How to Work from Home Teaching English as a VIPKID Teacher
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Online learning has been gaining popularity in the last several years. Not only can you take advantage as a student, but there are growing opportunities to teach online and earn a nice income from home.
One such company providing teaching opportunities is VIPKID. This company, based in Beijing, China, hires teachers from the United States and Canada to teach English to Chinese children online.
The company currently boasts over 30,000 teachers and more than 200,000 students.
In order to find out more about working for VIPKID, I interviewed Kerrie, a VIPKID teacher who also shares music activities that families can do with their young children on her blog LearningByStep.com.
Thank you Kerrie, for telling us what it’s like to be a VIPKID teacher and sharing your valuable tips with us!
How did you find out about VIPKID?
I found out about VIPKID through a friend on Facebook. We were in the same music education program at college. I had seen ads online before that but didn’t think anything of it until I saw my friend posting about her new job.
What are the requirements to apply to become a teacher?
There are a few requirements to become a teacher:
- You need to have a 4-year (Bachelor’s) degree.
- You need to be eligible to work in the US or Canada (though you teach from other countries).
- You need at least 1 year of teaching experience. (This can include tutoring, coaching, private music lessons, teaching Sunday School, etc.) It needs to equal at least 500 hours.
What was the application and interview process like?
The application process was a little overwhelming when I applied, but there have been a few changes. The basic process looks like this:
Application > Interview > Teaching Prep > Mock Class > Contract Info
After applying and passing the basic info section, you’ll move on to the interview portion.
You can schedule a live interview with a person in China, or you can choose to record a demo for your interview and submit it on your own time.
If you pass the interview, you will be sent teaching prep material to review, then pass a quiz before moving on to the mock class stage.
The mock class is an hour-long session you schedule with a VIPKID mentor teacher. You are sent a PowerPoint of a lesson to prepare to teach.
During the mock class, the mentor teacher will pretend to be a child. You will teach 15 minutes of a lower level lesson. They will then stop you and give you feedback. Then, you’ll teach 10 minutes of an upper level lesson. They will stop you at the ten-minute mark and give you more feedback.
After the first mock class, you could be hired right away, or be asked to do a second mock class. If you do a second mock class, your score will determine whether or not you are hired.
Do you have any tips for being accepted?
My main tip is to prepare.
You want to be familiar with the slides of the lesson. Look over the lesson objectives and prior knowledge of the student, if they are given in the PowerPoint you receive.
- When you are teaching, be sure to use TPR (total physical response). This includes things like cupping your hand to your ear to indicate to the student it is their turn to talk.
- Be sure to use synthetic phonics.
- Limit any incidental language (don’t add unnecessary teacher talk).
- Be positive! Remember to smile and let your personality shine through.
What equipment or materials do you need to teach?
You need a good internet connection, a computer, and headphones for the application process. Some teachers use their iPad to teach, but you’ll need to use a computer for the application process. I would suggest wearing orange during your interview and mock classes, as it is the company color, but it is not a requirement.
You do need some props, but you don’t need to invest in anything expensive for the interview and application process. They want to see a combination of 3D and 2D props. I would suggest a white board (I got mine at the dollar store), markers, and a few flashcards to go with the lesson. You can also look around your house to see if you might have a prop (like a stuffed animal that fits with the lesson).
Once you’re hired, you can choose to invest more money into props if you’d like, but that’s up to you. My main prop is my white board. I also print off props occasionally to use, and I do borrow my children’s toys while I’m teaching.
I’ve heard you can set your own schedule, but considering the students are in China, are you limited by the hours you can select?
My favorite part of the job is the flexibility.
There is no longer a set number of hours required to work each week. You do set your own schedule, but the available hours will depend on where you live. I am in Mountain Time, so the peak time hours (the busiest) for me are currently 5am to 7am, but the available times begin at 7pm.
Typically, the available hours start in the late evening, and go until the early morning hours.
What is the contract term for working for VIPKID?
You are offered a 6-month contract.
Side note from Cameron – according to VIPKID FAQ, this contract can be renewed.
How many students do you teach?
You teach one student at a time. The classes are 25 minutes long.
Does VIPKID provide the curriculum?
Yes, the curriculum is provided for you.
How much can you earn as a teacher?
With base pay and possible incentives included, they say the pay range is $14-$22 per hour.
You are offered a base pay per 25 minute class during the interview stage, which is between $7 and $9. You’ll receive $1 incentive in addition to that for participation (i.e. being on time), then an additional $1 per class if you teach at least 45 classes that month.
So hypothetically, if you receive an $8 base pay per class, then you receive the $1 participation incentive per class, and you also teach over 45 classes in that month, you would have $10 per class, or $20 per hour.
What is your favorite thing about being a teacher and working for VIPKID?
My favorite thing about being a teacher for VIPKID is two-fold: I’m able to still teach, but I’m able to do it before my children wake up (usually).
Is there anything you wish you knew before you signed up to become a teacher?
Yes, I wish I knew it could take a while before getting classes booked.
I didn’t teach my first class until I had been an official teacher for over 20 days. Some teachers get classes scheduled immediately, but the majority don’t see any classes booked for a few weeks, and maybe longer. I think that would have been helpful to know ahead of time.
Thank you again to Kerrie for answering our questions about becoming a VIPKID teacher.