Where have I been AND is VIPKid for real? Well, there’s your answer as to where I’ve been….
I have been working for VIPKid! What is VIPKid you ask? Let me tell you. VIPKid is an innovative learning experience that helps children in China learn English. Do not ask me why I decided to hit that Sign Up button on the VIPKid website, but I did. And then I waited, and I didn’t wait long! I read about the hiring process and I knew that there quite a few steps involved, but I just went with it. And, boy, am I glad I did! It has been a fantastic addition to my day to day life and my bank account! 😃
Anyway, I had a consulting job, as an RD, for about 14 years at a nursing home here in the town where I live. It consisted of me going there for 12-16 hours per month and doing nutritional assessments, nutrition education, and auditing and approving the menus for the facility. That extra income helped us send our girls to a Catholic school for years. And when they graduated from the 6th grade at that school and moved to public schools, we were able to get cars and insurance for them with that money. YIKES!
The point of this whole story is that after not having that income for about 18 months, I decided I had to do something to try to make it up.
So, this is what I said, “Jennifer, there is no way that you can teach kids online, at your house, or anywhere, make your own schedule, and get paid?!” Oh, but there is…..I really had no clue what I was getting into. I just decided to jump in.
My kids are 18 and 22 and I was kind of looking for something else to do. I started my blog JENerating Joy in June 2018, just for that reason. Kind of looking for something to do. I felt like I had so much to share and I like to have fun, so why not get start blogging? When I started the blog, it was strictly nutrition (since I am a Registered Dietitian) . As people asked more and more quesitons about everything from cooking to shopping to parenting to health, it became more of a lifestyle blog. It’s a great outlet for me because whatever I’m feeling like talking about…I just take to the keyboard.
My first thought was to head out and get another consulting job for a few hours a month, and I started looking for one. I kind of dreaded it because I work full-time and was not looking forward to going to another job after work or on the weekends and being away from home and my family. Enter VIPKid! I literally saw an ad for it on Facebook. I had seen lots of ads for it before, but never really considered even signing up because…um….I’m not a teacher! I just pushed the button to sign up and there was no turning back.
VIPKid Wants You!
VIPKid wants you! Like, I signed up, got an email, and then got another email reminding me to finish filling out my application. The application process seemed rigorous but ended up being quite simple. I had one snag – and I’ll tell you about that in a minute! The hiring process basically involves filling out an application online and waiting to hear from them. I did that and heard back from them within hours. I then got an email directing me to make a short demo (I think 10 minutes) as if I was teaching English to a child from China online. So, recorded myself acting like I was teaching someone (that was weird) using my phone and sent it in. I got an email about 3 hours later, saying that I had passed the demo part and could move on to the mock class.
The mock class seems daunting, but I got all worked up over nothing. You basically do a mock class with someone from VIP KID – around 15 to 20 minutes. I really researched and practiced for this class. VIPKid offered a 2-hour workshop that I attended in order to get practice and learn pointers on how to conduct the mock class. I scheduled my class and waited. Luckily, the same night I did my class, I got an email saying I passed and could continue with the hiring process. The last part of the process was to provide proof of my 4-year degree, agree to a background check, and then sign a contract.
Here’s where I stumbled on a problem. I don’t know where my diploma from LSU is….geez. How could I not know where that is? Anyway, I did find a copy of my transcript and sent it to them and although it took longer than it would have normally taken, it did get approved. I was happy about the background check because that told me that VIPKid was serious about keeping their students and their teachers safe. It made me feel like everything was on the up and up.
VIPKid hired me, I signed a 6-month contract, and literally worked the next day. The total time probably took 2 weeks for me because I did practice quite a bit for my mock class and I could only do that in the evenings and on the weekends. And, my small issue with my diploma.
The Nitty Gritty
I have been working for VIPKid now for 2 1/2 months and A LOT in September and I have actually had a pay check go into my bank account. This is legit. So what is the fuss all about? Read on as I spell out the PROS and the CONS!
PAY: You can make up to $22/hr teaching children in China the English language. I mean for me to sit in my house (sometimes in my pajamas) and teach children online and make $18-$22/hr….that’s a no-brainer.
SO, SO EASY: If you can show up, be on time, smile, speak basic English and have fun with kids, you are in! And you need a 4-yr degree. It doesn’t have to be in education, just a 4-year degree from an accredited university. (You will have to show proof of this, so don’t say you have it on your app if you don’t!).
TRAINING: VIPKid offers free, continuous training. They have several workshops continuously available for their teachers, depending on what stage you are. They have them for new teachers, seasoned teachers, teachers who need help with bookings, or teachers who are just looking for a way to connect with their students and parents more.
FLEXIBILITY: You control your schedule. You do not have to teach a minimum or maximum number of classes. Classes can be taught from anywhere as long as you have a few mobile props. You decide what days of the week you want to work and what times and how many hours you would like to work. The one hiccup with this is that you can only sign up for when the children in China are available to take the classes. These times are between 7:30 pm and 8:30 am (my central time). This is why it is PERFECT for me because it doesn’t interfere with my full-time job at all.
BONUSES: Did I mention pay? VIPKid gives you opportunities to earn bonuses and incentives to earn more money. They give you money just for showing up. You will make more money for short notice classes. Short notice classes are when parents book a class within 24 hours of you teaching them. They offer incentives for converting trial class students to regular VIPKid students and for referring other teachers. The opportunities are really endless.
NO PREP: No lesson plans. This hooked me right away. Like I said, I’m not a teacher. If I had to make a lesson plan for every class I had to teach, I’d be out. All of the lessons are pre-made by VIPKid and have instructions and helpful tips. You do have to put class feedback about the student’s performance in the class within 12 hours of teaching the class, but it is quick and easy to do.
THE STUDENTS: This is the best part! The kids are adorable. They WANT to be there learning and their parents want them to be there. It is so satisfying to see when the material that you are teaching “clicks” and the student actually progresses. The parents book the classes, so you can end up building a relationship with some of these families and teach the same student regularly.
COMMUNITY: The VIPKid community is awesome. They are so helpful. There are Facebook groups, forums and the customer service at VIPKid is awesome. So many kids want to sign up for the program, that becoming a teacher isn’t a competition. There are plenty of students to go around for lots of teachers. So we are building each other up and not tearing each other down.
ADVANCEMENT: After your second contract, you may qualify for a raise. VIPKid may also ask you to join other programs. Things like helping develop curriculums, or becoming a VIPKid Ambassador. The opportunities are endless!
TIME DIFFERENCE: This is MY biggest con, but it doesn’t stop me from teaching as much as I can. Beijing is 13 hours ahead of my central time zone in the United States, so if I am teaching a child at 5:00pm in Beijing, it is 4:00 am my time – yikes. I have done it all too. I have taught at 9pm and 12am and 4am and 7am. It can be exhausting if you don’t plan correctly – which I am still in the process of getting right. But, I am still excited to get up and teach every class that I have booked. It’s probably a combination of the kids being so great AND the paycheck being so great!
CANCELLATION POLICY: You are obligated to teach the class, once a parent has booked the class. You are allowed 6 cancellations in a 6 month period before you are at risk of terminating your contract. I make sure I only open times that I will be available and I make it to class.
TAXES: You are technically a contract worker. Therefore, you need to save a percentage of your income for the Internal Revenue Service.
VERY IT INVOLVED: Your class will only be as good as your internet. You need to have reliable internet, a computer, some headphones, and some props. You must have a good internet connection, good audio, and good video. If you do not have these things, you will not get paid for the class.
Wrap it up!
Whew! That’s A LOT of info! But, I wanted to put it all out there so you would have all of the information you need. In case you are interested in finding out about teaching with VIPKid. I made a video about my 1-month progress (that you can find here). Also, there is a video about my 2-month progress with VIPKid (that you can check out here). And my 4-month progress video here! It’s really great information.
I am only 2 1/2 months in, and I really love it. I love that I don’t have to beg for kids to sign up for my classes. It is also so nice that I don’t have to put in hours of work before my class. I also love to teach the kids. Working from home is also a definite plus (some people do this full-time)! AND, I love the extra cash in my bank account every month!
I’m so grateful that little ad popped up on my computer that day. And I’m even happier that I decided to put myself out there and do something that I have never done! Even when people thought I was crazy…yes, I have told people who kind of looked at me like “yeah, okay”….
If you are interested in learning more about VIPKid you can do so here. , I would be happy to help you start the hiring process and to help you through the process. Other VIPKid teachers are what got me through and are who still answer any questions that I have.
If you decide to use my code (JENNI2691) please do so BEFORE you complete all of your basic information and actually sign up to complete the mock class. Once you have done that, you will not be able to use my code.If any of you have any questions, comments or anything about VIPKid, please feel free to drop a comment below OR email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Joy in Family + Food,
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