In another post, I discussed some reasons teaching English online was an excellent opportunity for someone that wants to make an income from home. In this post, I want to discuss teaching English online with VIPKid. Many different companies and ways to teach English online are in existence at this time, however I will focus on VIPKid in this post.
VIPKid is an online ESL company that is based in Beijing, China. It was launched in 2014 by its founder and CEO Cindy Mi. It connects North American teachers with students in China between the ages of 4 to 13. VIPKid provides the curriculum, which is based on common core United States English standards, through an online platform application like Skype with a power point type of presentation that the students learn from. VIPKid utilizes a flipped classroom approach with the use of videos and other materials that engage students before they show up in class. The teachers teach students on a one-to-one basis. VIPKid recruits the students and parents and the teachers simply teach the lessons. Currently VIPKid serves over 600,000 Chinese students and the company is growing.
Working for VIPKid, What is it like?
The interview process for VIPKid is rigorous and can take several weeks but once you are hired and start to get bookings, the teaching is simple and easy compared to a traditional school. After being hired, as an independent contractor, you create an introduction video, profile pictures, and a list of your credentials that can be viewed by parents. You set up your schedule and work towards getting “bookings” In the very beginning, getting a booking can be difficult and it takes some patience to get through this process but once you are established there are plenty of students to populate your schedule and generate a reliable paycheck. VIPKid provides a wealth of training and professional development to help prepare you for long term success with the company. In additional, many VIPKid teachers have created Facebook groups and YouTube channels to provide answers to almost any question or concern you might have. The ready-made curriculum and support from both the company and fellow teachers is what sets this ESL company apart from many of the others and is one of the reasons it is one of the largest ESL companies in the world.
I have been telling my friends and family this is an online dream job and here are some reasons why.
- First, I can set my own schedule. This is huge because it allows me to generate an income without sacrificing time with my family or other obligations.
- Second, there is very little prep time. VIPKid provides the curriculum. I just have to make sure I know what’s in the lesson and what teaching resources I need. This took me a little longer in the beginning but now I have my routine in place, so I get paid for the hours I work, and I only work the hours I get paid.
- Third, I can work as much or as little as I want. Again, this allows for a schedule that makes it easy to honor my commitments to my family.
- Fourth, VIPKid offers additional incentives for making more money than the base rate, so there plenty of opportunities to make that paycheck as big as I want it.
- Fifth, the students are awesome, and I rarely have behavior problems.
Finally, I set a goal of making an additional $500 a month when I started, I have exceeded this goal and I am only working about 10 hours a week. For me, it is the exact opportunity I needed and was looking for.
Of course, no job or company is perfect. So, I do feel obligated to tell you about some difficulties that come with this position.
- First, if a student books a class with you it is very difficult to have it changed regardless of the reason. You are only allowed six cancellations per contract (6 months) Cancellations can be excused but can hurt availability which affects bookings.
- Second, I don’t have the level of behavior problems I have had with traditional school teaching, but behavior problems do happen from time to time. Some students are really young so keeping their attention for 25 minutes is a real challenge.
- Third, sometimes you have to teach trial classes which can be difficult because you don’t have all the information available to you which affects your preparedness and approach.
- Fourth, no shows happen, and you have to wait the entire class time before you can exit the class (sometimes students show up with five minutes left in the class). However, you still get paid so that isn’t all bad.
- Fifth, the lessons are prepared for you but sometimes the directions are vague, and you have to improvise to make the lesson work for the student.
Finally, your bookings are based on the feedback from the parents (you want 5 apples out of 5 every time) and sometimes you get a bad review (4 apples or less) through no fault of your own. VIPKid has a review process to remove unfair bad reviews but parents can still see the rating.
Oh, one more thing, if you live in the United States, China is at least 12-16 hours ahead of the US, depending on your time zone, so your usual work hours are early in the morning (I usually teach from 4 to 8 am).
A Job that will Fit Your Lifestyle
Teaching with VIPKid has been ideal for me because it fits into my lifestyle. When I started looking for additional ways to make extra money, traditional part-time jobs were not going to work for me and my family. VIPKid fills a real need in my life. It allows me to make income while fitting a schedule around the things that are important to me. Furthermore, VIPKid provides a platform that doesn’t demand much of the time that I have outside of actual teaching. As I have networked and talked with other VIPKid teachers, this is the main advantage of taking this job. I know of teachers that are unable to commute, have family obligations that require them to stay home, and travel, so this opportunity affords them the ability to generate a pay check without sacrificing their needs, desires, or obligations.
Here are some stories from other VIPKid Teachers about their experiences with VIPKid
As you can see from this post, I highly recommend everyone that is looking for a sustainable income to consider teaching with VIPKid.
Interested in Working for VIPKid
Click on the VIPKid Application Link
Already applied but you haven’t completed the certification process?
You can add my referral code: 1. Go to the VIPKid website 2. click on “My account” 3. add Referral Code: MARVI0003