VIPKID: Pre-VIPKID Trials Tips and Tricks!

I have been teaching with VIPKID for a few months now. In my previous life I was a kindergarten teacher for many years so I was always curious about the Pre-VIPKID level, the earliest level meant for 3-4 year olds. I thought I might enjoy teaching the younger students because that is where my classroom experience was.
After a few months of teaching mostly level two, I requested the level one tag and got it quickly. I  started trials right away. I learned right away that level one is a whole different ballgame. The kids are very young. They speak zero English. Parents are right there with them. There is very little academics. It’s all about the experience for them. And if I’m honest about my first few trials, I did not give a great experience.
Here are some my tips, so hopefully you can convert some of these level one trials to regular students!
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1. Don’t belabor the greetings
In level two and above, the greetings are very important. It establishes rapport with the student and starts the class out on a fun note.  But in level one, you cannot belabor the greetings.  They don’t yet know how to say “My name is…”. It may stress them out that you are waiting for a response.  Just say hello and move on.  The “My name is” greetings are taught within the lesson.
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2. Pick a super easy, general reward
You don’t know the kids.  They don’t know ANY vocabulary.  You have to keep it SO SIMPLE!  So for rewards, I just do an ice cream toy.  I say something like this:
“Ice cream!” (point to ice cream)
“When YOU (point to kid) speak (point to mouth), you get ice cream (put ice cream up by camera.)
That’s it.  No games, no explaining.  Simple.  They love it.
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My amazing husband built me a wooden standing desk.  But anything that gets your computer up to eye level works!
3. Standing desk!
One unique thing about level one is that they include a lot of movement. One of the first slides is teaching the word “stretch” and getting the kids moving.  Also, you’ll need space to “Hit the ball.”  That brings me to the next tip.
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Gather up any balls around your house!
4. You need an actual ball.
The more, the better!  This is also the lesson that I always wish I could juggle.  But that’s another story!
5. Zero incidental language
As I mentioned above, everything has to be so simple.  Especially your language.  For me, it helps to remember my first time in a second language class in junior high.  I took Spanish, and my first day the teacher purposely spoke NO English.  Not one word.  We left feeling a little shell-shocked.  I try to remember those moments when I’m teaching the youngest ones because they don’t know any phrases or vocabulary yet.
I noticed this in the trial slide that is about “flying to the USA” with Meg and Mike.  I have to be SO careful not to fill that slide in with incidental language about flying, America, the Statue of Liberty.  That will just throw them off.
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6. Spend the time on the ABC song!
I always save some time to spend on the ABC song slide.  Chinese kids know the ABC song.  It gives them some confidence to see something that is familiar.  So I spend time on this slide, singing it line by line, and praising them for their singing.  I also extend by circling random letters and asking “What letter?”  Some students can pick out the letters, some can’t.  It’s interesting to see.
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So there’s my tips!  I hope they are helpful to you!

Again, if you are in this fun job with VIPKID and you need someone to talk you through it, follow my referral link and use this code: 05IOD5.  Thanks!

-Laura

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