Teaching online through VIPKID

Since the month of July I have been teaching ESL to kids in China! It is completely online through their own teaching portal. All you need on hand are a laptop with a webcam, headset (or earbuds), reliable WIFI, and a bigfatcheesy smile! Teachers have the freedom of making their own schedule with no minimum requirements. 

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Time Zones

When I started with VIPKID I was working a full time job and was teaching in the evenings. In the summer I found it was very easy to book up all of my slots in the evenings (west coast time zone). When I wanted to teach at 6pm in Seattle it was 9am in Beijing. When it switched over to the school year for the kiddos abroad, evening work was more sparse, but definitely doable. Although peak hours were early mornings for someone living in Seattle, I refused and just did evenings so that I could stay somewhat sane. Plus – this job was just an extra source of income and all went toward student debt. Peak hours also fluctuate during the holidays. So if you keep a consistent schedule (which I definitely don’t) then you are good to go!

If you live in Europe – you have the BEST schedule, and if you live in Asia you are doing alright.

Hello life abroad – I will be teaching in Thailand soon where VIPKID will be my MAIN source of income on top of a few other remote jobs. 

Curriculum

Each class lasts 25-28 minutes. I finally have it down to finish at exactly 25 every time. VIPKID has all of the curriculum planned and ready to go, but it is a good idea to prepare props – honestly, I hate props and only use a few. They encourage using a lot of TPR (Total Physical Response) which means that the more animated and lively you are, the better the class will go. No time for sounding monotone and boring while online. In fact, I use a homemade standing desk because it gives me more energy.

Lesson prep time? At first I would take about 10 minutes to prep PER class. But now I take about 2 minutes to prep for a block of 4 classes. And if I forget, I am good at winging it. During those 5 minutes between classes I write feedback, stretch, pee, drink water, check Facebook, and get back at it. 

Everyone who applies is placed to teach a certain age group based on their interview. But as you get into the vibes of teaching you can take workshops to be certified for all different levels. Although I only started out to be certified for Level 2 and 3 (younger kids – but not newbs), within the first two months I took workshops to be be able to teach every level. VIPKID teachers also have the opportunity to sub, get raises, be a mentor, and gain incentives – like referrals! Hey use my code so that I can get some $$. 🙂 The more invested you are, the more you will realize as you keep teaching and getting reviews that your opportunities will expand. 

$$$$$

I currently make a base pay of $7.50 per class (25 minutes). When I finish a class I automatically get another $1 to make that $8.50. That means that I am guaranteed $17 per hour. But then again, there are the student no shows or the short notice bookings which boost my hourly wage. 

If I get a short notice booking (less than 24 hour notice) I get an additional $2 to make that $10.50 per class ($21 per hour). Subbing also adds to the cash flow – I have not yet subbed because I have NO TIME (or just want to sleep).

All teachers get an additional 50 cents per class if they teach at least 30 classes in a month and an additional $1 per class if they teacher over 45 classes in a month. Soooo all in all, you can make about $17-$23 per hour. Since July, I have never made under $21 per hour. Payday is once per month. 

Application Process

Requirements: Bachelor’s degree and some teaching experience – coaching, babysitting, or anything that has to do with kids. EMPHASIZE that on the application since its initial overview is a handy scanning system. Any sort of TEFL certification will boost your bookings but is not required. 

To be a VIPKID teacher you go through a three-part interview process. The interview process IS a bit tedious, but once you are done you are set. I do appreciate that they really choose teachers who are dedicated and really want to work. 

The first interview is with someone in China and it only lasts 30 minutes. You will immediately question your life and wonder what the heck you are doing. You will do a ten minute “mock class” and make sure to prepare! I did not do well on this part, but somehow I still passed.

(Prepare means have a good background, lighting, and a prop or two – I printed out a few emojis online because I hate buying things).

I then went on to the second interview and prepared much more. The second interview was an hour and with a VIPKID mock class mentor teacher. It was less intimidating and she was really good at telling me what I did well and what I needed to improve on. I felt comfortable doing my mock interview and practiced beforehand because I wanted to make sure I had my timing down.

The third interview was, again, with another VIPKID teacher. I did another mock class and he took notes the whole time. It went well again and I felt pretty comfortable. It was definitely a bit awkward teaching lessons to adults who pretend that they are 5 years old. But they have all done it before, so just go with it.

And then YAY, I passed! I then had a few things to check off of the to-do list to become officially ready to teach. But VIPKID is really good at having everything organized and laid out for you so that you know exactly what you need to get done.

About a week after my “hire” date I was booked for a few classes and each week I increased my booking numbers. Just six weeks of “self-employment” I made enough to book a trip to Hawaii for the fall! Hellllllo #sidehustle.

How to get bookings

  • Keep pictures updated. For the “non-professional” picture I have one of me teaching in Korea and one of me dressed up for Valentine’s Day.
  • Don’t have a lazy video! Originally my video was horendous – when I updated it I immediately got more followers and bookings. In my new video I used lots of props and talked about some of my favorite hobbies. 
  • Make sure to add as much teaching experience in the bio as possible.
  • Give detailed feedback! 

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If you are interested in becoming a VIPKID teacher please contact me and feel free to use my referral code if you are going to apply. 

 

 

5 Comments

  1. Is it easy to update/edit your bio that parents see? I just submitted my bio with the rest of my final contract/hiring information and I would like to add to it. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    Like

    1. Yes it is! I always update on the app but then send a ticket to freshdesk to make sure it is translated. Idk if that’s required for sure but it gives me peace of mind when freshdesk says it’s been updated. 🙂

      Like

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