VIPKID: My First Three Months
A few months ago, I shared my experience with VIPKID’s hiring process. I promised to give you guys an update after I started teaching. It has been three remarkable months teaching with VIPKID. At first, like many teachers starting with VIPKID, I was a little worried about getting booked by students. In most of the VIPKID forums, there were numerous teachers complaining about bookings, so I was nervous. In my first month, I taught only eighteen classes. Before each class, I was so nervous it felt as if the butterflies would carry me away from my computer. Each class offered a new experience and helped me better prepare for other classes.
“I ended up teaching 156 classes for the month of September.”
During August, I took as many workshops that VIPKID offers to their independent contractors to help them become better teachers. I changed my profile picture and rewrote my profile information. I was doing anything I could to help boost my bookings for the next month. I certified for as many certifications as I could, hoping to boost my bookings as well. I even took the TESOL test through Open Academy. Now I have my TESOL certificate allowing me to teach ESL anywhere. I joined a few VIPKID Facebook groups and started making some connections with other teachers and mentors.
When September arrived, I had a goal of 25 classes. I joined the Green team in VIPKID’s first Paintbucket Challenge. Teachers were offered a cash incentive if their team had the most peak times opened. Team green was a smaller team, but green is the color for mental health, and the team leader was a mental health TED speaker. So I knew I had picked the right team. We had fun learning about fellow team members through video introductions and different challenges. And remember my goal of 25 classes? Well, within a few days of September beginning, I had hit that goal. So I changed it to 45 classes. To make a long story short, I ended up teaching 156 classes for September. I opened every time slot I could and set them to short notice.
“I never thought I would be a teacher making a difference in a student’s life, especially not a student across the globe.”
I finally noticed that I was teaching many of the same students. My regulars were starting to appear. I taught Monday through Sunday. 5:30-9:30 AM and 8:30 PM-12 AM. Fridays and Saturdays are my busiest days. I was teaching 6-7 classes, both mornings and nights. I even started to receive feedback from parents. In the VIPKID world, teacher feedback equals “Five Apple Feedback.” There are three different scores a parent can give a VIPKID teacher: Excellent, Good, and Unsatisfactory. Parents can even leave messages in their feedback. I have received such good feedback that it has brought tears to my eyes. I never thought I would be a teacher making a difference in a student’s life, especially not a student across the globe.
I taught a few trial classes. Those are students who are thinking about signing up with VIPKID. If you convert a trial, you earn an extra incentive. I was so excited when I converted one of my older trial students. She still books all her classes with me. It has been such a wonderful experience watching her learn more English and seeing her progress. I see her every weekend, and I always look forward to our classes together. We just hit it off in that very first class. The extra money for converting a trial was nice, but gaining a regular student is priceless. 🙂
My classes were so much fun, and I enjoyed teaching every student who booked me. I had some that when they started with me, they would not even repeat words after me, but after a few classes, they are reading on their own. I also have a four-year-old that is able to speak and read English better than some native speakers. When he told me he loved me, tears welled in my eyes. I love that little fellow also.
Many of these students lead busy lives that are centered around school and sometimes military training. So I try to make classes as comfortable and fun as possible. I am the goofball, but I do correct my students when needed. I have been so lucky to find VIPKID! To let you in on a secret, I made a little over $1,000 for September. I was over the moon! I get to do something I love and make good money. I was ready for October to begin! Plus Halloween! I was so excited to be able to share my favorite holiday with my students.
“I am very close to hitting 500 classes taught since I started in August! “
I set my goal for October at 300 classes. I certified in several supplementary courses as they opened up to me. I got a new background for my classroom. I did have a map of the United States up. Now I have a Harry Potter background for all my Potterhead students. I was asked to be an admin and help with a few VIPKID Facebook groups. I was especially excited that we were keeping the Team Green Facebook group and that I was asked to be one of the admins of such a positive and fun group of diverse teachers.
October was a great month! I was a few classes away from hitting my goal of 300 classes taught. I also ended up receiving a Teacher No Show, because one day I could not enter my class. I contacted the Firemen, that’s tech support. They did everything they could until they found out the problem was on my end. I had to call my internet provider, and sure enough, there was a widespread outage affecting my area. I felt so frustrated and upset. I missed a class with a regular student. I was so scared his mom would cancel all scheduled classes with me and find another teacher. However, in our next class, I was able to apologize for missing out on class. The mom was quite understanding. Funny thing is the very next class with this same student, they were having internet problems, and the class ended with a finish type of Student IT. I learned right then that things happen on both sides, teachers, and parents.
During Halloween week, many students showed up dressed in costumes, or we used the ar stickers available to have some Halloween fun. We had a blast! VIPKID even held a costume contest.
“I have really enjoyed my journey with VIPKID. They have opened a door that I never thought possible. And I am grateful for each and every one of my students, and for the wonderfully supportive VIPKID teachers.”
There were many changes at the beginning of November. First, by law, students in China are not allowed to take classes past a certain time. Second, time was falling back in most places in the US. So I had to decide whether I wanted to start teaching earlier to make up for the classes I would not be teaching later in the morning. I decided to start classes at 4:30 AM, but I also closed most of my late-night spots so I could get some sleep. So when time change happened, I felt great! I was already seeing my husband off to work at 4:30, so why not start teaching. Plus, now my classes are over by 8 AM eastern time. I can now go back to bed instead of taking a mid-afternoon nap. I have already taught over 50 classes this month. So hopefully, I will hit my goal of 300 classes. I am very close to hitting 500 classes taught since I started in August! I am really excited about that. I also have 112 five apple feedback.
Many of you might be wondering how I prepare for classes. I always go over my classes the night before and have my props ready to go. I use a feedback template to help me write feedback quicker. When I first started, it was taking me over an hour to do feedback for seven classes. With the templates, I am able to get feedback submitted a lot sooner. I’ve found out that my teaching style is more laid back, and I like to provide a lot of visuals. So I have a lot of different props such as flashcards, toys, whiteboards, and real items. I finally converted to a standing teaching position. I can sit down if I need to, but I am no longer teaching from the floor which has saved me much back pain.
I have really enjoyed my journey with VIPKID. They opened a door that I never thought possible. And I am grateful for each and every one of my students, and for the wonderfully supportive VIPKID teachers.
If you are a native English speaker, have a degree, and enjoy teaching, coaching, or mentoring children then VIPKID might be the place for you. If you would like more information, I am happy to help. If you are in the hiring process and need some help or just someone cheering you on, please feel free to use my referral code. I am happy to assist in any way.