Laura’s VIPKID Week in Review: October 13th, 2018 {WORST TRIAL!}

Best Moment: Two great moments this week!  First, I got my rating back to 5.0!  As you know, the goal is always to have 5 apple reviews.  But sadly, a few months ago, I got my first less-than-perfect review, a 4 apple review.  I was really sad.  I know they average the most recent 100 ratings, so it was going to take a while to get that 4 off the current record.  But this week, the 4 rating fell off and I am back to 5.0, with nearly 300 ratings!  Woohoo!

Another great moment happened when I was teaching last night.  I usually don’t teach evenings, but I had taken a few days off for different events, so I taught 4 trial classes last night.  It was a doozy!  I think I’ll do a separate blog about it soon, but the 3rd trial was PERFECT!  What I mean is that it went exactly how you’d want a trial to go.  The student participated, was happy and excited.  I felt like I was “on my game,” and gave her a great first English experience.  It solidified in my mind how much I enjoy teaching trial classes.  I know they are not for everyone, but I really enjoy being the first face of VIPKID to a student!

Worst Moment: My worst moment directly followed that perfect trial.  I guess I needed humbling!  I was flying high after the perfect trial, thinking I was a FANTASTIC teacher.  Well, the class right after that was also a trial.  It was a disaster, by far the worst trial I’ve ever taught.  The kid was terrified of me!  He immediately started screaming when I opened the camera.  He sobbed. He ran away.  He wrestled himself away from his dad.  It was terrible!  The whole family was there, watching how I would handle it.  I tried to entertain him and make myself interesting, and not scary.  I pulled out my best toys.  Nothing worked.  Dad took him into the other room to attempt to calm him down, but it was to no avail.  I contacted the firemen and let them know what was happening.  Mom got on the screen, laughing nervously and holding a tiny baby.  She said, “Sorry. He is sad.”  I chatted with Mom, in her limited English, while we waited.  Her baby was adorable!  The boy never came back on. The firemen marked it “student no show.”  Hopefully I didn’t scar him for learning English!

Rewards: This week, I used my Hello Kitty reward for all the girls.  This is sadly a gender-specific reward. I’ve offered it to boys, but they never choose it.  For the boys, I used my ice cream or hamburger toy.  It was a good, easy reward for the week!

I also tried a new reward this week with a few of my regulars.  It is a free app called Kids Doodle!  It is really fun!  You just draw whatever you’d like, and it plays it back to you like a movie.  I drew Dino, robots, and flowers.  The kids enjoyed seeing it play back!  Give it a try if you’re looking for a simple, fun reward.  I found it on this YouTube video!  Thanks for the idea!

News/Updates: Nothing too interesting this week from VIPKID.  Keep on trucking!

Blog/Tpt/YouTube:  This week I finally got around to updating my intro video.  I was still using the same one from nearly a year ago when I started. Since then, I’ve become a YouTuber and my video editing skills, though still novice, are developing!  So I wanted to update my video.  Here’s the newest version.  Thoughts?  Comments?

I also did an video explanation of how/why I do one reward all week.  I am really enjoying doing rewards like this, and hope to encourage some teachers that rewards don’t have to be stressful or crazy.  Here’s that video:


And here’s a video for new teachers to see what a trial no-show looks like:


  • Classes Total: 45! (that’s high for me!)
  • Trials: 12
  • Short Notice: 5
  • No Shows: 7
  • Trial Conversions: 2

Thanks for following my journey with VIPKID!  If you’re interested in this awesome work at home job, please contact me through comments or email!  If you’d like to hear more about how I got started and how it’s going, check out these posts!

Thanks for reading!



Laura’s VIPKID Week in Review: October 5th, 2018

Best Moment: This is a short week for me!  I took Saturday off because I am going to a Women’s Conference with my church!  I love the flexibility with this job!

