Hey boss lady! I did a thing, and I want to share all about it with you. Have you ever heard of VIPKID?It’s a community that allows you to teach English online.
About a year and a half ago, I was talking to another boss lady in the church nursery about charting a course for working from home. She started telling me about this online teaching platform that she did from home called (you guessed it!) VIPKID.
Here’s the scoop on VIPKID: They are a company based in Beijing, China constantly in search of fluent English-speakers that are willing to teach English online to Chinese students.
My Journey to Teach English Online with VIPKID: Background
Now, I have to admit, I was only slightly motivated at the time to venture out toward where I am at now, so it took me a while to apply. Like six-months-a-while. Sheesh! When I finally did apply, it was during the summer, and I only had about a quarter tank of motivation to try it out because I wanted to be completely on a break.
Rather than jump into the opportunity fully prepared, I blew through the interview, and the mock class, and completely bombed it. What?! I know. How could they not want me to teach English online for them? I am in fact certified to teach children in public schools, AND I have a certification to teach English as a Second Language (ESL). I’m the shizzzz!
I thought that my credentials would automatically pave the way for me to waltz right into the job with no trouble. Boy was I wrong.
Fast forward another year. Motivation tank full with a new attitude, and we’re in the present! Luckily, VIPKID continued to encourage me through emails to reapply. It didn’t matter if I was a certified teacher or not. I knew I could teach English online, but what mattered is if I would be willing to learn a new style of teaching. Could I follow orders and tuck in my mad improv skills that I typically use to get me through a brick and mortar class?
Anyway, you know that saying, “Luck favors the prepared.”? Those are definitely some wise words! I actually read that about five years ago in the classroom of one of my current coworkers when I was just a student teacher at that school. Those words came to me so clearly when I decided to have another go at VIPKID.
Now, lemme be Captain Obvious for a quick second…I wouldn’t be sharing this with you unless my second time around was a success. I got the job!
Here’s my referral code if you would like to sign up to become a VIPKID teacher:
What I Know Now
If you are at all interested in teaching English online and becoming a VIPKID teacher, read on about the process that you will be going through on your venture.
But first, I will have you know that slacking with no organization has typically been the name of my game. So, please don’t feel like this is an intimidating process just because I failed at it the first time. Seriously, y’all. Whose a slacker? This girl (my thumbs are pointing to me!!). Can someone make me a T-shirt that says that with the thumbs on it?
The only criteria for teaching English online with VIPKID is that you have a bachelor’s degree, you are a fluent English-speaker, you are eligible to work in the United States or Canada, you have stable internet connection, and you have at least one year experience working with children.
Don’t let that last one scare you off. Think about any experience with children that you have. Sunday school teacher? Camp counselor? Babysitter? All relevant. Do not write off your experience just because you don’t think it took place in a professional setting! And, if you flat out don’t like kids, then you probably shouldn’t apply. Just sayin’.
The Application Process
VIPKID takes you through an application process that’s pretty typical. You fill it out online, and if you meet the criteria listed above, you should receive an email to schedule an interview relatively quickly. VIPKID is pretty darn quick with their response times, so you should hear something within the week.
Here’s what the sign-up/in page looks like. Nice, right? Seems legit. Just kidding…It’s definitely legit. I personally know several people that currently teach for VIPKID. If you want to do me a favor when you sign up, just click on this link: https://t.vipkid.com.cn/?refereeId=7791277&refersourceid=a01
This link will say that I referred you to the company, and I may be eligible for a little extra on my next paycheck.
In your email from them, you will be directed through a link to log into the platform to pick a time slot for your interview. Times are wacky. This is because headquarters is in Beijing. You will probably have the option to interview at 4 o’clock in the morning, but there are also time slots available at not-so-crazy times, too. This is because people in the states working for VIPKID interview potential teachers. When you actually become a teacher, however, our western work schedule ain’t gonna cut it. You have been warned!
You will gain access to materials to help you prep for your mock class that will take place during your interview. Do not, I repeat, do not take this stuff lightly! Preparation is your friend! Please prepare. The interviewer will see right through you if you try to pull a me and improvise! Read through the materials. Check out the slide show you will be teaching and really practice it. In the mirror. You will feel ridiculous. Just do it, ok?!
I also recommend checking out some other VIPKID teachers teaching the same slideshow that you receive from the company. There’s lots of Youtube videos available of teachers demonstrating what teaching English online for VIPKID should look like.
Important Pre-Interview Stuff
You will be told to have good lighting and a decent background that you will sit in front of while teaching your mock class. VIPKID will tell you this, and they mean it, so for goodness sakes, just put a map on the wall and some ABCs!
Oh, what’s that? You don’t have that stuff? Be creative and stick something up there that looks educational for kids in elementary school. Do you have kids at home? Go dig through their stuff. My son has a magnetic board that I hung up behind me. Do you have some paper and markers? Write “Teacher (your name here),” and then stick it up there. I used some number and alphabet flash cards organized in a kid-appealing way on the wall.
