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What is VIPKID?
VIPKID is an online platform that allows you to teach Chinese children English. With VIPKID you work from the comfort of your home and you set the hours you work, teaching kids from age 4 to 12.
VIPKID is becoming more popular in China with hundreds of thousands of students ready to learn. It was ranked number 1 in 2017 on the Forbes top 100 Work From Home Companies list and was named an Innovative Company by Fast Magzine.
Who is VIPKID for?
People from all walks of life teach with VIPKID. In addition to traditional school teachers who supplement their income by teaching online, anyone with a bachelor’s degree and experience in working with kids can apply. This includes but is not limited to Youth Group/Scout Leaders, Mentors, Tutors, Coaches, and more.
How To Sign Up
There is an application and interview process with VIPKID. You must meet the following criteria:
- Be eligible to work in the US or Canada (you can live anywhere)
- Have a Bachelor’s degree in any discipline
- Experience working with kids is a plus but not required
Shortly after you apply (typically within 24-hours), a VIPKID mentor will contact you to schedule a 10-minute practice/audition class. Alternatively, you can record and submit a video at your own leisure – just follow the instructions they provide on-site.
PRO TIP: YouTube is a treasure trove of examples and tips from existing VIPKID teachers of how to be best prepared for this part of the interview process.
The application process is a 5 step process that includes:
- Resume submission
- 1 on 1 recorded interview
- Introductory videos for you to watch
- A mock class where you will practice teaching a full class with a VIPKID teacher
- Finally, contracts that will give you the ability to teach classes.
Can You Earn Money with VIPKID?
With VIPKID you can earn anywhere from $14-$22 an hour. You will start with a base pay of $7-$11 per 25-minute class. If you do two classes in an hour that’s $14-$22 per hour and depending on how many classes you complete each month and a few other variables you can earn extra incentives.
Since this is a freelance position you will not receive employee benefits and will have to factor in taxes on your own.
What to Expect
There is no minimum or maximum number of hours you must work, which allows you the flexibility to control your schedule. Because of the time difference, most of the classes are taught early mornings and late evenings. VIPKID provides you with curriculum, taking the task of researching and preparing for class off your plate. And you have the ability to add props of your choosing to aid in the lesson plan.
What are VIPKID Teachers Saying?
My friend Ashleigh Allman from Smart Cents Mom has been teaching with VIPKID for the last year and a half. I asked her about her experience and this is what she had to say…
1. How long have you been working with VIPKID?
I’ve been working with VIPKID for about 18 months, and I just renewed my 3rd contract with them! I had been working at a preschool/mother’s day out program, and I wanted to do something that had more flexibility.
After researching ways to work from home and working with Leapforce (currently Appen) as a search engine evaluator, I found VIPKID and after reading tons of reviews I decided to give it a try!
2. How much past teaching experience did you have beforehand?
I was an elementary school teacher for 10 years before staying home with my kids. But don’t let that scare you away from applying to VIPKID! They will accept teachers who have other experience working with children.
I have a friend who has never been in a classroom but has worked at our church as a children’s volunteer and she was able to get a job with VIPKID. (note: you do need to have a Bachelor Degree)
Even though I have lots of experience in the classroom, I still had a lot to learn about teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) in a virtual classroom.
ESL with VIPKID requires you to use Total Physical Response (TPR)… which means you are using voice levels, hand motions, and facial expressions as you teach. I had to research and learn ways to communicate using TPR.
Teaching online in a 25-minute lesson takes some getting used to! You have to work really hard to stay within the time frame and make sure your student is still learning.
I work depending on my husband’s schedule. He travels for work and my kids tend to wake up at the most inconvenient times while I’m teaching. I try to work 10 – 15 hours per week and have some repeat students.
Because my schedule can sometimes be sporadic I tend to have many students who schedule last minute. It would be nice to have regular students like many VIPKID teachers have, but flexibility is really important to me right now. I really like teaching during the summer months because I can have a more consistent schedule and teach at night!
4. What is the interview process like?
The interview process is intense, but it’s totally worth the hard work you have to put in once you get the job!
My interview involved a short initial interview that lasted 10 minutes total. 5 minutes was spent introducing myself to a VIPKID interviewer and 5 minutes teaching a very short lesson on a letter of the alphabet.
During this initial interview, they are looking to see if you have an engaging personality to teach online. So make sure you smile a lot and are really upbeat. My feedback was “You seem really happy and nice! We love that!”
It feels very awkward to teach in front of an adult while pretending they are a 5-year-old! But they WANT you to act silly and engage with them like they are a child!
PRO TIP: Make sure you pay attention to the interviewer’s responses…they will respond like they are a 5-year-old!
The interviewer is looking to see if you catch their incorrect pronunciation (this is SUPER important). You need to correct them in a positive way.
The Mock Class I interview was a 25-minute beginner level class. I taught the entire lesson from beginning to end. This class is teaching the alphabet, a specific letter/sound, and playing games during the lesson.
The Mock Class II was the last interview. This was a 15-minute beginning level class and a 15-minute upper-level class. The beginning level class is teaching a letter sound and playing a couple of games. The upper-level class has the student reading more and answering questions/engaging in conversation.
5. Should I have props for the mock class?
YES! When I had my mock class, I prepared for it like I would be teaching a real class. So I really over prepared!
I had puppets, toys, a decorated classroom, and a behavior chart. I used a quick little print out of a cookie jar and some cookies that I could tape onto the cookie jar when the student was doing a great job.
The teachers at VIPKID wear an orange shirt in class. I highly suggest that you put on an orange shirt for each of your interviews. They love seeing someone who is prepared!
