Want to teach without leaving the comfort of your own home? Maybe in your slippers, with your favorite brand of coffee to hand? Good! Some mornings are made for sitting down at your computer and looking into the faces of smiling students ready to learn English – which is just what SayABC offers native English speakers the chance to do! Let’s settle in and take a long look at this remote English teaching opportunity.
Overview of the Work
When you teach with SayABC, you get the rewarding experience of working with 4 Chinese students (students are now located in Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and parts of the Middle East as well) at once in small, energetic classes that last 40 minutes. Most regular classes include teaching new vocabulary and language structures through a cute and playful proprietary teaching interface. You don’t have to worry about designing any classes yourself, either – SayABC has partnered with National Geographic Learning to utilize their “Our World” resources, which means they have incredibly well put together lesson plans and materials. Most teachers just need around 15 minutes to familiarize themselves with the lesson (which you can log in early to review), and then you’re ready to go with engaging content and readymade teacher tools.
Classes are assigned by SayABC, and parents are not given the choice of teachers; this automatic system seems to keep bookings fair all around. It also lets teachers focus on fully engaging with their students rather than worrying about the parents.
Student engagement is supported by class consistency as well! Once you’ve been assigned a class of four, you keep those classes – so you’ll be teaching the same students three times a week, ideally on at least a 3-month contract. This provides SayABC teachers the opportunity to build rapport with the kids and watch them progress on their English as a Second Language journey.
Classes can be scheduled every day throughout the week and weekend; you set your own hours but, as always, being available at peak times in China will provide you with the best chances for consistent bookings. Due to the time difference between the United States and China, most class times fall between 6 AM EST and 8:30 AM EST (Monday through Saturday) with some late evening hours available on the weekends. SayABC advertises that 90% of their teachers can expect to teach an average of 4 classes per day!
If you're hoping to land a contract that's longer than 3 months with SayABC, you must have a bachelor's degree, but they've softened that requirement by instituting an alternate path of qualification – and an internship program with some American and Canadian universities. That means that people with associate’s degrees – or perhaps those university students who haven’t graduated yet and are studying education – have the opportunity to join the ranks of SayABC’s online English teachers. You will still need to demonstrate your teaching qualifications and show at least one year of teaching experience.
Much like other online English teaching companies, the remote nature of the job means you don’t need to operate from any specific location in order to work with SayABC. Teachers can work from anywhere around the globe, and SayABC has even installed servers beyond their original Chinese offices in Singapore, Japan, South Korea, North America, the Middle East, Europe, and Australia. This job won’t tie you down!
You’re also expected to have the same basic equipment as required by any other remote teaching gig:
- A home computer, meaning either a desktop or laptop. This is not a tablet- or smartphone-friendly job.
- A webcam, as your students need to be able to see you as you teach.
- A headset with a microphone, so you can communicate with your students – make sure the mic is noise-canceling, if possible.
- A high-speed Internet connection: since this is a teaching position that relies on video streamed over the Internet, this is vital.
- The Google Chrome browser, which is the one Internet browser that works best with SayABC’s system.
- Their teaching platform software that you'll use for the job (you’ll need this for the interview as well).
Note: Pay rates can change at any time. The rates mentioned below were those listed on the company website at the time of publishing this post. Please refer to the company's website for current rates & incentives.
Earnings with SayABC seem to top out at a potential $21 per 40-minute class – which is nothing to sneeze at when you’re getting a decent booking rate! Their per-class rate starts at a base pay of $15 with the opportunity to earn an additional $6 per class in incentives. The $6 incentive pay is based on your attendance record, and it also includes a seasonal incentive. (There aren't any details on whether the included $2 seasonal incentive is permanently available, though.)
There are additional incentives offered as well: if you're asked and choose to be a substitute teacher for another class (with less than 24 hours' notice), they'll add $7 to your payment for that class. This is also true if you're asked to take over a class in progress.
