So I am almost one-month into VIPKID teaching! I was hired on 11/6/17 and have enjoyed it so much! It has been a huge blessing to my family. If you want to read about my process of applying, and getting hired, you can follow those links. It was definitely worth the time and effort!
- Classes taught:21
- No-shows: 18
- Total bookings: 39
- Number of kids who signed up from trials: 4
- November Paycheck: $318 (!!!)
Here are some of my most commonly asked questions from family and friends, and then a couple tips if you are thinking about working for VIPKID or in the hiring process!
1. Is it awful getting up that early? How do you wake yourself up enough to teach?
I have to say, it hasn’t been that bad getting up! I’m writing this at 4:55 a.m. as I wait for a class to start, and I don’t feel that tired! Most days I opened up three time slots, 5a.m., 5:30a.m., and 6a.m. There were a few days that were rough, but that was more because my baby was up in the middle of the night, like at 2:30a.m., and then I had a class at 5a.m. So that was challenging. But, for the most part, it has been fine. I would go as far as to say it has even been enjoyable! I have adapted to really looking forward to my quiet morning routine. I make my coffee, feed the dog, go down to my “teaching corner,” put on a little makeup, and read through my lessons. If the kid is a no-show, which happened quite a bit the first month, then I have a little time to read, blog, Facebook, or do laundry. My days begin much more calmly than before, when I was sleeping as late as possible before my girls woke up.
2. How does it fit into your family’s routine?
This has been a fun surprise. It really fits well into the groove of our family. The baby is sleeping through the night (THANK THE LORD IN HEAVEN!) and usually sleeps from 10-8am. Occasionally, I’ll nurse her right before I go to teach at about 4 a.m., but that’s only if I can see she’s stirring on the baby monitor. So this is our normal routine:
- 4:15 I wake up, get ready, sometimes nurse the baby
- 5:00-6:30 Teach three classes
- 6:30 My kids wake up, get ready for school, eat breakfast
- 7:30 Bus comes, Husband and preschooler leave
- 8:00 Baby wakes up, I feed her, we are on our way for our day!
I should note that I do sometimes get to take a nap in the afternoon, which is awesome. Also, I should say that I’m still technically on maternity leave, so this schedule will definitely be changing soon. More on that later!
3. Is it worth the money?
I have gotten this question quite a bit. People are weighing in their mind how much their early morning sleep is worth! I get it! I love my sleep too. But for me, in this stage of life, I would say a whole-hearted YES, it is worth the money. I feel like it pays well for the effort you put in. I make between $18-20/hour, depending on a few things, which adds up quickly! I was looking for a way to supplement our family’s income during my unpaid maternity leave, and I think this is the perfect solution for me because it fits my passions of teaching, it’s right here in my house, and it fits around my family’s schedule. If you have questions about how they pay, there are some great YouTube videos that break down the payment plan and detail all the incentives. Also, when I was looking to supplement our income, I was dead set on NOT selling anything, specifically those MLM companies and products. I know that this is trendy and some people love it, especially stay at home moms, but I just did not want to go there. So I feel like this online teaching gig has been a total answer to prayer for my family!
4. Are the lessons easy to teach?
The lessons are totally prepared for you. You just need to read through the powerpoint-style slides, and think through how you’d like to present it. This is nothing like actual lesson planning in a classroom. It is so much easier. The first time I teach a lesson, it takes me maybe ten minutes to prepare. I get my letter cards out and a few stuffed animals. One lesson I needed a calendar to teach days of the week. One lesson was about family, so I grabbed a picture of my family. Super easy.
The way that VIPKID is set up right now is that new teachers like me are “gradually released” to teach, so I’m only certified to teach certain classes. This means I teach the same lesson several times. So now, a month into this, if I see that I have a lesson that I’ve taught before, I don’t need to prepare at all. I just breeze through the slides and I’m ready to go.
1. Organize Lesson Bins
This is probably the most helpful tip I have. For the first month, I taught a rotation of about four classes. Check out this listing of my classes.
You can see that I taught a bunch of Level 2s, either lesson 1 or 4, and then a few Level 3s. I thought it might get boring teaching the same thing over and over, but every class is so different. It was actually a huge relief to know the material well, so that I could focus on the student and making it fun for him or her.
Because I taught so many of the same class, I created little bins for each lesson. In my 2.1 bin, I had the first four letters in capital and lower case, and an elephant and mouse to teach big/small. In my 2.4 bin, I had print outs of the characters Lisa, mom, and dad, and a picture of my actual family. It made it so much easier to have everything in one place. I know some people do file folders or expandable folders. You have to find a system that works for you.
2. Feedback templates
This is another time-saver. After each class, you have to write feedback. If you have back to back classes, this can feel a little stressful and rushed. As I mentioned earlier, I taught the same lessons over and over, so much of my feedback was similar. I got the idea, about a week into this, to have a few “templates” of feedback saved, so I could just adjust them for the student and be done quickly. I save them on a word document for easy editing. Here’s what my paragraphs look like:
3. All the VIPKID sites: Portal, Hutong, Fresh desk
These are three different VIPKID websites, all important for different reasons. It was helpful when I figured out what site was used for what. Here’s your overview!
- Portal- This is the main website that you’ll use. This is where you’ll book your classes, check your payments, and teach your actual classes. There’s a tab on this page called “community” that leads you to a pop-up new page called:
- Hutong- This word means “community” or “neighborhood.” This is for FUN. I haven’t used it much, but it is like a Facebook group for VIPKID teachers. There are challenges and videos to watch, and you earn points. This is also where you can find the weekly update and any announcements. The points can be redeemed for fun stuff like t-shirts. Sometimes I go here while I’m waiting for a student to show up!
- Freshdesk-This is their “help-desk” where you can “request a ticket” for any problem you’re having. You get invited to this page by email after you’re hired. I didn’t realize it until someone mentioned it on a Facebook group. It also is like an online conference with workshops. If you want to see level-appropriate teaching strategies, check this out. There are tons of tricks and tips. I haven’t used it much yet, but plan to check it out when I start teaching higher level classes.
So, in short, I’m adjusting to mornings, it’s easy to teach, and totally worth the money. And for my tips: Make some bins, prepare some feedback templates, and check out all the websites. More to come next month!
If you’re reading this and are curious about this crazy job, message me and I can answer any questions you have! If you are ready to dive into this fun job and you need someone to talk you through it, follow my referral link and use this code: 05IOD5. Thanks!
Follow Laura’s VIPKID Journey here: