As with any new job opportunity, there are questions… and when questions go unanswered, a job opportunity that could be life changing is often overlooked. That would have been the case for me had I not taken several looks at the VIPkid Teaching opportunity.
The work-from-home field has managed to brew its own pot of scams with jobs and companies that simply cannot be trusted, but let me tell you – VIPkid is not one of those. Hopefully I can help ease some of your hesitant thoughts by answering some of the most commonly asked questions when a person considers working with VIPkid as an ESL Teacher!
What is VIPKID and where can I get more information?
- If you haven’t already visited the Work from Home page, that’s a great place to start. I answer this question in full detail in the first couple of paragraphs. However, in short… VIPKID offers a virtual classroom for Chinese children, ages 4-12, to be taught by native North American English speakers. This platform allows us to come alongside their current routine of learning English, and provide additional resources to help them truly master the English language.
Is it legit?
- If it were not legit, I would not be doing it. I understand the ongoing concern of companies ripping people off, but this is not one of those companies.
Can I really pick my own schedule and what would that look like?
- Each lesson, or “class”, is only 30 minutes. Therefore, when making your schedule, you can schedule yourself to work 30 minutes here, 30 minutes there, 2 hours straight (totals 4 classes in a row), and so on. That is totally up to you and your availability.
- Keep in mind we are teaching children from China so there is a (big) time zone difference. VIPKID has taken the guess work out of wondering when to open time slots by providing a visual of what they call peak times (times most students are available to takes ESL classes) and peak peak times (times most booked for students).
- Above is an example of what the scheduling looks like in the Teacher Portal. The dark orange represents peak times. Once you have access to this, it may look slightly different (depending on your time zone), but it will initially have the same features (dark and light colored boxes for peak and peak peak times).
What is the pay, and how do you get paid?
- You can see your payment via the Teacher Portal as early as the 6th of each month, and pay is released via Direct Deposit between the 10th-15th of each month (depending on your bank).
- VIPKID takes into consideration your education, experience, as well as how well you did in the interview/demo and mock class portion of the hiring process. With this in considering, they pay $14-$22 per hour. You are paid per lesson (“class”), which is a 30 minute block. There is a base pay, incentive pay, and bonus pay – all calculated together to equal how much you get paid “per hour”.
- Here is a breakdown:
- Base pay (determined from hiring process): $7-$9 (per 30-minute class taught)
- Showing up to class on time: additional $1 (added to base pay)
- Teach at least 45 classes per month: additional $1 (minimum of only 22.5 hours taught for entire month)
- Total possible pay: $9-$11/lesson OR $18-$22/hour
- If it seems confusing, don’t worry. The point is to be committed to doing a good job and you’ll see the pay add up. As of date, I make no less than $20/hr!
How are taxes calculated?
- We are hired as Independent Contractors to a Chinese company; therefore, we are responsible for calculating and reporting taxes. The pay you receive will not have taxes deducted. It is also a good idea to keep any and all receipts that could be written as tax deductibles (purchase(s) of computer(s), headphones, webcams, props, etc.).
Is there the ability to work “full-time”?
- Working part or full-time is totally up to you. To be considered for full pay, you will need to work at least 22.5 hours per month. This ensures you get the base pay, on time incentive, and 45 classes taught incentive ($7-$9/lesson + $2/lesson = $18-$22/hour). Some people schedule themselves to work 35-40 per week.
Is schedule/classes guaranteed?
- You are not guaranteed to get every class booked that you have open; however, your bookings are determined on how well the kids and parents like you/your teaching style, and re-bookings. Many teachers have mentioned that they started seeing “regular students” (re-bookings) after only a few weeks of teaching.
Are there any benefits?
- Beyond the amazing pay, there are no benefits, such as insurance, retirement, 401K, etc. There is the benefit of being able to take time off as needed and the ability to work virtually from anywhere!
Are there other incentives, bonuses, raises, advancements, etc.?
- Absolutely! Here is a quick list of possibilities:
- Potential raise when contract is renewed (based on performance from previous contract)
- Mock Class Mentor (a position for teachers who have taught awhile)
- Milestone bonuses
- Substitute teaching
- Working during “holiday” season
- Referrals (bonus/incentive paid once referral becomes a teacher)
- Trial class sign-ups (students who sign up after taking a trial class with you)
- Monthly competitions, bonuses, and incentives by VIPKID
How are the classes/lessons taught?
- VIPKID embraces the amazing benefits technology has to offer. You will have access to use a program that has built in Skype, PowerPoint, and chat features, making it extremely easy for you to communicate with your Chinese students. VIPKID takes care of testing students to establish their learning level, as well as making interactive lessons (in form of a PPT) that you use to teach. Each PPT consists of 25-30 slides and give (T) teacher and (S) student instructions on each… so there is no guessing what or how to teach.
- VIPKID also recommends that each teacher have at least the following (more is definitely accumulated over time):
- a white dry erase board (the small handheld ones are perfect)
- flashcards and/or magnetic letters
- plush animal(s)/puppet(s)
- If you don’t have any of the above, search your kiddos room, homeschooling area, and/or purchase them at your local dollar store!
What are the requirements to work for VIPKID?
- This information can also be found on the Work from Home page. Simply put, VIPKID requires a person to have a Bachelor’s degree (doesn’t have to be Education related), at least 1 year teaching experience (yes, homeschooling counts), a reliable computer, and high speed internet/WIFI. You do not need a teaching certificate. There is also a 6 month contract requirement to teach with VIPKID.
What is the application process like, and is there any training?
- Go to their website and fill out the basic information and attach your resume. You’ll then have the option to select a time for an interview, which is a video chat with a VIPKID recruiter. The interview process will include questions as well as a mock class to teach. This is a super important part of the hiring process! The demo lesson you teach is worth 60% of the rubric that determines your rate of pay. I found tons of videos on YouTube that helped me prepare for this process. Once you pass this step, you will have another opportunity to teach mock classes with another Mock Class Mentor. Depending on how well you do, there may be two of these (Mock I and Mock II).
How long does it take to hear back about my application?
- It varies. But in most cases, if you meet all of the requirements, you can receive an invitation to schedule an interview within a day. Don’t worry if it takes longer than that, and in the meantime, be sure to check your spam folder!
I want to give this a try, how do I apply?
- Yayay!! Here is my referral link which will direct you to the website to start your application. Thanks in advance for using my link! VIPKID thrives from current teachers helping new teacher join our ESL Teaching Community, and in return, they give little bonuses and incentives. If you have already applied and want to mention that I referred you, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and let them know I referred you (thanks, again)!
Until I make my own videos, below are some great ones I recommend watching to help you get started on your journey:
- VIPKID: Scheduling Your Interview & Demo
- VIPKID Complete Interview Demo
- VIPKID Demo Tips: How to Pass Your Interview
- How Much Money Do You Make with VIPKID?