Wow, I have been a major blogger slacker lately. I had a goal to post 2-3 times per week and I’m sorry to say I have not been doing that the last month. I do have a good excuse though… I’ve started working for VIP Kid. I’ve had a few questions about what I do, so I thought I should share my experience here…
What is VIP Kid??
VIP Kid is an online tutoring program designed to teach English to kids in China. It is a great company and has been a good opportunity for me to supplement my household income. Once VIP Kid hired me, I became an independent contractor for the company. The kids in China sign up for this company and then they get to choose their teacher to teach them certain lessons that they go through in the program.
What credentials did you need in order to get hired?
The only requirements (other than passing the interviews) to apply to become a teacher for VIP Kid is to have a bachelor’s degree and pass a background check. It does not matter what the degree is in or if you have any experience as a teacher (although it does help your pay if you have some experience working with kids). I started the online application and went through the steps. It took about 2 weeks before I was officially hired.
What is the hiring process?
First you fill out an application answering a few simple questions online. Then you will get instructions on what to do next.
The second step is to do an interview, which is basically you teaching a 10 minute class using their lesson plan to one of their employees. This took a few days to prepare for because you want to get it right! You can either do this live or you can record it and send in the video.
After you pass the interview, you will then teach a mock class to an experienced VIP Kid teacher. This mock class is a 15 minute lesson for a lower level English speaker and a 10 minute lesson for more advanced student. This also took a few days to prepare for. If you do well on your first mock class you can move on to the next step. If the teacher you taught in your mock class feels like you need more practice then you will do a 2nd mock class.
Once you pass the mock class then you can fill out the information for the background check and start filling in your profile information and short video that parents view when they are selecting a teacher for their child.
What happens after you are hired?
Once you finish your profile you are ready to start teaching! You start by opening time slots that you are available to teach. Then you wait! It can take a while before you get any bookings (or kids signing up to take a class from you). Eventually, someone will sign up for a class. You will teach that student whatever lesson they are on. Once they sign up, you will have access to that student’s information (name, gender, age, past lesson experience, and how many lessons he/she has taken with VIP Kid), and the lesson material. You will want to read through the lesson and be ready to teach before your class begins. The first week I taught I mostly had trial classes sign up. A trial class is a class for a student who has not yet signed up for the VIP kid program, but wants to try it out. They get 3 free trial classes before they decide if they want to sign up. So you basically make yourself available and then you wait!
How long does it take before kids book a class with you?
This answer varies for every teacher. I had my first booking on my 2nd day that I was available. I’ve heard of other teachers waiting 3 months before they had their first booking. My first 10 days I had 6 bookings. However, not all of those bookings were actually lessons. On the trial classes, there tends to be a lot of “student no-shows” where kids just don’t show up. I still get paid when a student does not show up though! If it is a regular student who is part of the program I get full pay, but if it is a trial class then I get half the pay. I had 3 “student no-shows” before I actually taught my first real lesson 8 days after being hired. There are workshops and a jump-start program you can participate in that will help increase bookings, so I think that waiting 3 months for a booking is not the norm.
How much $$ do you get paid?
This answer also varies for each teacher. The range is $7-$9 per lesson (each lesson is 25 minutes long). The person that does your first interview will determine your pay. If you have some experience teaching or working with kids, it’s more likely that you will make more that $7. There are also several incentives to earn:
- For every lesson that you are on time, you earn another $1/lesson.
- If you teach more than 45 lessons in a month then another $1 is added onto every lesson.
- If the student books a class with you less than 24 hours before that class begins then you get another $2 for that lesson.
- If you are the last teacher to teach a trial class to a student and that student signs up, then you earn an extra $5.
- If you refer a friend who gets hired, you earn $100. (Here is my referral link! ;-)) Let me know if you use my link to start your application, so that I can be a mentor for you and help you prepare for your interview and answer all your questions throughout the hiring process. It’s really helpful to sign up under someone that can be a mentor for you!
