***This blog post was updated on 8/23/18***
Being able to stay home with my kids and still earn a paycheck is amazing! Children are tremendous blessing! In reality, along with the blessing, comes the extra expenses! For the working mom, the cost of daycare is often outrageous! That leaves families with barely any money left in their pocket. For the homeschool/stay at home mom, it becomes difficult to even think about getting a job when there are so many in home responsibilities including the constant decluttering!
As the kiddos grow, they eat more. If you're trying to be somewhat healthy, your food budget is pretty high to begin with! As a family, we've been eating a paleo diet. This means LOTS of produce and a higher grocery bill. Without a doubt, healthy food is more expensive than processed and...unfortunately, most of the coupons out there aren't for healthier items either! Then, there are extracurricular activities, growth spurts resulting in new clothes to buy, home appliances that break, car and home repairs...you get the idea. It's never-ending!
I've been so blessed to find my job with VIPKID. There aren't many jobs out there that you can do
on your own schedule,
in your pajama pants,
that is this EASY and FUN!
Is VIPKID worth it?
In my opinion, the answer is a resounding YES! VIPKID is one of the best "mom jobs" out there! Forbes actually voted VIPKID as #1 in the top 100 work from home companies in 2018 so I'm not alone in my opinion. I'm quite impressed with the way the company listens to and values their teachers.
What exactly is VIPKID?
VIPKID is a completely remote work from home company. Teachers work one on one and teach English to students living in China who’s ages range from 3 1/2 to 13 years old. Some students are beginners with very limited to no English whereas others speak quite well. There is a company created portal, similar to Skype, that allows you to show teaching slides and teach via a video chat with one student at a time going through a pre-set curriculum. There is no lesson planning! It’s a pretty neat set up!
VIPKID is a private company founded in 2013 by Cindy Mi. VIPKID has investors from both the United States and Beijing, China. Their headquarters and most of their students are from China. They are growing very rapidly and are beginning to expand worldwide which is great news for current and prospective teachers! There are currently 40,000 teachers. Teachers make their own schedule and work as little or as much as they want. Did I mention that there is no lesson planning!? The former teacher in me LOVES saying that! ;-)
What are the qualifications to to be a VIPKID Teacher?
The qualifications to become a VIPKID teacher are the following:
- You must have a minimum of a bachelor's degree in ANY FIELD. Unfortunately, associates degrees are not accepted. The company is very strict with their bachelor's requirement. This is still the case even if you have years of experience as a teacher.
- You must be eligible to work in the US or Canada.
- You must have the equivalent of one school year of teaching experience. This "teaching experience" does not necessarily mean that you have to be a full time teacher in a classroom. If you have experience working with children in the education field either mentoring, tutoring, coaching or assistant teaching, this will count as well.
- If you are not a native English speaker and have an accent, that's okay! As long as your accent doesn't interfere with your ability to speak grammatically correct English, you are good to go!
- You have to be able to speak and write in grammatically correct English. Absolutely no knowledge of Chinese is required. The classes are considered full immersion language classes. Research shows that students pick up and understand language very quickly when they are fully immersed in it.
- You must have a device to teach from, (It could be a Desktop, Laptop, MAC or Surface) an HD External camera or HD integrated camera, (which most laptops have) and a headset with a microphone and stable output and input.
What is my responsibility as a VIPKID Teacher?
As a VIPKID teacher you are expected to:
- Be on time for your classes.
- Teach, without distractions, for the full 25 minute class time.
- Fill out a short teacher feedback for each class you teach within twelve hours of the class time. (I write my feedback between classes so that once I’ve signed off for the day, my work is truly done! Your feedback is important but it should not take you more than a few minutes to fill out.)
- Make classes fun and exciting with extra props. If you're a mom, you'll most likely already have much of what you need in your children’s toy bin! If not, you can print out pictures, glue them on popsicle sticks and BAM! You have an instant prop! Think of these classes as being a children's television show with you as the star! Use your props to make learning the vocabulary more fun and engaging for the students.
- Act professionally and smile as much as you can throughout the class. Yes, some will say that the VIPKID training videos are so over the top cheesy that they can't see themselves acting that way. Despite what it looks like, your success as a VIPKID teacher is not on how silly you can be. It's really all about being patient with the students, correcting mistakes in a positive way so that they do not feel ashamed and smiling throughout the class along with a little extra energy so that class doesn't become boring.