Same principle for props. You’ll be hearing about that. One of my slides talked about the earth, and I just so happened to have a ball that depicts earth on it. Other VIPKID teachers drew a very simplified version to use. When we talked about trash, guess what I did? I got the trashcan from the bathroom and some computer paper wadded up into a ball to demonstrate trash. I know you got trash at your house. See? Simple.
Don’t buy anything! You have something around the house that you can absolutely use.
Ha! If you’re in education, you know that I’ve already gone through a couple of politically correct acronyms we’ve got going at the moment. Remember, you don’t have to be a teacher or have a background as an educator whatsoever to get this job!
Anywho, the acronym that is going to be the most important for you as a potential VIPKID teacher is TPR. TPR stands for Total Physical Response. This means using your body to communicate, which is probably what you would do if you were to visit a country and you needed to find the bathroom, but no one around you knew what the heck you were trying to say. That’s a very lonely feeling, and you would be wise to remember that. But, think about it. How would you talk to someone that didn’t speak the same language as you? You would use gestures, mimic actions with your hands, make your facial expressions very animated, and all that jazz. That’s TPR.
Learn it. Practice it. Use it for your mock class and when you become a VIPKID teacher.
Don’t look like a bum! Comb your hair and wear a plain T-shirt or polo. Be comfy on bottom and wear your favorite yoga pants. Just keep in mind that this is a job teaching children, and anything less than pants or shorts with an elastic waistband might be weird.
Before the interview, you will be able to log in and make sure you have your slideshow uploaded, your computer camera is working, and your microphone/headset is working. It is absolutely imperative that you check all of that off of your to do list before your interviewer gets in there to meet you. They’ll send you several reminders about it. Don’t forget!
During the interview, you will chat with the interviewer about any questions you have about the interview or working with VIPKID. In my experience, there has always (I’ve done it a few times) been a friendly face on my computer screen that genuinely wanted to make me feel at ease and take the time to answer my questions. They are just nice, darn it!
Smile. Be nice right back, and don’t worry if you’re sweaty from nervousness, they’ll never know it (unless you tell them like big dumb me!). Have any questions on hand that you want to ask. By this point, you should have prepared enough to actually sound like you have some familiarity with what the heck is about to happen and what VIPKID is all about. You’ll do great!
The Mock Class
After y’all chit chat it up, the ever-so-kind interviewer will tell you that you can begin your mock class when you’re ready. No sweat (unless you’re just a sweaty person)! You’ve practiced at least a dozen times in the mirror. You’ve totally got this!
You will have fifteen minutes to teach English online to a beginner-level student (the interviewer). Then you will stop, talk about what worked and areas that need improvement, and then you will move to the ten minute second portion. For the second part, you’ll be engaging the interviewer in an upper-level lesson. They want to see you work it as a teacher who works with beginners, as well as a teacher who works with a seasoned English Language Learner.
You will be timed, but you’ve already timed yourself and know how the whole thing will go down, right? Wrong. But that’s why I’m here! The interviewer is going to pretend to be a five-year-old Chinese student with (most likely) little to no English speaking ability.
Fret not! There is protocol for this kind of thing. These interviewers are good. They want to see how you work under the pressure of teaching a five-year-old the English language. They will try to throw you off. The best thing that know to tell you is that kindness is key. Do not interrupt a student if they mispronounce a word or use the incorrect article when identifying an elephant. Let them finish, and then correct! You must make an attempt to correct ever-so-matter-of-factly with the ticking clock in mind.
You should spend about a minute on each slide. That was probably my biggest struggle. There is such a balance involved between meeting objectives and keeping up with your time. You just gotta keep on rowing. Study the objectives and DON’T add to them. Say what they want you to say, and no more. Adding to your conversation is called incidental language. Ain’t nobody got time fa dat! Stay focused, meet the objectives in a timely manner.
After the Interview and Mock Class
The interviewer was either super impressed and you get the job, or you get to do a second mock class. My interviewer told me that everybody makes it through Mock Class 1. I think you probably have to do some really awful stuff to not make it past this point.
If you have lots of room for improvement, your interviewer will provide you with detailed feedback on how you can improve in preparation for your Mock Class 2.
You will get an email that goes over some stuff from the rubric that your interviewer used to score your teaching. This is a very handy tool that you should really use when preparing for your next class.
My Biggest Flop
Aside from my bad attitude, I did not take the time to jump through the hoops. Face the music. When you want something, there are things that you have to do, time that you gotta sacrifice. I went through the process again, and now I get to tell you about it. Don’t be like me my first time around, k?
What’s the Takeaway?
- Prepare like there’s no tomorrow! Practicing in the mirror is encouraged.
- Decorate the wall behind where you will be recording yourself all pretty-like and have good lighting.
- Look profesh–business on the top, PJ party on the bottom…ha!
- Use TPR!!!
That’s it! You still interested? When you go to apply, do me a favor, and use my referral code. I would so very much appreciate it! If you missed it, here’s my code that you can enter in when you sign up: 04MZSD
Have you tried VIPKID or something similar? Let us know about it in the comments section!
Establish your reason for wanting to work from home! It’s so important because it will help you to stay focused on your journey. Check out why I want to work from home here .