Look, an update in a timely manner! ‘Bout time… 🙂 I feel like this post might not be entirely necessary, but there’s always stuff to talk about with VIPKid, right?! And I know you guys are always curious to see how I’ve been doing with my super part-time teaching, so let’s dive in!
So I started with VIPKid back in 2016 and it’s nearly 2019! I’ve been with them for almost three years now, and I’m still happy with them. Yes, there have been frustrations (like my undeserved TNS…), but obviously you don’t stay with a company so long if you’re completely miserable with them, especially not ones that offer no benefits (before you jump on me with the “perks” of working from home, no lesson planning, etc. I’m talking HARD benefits like health insurance, PTO, a 401(k), etc.). In general, I truly think VIPKid is a great company to work for. Obviously! So let’s talk about some new things that have been going on since I first started.
The Old Application Process
In my first VIPKid post, I talked about how to apply and start working for VIPKid. Since that was nearly three years ago, I think it’s time to take some time and talk a bit about how that process has been updated. When I was first hired, I first applied and got my invitation to interview. My preliminary interview was with a Chinese gal physically in China. It was a fairly short interview maybe 15 or so minutes long (and 3am in China, poor girl!). We talked about my childcare experience and educational background/teaching and that was about it! I then waited a couple of days and got another email saying I had passed the first interview and scheduled my first mock interview. This was where they send you a PDF of a teaching slide and you prepare and then present to someone who works for VIPKid, most likely based in the US. I did my first one and the gal said she’d like to see me do one more to ensure that I was a good fit (I was super nervous and my timing was a bit off… I don’t blame her). I prepared more and watched some YouTube videos of TPR and made sure to be extra smiley for my second mock class which I took a few days after the first. At the end of that one (still wasn’t perfect, but much better), the gal said she thought I’d be a great fit and told me I was hired on the spot! The next step involved uploading a bunch of info like my bachelor degrees, certifications, passport, bank info (for payment). I also had to watch a bunch of training videos, pass a few quizzes, and then I began teaching!
To work for VIPKid, you have to:
- Have a Bachelor’s Degree
– Preferably in education/English or a related field
- Be eligible to work in the USA or Canada
- Be a native English speaker
- Have access to stable internet (Click Here to check specific technology requirements)
The New Application Process
So they’ve done a bit of upgrading since I first applied. Now these are the steps to the application process (for now):
- Submit Your Resume
This is where they screen you for your educational and employment background
- One on One OR Recorded Interview
So the recorded option was NOT available to me when I applied. Now they say it is a 30 min interview to a VIPKid recruiter OR you can record a demo lesson on your own time and have a VIPKid recruiter evaluate it. I don’t know that any option is better than another, I think it’s all about your comfort with technology and if you do better on camera or in person!
- Introduction to Teaching
Watch the training videos to learn about VIPKid and their technology, standards, and curriculum.
- Mock Class
This is where you practice a full class with a teacher who will evaluate your attitude and personality as well as your ability to cover curriculum. You may have to do two of these (if you don’t pass after your second class, you’re considered rejected from teaching with VIPKid, at least for 3 months before you can apply again).
- Sign Your Contract & Upload Personal Documents
This is when you give them scans of your degrees, certifications, passport, etc. If you’ve made it this far, congrats!
- Become a Teacher!
You’re done! Now you get to start opening time slots and you can begin teaching the cute kiddos in China!
As I’ve said before, you just want to make sure that you’re super happy and smiling during all of your interviews! You are going to be teaching children, remember, and you’re going to be on camera with them a whole lot. You want to come off as friendly and approachable and have an atmosphere that is conducive to young learning. Now here’s something they told me when I first applied: Make sure your background is clean and simple. Apparently, when the program first started, there were a lot of technical glitches due to crazy backgrounds and pixels trying to constantly be read and it was a mess so they told us: the simpler, the better. Now, however, they say that you should have a “fun but not distracting” background. Here are some examples of teacher classroom backgrounds:
How much you do is totally up to you. I honestly don’t have anything fancy since my desk is in my bedroom, shoved against a wall. My background is just my boring wall. I’ve never had anyone complain about this, but I’ve seen from the Facebook group, that others have had the suggestion made to them to have a better background. I’ve also heard of many teachers using ManyCam to make their webcams a bit more interesting during class. My understanding is that you can add video effects, backgrounds, colors, stickers, etc. with ManyCam, but I’ve never personally used it. Again, I’ve never had any issues with this, but if you’re wanting to apply, a creative background might help you out! I think with the amount of teachers who apply every day, VIPKid has been MUCH more selective with the teachers they’ve selected to work for them in recent months. I’m honestly not sure I would have been approved if I had the same qualifications I had three years ago! Timing is everything, as they say. But before I count my blessings, let me go ahead and throw some drama into the mix…
The Chinese Government Requirements
So I recently received this lovely email:
Now, I’ve seen on the Facebook Group that a lot of people are worried about this, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned myself. When I first read this, it sounded like they wanted teachers with backgrounds and degrees specifically in education and licensing and certifications for the state in which you’re teaching. However, as many of the teachers have pointed out, it merely states that you must have a bachelor’s degree AND at least two years of teaching (if VIPKid counts itself, then I should be fine, especially combined with my experiences teaching ESL in Spain… I hope) OR state licensure AND/OR an ESL certificate. I passed the VIPKid Certificate they offer in the form of online videos and quizzes, so I’m hoping this will suffice. If not, there are going to be a LOT of teachers who find themselves unable to continue with VIPKid by the end of 2018. Let’s hope that I’ll be ok after this lovely little update… Here’s a look at what the VIPKid TESOL entails:
The only thing I haven’t yet done is “submit learning journal” at the end. I’ve taken all the quizzes and passed them all, but isn’t it strange how both the “Pass Module 3 Quiz B” and “Submit Learning Journal” have arrows to the “Certified with TESOL-VIPKid”?? Does that mean that the Learning Journal is optional? It’s a little odd, but we will see. In my profile, it shows I am certified with them, so hopefully that’s enough, but I am working on my Learning Journal, just in case. I might try to finish it at the end of the month, but I didn’t honestly see a place to “submit” it… Well, if there IS another update, it’ll be in 2019 so you’ll know whether or not I have enough qualifications to continue working with VIPKid!