PRO TIP: One of the best tips I have is to personalize your space and the behavior chart. This shows VIPKID that you take initiative to create a welcoming environment and that you use creativity to engage the student.
I spent about $5 at the Dollar Tree on a few items to decorate my classroom. You don’t have to do that, but it made me feel more confident and I was already prepared for when I started working.
6. Is it possible to make money with VIPKID?
There are definitely people who make working with VIPKID their main source of income. Those people are working full-time hours, at least 35 – 40 hours per week.
I think it’s a little risky to have VIPKID as your only source of income because students do sometimes cancel and you may not earn as much money as you had hoped for.
7. Is there training involved once you are accepted as a teacher?
I think this is why VIPKID is so successful! They provide training during the interview process as well as after you have been hired. You can complete different trainings so that you are qualified to teach different levels of curriculum as well.
VIPKID really cares about the teachers and offers great support through the lesson plans, online support and help desk, and a Facebook community where you can connect with other teachers for ideas when you are stuck.
The CEO of the company has made several visits to the United States to meet with teachers to get honest feedback about how the system works. She is very supportive of the teachers and the work-life balance that VIPKID is creating for people.
8. How soon after you are accepted will you begin working with your first student?
I had my first student within a week of being accepted as a teacher. It took me about 3-4 weeks to fill up my time slots consistently.
A great way to get students in your classroom is by creating a really strong welcome video. I made one for my classroom, and I think that’s why I was able to start teaching so quickly.
I’ve also read in the teacher forums that you can start getting classes quickly if you open time slots to teach 8 pm EST – 9 am EST on Friday and Saturday nights. These time slots are easy to fill because not many people are willing to work those hours.
I think the idea is that once you get your name out there with classes other people will start to see you and then you can open up classes during the times you actually want to teach.
PRO TIP: Parents usually sign-up for lessons 2 weeks in advance. So it can take a week or two to get your first student. Open up time slots for 4 weeks and choose to open your class without 24-hour notification. That means that a student can sign up for your class up to the minute before class starts.
9. How easy is the VIPKID platform to use, can anyone learn to use it or must you be tech savvy?
The VIPKID classroom is very user-friendly! You can open and close time slots with just one click! The software for the lessons is amazing.
You don’t need to do much planning besides having props ready for each lesson. I always take 15 minutes to go through all of my lessons before I teach so that I know what will be in each lesson.
After teaching for a few months you start to see more and more lessons that you have taught before and you already know what will happen in the lesson and where kids will get stuck!
10. Do you work with the same kids each week?
I personally have a more flexible schedule so I don’t teach at consistent times. That means that I don’t have regular students. Many of my students are new students just getting started, but that’s ok with me because my schedule remains flexible.
If you have a consistent schedule then you will be able to have regular students. I’ve seen many teachers share how they have been able to build relationships with students and their families!
It’s a very rewarding experience to learn about another family and their culture. Some teachers send gifts to their regular students on their birthday or Chinese New Year and receive gifts from their students.
11. What do you do if you need to take a week off for vacation or have a last minute family emergency?
You can easily take time off for vacation or other planned events. You simply don’t open your time slots for the dates that you want to take off. If you have regular students it’s a good idea to let them know so that they can find other classes to take for that week.
Taking off for emergencies or unexpected situations when you already have a class scheduled would be the only CON I can think of when it comes to working with VIPKID.
You have up to 6 cancellations that you can take before your contract is not renewed. Many teachers, including me, have taught while sick just to avoid the cancellation.
This has been a real issue on the side of teachers, and VIPKID is listening. They are continually updating their policies when it comes to unexpected cancellations.
I can absolutely understand their reasoning for the policy because it hurts the business if teachers are canceling last minute. It would be frustrating as a student/parent. I believe they are working faithfully to create balance for teachers.
It’s also interesting to note the difference in our cultures. In China, apparently, you work no matter what. I think that also plays a role in the expectations and how the policies for unexpected time off are created.
12. What tips would you give to anyone who wants to apply?
PREPARE – Take time to prepare for each lesson. There are several great VIPKID teachers on youtube who talk about how to pass the Mock Interview classes. Nancy Taylor on YouTube is definitely one you should follow because she is actually a Mock Interviewer! She offers very useful tips about the Mock Lessons.
I basically just tried to mimic what she does on the videos! I also took lots of notes on post-its about each lesson and then had the taped all around my computer just in case I needed a reminder of what I was teaching. It helped me to not have to look down at a paper the whole time!
PRO TIP: In each lesson, the interviewer is looking to see if you have prepared for the lesson. Are you engaging the student? Are you using Total Physical Response (TPR)? Those are the main things you should focus on for these mock classes!
**Mock classes have changed since I went through the interview process. You now have the option to record yourself teaching a lesson for the Mock Interview. I suggest people do a live interview because I think the feedback is really important.**
PRACTICE – You know, practice makes perfect! When I received my lessons for my Mock classes I practiced with my 5 year old and 3 year old. I practiced talking in the mirror. I went through the lessons a dozen times to make sure I felt really comfortable.
TIME – Time yourself while you are practicing. It’s important that you get as close as possible to the time frame for your class. When you are teaching in the real classroom you only have about 5 minutes between classes, so there isn’t time to go over.
Even if you do go over you don’t get paid extra for more time teaching, and if you start a class late you could actually lose money!
Finally, all this sounds like A LOT of work! The Mock classes are about preparing you for the classroom as well as an interview so you will receive constructive feedback. Just know that once you are through the interview process the classes are much easier to prepare and teach!
The kids are precious and for the most part very well behaved. VIPKID is a unique work from home experience, and if the job description sounds like a fit for you, then go for it!
Are you ready to start making money with VIPKID?