For as long as I’ve been a stay-at-home mom, I’ve been keeping my eyes open for an opportunity to contribute to our family’s income. Over the years, I’ve done several things. I was a trunk keeper for Matilda Jane. I scored tests for companies like Pearson and ETS. I ran consignment sales (and participated in tons of them). I sold things on Ebay. And while all of these things produced some income, none felt RIGHT to me. A few months ago, I began having some medical issues and the bills began piling up, as medical bills tend to do. I really wanted to find a way to stay home but make a REAL income…and if I could use my degree, that would be even better! Enter VIPKID.
VIPKID provides an international learning experience to children in China between the ages 4-12. Headquartered in Beijing, the company offers fully immersive one-on-one English language instruction provided online by highly qualified teachers. The curriculum is based on the U.S. Common Core State Standards and uses a flipped-classroom approach to foster creativity and critical thinking skills. What does this mean? In a nutshell, I teach English to children in China through a video taught one-on-one class that lasts for 25 minutes. These video lessons are a bit like Skype, but VIPKID has their own platform and servers that you use while teaching. They also have prepared lesson plans that you use for each class, which means no lesson planning! It’s all right there for you, and takes minimal effort on your part.
This video explains a lot!
So, how can you get started? First, you must meet the minimum requirements.
- Bachelor’s degree (at minimum an Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education)–note that your degree can be in ANY field, not just education!
- Native English speaker with a North American accent.
- Some experience working with children. Babysitting experience, homeschooling, camps, etc. will all count here. You need to be comfortable working with kids.
- High-speed internet and audio capabilities with a webcam and microphone.
After you’ve applied, you will move on to the interview process. Don’t be alarmed, but this process can be quite rigorous. In fact, only 6%-10% of all applicants will make it all the way through. It’s important to be prepared and gather as much information as you possibly can. There are so many applicants (this time of year is called the “summer hiring frenzy” for a reason!), so you want to stand out during every step of the process. Speaking of the process, here’s what it looks like:
Step 1: Apply (you’ve already done that at this point).
Step 2: Interview and Demo Lesson
You will schedule a 30 minute time slot for your interview and demo lesson. The interview is very important as it, along with your qualifications, decides whether or not you will be accepted to work with VIPKID and it will determine your base payment. During the interview portion, you will answer basic questions about your experiences. This part is easy peasy!
Next is your 10 minute demo lesson. Your interviewer will act like a 5 year old (not as awkward as it sounds, I promise), and you will teach a prepared lesson. You will display how well you are able to explain activities to a foundation level student, how you are able to elicit complete answers from the student, your ESL teaching skills, and your time management. They’re looking at your personality (be happy!), your timing, and your preparedness.
Step 3: Mock Classes
After passing your interview, you will schedule your first mock class with a current VIPKID teacher, also known as a Mock Class Mentor (MCM). You will have all of the material you need well in advance so that you can be totally prepared. During your first mock class, you will teach a full 25 minute class to the MCM, who will be acting like a 5 year old Chinese student with limited English knowledge. The entire mock class will last about an hour and will include your introductions (you can ask questions during this time), the 25 minutes for teaching, and feedback after class. During the feedback portion, your MCM will give you tips and tricks to improve your performance.
After your first mock class, you will get an email that explains your next step. Most people will be asked to do a second mock class that is practically the same as the first. During the second mock, you will need to show that you’ve implemented your feedback and corrections from the first mock. A few lucky ducks won’t have to do a second mock and will go straight into signing the contract and becoming a full-fledged teacher. Even fewer will be turned away after the first mock if the MCM decides they are not a good fit.
Step 4: Sign Contracts, Upload Documents, and Open Your Schedule
Yay!!! You did it! You are now officially a VIPKID Teacher and you can open up your schedule. This is truly the best part of teaching with VIPKID…you can set your own hours each week. The earning potential is only limited by the amount of hours in a day. My current goal is to teach 100 classes each month, which equals 50 hours of teaching. I choose to aim for 12 1/2 hours per week, and I’m pretty happy with the way I’ve been teaching lately. You can see my schedule below:
I said the hours and scheduling flexibility are the best part of VIPKID, but actually the money is even better. Currently, the base pay rate is $7-$9 per class. Most people seem to be around $8 per class (25 minutes). That makes base pay $14-$18/hour. However, VIPKID offers incentives for finished classes that bump up the pay rate to more like $18-$22/hour. I’m currently making at least $20/hour and can make more if I go for the monthly incentive pay, which varies from month to month. It’s hard to beat $20/hour from home and I’ve been really happy with my income so far. There are opportunities to make even more when renewing your contract or applying for other positions, like MCM. The sky seems to be the limit for earning potential and that makes me super happy.
Do you think VIPKID might be the right fit for you? I’m happy to answer any questions and walk you through the hiring process. One mistake I made when applying was going directly to the VIPKID website instead of finding a current teacher to help me. Each teacher has a referral link to share and if you use my link, that means I can be there to guide you through the process. As a nice bonus, I get a little extra money for referring you AND you get a little extra money for being referred. After all, who knows who would make a GREAT VIPKID teacher better than a current teacher? I went through the process without a referring teacher and caused myself a lot of extra work. If I had it to do over, I’d definitely choose a current teacher to hold my hand!
This opportunity has been a game changer for my family. I don’t have to miss family time, I make my own schedule, and I dictate how much money I make each week. Also, pants are pretty much optional. My ideal job, for sure. If you are interested in applying, don’t hesitate to reach out. I’m happy to help in any way I can.