***UPDATE May 20, 2018***
- VIPKID IS GETTING STRICTER WITH APPLICANTS. DO NOT APPLY UNLESS YOU QUALIFY FOR THE FOLLOWING:
- HAVE A BACHELORS DEGREE OR ENGLISH TEACHING CERTIFICATE
- BE A NATIVE ENGLISH SPEAKER FROM U.S.A
- HAVE SOME TEACHING EXPERIENCE
What does a young child from China learning English, Kobe Bryant, and $100 Million Dollars all have in common?
They are all a part of a super fast growing start up in China known to many as VIPKid!
As a digital nomad myself, I’ve been on the look out for ways of earning income online while traveling outside of the United States. Out of the many ways I’ve tried, this seems to be the most stable ways of doing it by far which requires very little to start.
If you’re a native English speaker with a bachelors degree, looking for a flexible online job, then you’re going to really love this.
What is VIPKid?
VIPKID is a Beijing, China based company that provides “the North American elementary school experience online to children in China between the ages 5-12.”
The company has created an online platform that allows a child to log online at a set time to have a 25-minute sessions with a native English speaker from anywhere in the world.
Teachers are hired from all over the world after going through a thorough interview process and training.
VIPKid recently received $100 million dollars in Series C funding from a number of investor from around the world.
One of the more noteworthy investors includes KOBE BRYANT!
How does a VIPKid class work?
VIPKid has created their own online platform that lets teachers login at a scheduled time and have a one-on-one class with a Chinese student.
Each class is guaranteed 25 minutes of active teaching time. After that, teachers have a few minutes to leave comments and notes.
Although all the material is provided, its important that the teachers add their own personalities and be very enthusiastic to keep the child engaged and having fun.
Class times vary, but are typically held after school hours in China and in the mornings and evenings on the weekends.
What time are classes usually held?
I’ve made a chart that shows you what the hours look like compared to United States time.
Their peak hours are often after school in the evenings and pretty much all day during the weekends.
What does VIPKid pay their teachers?
VIPKid pays in 30 minute increments since each class lasts less than 30 minutes.
The pay rate also varies depending on the initial interview and performance review.
In general they pay $7 – $11 USD per 30 minutes or $14 – $22 USD per 1 hour.
All teachers are paid as independent contractors so they receive the full hourly rate on a MONTHLY BASIS.
Here’s a snippet from their website that explains the way their pay system works.
Honestly, that fact that this is super flexible and lets you work from anywhere in the world makes this a really great opportunity to earn a substantial amount of income while having freedom to work on anything else you got going on.
How does scheduling work?
Teachers must enter their weekly availability one month in advance. Teachers’ weekly schedules are then created by VIPKid and sent out each Saturday at 10AM Beijing time.
Teachers can be booked for classes during the week, up to 24 hours in advance.
VIPKID encourages all teachers to check their emails and their schedule in the system daily.
Is there a maximum number of hours a teacher could teach?
Aside from the 15 classes/week during peak time (which total up to 7.5 hours a week), VIPKID makes no limitation on how much a teacher teaches during peak and non-peak time.
Teachers control 100% of their schedule.
However, availability in non-peak times is mostly not used. Teachers should also be advised that it can take up to a month of have a relatively steady stream of classes, as students and parents learn about and try new teachers.
VIPKID makes no guarantee that a teacher will have a steady stream of classes.
How long is the contract? Can teachers take breaks during the contract?
VIPKID signs 6-month contracts with applicants who pass their interview/demo class.
Teachers may take 2 non-consecutive weeks off as long as they inform VIPKID 2 weeks in advance each time.
Do I need any teaching materials?
Yes, you will.
But to get past the initial interview and demo lesson, you won’t need much.
Having said that, you should be prepared.
This is my friend Anh who’s been teaching for a few months now. This is her set up when she’s teaching and magical wand she uses on children 😂
Things you’ll eventually need:
- Stuffed animal or toy
- Flash Cards
- Reward system (read below)
- Dry Erase Board / Chalk Board (nice to have but not totally necessary)
How can I become a VIPKid Teacher?
Let me start by saying that you MUST HAVE A BACHELORS DEGREE.
I tried to bypass this with my teaching skills, charms, AND good looks 😏, but they denied me because I am sans degree 😅😒
I went through their interview process and was told by the interviewer that I had a great personality with lots of energy.
Alas if you don’t have a bachelors degree you can upload to show them, they will ignore any further attempt at wooing them into hiring you 😅😅😅
Things to have before you apply:
- Be a NATIVE English speaker
- Some experience in teaching
- Available AT LEAST 7.5 hours per week
- Bachelors degree (in any subject)
- Updated resume (even if its not related to teaching)
- Government issued ID
- A Bank Account for VIPKid to make direct deposits
Once you have everything listed above, then you’re ready to proceed.
