Since the month of July I have been teaching ESL to kids in China! The great thing is that I currently LIVE in Seattle. It’s all online and I can make it work around my own schedule. I am working a full time job but have a lot of free evenings. So when I want to teach at 6pm in the evening it is 9am in Beijing. During the summer I worked about 10 hours a week during the evenings. And now that school has started I only work Friday or Saturday evenings since the peak hours are pretty early and not great for my current availability. But I fill up my available weekends and get random weekday classes here and there. Peak hours fluctuate during the year depending on holidays as well.
So what do I teach?
Each class is 25 minutes and you can teach up until 28 minutes without being penalized. VIPKID has all of the curriculum planned and ready, but it is a good idea to prepare props. They encourage using a lot of TPR (Total Physical Response). So the more animated and lively you are, the better the class will go.
Everyone who applies is placed to teach a certain age group based on their interview; everyone will have different levels assigned to them. But as you go you can take workshops to be certified for different levels. Although I only started out to be certified for Level 2 and 3, within the first two months I took workshops to be be able to teach every level. VIPKID teachers also have the opportunity to be a sub as well, so they can get paid for certain time slots regardless if they teach or not. The more invested you are the more you will realize as you keep teaching and getting reviews that your opportunities will expand.
Time Slots & $$
While living on the west coast, the hours that students are available in my timezone are 6pm-6am (before daylight savings). Peak hours for almost guaranteed bookings are 4-6am. I don’t NEED the hours so am not doing those early mornings at the moment. I am currently filling up slots between 6pm-9pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
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. If I get a short notice booking (less than 24 hour notice) I get an additional $2 to make that $10.50 per class. As a sub I get $7.50 no matter what and an additional $2 if I teach. 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, I make about $17-$23 per hour. The pay is sent monthly with NO FEES.
Requirements: Bachelor’s degree and some teaching experience. Any sort of TEFL certification will boost your bookings, as well.
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 do a ten minute “mock class” and make sure to prepare! I did not do well on this part, but somehow I still passed.
I then went on to the second interview and prepared much more. It’s good to have a white board and a few props. The second interview was an hour and with a VIPKID 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 is a bit awkward teaching lessons to adults who pretend 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 they are 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 have been increasing my numbers. Just six weeks in and I made enough to book a trip to Hawaii this fall! Wahoo! Love that extra income for fun and playing.
At the moment I have fairly limited availability and I am completely content with just a few classes a week. But the goal will eventually to be able to have a bit of security in this so that I can live anywhere in the world. I love the idea of working remotely and being able to travel.
How to get bookings
- Keep pictures updated. For the “non-professional” picture I have one of me teaching in Korea and one of me hiking with my boyfriend.
- Don’t have a lazy 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!
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.