This week was a holiday week in China, their National Day, when they became the People’s Republic of China.  Because of this, students were traveling!  One of my students did a lesson in a car!  One of my students did his lesson in a tent, camping by the mountains!  So fun!

Here is a simple explanation of the holiday from

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Worst Moment: I don’t really have a worst moment this week.  I had slightly lower bookings and a few open bookings expire, which I haven’t had in a while.

Rewards: This week I let the kids choose between the phone/emoji reward and my ice cream reward.  The emoji reward is from Special Stuff for Special Teachers on TeachersPayTeachers!   Thank you for the free download!  This has been a total hit!  I thought the ice cream reward was kind of childish, but even some of my Level 3 kids chose it.  🙂  IMG_7494 3.JPG

News/Updates: Just news about the holiday and bookings being lower.  This week, I also completed a new certification: Free Talk.  This is a supplementary class that is meant to promote free conversation, using un-scripted chatting about setting pictures.  I’m excited about it.  This summer, I did many supplementary classes (phonics, proper pronunciation, voice of VIPKID) and enjoyed the change of pace with the different type of class.

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These are the supplementary classes I’m certified for!

Blog/Tpt/YouTube:  I did a short YouTube video about how I celebrate students birthdays in the VIPKID classroom!  Check it out!


  • Classes Total: 29
  • Trials: 6
  • Short Notice: 5
  • No Shows: 6
  • Trial Conversions: 0
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My weekly tallies.

Thanks for following my journey with VIPKID!  If you’d like to hear more about how I got started and how it’s going, check out these posts!

Thanks for reading!


Teacher Laura’s VIPKID Month in Review: September 29, 2018

Today is the last day I’ll teach in September, so instead of a “week in review,” I’ll do a quick “month in review!”  It has been a great month with VIPID!

Best moment of the month: I met a big goal this month that I’ve never met before: I taught 150 classes this month!  That has been my goal since the summer, and I’ve been working my way up to it!  Very excited!

Also, this month, our students celebrated Mid Autumn Festival.  VIPKID provided a fun way to connect with students by sending e-cards for this holiday!  So throughout the month students and teachers sent and received cute little personalized cards.  I really enjoyed this fun way to connect with students! IMG_7379.PNG

Worst moment of the week:  Sadly, I walked into my classroom and stepped on my headphones!  Ugh!  They are totally busted.  I ordered new ones right away.  I felt naked teaching without them!  In case your in the market for headsets, I whole-heartedly recommend this one on Amazon for $23.  I have used it for over 500 classes, and it would still be working perfectly, had I not stepped on it!


Reward of the week : I continued using only one reward all week, with only a few exceptions.  This week, I did stickers and sticker books!  The kids really enjoyed this!  I started this in the summer, and some of my students ask for it every time now.  I created a very simple sticker book that I share for FREE on my Teachers Pay Teacher store!   I want to figure out how to send these to my students when they fill up the books.

News/VIPKID Updates: The big news this week with VIPKID is that they are starting a new incentive for referring teachers.  They are giving away a trip to China for the highest referrer!  So exciting!  They are also giving away VIPKID-branded iPads and other fun prizes.  Referring has never been a goal of mine, but I did have a friend choose to sign up this week!  I love sharing this job with friends.  I am not a “salesman” by nature, but if you’re looking for someone to show you the ropes of this job, I’d love to be your referred/mentor through the process!

Blog/TPT/YouTube: I published two YouTube videos this week: “Teaching While Sick” with a blog to go along with that one, and “Do I need to know Chinese?”  Check them out!


  • Classes Total:  151!!
  • Trials:  24 (16 old, 12 new, 1 VAE)
  • Short Notice:  15
  • No Shows:  15
  • Trial Conversions: 5!  Very excited about this!
My rough copy of my chart.  I made a nicer version for next month!  🙂 


Thanks for following my journey with VIPKID!  If you’d like to hear more about how I got started and how it’s going, check out these posts!

