I finished my first-year teaching with 2,609 finished classes and greeted individual 817 students! Not too bad for a new teacher. VIPKID has been the best job I have ever had, and the most rewarding. It is even work waking up at 3:30 in the morning to teach! (Well it doesn’t hurt the commute is great.)
In this post, I will outline the basic, rewards, and challenges of pursuing a teaching path with VIPKID as promised in my 2019 New Year’s post!
What is VIPKID?
VIPKID is an online ESL company based out of Beijing, China. Its purpose is to connect North American teachers with Chinese students in order for them to learn English. I teach one student at a time in 25 minute increments. I work from 4 A.M. to 8 A.M. most mornings and anytime through the night on weekends.
I teach using my computer, headset, and webcam in an office space in my room. It requires a stable and fast internet connection. I use an assortment of props to teach and rewards to keep the students interested. My appearance is always well kept and a shirt in a solid shirt.
A bachelor’s degree is an absolute minimum requirement. It is also required to be able to legally work in Canada or America. New sanctions by the Chinese government are asking for TEFL/TESOL certificates or state teacher licenses. Do not let this discourage you from applying if you are thinking of it. VIPKID has its own program available to earn a TESOL certification. Pay ranges between 16-24 dollars per hour. This depends on the amount of class and base paid assigned during interview. Within three months, I was making more than I did in public school.
Do You Speak Chinese?
I get this question daily. I also hear, “How do you teach them if you don’t know their language?” VIPKID is a full emersion ESL course. This means, that only English is spoken in all instruction. The program is staged so that a new learner just learns a few words using pictures while an advanced student holds conversations on topics focused in the lesson.
It is essential to speak slowly, and do not add extra words. It takes some time learn, but becomes second nature quickly. Props, flashcards, and pictures is helpful as well in getting the point across. For more information about teaching English as a Second Language I would check out this website.
The Best Bits:
I can honestly say I love my students! They are kind and genuinely interested in how my day is going. I get sweet e-cards and messages from them. As a rule, they are prepared for class, and willing to listen for corrections. My students range from ages four to twelve. Each age comes with its rewards and challenges.
I teach in my pajama bottoms! That’s right. Out of the 2000+ classes I taught, I have taught them all in pajama bottoms.
The schedule is flexible. There is no minimum requirement of classes to teach each week. If you can get up early, you can choose what days and times you would like to work. Classes book every two weeks, and I choose the schedule I want at that time. So if I have plans or a trip, I don’t open classes for that day.
The prep and feedback time is minimal. The longer I worked for VIPKID the less time I needed to prepare for classes. Once I have seen the lesson in action, it is easy for me to strategize the next time it comes ups. Feedback is roughly a paragraph per student describing their performance in class. It beats staying on campus past five in order to prepare for state testing.
On the same note, the time worked directly coordinates with my pay. It’s simple, the more classes I teach, the more I make. After years of salary, I appreciate this simple formula.
A Small Word of Caution:
There are three things to be in conscious of about VIPKID that comes to the shock of some teachers.
- You are an independent contractor. That means no benefits, and the possibility of being let go for any reason.
- Bookings are not guaranteed. Some teachers take a significant amount of time to book classes and gain regular students. Other times, bookings are effected by Chinese holidays and exam schedules.
- Their cancellation and no show policy is strict. You lose your job after 6 and expect fines.
Do you have any questions? Ask me anything about teaching online! I wouldn’t take back this year of teaching for anything! I’m excited to start another year with VIPKID, and a new company launching in January called Naativ.
If you would like to join up follow up here. My referral code is MANDY0028
I also share my teaching journey on my Instagram and Facebook page @teachingpineapple