If you read my last post, a Four Month Update with VIPKid, you may be wondering what I decided to do. As you may recall, the summer months were particularly hard on me. I had a ridiculous amount of student no shows, my schedule was barely filled, some of my regular students stopped showing up… It was awful. I began questioning whether or not VIPKid was for me. Was this just a summer trend or was I declining as a teacher…? As promised, I decided to stick it out through August and September. Annnnnd… I’m so glad I did! August was also particularly slow for me (as was expected). Here’s a quick breakdown of the last two months of my first VIPKid contract.
As you can see, the month started off the same as July. I had SO MANY STUDENT_NO_SHOW classes. And because they were all trial classes, I only got paid half. That meant getting my butt out of bed at 5am just to sit at my computer for liked $3.75 (insert annoyed emoji face here). There were many days that I would have rather just slept in. My saving grace was that I worked more than 30 classes (so I got the smaller, 50¢ bonus per class – better than nothing). Another thing that really helped me earn a bit of extra cash for August was that I completed the new training (a series of YouTube videos followed by a quiz) which was an extra $30. I also earned two teacher referral bonuses, which totaled to $120 for August (note: the referral bonus is usually only $50/referral but there was a summer incentive making it $60 instead). These bonuses made my total August paycheck $380.
August still had me questioning whether or not I wanted to renew my contract with VIPKid. This is, of course, assuming I was even offered a contract renewal. Honestly, I began to think maybe they wouldn’t want me back. Maybe my classes were dropping in frequency because of my lack of teaching experience? Maybe other teachers know some magic trick to keep up student involvement? Maybe I was not a good fit anymore? Did I just get lucky when I got hired because they were desperate for teachers? I know there had been many teachers who applied through my referral link and were denied for not being a “good fit”. Had I applied in August, would that have been me? I suppose I’ll never really know that. All I can do is continue improving and trying my best!
Ok, so initially you might look at this and wonder, “Why were you happier in September if you only taught 20 classes?!” Take a closer look at the classes I did teach before I explain. As you can see, the number of STUDENT_NO_SHOW classes is significantly lower than that of August! This meant I was getting fully paid for getting out of bed (and actually teaching rather than staring at a blank computer screen). For me, it’s so much more rewarding to get up and teach a kid, put a smile on their face, help them learn something than it is to get up and just sit there. Sure, it’s less work (and less pay), but it’s also less fun. It’s less stimulating. I’d much rather get up and teach, than get up and do nothing!
So now you might be asking yourself why I taught so few classes. Well, my friends, I have officially moved to Spain! (Which you probably knew if you read my Fourth Month post, haha). I am participating in the Auxiliares de Conversación program which means I am in Spain as an English teacher for a bilingual school! My job in the classroom is to facilitate English by showing the students proper grammar and pronunciation. I encourage the children to speak to me only in English (I have to know zero Spanish to them – which isn’t too far from the truth anyway, haha!). If you want to know more info about this program, feel free to search my blog! I have a lot of posts about it. If you still have questions, you can always Contact Me as well.
But I digress! I moved to Spain in the middle of September. As I’ve mentioned before, each contract with VIPKid offers you two weeks of (unpaid) vacation. Because I didn’t use any during my contract, I instead opted to end my contract two weeks early (technically taking my vacation then). This meant that I really only taught the first two weeks of the month! I was very grateful when VIPKid offered me a contract renewal! My contract ended on September 29 and I was emailed a contract renewal offer on September 12. I was a little worried that they weren’t going to offer me another! Some teachers on Facebook were saying they received their contract renewal forms about a month before their contract ended. Needless to say, this left me a little stressed two weeks into the month (especially since I was leaving for Spain only a couple days later!). My contract is exactly the same as the first one. I wasn’t offered a pay raise (supposedly that happens after your second contract – we will see?). But that’s fine, I have additional sources of income! My total paycheck for September ended up being $250. I got a $40 bonus for my first contract completion as well as $50 for another teacher referral!
As my classes began to pick up, I started feeling a lot better. I was also very excited because my regular students began returning to me! I didn’t ask (nor was I offered) any explanation for the two month absences, but I honestly didn’t care. My validity as a teacher seemed to reinforce itself. I’m now convinced that summer just experiences weird breaks for the students and there’s nothing I did wrong.