- Be responsible...If you commit to teaching a class, teach it! You are allowed up to 6 cancellations per contract. If you have a medical emergency and a doctor's note, you can submit a ticket to the company explaining your situation and be granted what's called a "soft cancelation." These soft cancellations will not count towards your 6 total cancellations. Each contract lasts for 6 months.
What is the start-up cost to being a VIPKID Teacher?
There are very few things that you’ll need, making the initial startup cost of being a VIPKID teacher extremely small. Here is a list of what I recommend you invest in when going through the interview process:
- A puppet or some type of mascot - Preferably one with a moveable mouth to model back and forth conversation skills. This is a fun puppet with vibrant colors that's sure to be a hit! My absolute favorite mascot to use in addition to my moveable mouth puppet is my daughter's Woody doll from Toy Story. I like him because he has actual arms, legs, and clothing which is great for teaching vocabulary such as run, walk, body parts and clothing. It's also a good unisex prop that is well recognized by kids. Many kids relate to Disney and I've found that it's a great way to make a good connection with them right from the start.
- An educational background like an alphabet poster and/or a world map. This is the alphabet poster I have. You may be able to find educational posters at Target, Walmart or your local teacher store. Lakeshore Learning is one of my favorite teacher stores around! If you’re tight on space and can’t set up your virtual classroom against a wall, this portable webcam background can be attached to your desk chair and your images can be taped right to it! This makes your “classroom” completely portable!
- A solid orange shirt. It’s the company color and even though they don’t require it, it shows you’ve done your research and already look like an employee. ;-)
- A small, handheld dry erase board that you can write on quickly when trying to illustrate something during class. I also like to have a small table within my computer camera's view with another magnetic whiteboard propped up with a wire stand. This is where I write the child's name at the beginning of class. It's also good for keeping reward stickers in view at all times. You can use a wall behind you for sticking on some rewards as well.
- White board markers. I always buy these non-toxic Melissa and Doug markers because inevitably, my children end up going into my office and pretending to be a VIPKID teacher. I do not want them inhaling white board marker fumes.
- A reward system. I suggest you use one of your own to show some originality rather than the ones they provide. For my initial interview, I used banana stickers similar to these and had a stuffed monkey hanging over my children's white board easel that we use for homeschooling. I placed the banana stickers on it and pretended to feed them to the monkey every few slides. If you think creatively, anything can be a reward! You don't have to spend a lot of money.
- A headset with a microphone. THIS headset is similar to the one I have. The headset has noise cancellation and a mute button, both things that are essential when trying to teach with disruptive little ones potentially running around in the background during class.
- Good, white lighting, that doesn’t cast shadows. I have This light from Amazon that clips onto your computer. It’s extremely bright! I use our guest room as an office and the crystal chandelier that I hung up over the guest bed casts a lot of shadows around the room. This light literally fixes the problem with awkward lighting. It actually makes me look like I'm wearing makeup too! Double win!
- A device to teach from. It could be a Desktop, Laptop, MAC or Surface. There is even a VIPKID iPad app that teachers can use to teach classes from! It's currently only available for IOS devices. I asked my "IT guy" AKA my husband to recommend affordable laptop options. He recommended the ChromeBook. With this job, your two most important needs are a browser and a webcam. The ChromeBook would be your best and cheapest laptop.
- An HD External camera or HD integrated camera, (which most laptops have.)
- Alphabet flash cards. Your local dollar store should carry them.
How much money can I earn as a VIPKID teacher? $$$
The initial interview is the most important because it is the deciding factor as to what your base pay will be per class. You will be given a rubric in advance that your interviewer will be following in order to score you so that there are no surprises.
There are three different interview options that I've seen my applicants go through: Live, Recorded, and Fastpass coaching days (which are in person). It doesn't seem that any one of them is better than the others. I personally chose to do the live interview. It was no where near as stressful as being observed by the principal live in my actual classroom during my full time teacher days!
The company has also now implemented optional, pre-interview sessions via a zoom coaching call with applicants and a VIPKID mentor teacher. This is a great opportunity for you to prepare yourself for the interview and give you an idea of what to expect.
Here are the details as to how much you can be paid as a VIPKID teacher:
- For each 25 minute class, your base pay will be anywhere from $7 - $9. (That's $14 - $18 per hour.)
- You'll receive an extra $1 per every 25 minute class for showing up to class on time. This is pretty much a given bringing your income potential up to ($15 - $19 per hour.)
- You'll receive an extra $0.50 per class for teaching more than 30 (25 minute) classes per month.
- You'll receive an extra $1 per class for teaching more than 45 (25 minute) classes per month.
- There is also a $2 per (25 minute) class bonus for those who check off time slots with the short notice option. This means that you can be booked up to one hour of the start time of class. Once you are comfortable with the curriculum and have gathered your favorite props around your desk, there is not much prep time, if any, needed. All of the teacher directions are on the bottom of every slide. (When I was pregnant and my due date was approaching, I would only open teaching slots 24 hours in advance. I did this because I did not want to risk having to cancel a weeks worth of classes when baby decided to arrive. I also was able to take some days off when I needed them. Now that our baby girl number four is here, I’m continuing to open teaching slots 24 hours in advance for evening classes only. Once I stop nursing 4 to 5 times throughout the night, I’ll introduce some morning hours again. This is the type of flexibility that I love and the $2 bonus per class over time really adds up too!)
- You'll receive a $5 bonus for each student that enrolls in a series of VIPKID classes if you were the last teacher to teach their trial class. Each potential student has the chance to take 3 free trial classes before deciding if they should enroll or not.
- There are also special financial incentives during the holidays as well as a bonus for referring other teachers.
To sum up this information, here's a breakdown of a VIPKID teacher salary:
Base Salary - $8.50
Show up to class on time - $1
Teach 45 classes per month - $1
Teach short notice classes - $2
The total salary in this situation is $25 per hour!
Without short notice classes, the salary would be $21 an hour!
Remember that all of your income as a VIPKID teacher is being earned either BEFORE your kids wake up for the day or after they’ve gone to sleep! From a mom’s perspective, this is such a wonderful thing!
Why did I spend time writing this lengthy post about being a VIPKID teacher for you?
#1 It is the best job ever and I genuinely love telling other moms about it!
#2 VIPKID happens to be very generous and awards teachers with some extra referral money for recommending others to the company. This means that if you end up becoming a teacher and share about your job with others, you'll be rewarded as well! The company really values and appreciates their teachers.
Are you required to recruit teachers as a current VIPKID teacher? Absolutely not! It is completely optional.
It's actually not as easy as it sounds to recruit other teachers. There is a lot of work involved and you will only be paid a referral bonus if a prospective teacher, not only signs up through your special referral link, but gets hired and ACTUALLY TEACHES their first class. This ensures that you are given support every step of the way! There is no additional cost to you to have a current VIPKID teacher help you along in the process.
I have an online Facebook community for my referrals. In it, you'll find a community of current and prospective teachers that support one another! There are over 400 members in my "VIPKID Moms Applicant Coaching" Facebook Group. I have interview videos, a special mock class demonstration and additional tips inside. You are very welcome to request access.
Please note that in order to receive personalized tips and support, please apply via my referral link. I work hard for my referrals and put a lot of effort into helping them navigate the steps of the ever changing interview process from start to finish. (The company frequently makes changes to their hiring process.)
We can coordinate a Skype call so that I can give you personalized tips on your classroom setup or teaching style. I'm also available during those last minute, "my mock class is in 2 minutes and I'm freaking out moments!" ;-)
If you are interested in applying to work with VIPKID, I'd love to help you during your interview process. I am on my second contract with the company and was hired after my first mock class. I am a former NYC public school teacher and have experience working with ESL (English as a Second Language) students both in my full time classroom and outside of it as well. I was a teacher in a Chinese Saturday school and a Chinese summer school. I have 4 children and I’m currently homeschooling 2 of them while keeping a toddler and an infant happy at the same time. Just your typical mom life. ;-). And, of course, I also write and maintain this blog!
It's definitely less overwhelming with some support/tips from someone who has been through it all. So! What are you waiting for?! ;-)
If you've already started the interview process with VIPKID, have not yet signed a contract and would like some help, please let me know. You can still add me as your referring teacher by emailing the company at firstname.lastname@example.org and giving them my referral code. I'd be happy to give you a recommendation!
Referral Code: JACQU0092
Frequently Asked Questions
#1 This online teaching position with VIPKID sounds amazing but what's the catch?
