The Complete Guide to Teaching Online with SayABC
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In the ever-growing world that is the online teaching industry SayABC is one of the heavyweights. For online English teachers, choosing the company that is right for them will have a huge impact on their success and overall job satisfaction. Not all online English schools are the same so the best thing you can do is weigh up the differences before making a choice.
If you’re interested in teaching with SayABC, we’ve got you covered. We’ll be telling you everything you need to know about the company right here, including how much they pay, how their platform works, and how to get hired.
SayABC is a Beijing-based company that claims to be the ‘fastest growing online English platform’ on the market. They connect students in Asia aged between 5 and 12 with native English speaking tutors for small group conversation classes via their interactive platform.
They’re one of the new kids on the block, having only been operating for 2 years, but they already have 5,000 students and employ over 1,000 teachers.
They’re widely regarded as one of the best employers out there for online ESL teachers, with an inclusive hiring policy, very competitive pay rates, and an excellent curriculum.
They’ve partnered with some big names in education, such as National Geographic, and have won 3 education awards. All that success has spurred their rapid growth and garnered them a reputation for offering the highest quality ESL learning experience in China.
What are the requirements to teach for SayABC?
Here are the basic SayABC requirements in a nutshell:
- Native level of English
- Bachelor’s degree or above
- 1+ year teaching experience
- Relevant ESL certification (TEFL, TESOL, etc) preferred
It’s worth noting that although SayABC does require the majority of their teachers to have a Bachelor’s degree, they will consider making an exception if you have other relevant qualifications or experience.
They have servers all over the world and don’t require you to be based in any specific country, which makes it the perfect job to take on the road.
There are a few basic tech requirements:
- A fast computer (2GB+ RAM, modern OS, good CPU)
- 10Mbps download speed minimum
- 2Mbps upload speed minimum
- A headset with a microphone and a webcam
If you’re not sure what your upload and download speeds are, you can run an internet speed test to check here.
What does SayABC pay?
SayABC advertises a pay rate of up to $19 per 40-minute class. That’s based on the base SayABC pay rate of $13-$15 per class, plus $4 in bonuses for attendance.
That’s a pretty good indication of the rate most SayABC teachers earn, as the attendance bonus is really easy to achieve – just turn up on time to all your classes.
There’s only ever one 40-minute class scheduled per hour, so you can think of it as an hourly rate. SayABC claims that 90% of their teachers teach an average of around 4 classes per day, so you can expect to earn around $76 per day.
However, you could technically earn a whole lot more than that through other incentives. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the other SayABC bonuses available.
SayABC bonuses and incentives
SayABC offers five different bonuses for teachers. These are:
- Cover bonus – if you’re asked to cover a class with less than 24 hours notice, you’ll earn $7 extra for that class.
- Unit substitute bonus – If you’re asked to take over a group class in the middle of a unit, you’ll earn $7 extra for every remaining class in the unit.
- Trial class bonus – If you teach a trial class, and one of the students you teach goes onto sign up for the platform, you get an $8 bonus.
- Seasonal bonus – SayABC occasionally offers an extra $2 seasonal incentive on top of the regular attendance bonus at times when demand is high.
- Referral bonus – SayABC offers a generous bonus of $100 if you refer a friend to the platform.
Those bonuses add up quick. If you teach a lot of trial classes and cover classes, you can earn significantly more than the advertised pay rate of $19 per hour.
When does SayABC pay?
SayABC pays their teachers on the 15th of every month by wire transfer.
What about fees and taxes?
The good news is that SayABC doesn’t have any financial penalties for things like class cancellations and sick leave, so you don’t have to worry about unexpected fees.
As they pay by wire transfer, you also don’t have to worry about any transaction fees as you do with other companies that pay via PayPal.
The only real fee to consider is the currency conversion fee. SayABC pays in USD, so if your bank is located outside of the US, they may charge a fee for currency conversions or convert it using their exchange rate.
SayABC hires you as an independent contractor, so you’re responsible for paying your taxes according to your jurisdiction.
What is the interview process for SayABC?
In a nutshell, the SayABC hiring process goes like this:
- Apply online
- 30-minute interview and demo class
- Teacher orientation
- Sign your contract and start teaching
The whole process takes around 10-14 days, so you can get up and running pretty quickly.
