As some may know, I am a full-time student and so, flexible part-time jobs to keep me afloat are my jam. Currently, I teach English as a second language to children in China with VIPKid.
I know a lot of you are often curious or maybe even skeptical about online jobs, but let me assure you that it’s 100% legit, and you can do it too! I teach children English using a digital classroom and video chat (as close as you can get face-to-face virtually), and I’m paid. 🙂
Since I’ve seen a lot of questions circulate and I’ve gotten messages about this, I thought I would create one blog post that addresses all the frequently asked questions!
What is VIPKid exactly?
Founded in 2013, VIPKID is a company aiming to provide the North American elementary school experience to children in China between the ages of five to twelve years old, all from the comfort of their homes. Headquartered in Beijing, the company offers fully immersive one-on-one English language instruction provided online by highly qualified teachers (you don’t need a formal teaching background, but experience with teaching or working with youth is a requirement). VIPKid uses a flipped-classroom approach to foster creativity and critical thinking skills. To date, VIPKID has over half a million registered students meaning, they need teachers.
You can apply to VIPKid here, and let me know so I can refer and help you get hired!
I provide support to anyone registered for VIPKid under my referral link.
How do I know VIPKid is legit and good?
- The curriculum is aligned to U.S. Common Core State Standards.
- VIPKid has a 4-star rating on Glassdoor and on Indeed. While it’s true that there are negative reviews, the majority of the reviews are quite positive!
- There are tons of Facebook groups for community support out there, meaning no teacher (once hired) is ever alone in figuring things out.
- VIPKid was rated #1 on Forbe’s Flex Jobs.
- Kobe Bryant endorses VIPKid. 😉
What is the nature of classes I can expect?
Classes are virtual in flipped-classroom webcam settings within the official VIPKid portal (no Skype). On the portal, you can upload the class powerpoint.
The child will show up and you must click the “start class” and “end class” button for the timer. I recommend showing up in the class 5 minutes early to make sure your tech works.
Classes are 1:1 and you have 25 minutes to teach the lesson. You may not go longer than 28 minutes or you risk being penalized for running overtime. You must give feedback at the end of the lesson and tips for the next teacher, or else you will not be paid.
Do I need to plan my own lessons?
No, all curriculum is provided. Lesson prep takes 10-30 minutes, in which you will need to read over the slides for the class and gather appropriate materials accordingly.
How many classes a week do I need to teach?
With VIPKid, there is no minimum so you can teach 7x a week…or none.
I do recommend new teachers to try to teach as many classes as possible when getting started as it can take time to build up “parental trust” and get “regulars” (students whose parents like you and want you to continually teach them, and yes parents have access to the replay of the lesson after class or sometimes they’re sitting with their kid, too).
What are the steps to getting hired?
- Pass initial screening (application)
- If passed the initial screening, you will move onto an interview/demo stage in which you must meet a VIPKid representative over webcam, introduce yourself, and do a demo lesson. You will be given the materials ahead of time to prepare for this lesson.
- Once you finish that, you will hear back if you passed or not, if you did not pass, they will let you try again until you pass but you will need to book another demo class.
- Once you are accepted/hired, you must pick a level and get certified!
- Documentation (proof of Bachelor’s, background check, tax info).
What do I need to pass the initial screening?
You must pass the initial screening to get to the interview stage. You will need:
- Bachelor’s Degree (with proof of diploma)
- Minimum 2+ years working with youth: Children’s ministry, Sunday school, sports coaching, summer camp, tutoring, mentoring, babysitting… They all count
- Clear background check – VIPKid will conduct it, you give permission
What should my “classroom set-up” be like for VIPkid?
You should have a well-functioning laptop/computer with a stable internet connection, webcam/mic (built-in or external), and props such as a whiteboard and puppets. Ideally, you have a clean background (teaching against a wall or having a backdrop helps) and natural lighting, nothing casting shadows.
Try to make a sign that says “Teacher (your name)” so the kid can see it.
- During your interview + demo lesson, once you’re accepted, the VIPKid representatives will give you an assigned base pay per class according to your experience. Your per class pay can range from $7-9 USD. With my credentials, I’m paid $8 USD/class.
- All payments by VIPKid are in USD and will be sent to your bank via direct deposit payroll no later than the 15th of every month. The release of funds depends on your bank, I’d recommend calling your bank or creating a support ticket if issues arise.
- If you teach classes back-to-back, you can potentially make $18 USD/hour, plus the potential for $1-2 bonuses incurred by the end of the month for your time teaching.
Details of Pay Incentives
- On top of your rate per class ($7-9 USD), you get a $1 bonus per class for showing up on time and completing the lesson. It may not sound like much, but this $1 bonus is PER class… So, if you teach a lot of classes… Cha-ching, am I right? $$
- If you do 45 classes a month or more, you receive an additional $1 USD bonus.
You are responsible for deducting taxes as you are an independent contractor for VIPKid as opposed to an employee of the company.
Speak with an accountant if needed 🙂
How do bookings work?
You open up your availability to teach on the calendar on the portal and parents book you for their kid. If you are taking a long vacation, you should indicate it on your profile that you are taking a significant amount of time away so that parents can see that you’ll be away.
Can I get time off?
The good thing about VIPKid is that there are no minimum or maximum hours per week, meaning, you can work whenever you want. If you need a few days (for a short work trip, mental health break, or because you have exams at school), don’t open those slots.
Try not to cancel any classes with 24 hours. Aka if you know you have class early morning, go to bed early, and do what you need to have the energy to teach. Unless you’re incredibly sick, power through. They have a strict cancellation policy, as parents aren’t too happy with it as they pay for the class.
Which levels are best?
I recommend certifying with Levels 2-3 and Trial as they are most in demand.
You will likely start out with mock classes with students who are new to VIPKid, which are great because you can get a $5 bonus if students (who are not yet with VIPKid) sign up.
I personally love Levels 3-4 because the children can hold conversations in English!!! 👌🏻
Is VIPKid for me?
VIPKid is for you if you like flexibility, tutoring or teaching English as second language, and remote work opportunities. It’s totally doable with school or a fulltime job for those who have 9-5s and it’s also great for those who stay and work from home already (issa true goal).
Peak times for teaching
- 5-8am weekdays
- 7:30-10pm weeknights
- 7-11pm on weekends
All times mentioned are in EST (Eastern Time) to BJT (Beijing Time).
I recommend VIPKid for…
- Those who like to travel
- Stay at home moms or dads
- Master’s/Ph.D. level students (since you need your BA first)
- People who are between jobs — who knows? If you work enough with VIPKid or other online teaching companies like QKids, it could become your full-time gig!
- Anyone who wants a remote job that doesn’t require commuting
Pros of VIPKid
- Flexibility in hours
- The kids are caaayute
- Good pay and support
- They pay you in USD (happy conversion $$)
- You can do it from home in your PJs (you can even teach in a hotel/dorm room or someone else’s house as long as you have everything that you need). #bestjobever
Cons of VIPKid
- Early mornings or late nights
- You should generally stay healthy
- They crack down on cancellations. (People have said when cancelling due to sickness, VIPKid’s not happy because it shows unreliability when it shows up on your teacher profile to parents, but this is by individual case basis. Like, if you’re seriously ill, cancellations can be appealed.)
Want VIPKid Support?
Note: The recommended groups are for people who are current teachers who can offer you support or answer questions.
Make sure you apply first, and then head back to this post to join them.
Here are the ones I recommend:
Want to give VIPKid a shot? Apply now!
If you have any further questions, comment on the blog post and I’ll answer it to the best of my ability. Thanks for reading and share this post with anyone who might be interested!
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