First step – Apply
Go to VIPKid to Apply
There you will be asked to enter all of the basic information about yourself including your resume, previous teaching experience, and where you are located.
After uploading everything, you should receive an email within the next day or so if not immediately.
In that email, you’ll be given a link to schedule a time to interview with a VIPKid Specialist.
Second step – The interview and demo lesson
The next step is quite easy but does take a little bit study.
You will be interviewed about your experience and qualifications. Then you’ll have to pretend your interviewer is a 5-year old child and actually go through one lesson 😁
This is the most crucial part of the application process so be sure to prepare as much as possible since this also is used to determine how much you’ll get paid!
Where does the interview happen?
VIPKid will send you a link to their teacher-recruitment portal. Once you’ve booked your interview, you’ll use that link to log in at the time you’ve specified.
How can I be assured that I pass the interview and demo lesson?
Considering you meet all the requirements listed above. You’ll need to know a few things really well to be an excellent VIPKid Teacher!
Be energetic and enthusiastic!
Critical. Since you’ll be teaching children, you have to do your best at keeping them focused on the lesson and on you.
Here’s a video of a class to give you an idea:
Know what T.P.R. is
TPR stands for Total Physical Response learning and teaching. It is a theory and method of teaching students by doing and seeing actions.
For example, when you want a student to speak, you would act out the new vocabulary word and instructions, or if you want a student to speak, you would point to your mouth, cup your ear and make it obvious to the student that you want him/her to speak.
Know how to teach phonics.
Since you’ll be teaching children who are just starting to learn English, you’ll have to go over the basics of phonics with them.
That means teaching them how to make the sounds for each letter in the alphabet.
Here are some videos you should review:
That last video will probably forever be stuck in your head as it is for me now 😏
Remember these are kids and they won’t understand everything you say, so try to talk slow and clearly with simple words.
Use a reward system
VIPKid truly believes in giving their students a reward system to encourage them through the learning stages.
Once you’re hired, you will have to create your own reward system or use the one VIPKid provides you.
But for the sake of completing the interview, you don’t need much.
When I did my interview that I passed, I just used a sheet of paper with a smiley face, and I added teeth to the smile face each time the student got a correct answer!
Here is what VIPKid’s reward system looks like:
Here’s what my reward system looked like for the interview:
I never claimed to be an artist 😏
Read through the lesson plan
The interview will be really short and the demo only 10 minutes, but don’t get caught off guard.
Read through the entire powerpoint lesson plan that VIPKid will send you.
Don’t be nervous
When I did my interview, I was a bit nervous since I’m typically not that energetic.
After casually talking to the interviewer, I felt more comfortable and had fun with it in the end, which is why I believe they passed me.
So don’t be nervous. Just prepare before hand and you’ll be totally fine!
Look at my scores to see how you can improve your chances of passing the initial demo lesson!
Third step – complete the Practicum stage
After completing and passing the initial interview and demo lesson, you’ll be given a few days to submit all your paperwork.
That includes submitting a copy of your ID, sending them your contract signed, and of course, uploading your bachelors degree for verification.
You’ll then have another few days to do essentially do another “practice” lesson where VIPKid will further evaluate your skills at teaching.
This video has helped my friend, who currently is a VIPKid teacher, pass her Practicum stage:
Here are some more tips on passing the practicum:
- Eliminate incidental language. Don’t preface a slide by talking about what you’re going to do.
- Just start working through the activity with the student.
- Use and elicit target sentences wherever possible
- Ask questions in complete sentences.
- Don’t ask ‘What is it?’ or “Can you tell me what that picture is?” or “What do you see here?”. Rather ask “What do you see?” to get the student talking on every page.
I do/ We do/ You do
- Don’t try to explain the directions in overly complicated language. Demonstrate the directions for me so I can follow your example.
- Gradually increase the difficulty by pulling away assistance as you feel the student is ready. Have them do more than just repeat back everything you say. Ask them targeted simple questions that will elicit complete responses.
- Get the student talking on EVERY PAGE! Don’t let them silently circle answers or draw lines while saying nothing. Get them talking!
- Students should ALWAYS answer questions in complete sentences. If they answer a question with only one word, demonstrate the answer in a complete sentence and have them repeat that back to you. Be consistent about this!
- Use a variation of energy, intonation, change of voice, and change of character. These variations further enhance and uplift the student’s interest to better participate in the virtual class. Students learn better when they are enjoying themselves.
I have just equipped you with the knowledge of VIPKid and everything I learned on how to pass their interview.
It’s up to you now to be an AMAZING TEACHER and continue your education so that you can excel at this.
Its really a shame this isn’t open to people without degrees since this has become a full-time gig for many travelers and people looking for a way to earn a good amount of money with the flexibility of an online business.
If you have any questions or comments about VIPKid, please leave them in the comments section below.