The Contract Renewal
As I mentioned above, I was offered a contract renewal in the form of an email two weeks before my first contract ended. Had I not been offered it, I would have been ok (but a little hurt and offended considering the amount of time and effort I put into my classes!). However, I got it! This was something I toyed with because I knew I was moving to Spain. Because I’m now only working 16 hours/week in Spain, I need to supplement my income with additional sources of cash. I knew I would stick with VIPKid if it could fit in my schedule, and luckily it did! The peak hours for me are now 12pm-4pm. You know what that means? NO MORE EARLY MORNINGS! This is wonderful because I get to “sleep in” until 7am every morning before I head to class! And my school schedule in Spain is from 9am-1pm on Monday and Wednesday, so I return home and teach from 2pm-4pm Monday and Wednesday and more on Friday (I don’t work at all on weekends, though I could if necessary).
The contract renewal process was pretty simple. You download the new PDF, sign the page that requires your signature, re-upload it and send it back! That’s it! You’re officially on contract for another six months!
Does everyone get a contract renewal offer?
Unfortunately, no. There are many factors that could go into why you wouldn’t receive a contract renewal, but the only sure way to know is to submit a ticket to Freshdesk and get the info directly from VIPKid. When should you ask them? I would say if your contract is up in a week or two, you could send in your ticket to see your contract renewal status. My understanding is that if you cancel too many times, have too many teacher no shows, or receive too many complaints from parents, VIPKid can choose not to make you another offer. I only had one cancellation in my contract and I gave VIPKid 48-hours notice. I was not penalized for this. I also had zero no shows. I believe the company is lenient for a few, but too many and you won’t get a renewal offer. The best thing you can do is be honest as they happen and document any reason you might need to cancel or have a no show. Some teachers have to take newspaper clippings to prove blackouts/electricity failure, doctor’s notes for medical emergencies, etc. Remember, VIPKid has thousands of teachers across the globe. They can’t work with you if you don’t work with them!
So What’s New This Time?
VIPKid is constantly making adjustments to improve the company! At this time last year, there were something like 100 teachers and very few students. Now, there are 2,000+ teachers and even more students! The company is on the up and up, so to speak, and I’m riding the wave! It’s actually quite wonderful. I love the work, the money, the flexibility… It’s great!
In August, VIPKid updated the payroll system so you can now see it when you log in to your teacher portal! This is really nice because it updates daily. If you have discrepancies, you can send in a ticket to Freshdesk and someone is there to help. Theoretically, you can view your updated paycheck every day! Bonuses may take a bit longer to add, but they’ll be there. It’s a nice update, even though I worked so hard on my Paycheck Calculator Excel sheet! Oh well 🙂
My favorite new update to share with you all is that VIPKid is paying for me to get my Teaching English as a Second or Other Language (TESOL) certificate for FREE!! In August, they reached out to all current teachers asking if anyone was interested in obtaining this. Obviously this was perfect for me, seeing as how I was moving to Spain in September to teach English in person! They placed preference on teachers who renewed their contracts before November (which was my case). Luckily, I was one of the chosen ones! If you’re interested in the exact course I’m taking, you can view it here. It’s through Arizona State University! Thus far, I’m completed the first 5 weeks of Part One (there are two parts). I’m really enjoying it! I’m trying to incorporate everything I’m learning in the classroom in Spain as well as to my students online. Hopefully I’ll continue to improve my teaching skills!
Well that about sums everything up! I’m very excited to be continuing this job with my new hours! I’m also thrilled that my classes have picked back up and my schedule is filling up once more. I really think this is going to be an even better contract than my first! I love seeing the smiling faces of my students, and now at a time where I don’t mind smiling either (haha)! If you think you’re interested in reading more about VIPKid or applying for the position yourself, I’ll list some resources below! Thanks for checking in!
If you think you might be interested in applying, click here for my referral link! Please make sure you’ve researched the program before you commit to the hours! Especially if you’re in North America!! (Spaniard friends, you may have more luck, lol)
Click here for my first post on what applying and starting work for VIPKid entails (there have been a few updates since I started).
Click here if you’d like to read my two month update with the company (I explain more about trial classes and reward systems there).
Click here to read my four month update (my honest thoughts on the job as well as different ways to increase your booking rates).
Click here to read my ten month update (tons of exciting new updates and info for current and prospective teachers!).