If you had told me there was a chance I’d be teaching English to Chinese children from my home someday, I’d never have believed you. In fact, even when I first heard of VIPkid, I dismissed it quickly because, well, I don’t speak Chinese.
But then I heard about it from a friend who was actually working with them and she explained it fully. As soon as she answered a few questions for me, I applied. And I have been thankful since DAY ONE.
I have finally found that elusive perfect job for a stay-at-home mom. I teach from my own home, and the majority of my work takes place before my kids wake up in the morning. I make $20 an hour. And I still don’t know a lick of Chinese.
When I refer teachers who pass the hiring process and begin teaching, I get a referral fee. If you’re interested, please apply using my referral code, and I promise I will do all I can to help you through the hiring process.
So, What IS VIPkid?
VIPid is a company that hires contract teachers to provide classes online through their video conferencing system. Everything is done online: the hiring, the teaching…everything. They are based in Beijing, China, and are one of the top English instruction companies around.
In China, school children must learn English as part of their curriculum to pass the very important tests that determine which middle school and high school they attend. This affects which college they may attend. English lessons are VERY important there. VIPkid provide English lessons from native-speakers (you and me).
How Does It Work?
Once you are hired, you have an account, complete with 3 photos of you, a 15 second video that you create, and a written bio. Next, you open up your calendar, showing the hours that you are available to teach. Parents book classes every Monday, and they get to choose their teacher. Your schedule fills up as parents start booking. Some teachers book very slowly at first. I was extremely fortunate to get almost full bookings from the very first week.
Since they are across the world, their day is our night. I’m in Central time, so Beijing is 13 hours ahead of me. This affects the best times to teach. Peak times are 5 a.m. – 9 a.m. Central time. That’s when I open up my calendar. For the students in China, it’s evening. They’ve already been to school and will go to bed soon.
My schedule is my own. I can choose to teach one class a day, 5 days a week, or 50 classes a week, Monday through Friday, or work all nighters on Saturday and Sunday, or take every Tuesday off to be with my kids. The flexibility with this job is GOLD. There are no minimum classes required.
See this schedule below? Here’s what it means:
- Light Gray time boxes are morning (my time)
- Dark Gray time boxes are evening (my time)
- Light gray date boxes are available teaching hours
- Light orange date boxes are peak times (very popular with the parents)
- Dark orange date boxes are peak-peak times (most popular)
This gives you an idea of the hours available to choose from. You can open up any of these, but obviously those in orange will be most popular.
All materials are provided by VIPkid. Each lesson is in the form of a Power Point. When it’s time to teach a class, you simply click “go to classroom” and enter the video-conference. The Power Point lesson is ready to open. You open your camera, greet the child, and begin the lesson!
This is what a classroom looks like:
(Yes, I use whatever props I can to make it fun. Hence, the hats.)
This is a full-immersion program. So as a teacher, my job is to say the words on the slides, use props, hand motions, and facial expressions to help the child understand; then I prompt the child to repeat back. See? No need for Chinese knowledge. The pictures on the slides are colorful and fun. I use props such as toys, flash cards, and real life objects to further their understanding.
Each lesson is 25 minutes long. Depending on the level of the child, you may be teaching the entire time, or you may be listening while the child reads to you and answers questions.
The best part: it is so much fun! The students are adorable and most of them are eager to learn. I am laughing and smiling the whole way through class til my cheeks hurt! It’s not like work at all.
How Do I Get Hired?
This is the tough part. They are hiring lots of new teachers because the demand for this program is growing by leaps and bounds. But the process is rigorous. You must meet a few requirements:
- Have a Bachelor’s degree (any subject)
- Have experience teaching or working with children
- Have a computer (a tablet won’t do)
- Be available on Beijing time
- Have reliable internet
I have a Business degree, and I have 17 years experience teaching my own five children at home (all subjects) as well as teaching K-12 in all subjects at our homeschool co-op. I have also taught children’s classes at church, and sewing classes in the community. This gives you an example of getting hired without an actual teaching degree or public school classroom experience.
I live in the country with very sketchy internet service, so I added a hotspot to my AT&T wireless plan. For $20/month, I have very reliable internet and I have not had a problem.
Here’s how it works:
- Apply online by filling out the short form about experience and education. Be thorough with your answers.