I make $8 per lesson. When I am on time that becomes $9 per lesson and if it was a short notice booking (less than 24 hours) that becomes $11 per lesson. One day I taught two lessons back to back and they were both short notice, so I made $22 that hour. As you can see, this can be a good paying part-time gig!
What hours do you teach?
China is 14 hours ahead of me (MST). The kids in China typically take these lessons from home in the evenings during the week and mornings during the weekends. This means that I must work very early in the morning (5:00 AM-7:30 AM) for their evening lesson and late at night (9:00PM-midnight) for their early morning lessons. Remember, as a teacher, you set your own hours though. There are time slots available from 12:00AM-7:30AM and then again from 7:30PM-Midnight. The time that you are most likely to get bookings is from 5:00AM-6:30AM. I have taught both early mornings and late at night. I love that before my kids wake up and need to get ready for school, I am done with work. I am used to getting up early, because that is my time to blog. As I mentioned, my blogging has been taking the back-burner as I have focused on VIP Kid. (You can read about finding your top 3 priorities here and understand why I haven’t been able to do both.)
How do you get paid?
I haven’t actually received my first pay check yet, but on June 15th I should have a direct deposit into my bank account for the lessons that I taught in May. I can track my earnings on the VIP Kid app that I have on my phone. I love watching the amount increase after each lesson!
What equipment do you need?
- Computer (desktop or laptop)
- headset (microphone and headphones)
- Good internet connection
- desk lamp (lighting is important)
- Props (these have been my kid’s toys) (doll family, puppet, ocean animals, zoo animals and farm animals)
- small whiteboard and marker
- orange shirt (orange is their color and they like to see it on their teachers)
- Background (you need a wall behind you and have it decorated like an actual classroom: map, whiteboard, pictures, alphabet poster... all of this can be found at the dollar store)
- notebook for notes during your lessons
What has NOT been great about VIP Kid?
This process has not gone off without a hitch. It was really great for the first 2 weeks. I felt good about my number of bookings and felt like my lessons were going well. 15 days into my experience I had a technical issue that cost me greatly. The timer in my classroom was not working, so I decided to exit the classroom and try reentering. Once I left, I was unable to get back into the classroom!! This showed up as a “teacher no-show” and I was not able to convince the company to change that status to a “teacher IT issue.” Teacher no-shows are not good for your ratings and can affect your bookings, plus you loose $10 from your incentive money. Two days after the no-show, my 10 year-old computer wigged out and would not pull up the VIP Kid website to let me log in. I quickly woke my husband up so that I could borrow his work computer. However, it took the first 10 minutes of class time to get the camera working on his computer. After these two issues, it was 2 weeks of NO bookings! I was highly discouraged. On the third week of no bookings, I started taking workshops and was getting ready to do this jump-start program they have to increase bookings. The next day I had several bookings! In a week, I had as many bookings as I did my whole first month of teaching! In fact, on Saturday alone I had 9 lessons, which is the same number of lessons I actually taught (not including no shows) my first month! In one day I made as much as I did in a month. I am excited to see my second month’s paycheck!
What HAS been great??
- I actually love teaching these lessons! When I finish a lesson I feel rejuvenated and happy. When my kids wake up and need to get ready for school I found that I was in a better mood and happier with the morning on days that I taught.
- The pay is better than many other part-time jobs I can find.
- I like being able to set my own schedule and not work on days that I have vacations planned.
- The lesson prep is very minimal. I usually take less than 10 minutes to prep for a class.
- I LOVE getting to know the students! That has been my favorite part. It’s been fun to see a new culture and learn more about these students.
- Being able to contribute to our family finances without having to send my kids to day care.
- I love that I can roll out of bed, put on an orange shirt, sit at my computer snuggled under a warm blanket and be at “work.” I seriously don’t even brush my hair or teeth!
Teaching for VIP Kid really has been a blessing. I was really looking for a way to continue being a stay-at-home-mom, but make some extra money to help with our finances and I believe that this can be the answer. If you have any other questions you would like me to answer just leave me a comment and I will get back to you! If you are interested in checking it out you can get to the right place here!
Teaching and making some extra money helps me to be nice and happy!