To help you get hired and nail the SayABC interview, I’m going to break that down a little further and walk you through it step by step.
Applying to SayABC
First, head on over to the SayABC teacher website and hit apply now. You’ll need to fill out some basic information about yourself including your email address.
Next, you’ll be asked to upload your resume and any relevant qualifications (like your teaching certification) and provide your Skype ID. If you don’t have one yet, I’d recommend making one as SayABC do a lot of their communication over Skype.
Once your application is complete, you’ll need to wait a couple of days to receive an email letting you know that your resume has passed their screening process and inviting you to an interview.
After you’ve had your invitation, you can log in to the teacher portal and schedule your interview. You can choose between a live interview or a self-recorded interview. Either way, the interview will last 30-40 minutes and include a 15-minute demo class.
For the demo class, you’re supposed to act like the interviewer is a real student and teach a class accordingly. It’s a little awkward, but it’s an important part of the hiring process, so give it your best shot!
Next, you’ll download the SayABC platform and schedule an orientation meeting with a teacher trainer. This process is easy, you just attend the orientation and listen as the trainer guides you through the platform. They’ll walk you through how the software works, the tools, the reward system, and everything else you need to know.
The final step is teaching an evaluation class. This is a paid, live class with 4 students. You’ll need to wait a couple of days afterward to find out whether or not you passed. If you didn’t pass, they may give you some feedback and give you a chance to try again.
Here are some tips to help make sure you pass the SayABC evaluation class first time around:
- Utilize lots of TPR (gestures, movements, and facial expressions)
- Use some visual props like puppets and flashcards
- Smile throughout the lesson and keep the students engaged
- Use activities, songs, and games in class to aid engagement
If all goes well, congratulations – you’re hired! You’ll sign a 3-month contract and start teaching.
What is the SayABC teaching schedule?
With SayABC, you’re in control of your teaching schedule. You set your teaching hours in advance and open up those slots for classes. The SayABC automated booking system will then fill your schedule by matching teachers with students based on your availability.
Priority is given to teachers who are available for homeroom classes for a whole 9-day period (minus weekends), so the more open your schedule is, the more likely you are to get classes.
You can open up your schedule at any time during SayABC hours, which are during Beijing peak times (weekday evenings and weekends). You can see a full list of SayABC class times below:
SayABC teachers teach the same students twice a week for three months to work through the complete homeroom curriculum. Each homeroom covers 3 units with 9 classes per unit.
Understanding the SayABC teaching platform
The SayABC platform is a 1-to-4 interactive virtual classroom with complete lesson slides based on the National Geographic Learning’s ‘Our World’ curriculum.
The lessons are super interactive and differentiated for various ability levels. The slides are complete with sounds, animations, dialogues, videos, and songs to help to keep students engaged.
You’ll be able to view the lesson slides beforehand via the SayABC platform. Once class starts, your job is to help the students to work through the slides while practicing English. This might mean singing songs, reading the dialogue, or working through the activities on-screen.
There are a wealth of tools to help you to deliver the lesson. For example, you can move the students around on the screen, draw or write text on the screen with the pen tool, and give out rewards.
The video below shows you exactly how to use the SayABC teaching platform.
Teacher satisfaction with SayABC tends to be a lot higher than with many other ESL platforms. No employer is perfect, but the vast majority of SayABC reviews from teachers are positive.
Here’s an example of a couple of SayABC reviews on Glassdoor from happy teachers:
After looking at a bunch of SayABC reviews, we picked out some pros and cons that come up time and time again.
- Management and support are excellent
- Competitive pay rate
- Great platform and learning materials
- Fair cancellation policy
- Inclusive hiring policy
- Bookings can be inconsistent
- Group teaching can sometimes be challenging
- Working hours can be unsociable
Final Thoughts on SayABC
Overall, SayABC is a great company to work for if you’re interested in teaching English online, especially if you’re from outside of the US or Canada.
However, if it isn’t quite right for you, there are plenty of other companies out there. If you want to explore all your options, make sure to check out our guides on teaching with DaDaABC and VIPKID.
If you have any questions, let us know in the comments!
- Global Gallivanting – a cool interview with a SayABC teacher living in Mexico.