Travel and Earn: Teach English Online with VIPKID

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Are you looking to make extra money but need flexibility to work around your schedule? Are you a traveler who would like to make money while still seeing the world? Or maybe a stay-at-home Mom looking for a part-time job from the comfort of your home? Well, I have great news! You could work as an online teacher for VIPKID!

I have been teaching online for VIPKID for a few months now. Having taught English in southern Thailand and then at an international school in Bangkok, it seemed like a natural transition to take up online English teaching in my spare time. Keep reading for my review of the application process as well as what it’s like to teach for VIPKID.

VIPKID? Never heard of it…

Your first question is probably, what even is VIPKID? Well, it is an online teaching service that caters to children specifically in China. The kids range from ages 4 – 12, though they have recently expanded and added a new level for even younger kids (they are adorable!). They base their curriculum on United States Common Core Standards and hire teachers to teach via their online platform. Kobe Bryant actually invested a bunch of money into the company just last year! Pretty cool!

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How much can I make?

Depending on your teaching qualifications and how well your interview goes, you can make up to $22 an hour. Teachers are paid a base pay between $7-9 per class. Classes are 25 minutes, so if you teach two that is $14-18 an hour. All teachers are paid an additional dollar per class if you start and end on time (they call this a Participation incentive), which is easy to get and can bump you up to potentially $16-20. If you teach over 45 classes in a pay period, you get another dollar, (called a Finished Class Incentive) which gets you to $18-22!

Don’t think that’s a lot? VIPKID provides many opportunities to make even more money. If you have a class booked ‘short notice,’ anywhere from 2-24 hours before the class, you get an additional $2. If you teach a trial class and the child sign up for VIPKID, you get an extra $5 in your paycheck. Teachers are also paid if students cancel classes last minute or don’t show up. VIPKID offers incentives for referring your friends to teach as well.

VIPKID always pays on time (the 15th of every month) and sometimes even a little early! If your account information is incorrect and the deposit bounces back, they will notify you right away. No worries about not getting your hard earned money.

I’m intrigued … how do I get started?

In order to qualify to work for VIPKID, there are a couple requirements. Before you apply, read through the list to make sure you will get invited for an interview:

  • You must have a Bachelor’s Degree. It doesn’t really matter what your degree is in as long as you have one (mine is in History, for example).
  • You also much be a Native English Speaker from North America (USA or Canada).
  • A working computer (desktop or laptop) with a camera, audio capabilities and high speed internet is essential
  • You have to successfully pass a criminal background check
  • Some experience teaching children is a plus obviously

Can you check all the boxes? Looks like you are ready to apply! But you might want to keep reading to find out about the interview process…

Application Process

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I am not going to lie – the application process to become a teacher for VIPKID is rigorous. Do not let this deter you though because it is totally doable, as proven by the 20,000 people they now have working for the company.

The first step is to apply and submit your resume. Once this is reviewed along with your qualifications, you will be invited for an interview. The first interview can be done two ways:

  • 1-1 Interview: You will talk with a staff member at VIPKID about your work experience and teach a short 10 minute lesson, while they pretend to be a kid. You will be sent the materials for the lesson in advance, so it is to your advantage to read everything they give you and watch any videos they might include.
  • Recorded Interview: If none of the interview slots they send you fit with your scehedule, you can decide to record your 10 minute demo lesson on your own and have it reviewed by VIPKID. They will send you an example of how to do this.

This first interview is important because it will be used to determine how much your base pay will be (remember between $7-9). A few tips: Make sure you are prepared, smiling and energetic. VIPKID loves TPR (Total Physical Response), so definitely make yourself familiar with it (here’s another resource). It also helps if you have props and a clean background (they love if it resembles a classroom; I had up a world map and pictures of numbers/letters behind me on the wall). A good internet connection and good lighting is also important. Make sure to talk slowly but also be aware of your timing – when you are a teacher, you are penalized if your classes are too short or too long. Correct the ‘student’ if he/she makes mistakes and use a reward system to encourage them when they do well! Overall, be yourself!

If you pass the first interview, you will be sent Teaching Materials about VIPKID: how to book classes, the way their online platform works, how to teach certain kinds of classes as well as specific policies and their curriculum. You will have three days to review everything and take a quiz (it isn’t hard at all). After passing the quiz, it is time to prepare for your Mock Class.

The Mock Class is just like the first demo lesson, except it is longer. You will be sent two powerpoint lessons to prepare (one is for younger students, the other for older). During the Mock Class you will teach the first lesson and pause for your interviewer to give you feedback. Then you will continue with the second lesson before reviewing how everything went. It is important to follow the same tips as the first interview and to implement the feedback that is given to you partway through!

After the Mock Class, one of three things could happen:

  • You are a VIPKID teacher: Hooray you rocked your lesson and made it!
  • You teach one more Mock Class: The purpose of this is to see if you can take everything you learned from your interviewer and be better! While I did not have to teach a second Mock Class, almost everyone I know who now works for VIPKID did.
  • You are not asked to teach with VIPKID: It happens… If you feel you did awesome, you can (and should) reach out to VIPKID about why you weren’t selected.