VIPKID: Tips for teaching while sick

Hey VIPKID friends!

Okay, I have some tips to share because I just had the worst week of teaching.  I have a run-of-the-mill head cold, but man, is it hard to teach online when you’re sick!  Here are my tips from the trenches.

1. Don’t waste a cancellation, but be realistic too.

As you know, you only get 6 cancellations per contract.  I’m of the mindset that I’m not going to use a cancellation unless I’m REALLY sick.  I haven’t used any yet and I’ve been teaching for 10 months.

At the same time, you have to be realistic.  You are offering a service, and if you cannot perform the service well, then you’re short-changing your students.  Parents and students will understand, everyone gets sick.  So use your best judgement!

2. You NEED a headset with a mic mute button.  

LIFESAVER.  Seriously!  When I felt a cough or sneeze coming on, I would ask a question and immediately mute myself so I could cough on mute while they answered.  I feel like it takes some practice, but I got pretty good at muting discreetly.

3. Tell the kids that you’re sick if you need to.

I was trying to be discreet, but at one point, I had a full-on coughing fit.  I put up one finger in a “just one moment” motion, turned off both my mic and my camera, and got a drink and wiped my eyes.  It took less than 30 seconds.  After that, I decided to tell my student.  I pretended to cough and sneeze and taught them the word “sick.”  No parent was there, but if they were, I would have put it in the feedback.  If you feel the need to tell the parents in the feedback, write something like this: “I apologize that I am a bit sick today.  I did not want to cancel our class, but I apologize for my coughing.”  People understand.  I would bet you would get kind feedback with some response like “Teacher, take care of yourself and feel better.”  But of course, there is a possibility for negative feedback.  It’s the risk you have to take!

4. Have everything in reach to help you.

I had Kleenex, water, coffee, and cough drops handy and within arms reach.  I never taught with a cough drop in my mouth, but I think I could have done it.

5. Take it easy.

Whatever you can do to help yourself have a smooth day, do it.  For me that meant not opening my usual short-notice classes, and using a simple reward system all week.  It also meant that I didn’t rush to complete feedback between classes, but took the five minutes to reset and relax, and then I slowly completed feedback at the end of the morning.

Overall, I have to say that teaching online while sick is infinitely easier than teaching in a brick and mortar school while sick.  Of course, I teach only 3-4 hours compared to 8.  But you can sit the whole time if you’d like, you don’t need to be moving and expending so much energy.  Plus, if you have a schedule like me, you can recuperate and take afternoon naps!  Bonus!

Happy (healthy!) teaching,

Smoothies to beat the afternoon snack craving!

It’s 2pm and I want to eat.  EVERY day!  I’m a stay at home mom, and that chunk of the day after naps and before dinner has my reaching for the pantry every single day.  I was realizing that I was grabbing easy, unhealthy snacks every day (crackers, sugary granola bars, salsa and chips).  My scale was the proof.  I had to get my snacking under control.  So I did two things.  I started writing down everything I ate and I started making smoothies in the afternoons.  It has made a huge difference!

I have shared a few food posts and smoothie recipes before, but this is a current favorite.  It is peanut-buttery and it curbs my cravings for a few hours so I can get through the afternoon and make dinner without snacking on everything in sight.

A few notes about smoothies:

  1. Get a good blender.  I am a loyal Nutribullet fan and my husband is a loyal Vitamix fan.  I know, we should go to counseling.  The Nutribullet is perfect for single servings.  Sometimes I use the Vitamix if I know I’ll be sharing it with my preschooler.
  2. Always put a few handfuls of greens in there to balance the fruits.
  3. If you use peanut butter (which this recipe does), start to change your habits and go for organic peanut butter.  It’s a hard change and I resisted for a long time.  But there is just so much sugar in your regular Jif and Skippy.  Now, even my kids like the organic stuff.
  4. Be brave! Throw some new things in there!  Have apples laying around?  Put them in!  My husband goes crazy and throws all sorts of veggies in his smoothies- carrots, garlic, avocados.  He’s a nut, but he gets all his veggies packed into one big smoothie!