I want to make sure that you have all the information you need, before applying, so that there are no surprises. There really is no "catch." The job is wonderful! I have heard that as of recent days, some teachers state that they get hired and have zero bookings for a while. I want to discuss this with you so that you will not be caught off guard with any surprises...The company recently implemented the Jump Start Program. This program has helped those teachers with "the booking problem." The Jump Start Program is an optional paid training with the end result being teaching a class to a CLT (Chinese Lead Teacher). Each VIPKID student is assigned a CLT. The CLT then recommends the teacher to their families which, in turn, helps the bookings roll in. Some of my referrals did the Jump Start Program with great success after going through a little booking dry spell. Others, that got hired, received bookings right away! This was the case with me. This is all the more reason to use a current VIPKID teacher as your referrer. With my referrals, I give them tips to ensure that their teaching profiles will be set up for success from the start.
I would not advise you to quit your full time teaching job the second you are hired just in case it takes you a little while to get consistent bookings. VIPKID has announced that they are expanding and this only means a lot more students enrolling in classes in the near future.
#2 How are VIPKID Teachers given classes to teach?
VIPKID teachers are chosen for each class by the parents. There is an online portal where parents can see each teacher's promo video, teaching experience, degrees and bio. They then book a teacher for their child's class who's availability matches their own. If they like the teacher and enjoy class, they can click "follow" and be notified when a teacher opens time slots. They also have the option of rating each teacher with apples after class is finished. This apple rating average will be shown on each VIPKID teacher's profile. The company is very fair about invalidating parent comments and apple ratings that are clearly incorrect. They really work with their teachers, not against them!
#3 How is this job with VIPKID different from an in person classroom teaching position?
You are essentially your own boss...
- You advertise your classes with a great teaching profile.
- You open teaching slots and have total say when you are available.
- You "wow" parents and students with a great class.
- You get amazing 5 apple ratings which, in turn, keep the bookings coming.
#4 How am I paid as a VIPKID Teacher?
You are paid via direct deposit. Taxes are not taken out of each paycheck. You will be given a 1099 at the end of the year and you will have to pay taxes on your earnings. You are essentially an independent contractor. I suggest that you speak with your accountant about this in more detail and see how this relates to your financial situation.
#5 What does PT and PPT mean?
PT means Peak Time and PPT means Peak Peak Time. Your open teaching slots have a much higher chance of being booked when you open PPT and PT slots, respectively. Being available during China's popular booking hours helps a ton with your chances of being booked. The peak booking hours will change slightly during daylight savings time. You can see popular USA Peak Teaching Times below...
USA Peak Teaching Times (Daylight Saving Time)
Mon-Fri 6am ~ 10am
Fri 9pm ~ Sat 10am
Sat 9pm ~ Sun 10am
Mon-Fri 5am ~ 9am
Fri 8pm ~ Sat 9am
Sat 8pm ~ Sun 9am
Mon-Fri 4am ~ 8am
Fri 7pm ~ Sat 8am
Sat 7pm ~ Sun 8am
Mon-Fri 3am ~ 7am
Fri 6pm ~ Sat 7am
Sat 6pm ~ Sun 7am
Mon-Fri 1am ~ 5am
Fri 4pm ~ Sat 5am
Sat 4pm ~ Sun 5am
US Peak Teaching Times
Mon-Fri 5am ~ 9am
Fri 8pm~Sat 9am
Sat 8pm~Sun 9am
Mon-Fri 4am ~ 8am
Fri 7pm~Sat 8am
Sat 7pm~Sun 8am
Mon-Fri 3am ~ 7am
Fri 6pm~Sat 7am
Sat 6pm~Sun 7am
Mon-Fri 2am ~ 6am
Fri 5pm~Sat 6am
Sat 5pm~Sun 6am
Mon-Fri 12am ~ 4am
Fri 3pm~Sat 4am
Sat 3pm~Sun 4am
VIPKID is the perfect job to earn some additional income for your children's extracurricular activities, vacations, paying off a loan or credit cards, home renovations...It's been a blessing to my family! I've found that VIPKID has been a great, consistent, way to earn some extra cash while not sacrificing the time that I desperately need as a busy mom to take care of my family.
What do you think about VIPKID? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Ready to apply to be a VIPKID teacher?
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