There seems to be a method for earning raises with SayABC as well – when your contract comes up for renewal, you’ll be reevaluated and could earn a raise. They don’t advertise how much of a raise you might expect. They do, however, outline what you can earn if you do trial classes with potential new students for them: you have the opportunity to earn $16 for each student you recruit!
Your earnings are issued as a wire transfer once per month, around the 15th. Since remote teachers with SayABC are independent contractors, you’re responsible for paying your own taxes as required.
What are People Saying About SayABC?
You’ll find that reviews are largely positive for this company – most teachers are enthusiastic about the work and find the onboarding process to go quickly and the support staff to be, well, supportive. SayABC is a relatively young company at 2 years and reviews on them are a bit limited (you’ll only find 23 on Glassdoor as of the time of this review), but one thing several teachers praised is their cute and engaging platform for teaching the kids. They also say that their pre-planned lessons for teachers are beautiful and slick, as you might expect since they’re designed by National Geographic.
Several teachers also mentioned feeling supported when they needed to take sick days – there was no guilt or punishment, just an acknowledgment followed by the company providing a sub for your class(es). Many people also really like that they assign classes to you automatically – the parents don’t get to choose the teacher – making it a more relaxed teaching atmosphere in which you don’t have to constantly worry about marketing yourself.
The complaints about SayABC are largely the same as with other English-teaching companies based in another country – the hours are very early or very late due to the lessons being taught at times appropriate for the children in China. Sometimes, communication is lacking – it really seems to depend on who you end up speaking with should you have a technical or scheduling difficulty.
The biggest complaint is that bookings can be low, despite SayABC’s assurances that 90% of their teachers are teaching at least 4 classes per day – some teachers have stated low bookings are due to there being an off-season in teaching English, while many others have suggested it’s because SayABC may currently have too many teachers and not enough classes available. This is a common complaint among many work-from-home jobs as almost every industry experiences some seasonal ebb and flow. You should always keep a few eggs in your basket!
Interview & Demo Process
The interview process is pretty straightforward – you’ll submit your application through their site and, if your résumé passes their review process, they’ll contact you about setting up an interview. You’ll select an interview time, and it will probably be late at night – you’re being interviewed by an employee in China, after all.
Once your interview time is set, you download their teaching platform since that’s where your interview will take place! There is some information you can look over on how to work within their platform so that you have the opportunity to familiarize yourself with it before your interview.
SayABC advises interviewees that their interviews last about 40 minutes and 15 minutes of that time will involve a mock class. You’re not teaching any actual children, of course – just the interviewer who will pretend to be a child between 5 and 8 years old with limited English skills. They’ll act out and expect you to demonstrate your command of the classroom along with your ability to teach and be engaging. Some recruiters may expect you to use toys or other tools to keep restless kids’ attention, so come prepared!
You’ll receive feedback on your mock class and, if things go well, you’ll be hired! You’ll have the chance to go over your contract and sign it, and then you’ll have an orientation meeting and evaluation class. The orientation meeting includes your SayABC mentor onboarding you – they'll demonstrate the basic operations and teaching tools of their custom teaching portal for you. This is your Q&A time.
You'll have your first class after orientation – an evaluation class in their expected format (you'll be teaching 4 kids) for 40 minutes. A member of their “support teacher management team” will watch your first class and provide you with feedback – usually in a written follow-up, but sometimes in a training session if they have serious concerns about your performance. And that’s it!
Other Sites Like SayABC
Don't feel that SayABC is necessarily the right company for you? No sweat! Teaching English as a Second Language online is a thriving business and there are several other companies out there hiring:
- Cambly – Earn money while you chat online with students (they pay by the minute) and interact with people from around the world – they pay weekly!
- Qkids – Qkids hires teachers who have a degree – or are currently enrolled in college and working toward their degree, much like SayABC.
- VIPKID – VIPKID is perhaps most similar to SayABC in terms of proprietary platform and payment, so they’re a good alternative consideration.
Have you applied to teach English with SayABC? We’d all love to hear about your experience and get more insight into the company.