VIPKID: From tip-toeing to diving in! {9 month update!}

Well, it’s happening, I’m am working for only VIPKID! This is my 9 month update!  I started in at the beginning of November 2017, and it is now the end of June 2018.

First a hobby, then a side hustle, now a reliable job!

I did not know what to expect with this job.  I wondered if it was a scam, or if it would be like many of my friend’s side hustles that were not very profitable and end up being a waste of time.  I tip-toed into the world of online teaching, hesitantly.  It started slowly building.  I taught a few classes here and there.  Then I got my first regular students, and they were the “game-changer” for me.  The idea that a student on the other side of the world liked how I taught enough to book my classes over and over was so humbling and exciting.  I was hooked.

Juggling two jobs: brick and mortar and online teaching.

From the first regulars, my schedule began to fill up slowly and my 5-star ratings increased.  I worked for an hour here and there, starting this job during my maternity leave.  Then, I went back to work full time at a preschool.  I eased back on my online teaching, struggling to find a balance between the full-time job and this fun side job I was enjoying so much.  I was very careful that I didn’t short-change either set of students or my family by over-extending myself. I continued to see VIPKID as a God-given blessing that I would just enjoy as long as it was fun.  I told myself that I could and would quit it if it ever got overwhelming.  I adjusted my schedule as needed, kept teaching both places, and really began to enjoy the new routine!

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New season for our family!

As the end of the school year approached, I turned my attention to summer plans, like many moms.  I didn’t have a great daytime option for my elementary age daughter during the summer days, and my current preschool where I worked and my other two daughters attended was undergoing major changes.  I felt a deep peace about leaving my preschool job for the summer, staying home with my kids, and trying to amp up my online teaching to fill in the income gap.  Turns out, that was the perfect decision, because the preschool that I worked at suddenly announced they were closing, not long after summer began.  I would have had to find another position anyway.  I felt like God was going before me and working out all the details.  I opened up my schedule for online teaching and got excited about a new adventure!

From 15 classes per week to 40! 

I dove right in and more than doubled the amount of classes per week that I was teaching.  I began a new routine of teaching for about 3-4 hours per day before my kids woke up. It fits perfectly into the groove of our days.  I love teaching still and it never gets boring!  I got certified to teach more levels, opening up my potential student base and began to fill in the additional slots with new students and many trial (brand-new) students.

Am I going to go back to teaching in the fall?

Honestly, I don’t know what my plan is for the fall.  I am taking this job one month at a time. I know there are no guarantees of bookings and regular students with this job, so I don’t completely put my trust in this as my only income.  But for now, this job is reliable enough to not take on a full-time job in the fall.  I still really miss classroom teaching, and I know someday I will go back to it.  I am keeping my teaching license up to date, and staying aware of opportunities that may come my way.  But right now, with two little girls at home, I would have to really love a job to justify putting the girls back in daycare and working full-time.  And currently, VIPKID satisfies the feeling of purpose I get from teaching.  I am using my talents and my degree, supporting my family, and still spending my days with my little kids.  It’s perfect for my family, for this season.

How do you get up so early every day when you have little kids? 

This is the question I get asked most often.  The time difference and prime-hours of VIPKID (4-7AM Central Time) are so strange, and people can’t imagine waking up so early.  Honestly, it was hard at first, but I have just adjusted to a new routine.  I wake up at 4AM on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, and I “sleep in”  (haha) until 5:30AM on Tuesday and Thursday.  I often take a short nap in the afternoon if I can get both of my younger kids to nap at the same time.  I am managing well.  It helps that I have such a supportive husband.  He knows on the nights when I need to get to sleep that he will help get the girls to bed early.  He handles the morning routine with the girls while I finish teaching.  I couldn’t do this job without him.

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Memorable moments!

I want to end with the best part of this job: stories about the students.  At first, I didn’t really care about connecting with the students, which I know sounds terrible.  I thought, “How much can you really connect with a student you see occasionally who lives across the world and doesn’t speak your language?”  I was so wrong.  I have regular students that I teach 3-4 times per week.  I know their family, their hobbies, their house, what they eat, their goals.  I know it is different than brick and mortal classroom teaching, where you teach the same group of kids for 6 hours a day, 170 days per year.  But the relationships of VIPKID teachers and students are legitimate, and it is the best part of this job.  Here are my most memorable moments with students so far:

  • Kin and Anna- These are siblings that I taught separately for several weeks before I realized they were brother and sister!  One day, they popped into each other’s lessons! It was a fun surprise! I had no idea!
  • Aimee- This student loves my dog.  My chocolate lab, Max, will wander around in the background of my screen occasionally.  This student freaked out and started saying “Dog! Dog!” Now every lesson, I call Max down and she smiles at him and says hello.
  • Ella- This student enjoyed the fact that she shares a name with my baby!  I have watched her transform from a timid, nervous girl who would barely speak a word of English, into a confident speaker who has entire spontaneous conversations with me!  Such progress is amazing. She’s my best “VIPKID success story” yet.
  • Elva- Oftentimes, I use real objects as props to help teach words.  One time, a student wanted to do the same, and went to grab an egg because we were talking about foods we eat at different meals.  She thought it was hard-boiled, but it was NOT.  It splattered all over her hands and we laughed about it.  Prop fail!
  • I’ve had students take classes while in cars, at stores, in dressing rooms, or during a dinner at a restaurant!  It has been amazing to see China through the eyes of these students.  Now, I have a serious itch to travel there…
  • Once, I opened up my camera, and an entire family was there.  I taught the child, his parents, his siblings, and even his grandparents for 25 minutes! So much fun!  The whole group was repeating after me and videotaping the lesson on their smartphones. It was bizarre, and memorable!
  • And the best moments are when you get to be the child’s FIRST experience with English.  The look of amazement in their eyes, and their parents’ eyes, when they speak in English and you understand them and they understand you. It’s magical!  Teachers talk about the “lightbulb moments” and I get to experience that daily.  It makes the world seem much smaller and reminds you that we are not all that different.

As of today, I here are my VIPKID stats:

  • 226 days since I was hired
  • 169 different students
  • 418 classes
  • 10,450 minutes of teaching
  • certified to teach 9 types of classes
  • 97 5-apple ratings (so close to 100 ratings!)
  • 4 referrals coached through the process

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I share this update for my friends and family who want to know how it’s going and who are curious about this strange job.  I do not actively try to recruit people to this job, because one reason I chose this job was that no direct sales, multi-level marketing, or recruitment is involved. That is not my gifting or interest. However, if you are interested in becoming a teacher online, I’d love to help you.

If you are a current VIPKID teacher, I’d love to hear how our stories compare.  I have found such a fun online community of remote teachers through blogging, YouTubing, facebook groups, and even one in-person Minnesota meet-up!  It is so fun to meet someone who speaks the “VIPKID lingo” and I’d love to hear your journey!

All the best and happy teaching!

-Laura

Some highlights that I’ve shared:

Want more info? 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!

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