Thus far, I have really enjoyed teaching with VIPKid! Click here to read my first post on VIPKid if you have no idea what I’m talking about 🙂 I have adapted my schedule a bit, so as to avoid working weekends (most of the time). I now open up three slots from 6:00am – 7:30am, Monday – Friday. My experience has generally been that the first two slots fill while the third gets filled sometimes, but not always. I was officially asked to get my Trial Class certification after a month with VIPKid! If you want to read more about Trial classes, click here. If you aren’t interested in reading that article, let me sum it up for you! Trial classes are promotional classes offered by VIPKid to prospective new students. The parents sign up their kids to test the waters, so to speak. Trial classes are paid the same as regular classes, when the student shows up. Because these are free classes, there is a high level of Student No Shows. For regular classes, if the student doesn’t show up, you still get fully paid for the class. With Trial classes, however, you only get paid for half of the class if the student no-shows on you. This can be a bit frustrating in the morning when an extra half hour of sleep would be nice… However, there is also an upside to teaching Trial classes! If, after your class, the student signs up, you get a $5 bonus for that class! It can be an easy way to earn some extra cash, though it’s almost impossible to say whether or not the student will sign up after your class. Some students get more than one free Trial class and only the teacher who last taught the student gets the bonus. Bummer. Another huge plus for new teachers like myself, is that the VIPKid sales team is responsible for booking the Trial classes. While a lot of veteran teachers have regular students who see them each week, it can be hard for new teachers to build up a rapport with students. This is especially true for me because I do not open up more than the minimum required slots each week (since I currently have a full time job as well).
I have only had great experiences with Trial students. I have heard a lot of teachers say that Trial students can become a bit nervous and classes can go awry quickly (tears, misbehaving, leaving…), but that hasn’t been my experience. One thing that I have found to be amusing is that the parents often want to help their children during Trial classes! They will whisper the answers to their children or sit and watch just out of camera view. It’s a lot different than the regular students! I’ve often been photographed as the parents watch in glee as their child interacts with a foreign, English teacher. It’s pretty adorable! Aside from all of the issues with students not showing up to the classes, I’ve really enjoyed teaching these new trial classes! I’ve also started to get some regular students who return to me each week! So that has felt like a success to me.
One of my regular students I see each week! We have fun a singing and acting in the Goodbye Song! She also enjoys writing me messages in Chinese that I don’t understand 🙂
I have definitely learned that you need to break out of your comfort zone to keep the kids entertained! Even though each lesson is only a half hour, these kids are quite young and can become bored/distracted easily. In one of my first Trial classes, I had a young boy (maybe 5 years old?) who just wanted to play with his toys! He had a little police badge he kept showing me, as well as a toy bow and arrow that he liked to pretend to shoot at me (I’m not that awful of a teacher, I swear! Don’t shoot!). Your patience will be tested at times. But isn’t that true of hanging out with any child? And at least you can say goodbye to the problem children after a half hour (and you get paid to deal with them!). The best things to do to deal with these kids is to regain their attention! Make them do something physical if they play with toys. “Touch your head! Quick! Good job!” Start singing! Break out the puppets/teaching tools!
I have a pretty extensive set of homemade reward slides. I try to pick one that I think the student will like (based on age/gender/English level) and that certainly helps them refocus & enjoy class!
One big holiday that just passed in Asian countries was Children’s Day on June 1! I used to joke with my mom when I was younger, “How come we have Mother’s Day and Father’s Day but no Kids Day?” And she would always answer, “Everyday is Kids Day!” However, there are some lucky kids whose parents celebrate Children’s Day, and apparently China and Japan go all out. Kids are extra spoiled this day and VIPKid encouraged all the teachers to send postcards to their regular students as a token of appreciation. I sent the following homemade postcards all the way to China! International postcard charges are only $1.15/ea. but I’m sure it’ll take a while for the cards to arrive…
The custom cards that I sent a couple of my regular students. They both seemed to think the cards were really cute and fun! Little do they know, I actually mailed a couple for a nice surprise and token of my thanks! (Gosh, I hope Google translated the Chinese right!)
Ok, now how has my schedule changed since my first VIPKid post? Check it out!
In general, most of my classes get booked. I did take off Monday for Memorial Day (an extra day to sleep in – I wasn’t about to sign up to wake up at 5am!). Because of this, I had to sign up for Friday night classes, which were all quickly booked by Trial students. The sales team really pushes Trial classes on Friday and Saturday night (which is Saturday and Sunday morning in China). I don’t mind teaching 2-3 classes in a row, but after that, my cheeks need a break from smiling/singing/acting so much! Though, I have read some teachers like working for hours and hours in a row! Yikes, no thanks. Most of my slots are filled from Trial students. You can tell which are the Trial students because they use their Chinese name instead of their American name… Also, I am terrible at saying the kids Chinese names! During introductions, it’s so hard for me to repeat something like “Jingyi” haha… But I’m working on it! They mostly just refer to me as “teacher.”
Show Me the Money
I’ll be honest, it’s only been the past few weeks that my schedule has really been filling (thank you trial certification!) so I haven’t made a ton of money through VIPKid yet! I’m anticipating that I will see my biggest paycheck for the month of June! My first month, I only made $175 and my second month saw a slight increase to $250… Because I didn’t teach 30 classes either month, I didn’t get the extra teaching bonus (sad face), but I certainly should for June if my schedule continues to be as full as you can see above! *fingers crossed* Still, I did manage to get a few new sign ups!
When the status has “New VIPKID!” next to it, that means they signed up and I get the Trial Sign Up Bonus! Yay!
I only taught 11 trial classes in May, and out of those, I got 2 sign ups. I also had 6 student no shows… From more experienced teachers, I have heard that getting 2-3 students to sign up each month is pretty good! This also depends on how many classes you teach. One lady told me she taught 37 Trials and had 34 Trial No Shows in May! Out of those, she had 3 students sign up.
As summer is quickly approaching for the students, my schedule might change. I may consider teaching only weekday nights, or continue doing mornings. Maybe I’ll mix it up and take Fridays off too! Who knows… But as of right now, I am honestly enjoying working for VIPKid! The pay is good, the work is easy, and the kids are super fun!
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!
Thanks for reading! Have I inspired any of you to sign up for VIPKid? Have I inadvertently discouraged you?! Let me know in the comments!