Here’s my current fave:

**All measurements are approximate! Sorry, if you’re looking for precision, you won’t find it here!

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 big handfuls of greens (spinach, kale, whatever)
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (really, it’s one big knife-ful from the jar)



Teacher Laura’s VIPKID Week in Review: September 22nd, 2018

Best moment of the week: My favorite student is Elva (I know, I know… not supposed to have favorites!) because not only is she a fantastic student, but she has really let me into her life a bit.  Most lessons, she introduces at least one family member.  For one of her lessons this week, her younger brother did the lesson with us.  He didn’t have an English name, so we talked about it and gave him the name Michael!  🙂

Worst moment of the week:  Coughing fit!  I’m a bit sick this week, with a run-of-the-mill cold.  At one point, during a TRIAL of course, I could not stop coughing!  I turned of the mic and camera off for a second, actually, which I’ve never done!  It was bad.  My eyes were watering and everything.  But the lesson carried on with no problems and no bad feedback (yet, at least!).

Reward of the week : I’m trying a new thing this week and last week, and using only one reward all week. It takes the guess-work out of rewards.  I used the Phone/Emoji reward this week, with great success and a lot of smiles! The emoji reward is from Special Stuff for Special Teachers on TeachersPayTeachers!   Thank you for the free download!  This has been a total hit! The kids especially like the “poop emoji,” of course!  It was a great way to teach new vocabulary too, as I used these simple emjois: car, crown, flag (American and Chinese), cat, dog, panda, heart, and a few faces with different emotions.  As always, I stuck with the ice cream reward for trials.  That is the BEST reward!

News/VIPKID Updates: The news this week is that incentives are back, this time for opening up PPT (prime prime time) slots, which for me are 6-8am.  I will not be getting this incentive though, because I don’t open the 7am slot during school days, so I can get my daughter on the bus.  Oh well.  Priorities!

Blog/TPT/YouTube: This week, I created a tally chart for teachers to use to keep track of their classes monthly!  I also uploaded my Meals of the Day chart prop that I use constantly for Food/Meal Lessons with a YouTube video explaining how to use it!  And check out my update about how we are balancing preschool homeschool and VIPKID at our house! My daughter makes a star appearance, complete with bloopers!Screen Shot 2018-09-22 at 10.49.48 AM.png

Weekly Stats:

  • Classes Total: 38
  • Trials: 7
  • Short Notice: 5
  • No Shows: 3
  • Trial Conversions: 0




VIPKID: I’m teaching my first UA! (Unit Assessment!)

Hello VIPKID teacher!  Come on over, let me tell you about Unit Assessments, or UAs.  You need to know about these types of lessons before you begin to teach them!    UAs are different from regular classes. Don’t get caught off guard!

As soon as you see a UA on your schedule, plan a few extra minutes to check it out and get familiar with it.  Even if you’ve taught several normal classes, this one will take some preparation.

You’ll notice right away that they have a TON of slides, usually about 45 instead of 26 or 27.  Don’t freak out.   Most of those slides are “filler” slides.  The format of the UA is always the same for levels 2-6. They have a “game map” format.  If possible, look through the power point ahead of class to get the format. Here’s an example. It is kind of like a “built-in reward system.”  But note that you still need to use some kind of simple secondary reward system.

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On the day you’re going to teach it, go into the classroom and click “Add Feedback” right away, before class begins.  It’s a very different feedback form.   It will have multiple places for you to rate the student, on each content area (grammar, reading, speaking, etc.).  Here’s a sample of the grading rubric for the feedback form of UAs:

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In the top right corner of the feedback there is a button that says “Stick to bottom.” Click this.  Then, you can see the feedback right below the normal classroom, while you’re teaching. You can mark their scores as you go. It’s super helpful.

