• Teaching Mama

The FAQ and Q&A of E.S.L with VIPkid

What is it with education and acronyms?

Acronym decoder:

FAQ = Frequently asked question

Q&A = Question and Answer

ESL = English as a Second Language (See also "ESOL" - English for Speakers of Other

Languages, and "ELL" - English Language Learners). VIPkid = Very Important Person - kid :)

Q: What is VIPkid?

A: VIPkid is an ESL company based in China (they have offices here in the USA too) and they provide a platform that connects Chinese students with North American teachers. Learning English is a requirement of the Chinese education system so parents are always looking for native speaking tutors for their children. Enter VIPkid:)

Q: What are the requirements to teach with VIPkid?

A: There are a few basic requirements to teach with VIPkid (as with any other ESL company based in China).

  1. Bachelor's degree - You need a four year degree in any field. It does not have to be an education or teaching degree.

  2. At least one year of experience working with children - this is cumulative. So if you have taught children's Sunday School for a year, that may not really count because that's really only 52 days. But if you have taught for 5 years, that would count as a full year of experience. This experience does not necessarily have to be teaching experience. Coaching, camp counseling, babysitting, nannying, teacher's aide, school bus driver, Sunday school/youth group, teaching music, and homeschooling all count!

  3. You must be eligible to work in the United States or Canada. You do not have to live in North America, but you must have work eligibility here.

  4. You must speak English with a North American accent. This is a selling point for the VIPkid company. English does not have to be your first language but you should speak English with a North American accent.

  5. You must like to have fun and be willing to get up early in the morning. You do NOT have to be a morning person, just be willing. <----I added #5, its not actually on the VIPkid application but it should be!

6. Be willing to look very silly sometimes.

Q: How much does a VIPkid teacher earn?

A: That depends on several factors: how much experience you have, how many classes you

teach, and how long you stay with the company.

THE BASICS: Teachers with VIPkid are Independent Contractors. This means you are not employed by VIPkid directly. There are some great benefits to this set up: set your own hours, teach the level of classes you want, take time off whenever it suits you, deducting business expenses from your taxes. When you contract with VIPkid, you agree to a base rate per class. Each class is 25 minutes long and scheduled blocks of 30 minutes. In addition to your base rate, you earn incentives for teaching more classes each month. There are also increases to the incentives based on your cumulative number of classes. So the longer you are with the company, the more you can earn. Most teachers average between $15-$18 per hour. That may not sound like much but consider - you don't have to drive to work, you don't have to get dressed from the waist down (just don't stand up on camera!), you don't have to create curriculum, you don't have to do paperwork, you don't have to grade papers or attend faculty meetings or do all those annoying things that aren't actually teaching!

Q: What are the hours:

Lots of coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

A: Usually early morning or late evening or night.

Depending on your time zone in US/Canada, it can be very early or very late. The peak times for classes are M-F 6am - 8am CST - you can deduce your peak times from there. On weekends - the peak times start Friday night at 7:30pm CST and go all night until Saturday morning at 8am. It may be our Friday night but its their Saturday! Peak hours pick up again on Saturday night at 7:30pm CST and go through until Sunday morning at 8am. So if you are a night owl, there is a real opportunity to earn some extra bucks! China does not observe Daylight Savings Time so when we fall back in October, just move all these times up an hour. You can book classes outside of the peak times, as early as 2 or 3am CST during the week. The peak times are just the highest demand times for classes in China.

Q: How much time do I need to prepare for class?

A: Not much at all.

VIPkid provides the curriculum on their platform. Your initial preparation will be familiarizing yourself with the VIPkid platform, the lessons, and the techniques for teaching ESL. After that, you may have some prep time before classes as you get used to teaching the lessons and figure out what kind of teaching aides you will use. Once you get some classes under your belt, your prep time will diminish to almost nothing. I am going on 2 years with the company now and I just wake up, get dressed, run downstairs, and click "start class".

Q: How much control do you actually have over your schedule?

A: You set your own schedule. That's it. You open your availability on the portal, the parents book the classes. VIPkid does not guarantee bookings however they do their best to help the parents see your profile and make it easy for the parents to book with you. You open the time slots you want to teach. Once the parent books the class, you are obligated to teach it. You are allotted a certain number of cancellations per contract. You can exceed that allotted number for certain situations or emergencies.

How do I apply?

So if you are interested in working with VIPkid, I am happy to help you through the onboarding process. It is quite a bit different than a standard teaching job so it helps to have someone to guide you through it.

1. The first step is to fill out the application and input all of your basic info. Be sure to indicate your education level and that you have had at least one year of experience with children.

You can fill out the application HERE! CLICK THIS LINK TO GO DIRECTLY TO VIPKID!

2. Once you have done that, please send me a message letting me know that you applied so I can be available to answer your questions! VIPkid will tell me that I have an applicant but they don't give your contact information to anyone (privacy, respect!) so you will have to let me know who you are:)

I will be adding some follow up posts detailing more of the onboarding process with VIPkid but for now if you have any questions, please subscribe to my website and send me a message!

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