- Schedule and interview/demo class (see below).
- If you pass this, you will receive an email with a pay offer (per class) and instructions to prepare for your Mock 1 class (see below).
- If you pass this, you might be hired, or you might be asked to do a Mock 2 class, like me (see below).
- If/when you pass these, you are hired! You’ll upload your degree proof (diploma or transcript) and sign the contract!
I actually failed the Mock 1, but was encouraged to reapply with a different email address. I did, and the second time around I passed Mock 1 and Mock 2. Whew!
This is a 30 minute online session with a VIPkid Mentor. First, they will ask a little about why you want the job, your education, and your experience. Then you will go into a “demonstration class” for 10 minutes. The mentor will pretend to be a 5-year old with no English experience, and your job is to show off your skills! When this is over, the mentor will go over what you did well and what needs improvement.
To prepare, the class slides will be available in advance for you to go over. You will want to practice getting through 10 slides in 10 minutes, engaging the “student” with excitement, fun, props, and rewards WITH NO INCIDENTAL LANGUAGE. This is tricky for newbies. Incidental language is basically any words that are not on the slides. They won’t understand you, so you have to avoid things like, “Ok, little Johnny, let’s look a the ABCs.” Your job is to say “CAT. C. A. T.” and prompt the student to repeat. Then praise, applause, reward, and continue. Very important. A couple of toys, flash cards, and lots of motivation are your supplies. A cute background is a must. (Many people hang a map or some fun educational poster behind them. Try to avoid junk or your kitchen appliances or bedroom furniture.)
Note: There are two options for this Interview/Demo now. One is the live session. The other is a recorded session that you do, while pretending that someone is on the other side of the camera. For my first try, I did the live session. For my second, I did a recording.
When this is complete, you will get an email within minutes or up to several days telling you if you passed. If so, your email will include a pay offer, and an invitation to continue to Mock 1.
Since I was hired, the process has been updated. Here’s the current info from the education website:
In the current process, for candidates to pass the mock class stage, they have to be able to teach all levels well from the start. This is not easy to accomplish, and we often find candidates that are stronger in either lower or upper levels, but not both. We hope that this change can enable more amazing candidates to join our platform! Furthermore, it is sometimes difficult for new teachers to teach all levels once they start at VIPKID, so we hope that these changes ensure a better transition:
1) Level-Specific Mock Classes
From now on, after the mock class stage, candidates will be certified to teach specific levels based on their mock class performance.
2) The old Mock Class 2 PPT will be the new mock class 1 PPT.
Candidates start by teaching the Letter X PPT for 12 minutes, have 10 to 15 minutes for feedback, then teach Level 5 PPT also wrapping up with a feedback for this level. They will be assessed with two different rubrics. If they pass for Beginner levels, they will start teaching these levels and after 100 classes, they may apply for a new level certification. The same happens in case they pass for Intermediate levels. If none of the levels’ performance stood out, they will only be invited for a second Mock Class.
The results of the mock class 1 can be:
-Pass both levels: candidate is able to teach both lower and upper level classes
-Pass only lower level: candidate is able to teach only lower level classes
-Pass only upper level: candidate is able to teach only upper level classes
-Go to Mock Class 2: we would like the candidate to take another mock class in the level that the candidate performed best during mock class 1.
3) Mock Class 2 PPT will be level specific:
-If best performance in MC 1 was lower level, candidates will teach a Level 2 class. The class will be Letter P.
-If best performance in MC 1 was upper level, candidates will teach an upper level class. The class will be Earth, our Home, which is about environmental protection.
The results of the Mock Class 2 can be:
-Pass to teach either lower or upper level, depending on the Mock Class 2 that the candidate just taught
There were also other improvements. Candidates will receive feedback when they pass OR fail the process so that they can improve if they want to reapply.
Getting hired is the most stressful part. The classes themselves are a blast!
Is This a Scam?
I was really surprised to find out that people think this is a scam. But I guess I shouldn’t be with all of the “opportunities” to work from home that turn out to be nothing. But let me tell you: NO, this is not a scam. It’s a real job (I work hard!) and I get paid real money (direct deposit monthly).
Here are a couple of ways you know it’s not a scam:
- Strict education and experience requirements.
- A tough hiring process. They only hire about 10% of all applicants.