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Now, let me explain some of the UA slides:

First there are the usual intro slides: a reward slide and a song slide.

Then, there is a slide that has a problem- Lily lost her toys! Dino needs to make a salad!  Tino can’t remember the name of his school!  Something like that.  That’s the set-up for the UA game. Here’s an example:

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Then, they choose a character- Meg or Mike- to play through the game.  It’s kind of a “breeze over it” slide.

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Then, it shows the 5 or 6 steps of the game map.  I usually count the steps and draw a line through all of them. I say something like “You will get 5 things!”  If it’s an interactive lesson (Level 2), there will be a little Meg and Mike character that you can actually move to each level.

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If it’s lesson 6, there will be no project due.  The project will be discussed at the end of the slides like it is in lesson 5 and 11.


If it is lesson 12, they have a project due.  Presenting the project is always “Level 1” of the game map. Don’t get too worried, MOST student’s don’t have it ready.  L  But some do!  It’s always exciting when they do!  And in a very few cases, they will upload it beforehand.  Check on the area above the classroom, by the stars, and there’s a button that says “Project Uploaded.” If that is highlighted, they already took a picture of their project and uploaded it.  I’ve only seen this maybe twice!  But it could happen. Usually this is what you see: “Project Not Uploaded.”

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So the first step of the game map (if it’s lesson 12) is for them to show you their project.

-If they did it, they will hold it up to the screen and show you. You can talk about it.

-If they did not do it, they will probably look totally confused. Just skip over it, give them 0 points. If you have time at the end, hop back to this slide and draw one of the project choices together, and talk about it.


Then, after the project section, continue through the slides and the “game map.”  After each section, there will be a reward slide and it show the game map moving on. This is where I give my secondary reward.  Sometimes, I just draw whatever they got on the game map, so that it’s not confusing to have two totally different rewards happening.  Don’t forget to give stars too.

If possible, score the student as you go, with the feedback “stuck” on the bottom of the slides.  You can be tough on scoring.  If they need teacher assistance, they shouldn’t get the full amount of points. At the end, you’ll have to still write feedback to the parents, but no teacher to teacher feedback.

Here’s an example of feedback I wrote for a Level 2 UA. I use Feedback Panda, so this was a template that I edited.


“Hello Coco!  🙂  I love having classes with you!  You are such a great student!  In today’s class Coco took an assessment of all the content that she learned in Unit 5. Assessments are different than regular classes. No new content is learned, instead Coco showed me what she has learned up to this point.

Coco did not have a project, so we drew one together.  She told me that she likes to swing and slide at the playground!Coco did well on her assessment but needed teacher help for few activities.  For vocabulary, Coco demonstrated knowledge of the activities [ball], [basketball], [ping-pong], and [soccer]. Coco also was able to identify [kite], [friend], and [tag], and use them in complete sentences. Coco was not able to properly conjugate the phrase [to run], and [to play].  Remember for the pronouns he/she/it, we use the “s” at the end like “He runs. She plays.”


In speaking and listening, Coco was able to read and tell me in in complete sentences different varieties of the verb [play]. For Example [I play with my friends], [I play with my dad], as well as [The dog plays], and [The family plays].  For reading and writing, Coco was not able to identify and the high frequency words [was], [day], [we], [or], [who], and [only]. Please review these words.  Coco was also able to blend short /i/ words with [-it], [-ip], [-ig], [-in]. Coco was given a short story to read, and was able to read the story fluently and independently, as well as appropriately answer the comprehension questions with complete sentences.


In grammar, Coco was given the task to find the lower case [i], and proper nouns. Coco was able to appropriately capitalize the appropriate letters with teacher help.  Coco did a very good job in Math. She was given two math problems to complete and answered them correctly with teacher help.


