When you're a student, it feels like you have the toughest job in the room.
Then you grow up and realize the person at the front of the room has it much harder. 🙂
Many teachers don't make nearly as much as they should and so many look to other opportunities to supplement their income. Today, I want to share with you a company called VIPKID. I recently learned about VIPKID from a friend and how it's changed a lot of teachers' lives.
If you have at least a year of education experience, which can be anything from classroom instruction to tutoring, you could qualify to teach English to Chinese children from inside your own home. It's 1-on-1, so you're not responsible for remotely educating a classroom.
When you join, the contracts are for 6-months (you can start immediately) and there is no minimum amount of time you need to teach (it used to be 7.5 hours). Classes are 30-minutes long and your minimum pay is $14-18 per hour but as you'll see, it can get up to $22 per hour with bonuses.
I was fascinated by this opportunity so I found someone who teaches on VIPKID. I can't teach on the platform but I really wanted to learn more.
Whitney makes over $2,000+ a month teaching English to Chinese children. You'll learn how she got into it, her background, the pay structure, and how the entire process works. It's fascinating.
1. How did you first learn about VIPKID and how did you decide you wanted to tutor kids through their service?
I first saw VIPKID advertised on Facebook during summer 2016. It intrigued me because I love teaching, but wanted to stay at home with my baby.
At the time I was pregnant and working two jobs, so I applied and qualified for an interview, but didn't go any further. I had my baby in September and knew I didn't want to go back to work after I finished that school year, so I was looking for something to do from home.
I had a few friends start posting about their experience with VIPKID and it got me thinking about it again. I was still hesitant because I knew you had to work a certain number of hours each week.
At the time, VIPKID was the only company I knew about like this. After being with the company and learning more about them, I feel very confident in my choice.
2. What's your teaching background? Had you done any tutoring, in person or online, like this?
I went to school for elementary education.
I taught 6th grade for two years, 4th grade for one and got burned out. I started a part-time student teaching job with a religious seminary while I subbed and tutored at Sylvan on the side. This last year, I got a part-time job teaching computers skills at an elementary school.
I started with VIPKID in February and finished the computer job in May. I hadn't done any online tutoring before this.
3. What was the hiring process like? Do you have any recommendations?
The hiring process can be pretty intense. VIPKID only hires 6-10% of applicants. You need a Bachelor's degree (in any subject) and teaching experience, which keeps many from even making it to the interview. The teaching experience can be tutoring, subbing, coaching, camp counseling, Sunday school teaching, etc. List anything you can think of on your application.
After qualifying for an interview, I help my referrals by sending them tips and tricks as well as offering to Skype with them to practice. Every applicant that I've Skyped with and has continued the process has been hired.
The interview can be recorded or live. I recommend live because I feel it's easier to teach a real person. First, someone in China will confirm your education level and experience then you'll teach a 10-minute demo. You are given the slides as soon as you are invited to interview so you have time to prepare.
Before you continue, you'll need to pass a quiz with a score of 80% or higher. You can take it as many times as you need to.
The next step is a Mock Class. This is a 25-minute teaching demo with a VIPKID mentor in North America. You'll spend 15-minutes on a lower-level lesson and 10-minutes on an upper-level lesson with feedback in between the two. If you pass this step, you'll be certified to teach all levels. If you don't pass the Mock 1, you may be invited to a Mock 2 as a second chance.
Mock 2 will be a 25-minute lesson on lower or upper levels based on how you did in Mock 1.
If you pass this, you are hired! You just submit your paperwork and profile and you can start booking classes.
There are also 4-hour Coaching Days across the country. If you attend a 4 hour Coaching Day, you are excused from the interview, teaching prep videos, and quiz. You will go straight to the first Mock Class. The Coaching Day is free and is excellent training provided by local teachers to help you prepare for your mock class.
My biggest recommendation is to have a referrer to work with. If you have a friend that teaches with VIPKID, ask them. If not, I'd be happy to help you. Apply here and I'll reach out to you once you qualify for an interview.
4. What is it like working for VIPKid? How do they compare with other employers?
I absolutely love working for VIPKID. Some things that put them above similar companies are:
- One-on-one platform
- 91 hours available to schedule each week. They don't all book as well as others, but many other companies offer much more limited options
- Flipped classroom
- Partnered with Stanford
- #5 on Forbes 2017 Work from Home job list
- Weekly updates that show how much the company is constantly seeking to improve
- Monthly incentives
- Active Facebook Community of teachers
- US office in addition to Beijing office
5. How often do you work and what is the pay like?
I work 4 hours a day, 6 days a week. I make at least $2,000 each month (not including referral bonuses and monthly incentives).
You can teach up to 91 hours a week.
The base pay is $7-9 per 25-minute class. You get $1 per class if you are on time. You get $1 per class if you teach at least 45 classes per month (and this is retroactive, so you get the $1 per class on the first 45 you teach too once you exceed 45).
With those two bonuses (which I've received every full month I've worked), you get $18-22/hr.
6. What was your first session like?
My first session I fell out of my chair!
It was 3 days after I was hired and I was teaching a sweet girl named Ruby. We were doing the warm-up slide and I tried to touch my toes and ended up on the floor!
I quickly recovered and went on to have a fun lesson! I still teach her regularly.
7. What are some of the biggest challenges you've faced?
Waking up has been hard. I'm not a morning person and need my sleep, so I need to make sure to go to bed at a decent time. There are evening hours, but they don't work for my family right now.
8. Do you have any final words of advice for others who might want to do this?
Practice practice practice for your teaching demos! Again, I'd be happy to send tips and tricks as well as Skype with you to give you ideas and feedback. Apply and I'll be able to help you out.
Also, you are an independent contractor and have to pay self-employment taxes. You get no benefits and you're only allowed 6 cancellations per 6-month contract. This is when you cancel a class after it's been booked.
Fast Track Application Promotion
For a limited time, VIPKID is offering a way to fast track your application when you sign up with a link on Wallet Hacks.
Register through the button below and you can join an exclusive coaching day led by top VIPKID mentors. They are four hours long and free. Click here to see the upcoming events that may be in your city.
You will learn:
- Company Overview: Learn more about VIPKID and how they are making a global impact. They have over 15,000 teachers and you will see first hand what its like to be a VIPKID teacher.
- Skill Based Practice: Get hands-on practice with key skills for teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) online. This includes Total Physical Response, Energy, Phonics, Student Output, and Appropriate Language. We will also practice pacing, & reward systems.
- Demo Lesson: Get individualized attention from VIPKID teachers and practice with your Demo Lesson. Record a 10 min demo using their teaching platform and curriculum.