I’ve recently had a lot of inquiries from people asking me how this whole teaching English remotely thing works, so I figured I would write a post that answers the most commonly asked questions! I’m quickly approaching two months as an educator with VIPKID and over the last 56 days, have had the privilege of teaching 28 different Chinese students.
Directly from their website, VIPKID is “an international learning experience for children in China between the ages of 4-12. Headquartered in Beijing, the company offers fully immersive one-on-one English language instruction provided online by highly qualified teachers. The curriculum is based on the U.S. Common Core State Standards and uses a flipped-classroom approach to foster creativity and critical thinking skills”.
The company is constantly being recognized for accomplishment after accomplishment, and is growing at an exponential rate, so I feel really blessed to be in the midst of it all. I’ve watched the shyest of students blossom and grow. Once comfortable with me, they go from complete silence to drawing pictures of us together & asking me questions about life in America. It’s really such a sight to see.
The way it all works is this:
Application Process –
In order to apply, one must possess either an Associate’s Degree in Elementary Education OR a Bachelor’s Degree in anything else combined with at least 1 year of teaching experience. I have a degree in business and taught piano all throughout college, so there are many alternatives to the traditional classroom that will substitute. Think about any coaching, mentoring, or leadership position you’ve had in the past. It will probably suffice.
Once your application is processed, you will be contacted via email to set-up a time for a mock class. This consists of a VIPKID Recruiter hopping on Skype with you while you pretend to teach a lesson. I was unnerved at the thought, but it didn’t end up being bad at all, so if you’re considering applying, don’t let this part scare you! It’s painless, given you’re familiar with the material that they’ve provided you with. Also, here’s a tip: Be bubbly and outgoing and over the top. If you feel silly, you’re doing a great job! Trust me – That’s what they’re looking for 🙂
Yay, you’re hired! –
Upon being officially hired, you’ll have to go through all of the boring protocol stuff; Completing a 1099 tax form, watching & listening to training videos, taking practice quizzes, that sort of thing. You will also record a short introduction video of yourself for potential students and their parents to watch.
You are completely, 100% in charge of how often you teach. You set your availability, and then parents book you for a specific time slot. I’ll admit that the “peak” teaching times can be pretty funky with the huge time difference. It’s not uncommon to catch me up at 5 am, preparing for a couple of early morning classes. This isn’t ideal or desirable for a non-morning person such as myself, and because of this, I find that I’m now trying to squeeze the majority of my lessons into the weekends. On a typical Friday and Saturday night, I’m teaching 6 back to back lessons. This is just what works well for me. Each lesson is one-on-one with a student, and lasts between 25 and 28 minutes.
My virtual classroom is my home office. You don’t need much – a computer, an orange shirt, whiteboard, a couple of dry erase markers, a good pair of earphones, and some alphabet flashcards. When I have classes on the schedule, I simply take down my hanging wall art & display my whiteboard behind me in its’ place. I’m all about creating things yourself and saving money when possible, so instead of going out and buying said flashcards, I found a PDF on Pinterest, printed it out, and cut each letter out into flashcard size. I then laminated them so that they’re double duty; I can now write with a dry erase marker on them too!
One of the most frequently asked questions that I get is – “How do you know what to teach?!” The company has made it so wonderfully easy for us. We are provided with a powerpoint for each and every lesson with instructions on the bottom of each slide for guidance. We’re able to log into our Teacher Portal 24 hours prior to the lesson in order to view and familiarize ourselves with the material. I’m never ever at a loss for what to teach, so I hope that that settles some of your concerns!
Reward systems are important to have. In my case, I draw a symbol on my big whiteboard behind me each time a student does well. I quickly found that they enjoyed it when I gave them options – “What color marker would you like to use”? and “Would you like a heart, or a star?” We also do “high fives” through the screen, which causes them to break out in smile more often than not. They get a real kick out of that.
Alright, I know what’s on everyone’s mind…Let’s talk numbers! Teachers are paid between $7 and $9 for each 25 minute class taught, depending on how their interview & mock lesson go. On top of the base amount, there are a lot of incentives for additional pay too. I won’t go through each and every one for the sake of time, but as an example, for each class that’s finished (which is hopefully every one), you make another $1. Or, if you’re teaching a trial class to a student who’s interested in joining the company and they then sign up, you receive another $5 on top of your base pay. After all’s said & done, I’m averaging about $20 per hour & am paid the lump sum once per month. Is it going to make you rich? No, but it is a great, fun, & easy way to supplement your income.
Interested in applying?
If teaching English remotely from the comfort of your own home (or anywhere else in the world, for that matter!) sounds like something you’d be interested in, please feel free to apply with my teacher referral link here: http://bit.ly/2m5NDFO
Disclaimer: If you’re hired, I will receive a small bonus for bringing other educators onboard, so thank you in advance!
As always, if you have any questions about the company or teaching itself, you can email me at Asia@NavigableWorld.com. I hope that this was helpful for any of you who were curious about how it all worked, and that if you were considering it before, you’re ready to apply now! Happy teaching & thanks for reading! <3