason: With DaDa, there’s a lesson plan on the screen, and you follow it. Say it’s like a story book and you would follow along with it. You can review the lesson plan before you go into class, so you can plan it out. It’s all readily available for you.
Jason: Yeah, yeah. That was in the interview process.
Quincy: Oh, that’s the absolute worst, trying not to … [inaudible 00:05:54] kids, yeah.
Jason: I got really into it. I actually felt that it was like an adult halfway through, like, she was really good at being a kid.
Quincy: You killed that. They said you got the job, and is there any kind of training that comes after that, or they just stick you back in the classroom, or what?
Jason: There’s loads of tutorial videos from other teachers, so you have to work your way through them.
Quincy: Is it paid, or is it just like, “You have to …”
Jason: No, it’s not paid. It’s just something you have to do. I actually got one uploaded today of me doing it. I never would have expected that when I first started doing it. I was watching all these guys, like, “Oh, come on.” Now, I’m up there.
Quincy: Yeah. Is it straight recorded from a class, like you don’t know if they’re going to pick up yours, or did you submit it?
Jason: They do this thing where there’s bonuses every now and then, where it’s like, “Submit your best warmup activity.”
Quincy: Oh, okay, okay.
Jason: Yeah, I just flipped on the camera and played my ukulele and sent it to them.
Jason: That’s a teaching video now.
Quincy: All right. One more question, I guess, about the hiring process. I’m really curious if … What’s the price range, and then what can someone do to earn the most? What can they do in their demo class or their interview to get to the top of the tier?
Jason: I can’t remember exactly what the price range is. I think, maybe, up to $25 an hour. To improve your chances of being a higher earner, you have to use a lot of body language. Always be smiling, constantly smiling. You’ve just got to act as if you’re a children’s TV presenter.
Quincy: Yeah, and always be on.
Jason: Yeah, always on. It’s so draining after you finish all of the classes. I could have 10 students in a row, and afterwards I’m just, like, whacked, but you’ve got to constantly ask, like, “Do you understand?”
Jason: You want to make sure they’re interactive. A big thing I do is I just try and engage them in conversation.
Jason: That’s the best way to learn, I think.
Quincy: Are they at a high enough level where they can generally do that to a degree?
Jason: It varies, it varies. You get somewhere you’re just doing the alphabet, and you’re struggling through the alphabet, but you get somewhere … I had one the other day. We just had a full-on conversation about the rain forest.
Quincy: Okay, that’s easy. That’s great.
Quincy: What about keeping them engaged, and stuff? Obviously it’s harder when you’re one to one. I know you like to use a lot of music. How does that factor into, I don’t know, classroom management and making sure they pay attention and everything?
Jason: Yeah. I love my ukulele, because anytime I start to notice them spacing out or slipping away, I just bring out the ukulele. “Okay, let’s play Old MacDonald had a Farm,” and straightaway, they’re engaged. If that doesn’t work, I’ll bring out my puppet. I get the puppet on the go. It’s just really anything you can do, or you can just start being wacky and crazy.
Quincy: Yeah, okay. They’re generally kids, so they’ll probably respond to kid things, right?
Jason: Yeah, yeah. I do this thing where I draw a birthday cake on a whiteboard, and I’ll ask their age, [inaudible 00:09:27] put all the candles on it, I put a fire on it and I’ll tell them to blow out the candles, and when they blow out the candles I’ll pretend to be blown away, and they laugh about it. Straightaway, they’re engaged.
Quincy: Yeah, that’s awesome, man. Yeah, cheers. It’s pretty much like, you’ve just got to be an entertainer … Not entertainer, that sounds wrong. You’ve just got to be animated. You’ve got to enjoy it. Oops.
Jason: I wasn’t like that at first. I was very boring at first, but you go into it and you find new tricks.
Quincy: Nice man. Well, dude, thanks for the tips. It’s like I said, I’ve seen them advertising a lot and getting a lot of new teachers, so I’m sure it’ll be beneficial. What’s next for you after Scotland?
Jason: I’m thinking about Thailand or maybe Indonesia. I’m not sure. The dream has always been Japan, so, maybe there.
Quincy: Nice, man. Best of luck. Thanks for the tips, and I’m going to link to all your site and everything in the notes, so people can reach out to you.
Jason: Thank you very much. It’s been a pleasure.
Teaching phonics to children is fun for a while, but it can easily become boring if you are teaching it too often. When you need to use the same strategy and book over and over again, the fun challenges and lessons simply lose their charm. So,...
Interested in teaching for 51Talk? Read this guide to learn how the hiring process work, how much you can make, and what other 51Talk teachers think!
Want to teach for Magic Ears? Check out our guide to the requirements, interview process, schedule and how to maximize what you earn.