Once all of that is behind you, you are almost ready to teach! All that’s left to do is sign your contract (these are for 6 months, with a chance to renew) and upload documents such as a copy of your degree, a form of ID and tax forms (yes, you do still have to pay taxes!). After that, you must make your teaching profile for VIPKID with pictures of yourself, a greeting video and a short bio! Yayy! All done!

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Once I am a teacher, what is it actually like??

Teaching with VIPKID is actually pretty simple stuff. You log onto their online platform, open up the hours you would like to be booked and wait for kids to book classes! Once a class is booked, you click into the classroom at the appropriate time, teach, and provide written feedback for the student at the end! Keep reading for things I really love about working for VIPKID!

No Lesson Planning: That’s right folks! VIPKID provides all of the lessons and curriculum to you! All you have to do is review it before a class, prepare your props and teach! The curriculum does seem a bit outdated at times and the instructions aren’t always the clearest, but most of the time they allow you to have a lot of fun with your student.

Flexibility: One of the best parts about VIPKID is the fact you can teach as much or as little as you want! It also means you can teach from anywhere as long as you have a computer and internet access! You can open up your schedule up to a month in advance, though the kids book classes weekly. If you want to close a slot, you can also do that as long as no class has been booked. While it is nice being able to dictate when you want to teach a class, it doesn’t always mean you will get booked. As a newer teacher in the VIPKID community, I don’t get booked for nearly as many classes as my boyfriend, who has been teaching with them for over a year and always has a full schedule. Also be aware that depending on where you are located, the time difference may affect when you can open your time slots, since all classes are based on Beijing time. When I was living in Thailand, I could potentially work all day! Now that I am located back on the East Coast in the USA, I can’t work after 9:30 am (my time) since all the kiddies in China are going to bed. For part time work, it is nice being able to wake up in the morning, teach and then go to a job during the day. Alternatively, I could stay up all night and teach – I just choose not to as this isn’t my full time job.

The Kids: I have taught in the US and in Thailand and I can say that my online students are some of the best! Each VIPKID class is taught one-on-one, so if dealing with a classroom full of kids sounds like your idea of hell, no worries! The kids are usually pretty excited to get the chance to talk with you and show off their English skills. I rarely have any behavior problems, but if you do there are systems in place to help you (see support below). The online classroom looks like this:

  • Powerpoint slide that you click through. Both you and the student can write on it! They are currently updating the powerpoints so that they are more interactive, allowing the students to drag objects, for example. Fun!
  • A box for the student
  • A box for you! Here I am giving my student a big thumbs up for a job well done!

 

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Support: VIPKID has systems in place to help you if you ever get stuck. Maybe you went to log on and the website isn’t working? Or perhaps your student can’t hear you? In these cases and others like them, you can contact the ‘Firemen,’ a group of staff members whose sole job is to help you when things get bad. They also have something called ‘Freshdesk’ where you can submit ‘tickets’ if you are having an issue, such as unfair feedback from a parent.

Opportunities to make more money: VIPKID does a good job of providing incentives and lots of ways to make a little extra money. They often send out monthly challenges to motivate teachers to make money or refer more friends. You can also act as a ‘substitute teacher’ where you get guaranteed pay, even if you are not needed for a time slot!

Growing Community: With VIPKID rapidly expanding, there are so many ways to connect to other teachers for ideas, such as how to set up your classroom, or even how to book more classes. If you have a problem, there are 20,000 over people who can help.

They have an app: VIPKID now has an app where you can open time slots on your phone, cancel classes, check if classes have been booked, check parent feedback, provide feedback for a class… it’s really great! I use it all the time to see if I have upcoming classes! It also sends a notification when I have a class in 15 minutes – I am always grateful for the reminder!

OK, I’m sold! Where do I sign up?!

If all of this sounds good to you, then you can sign up for VIPKID here! I have had a great experience so far with the company. As it continues to grow and gain teachers, VIPKID is trying hard to improve. They now have a community page where teachers can discuss best practices, troubleshoot or just connect with like-minded individuals. They also have challenges you can complete and cool rewards, like trips or VIPKID swag. I highly recommend checking this opportunity out!

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Are you currently a teacher for VIPKID? Share your experience in the comments below!

2 Comments

  1. Timely post! VIPKID reached out to me recently about applying to teach with them. So is it really as flexible as it seems? My main and only concern is that my schedule is not very fixed right now and I am not sure I would be able to commit to the same time slots each week. It sounds as if that’s not a problem as I could choose say 5 hours this week, a different set of hours the next, perhaps no hours the third week and then ramp it up to 10 or 15 in the fourth week of the month. Is that correct? Is there no pressure from VIPKID to make sure you are working a certain amount of hours? If this is true then I should definitely consider applying. Looks like a fun side gig!

    • Hi! There is definitely no pressure to work a certain number of hours but if you work over a certain number you will make more per class. It is very easy to open slots week by week as you know your schedule as well. I would encourage you to apply! It’s a really easy way to make more money!

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