Please thank Coco for a five-star class! ★★★★★Thank you for sharing the class with me and I hope to see Coco again soon! I would appreciate your comments and 5 apple rating!  In the comments, please tell me what Coco enjoyed about our class! Please consider using the Priority Booking function to get on my schedule again in two weeks. Have a great day! – Teacher Laura FAJ from Minnesota, USA”


Some other UA thoughts:
-If they are totally not understanding a concept, take the time to re-teach it.

-If they didn’t have a project (this is normal!) and you have time at the end, hop back to the presentation slide and draw a project with them so they can get a few points still.

-Make sure to mention in the comments that UAs are different than normal classes, so parents understand why you’re not teaching new material, and probably not using as many props and teaching aids.

-Usually, kids are pretty prepared and breeze through their UA.  So keep an eye on your pacing.  You don’t want to get to the end of the slides and still have 5-7 minutes left!  So try to pace yourself to finish the levels in 5 minute incrments, like this:

5:00ish= finish level 1

10:00ish= finish level 2

15:00ish= finish level 3

20:00ish=finish level 4

25:00ish=finish level 5, say good bye! J


I really enjoy UAs, because I feel like I can relax a bit and just let the kid show me what they know.  Less teaching, more listening.  I hope you have a good one!




VIPKID: So you had a bad day… :(

VIPKID is such a fun teaching job online.  I love it. But not every day is perfect.  Here is a play-by-play of a “bad VIPKID day.”

  1. My first class ended up being marked “Teacher IT,” meaning I don’t get paid because I had technology problems.   I woke up and we had an internet interruption.  So my first thing I do is try my hot spot on my phone.  The hot spot worked, but I didn’t get it going fast enough.  Moral of the story: get up early and get computer ready.  An extra two minutes would have saved me the bad finish type!
  2. My second class was marked “Student IT.”  I thought it was my problem, but it was the student’s issue. The student’s camera was stuck. The mom kept typing in Chinese to my in the chat box.  I copied and pasted her words into Google Translate to understand what she was saying. Then, I used the “call firemen” button to get extra help.
  3. My third class was a “Student No Show!”  I needed this break!  And the best part was that it was a short notice cancellation, so I get paid the full amount for doing nothing!

Tips for technology problems:

  1. Don’t stress or panic.
  2. Know that bad days are uncommon.
  3. Go with the flow.
  4. Ask Firemen for help!
  5. Take screenshots in case you need to prove what you did.

You got this, teacher!  Keep up the good teaching!


First steps with VIPKID!

So you decided to take the step and apply for VIPKID!

Here are some first steps, from application through the interview:

1. Fill out the online application. Use someone’s referral code. They will help you through the process! It will ask very basic information about your education and job history. No prep work necessary.

2. When they get back to you, schedule the interview right away. Don’t hesitate. You don’t need to have a perfect setup before your interview. Just do it!

3. Take inventory before your interview. What do you have that could be useful?

  • Grab and whiteboard or a pad of paper.
  • Find a stuffed animal, or a puppet.
  • Find an orange shirt if you have one.
  • Check your internet speed and stability. VIPKID has recommended speeds and requirements listed on their website.
  • This is a good time to get a headset too. Not required, but makes you look professional. This is the one thing that I would recommend spending money on at this point. The rest is all optional.

4. Educate yourself.

Just as with any job interview, you need to prepare.

  • Learn about online ESL techniques, especially TPR, wait time, and incidental language. Those are the basics.
  • Watch videos on YouTube about the VIPKID interview process. I could outline it here, but it is ever-changing so your research will be more up to date.
  • Learn about the details of the company, so you can ask educated questions. Find out about expected pay, schedule, cancellation policy, and certifications. Ask any questions you don’t understand.

5. Reach out to your referrer.

They will “fill in all the gaps” of questions you may have in the process. I’d recommend an in-person or Skype session if possible, so they can demonstrate some of the ESL techniques and you can get a real life picture if it.

Then go for it! Don’t hesitate, just dive in! You won’t regret it!

All the best! Let me know if you need support in this process!