Working for VIPkid
As soon as I found out I was pregnant I knew I was going to need to find some sort of supplemental income to help the family. Since I was homeschooling that meant I needed to find a job that I could work from home. Since my master’s degree was in education and I always enjoyed teaching in some capacity or working in the field of education I knew that was probably the direction I wanted to go. After closing up shop with LuLaRoe I began doing some research on jobs that were flexible but provided an hourly income. That’s when I came across VIP kid. I have been working for VIPkid since the first of January 2018. I applied back in September 2017 but then 24/7 morning sickness hit and I just wasn’t able to complete the process. Once I was past those many weeks of morning sickness I completed the hiring process and I am so glad I did. I am now into my second contract with VIPkid, fully booked, and loving my adorable students.
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VIPkid is an online ESL company with headquarters in Beijing, China. They began paving the way for online language learning in 2013 and they have grown exponentially over the few years. VIPkid’s mission is to inspire and empower every child for the future. They offer the American elementary school experience to Chinese children from the comfort of their homes. VIPkid was ranked Forbes #1 work from home job in 2018. Additionally, VIPkid is planning to expand into 100 countries over the next few years and they’ve announced 4 new product lines set to launch in the near future.
VIPkid hires native English-speaking teachers to teach English to students in China (read more here about their expansion plans). Classes are one-on-one and conducted online through VIPKID’s teacher portal or app. Students range in age from 5-12 though occasionally, you will have students who fall out of those ranges; trial classes have been known to have a 2 or 3-year-old or upper-level classes might have a student who is 13 or 14.
There has never been a better time to teach with VIPkid!
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What are the hours?
You set your own schedule and the parents book the teachers. The company suggests you open up 15-time slots (7.5 hours) each week as this will provide more opportunities for parents to book your class. Previously, this was a requirement but the company no longer has a minimum hour requirement. You are able to work as much or as little as your schedule allows. You open your schedule every Sunday for the week following the upcoming week.
As the kids enrolled with VIPkid are school-age, classes take place in their evenings and weekends. VIPkid peak hours are the times when they have a demand for class. VIPkid’s peak hours are 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm Beijing time every day as well as 9:00 am – 10:00 pm (all day) Saturday and Sunday.
Beijing time is 13 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (EST) and 12 hours ahead during Daylight Savings Time (EDT). China does not observe Daylight Savings Time. When Daylight Savings Time ends in North America, your classes will start an hour earlier (unless you live in Hawaii or Arizona).
Below is what the VIPkid hours look like in different time zones:
VIPkid hours in:
EST 5:00 am – 9:00 am; EDT 6:00 am – 10:00 am
CST 4:00 am – 8:00 am; CDT 5:00 am – 9:00 am
MST 3:00 am – 7:00 am; MDT 4:00 am – 8:00 am
PST 2:00 am – 6:00 am; PDT 3:00 am – 7:00 am
During the summer (July and August) additional hours are available as students are not in school. You will be able to book more weekday evenings (their morning) and additional weekend hours. Many US-based teachers increase their class openings during those times, teaching through the night to maximize their earnings.
Here is a look at my personal schedule. Monday- Friday, I start at 6 AM and I finish teaching at 8:30 AM. This allows my husband to get to work on time and I take over baby duty. On Saturdays I tend to work from 6:30 to 9:30 or thereabouts. I set a goal to teach between 25-30 classes a week or roughly 130 a month. Sometimes this fluctuates due to personal commitments.
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Do I need to know Chinese?
No, actually VIP kid is a fully immersive English program. That means the entire time you will be speaking English to the student. When you provide or receive feedback, your feedback is translated for you.
VIPkid Teacher Requirements
- Eligibility to work in the U.S. or Canada
- Bachelor’s Degree (any degree field)
- Minimum of one-year experience teaching or working with children (daycare/babysitting, camp counselor, homeschool parent, community program leader)
- High-speed Internet
- A TEFL or TESOL is helpful but not required (VIPkid now offers a 30 hours TESOL certification in partnership with the TESOL International Association)
How much can I make?
The pay is $7-9 USD per class with the potential to earn a $2 bonus per class for short notice classes (booked within 24 hrs). That makes the earning potential $9-11 per class or $18-22 per hour. Your base pay is calculated based on your previous experience plus your interview and demo.
Classes are 25 minutes each, scheduled in 30-minute time slots to allow you time to submit class feedback to parents. The extra 5 minutes gives you time to do this while the class is still fresh in your mind. Personally, I take quick notes after class so I don’t forget and run to grab more coffee. I use Feedback Panda for class feedback to save time. Once hired you can save $5 a month on your subscription of Feedback Panda by using my link.
Contracts with VIPkid are 6-months in length. So, working for VIPKID doesn’t have to be a long-term commitment if that is not what you are looking for. You also have the flexibility of closing your schedule if you are unable to work for whatever reason (vacation, full-time job, maternity leave). This worked especially well for me when I had lil man in April and needed to close my schedule for several weeks for a “maternity leave”.
You have the ability to earn a $.50 raise after two contracts if you successfully complete the raise criteria. The raise criteria include teaching a certain number of classes in the 12-month period, getting a certain percentage of high ratings from parents, and the number of cancellations you have.
When and how am I paid?
The company deposits your salary directly to your bank account by the 15th of each month. Teachers whose bank has an ACH number (necessary for direct deposit transfers) have been given the option to receive bi-monthly payments.
Something to keep in mind is you are an independent contractor when working for VIPkid. This means you are self-employed and they will not take out federal (or state) taxes. This will be something you will need to set aside and pay quarterly. I highly recommend speaking to a CPA about your personal tax situation as the amount you will set aside is unique to the individual.
What do I need to teach?
- Desktop, Laptop, MAC, Surface.
Personally, I have an older MacBook Pro that I teach from. If you prefer PC to Apple check out the Lenovo Yoga 2-in-1 laptop. It’s not only portable and easy to take on the go but the touchscreen makes writing on the slides so much easier.
- HD External camera or HD integrated camera (most laptops have built-in).
If your laptop doesn’t have a built-in webcam or you are wanting a better one I use the Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920.
- A headset with a microphone, stable output, and input.
I started with the Logitech – H390 USB Headset but quickly upgraded to the Logitech H800 Bluetooth Wireless Headset for two reasons- they were softer on my ears and I love the Bluetooth option with no wires while I am teaching. Whatever headset you choose I cannot recommend enough that you get one with a mute button and noise- canceling feature.
A few suggestions for your interview:
Don’t feel the need to invest in a fancy headset or camera before you are hired. Use what you have. I used my internal webcam and my iPhone earbuds. Though certainly not required, I did get a cheap orange t-shirt from Amazon since wearing the company’s official color always looks good. I also bought a few props. A whiteboard set, EXPO dry erase markers, and some zoo animal stickers to use as a reward system. Anything else I needed I borrowed from my kids’ collection of stuffed animals, flashcards, and toys.
Let me mentor you!
I’ve been teaching for VIPkid since January 1, 2018. I’m very familiar with the teaching style and I know what they look for in the mock classes. If you apply through my link or use my referral code, I am more than happy to assist you through the process! Your chances of success are much higher if you practice with a seasoned vet and get useful feedback before heading into your mock class. Once you apply, send an email to rebeccavipk @ gmail.com.