- As I said, I work hard for this money. Getting up at 4 and 5 a.m. isn’t easy money.
- You don’ pay money to get in. You almost have to beg.
But don’t just take my word for it. Forbes has ranked VIPKID as #5 on their list of top work-at-home jobs.
Show Me the Money!
Here’s how the pay works. You get paid a fee per class, which is offered to you in your initial interview. Mine is $8 per class. Each class is 25 minutes, so I teach 2 classes per hour.
But there’s more. For each class, if you show up and teach, you get an additional $1 “participation fee.” For each class finished, you get an additional $1. So, if all goes well (you didn’t miss class, you didn’t have tech problems, you didn’t cancel) you get the added $2 per class. In my case, that’s $10 per class, or $20 per hour.
There are also other incentives:
- If you check a “24 hour notice box” on your calendar, and a class is booked in less than 24 hours, you get an extra $2.
- If you teach a “trial” class and the student joins VIPkid after your class, you get a $5 referral fee.
- Each month has a fun incentive to encourage teachers to open as many classes as possible. This is optional, but it’s fun. I’m doing the June incentive right now, and for 10 of my work days I’m getting $12 per class (or $24 per hour) because I met the requirements. The rules and monthly incentives are all different.
- If you refer a teacher who passes the hiring process and teaches his/her first class, you get a standard $50 referral fee. There are also fun referral incentives to earn extra here, too. This summer, you earn $80 per referral, and it can go up from there!
- Your monthly salary is direct deposited into your bank account once per month, on the 15th.
- You can see your accumulating pay each day as you finish classes. The amount is updated at midnight Beijing time. Here’s what mine looks like currently:
As of this writing, I have been with VIPkid for three weeks. I have already got about 4 regular students whose parents book me repeatedly. It’s so fun to develop relationships with these kids!
How I do It
This job is amazing. I teach before my kids wake up each morning. I make $20+ an hour, and don’t have to leave my house to do it.
I have a table set up in my homeschool library. My background is a book case. I actually tried a few other methods, but because of my house set up, this just worked best for me.
I open my calendar from 5-9 a.m. I hop up, do my hair and makeup, put on a nice shirt, and eat something quick. Oh, and drink something caffeinated. Definitely.
After my classes end in the morning, I leave feedback for parents (required) and then check the next day’s schedule and look over the slides for their lessons. (Slides are available as soon as the student is booked.)
My kids are aged 6-20, so they are old enough to feed and entertain themselves if they wake up before I finish teaching. I let them sleep til 9 if they like. I mean, hey; we homeschool! So I’ve adapted our schedule around this job.
Obviously I need some rest after getting up at 4:30, so I try to get a nap after lunch while my kids have their regular quiet time. I don’t like going to be super early, so if I get a nap, I can stay up with my hubby.
There are some great VIPKID Facebook groups that make a great “teacher’s lounge.” I am in several and have found some very valuable information and answers to my questions. Also, the company offers live workshops several times a week on different topics, so there’s always a chance to brush up and improve your skills.
I joined a FB group for teachers, one for moms, and one for homeschool parents. There are SO many stay-at-home moms doing this job, and it’s fun to discuss their schedules and how they juggle it all. Oh, and there are men, too! The male teachers are very popular.
Teachers, single moms, married couples, homeschool parents, grandparents, and pretty much anyone else who needs a part-time or full-time income from home are working with VIPKID. And there’s a supportive Facebook group for everyone!
Like I said, this is the perfect job for me. I don’t have to drive to a job, or be gone from home for hours per day, and I am contributing in a large way to our household income. I can open up more bookings if I want to boost my paycheck at any time, or close my bookings for some time off. I don’t have to sell anything or meet minimums or buy products. It’s a win-win-win.
Are you interested? Do you meet the qualifications? Do me a favor and click this link to apply. If you want advice getting through the hiring process, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me and I’ll walk you through the process!
Nicki Truesdell is a 2nd-generation homeschooler and mother to 5. She loves books, freedom, history and quilts, and blogs about all of these at nickitruesdell.com. She believes that homeschooling can be relaxed and that history is fun, and both can be done with minimal cost or stress, no matter your family’s circumstances. Nicki is a member of the Texas Home Educators Advisory Board and The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Review Crew. You can also find her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.