On a Lighter Note
I’ve been trying to think of fun things to share with you all! So here’s something that’s made me smile. VIPKid now allows you (through their platform) to send cute little notes to your students! I’ve only done it in the Teachers App, but they’re super sweet. All of the notes I’ve gotten have been along the lines of, “Teacher you are so fun and beautiful! I love class with you! Thank you see you soon!” or something equally as sweet. That has NOT been the experience of some of the other teachers…
This was shared online by Teacher Victoria whose student, Angela, is clearly not a fan of her! Apparently it was written BY the student in the app and in English so there was no way this was simply a “translation error” hahaha. Oops! I think the teacher mostly found it funny, but also confusing as she has multiple students named “Angela” and there’s no way to tell which one this came from. And how perfect that the student’s name was Angela and she left such a mean little note! It was just too perfect not to share with you guys. Alright, let’s get to the part you’re all curious about!
Show Me the Money!
I’m going to preface this by saying there have been some changes in my schedule since I moved, so I have been opening only 8-10 time slots per week… So I’m definitely not making as much money as I have been in the past. That being said, let’s take a look at the past two months with VIPKid…
This was for October. I had to take some time off because I had a death in the family that caused me to miss work and travel out of the city and I chose not to bring my laptop and teach during that time off. So, only $216 for October (as opposed to the $469 I made last October). I’ve also noticed a HUGE decline in people using my referral link to become a teacher. Some of this is due to VIPKid becoming stricter about the teachers they’ll hire and of course some of the blame rests on me. I haven’t been as good about regularly updating my blog so a lot of perspective teachers have probably used other links. Sorry, guys! I’m working on it.
Annnnnd November was even worse, haha. I blame this on Daylight Saving Time. As I’ve mentioned in previous VIPKid posts, DST kills me because I have to shift an hour earlier! This means that the slots I leave open are now 9-10pm in Beijing rather than 8-9pm. Not a lot of kids are staying up that late to take classes, so naturally my time slots are looking a little more sparse. Last November, I made $732, but to be fair, $400 of it was from referrals. Still, this decline in students is rough! Here’s a look at one of my upcoming weeks so you can see where I’m coming from:
As you can see, I opened up 8 time slots and only have 5 of them filled. Again, this is partially due to the fact that me teaching at 6:30am means the student is taking class from 9:30pm-10pm. Parents are just not wanting to sign kids up that late! I am 100% positive that if I opened the 5:30am time slots, they would all book. That being said, I already get up early enough and then go to work full time after teaching. I’m not really wanting to get up much earlier. If I could stay at home, I would absolutely start teaching at like 4am and stop at 6:30-7am and just go back to bed for a little nap afterwards… But since I can’t do that, I only teach from 6am-7am. I don’t actually NEED the VIPKid money, so it’s not a big deal to make less. I would say it’s tougher for me to get out of bed so early just to teach for a half hour. But I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t love my students!
I’m actually behind on getting my Trial Re-Certification too, so if I update that, I might see an influx in students at the later time. I’m fulling expecting my December pay to follow suit since I am taking two weeks off for a vacation to Costa Rica and heading back home for Christmas! My next update will be probably in January or February, so right in the midst of Chinese New Year when I will ALSO probably make very little money with VIPKid, haha. It’s a rough go sometimes being an independent contractor! So wish me luck and if you feel like you want to help me out and work for VIPKid, please use my referral link! The money I make from VIPKid keeps my blog going so I can keep it clean with relevant information and minimal to no ads disrupting your reading experience 🙂 Thank you all, and as always if you have any questions, leave a comment below and I’ll get to you ASAP!
If you think you might be interested in applying, click here for my referral link!
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 six month update (you can find an Excel document to organize your pay, learn about contract renewals, and teaching from abroad).
Click here to read my ten month update (where I talk about updated classroom policies and taxes).
Click here to read my 2.5 year update (where I bring you up to date on some improvements with the program).