Three months ago I started one of the most fun and rewarding jobs I have ever had. I work for a company called VIPKID where I teach online English to children in Beijing. I have had several people ask details about applying and what is involved. I thought a blog post would be the easiest way to answer any of those questions.
The starting pay is $16.00 – $22.00 an hour. The company also gives incentives. They pay you $1.00 for every class you arrive to on time. I think arriving on time should be a given anyway!! You also get another $1.00 for every class you finish teaching. So if you make $16.00 an hour and show up on time and finish the class, you essentially would be making $18.00 an hour.
Here are the basic steps in getting hired:
- Application (bachelors degree required)
- Demo interview
- Mock 1 interview
- Mock 2 interview or Kick off Meeting
- Fill out contract/Upload Documents
The first step is filling out an online application here . Then the company will email and request you to schedule an online interview. For the online interview, you will teach a lesson to an adult that pretends to be a 5 year old. VIPKID will email you powerpoint slides of the lesson so you can know what to teach. You have the option to also record yourself teaching a pretend person and send your video in that way. I chose to do a live face to face lesson interview. Here are some important things to remember for the Demo interview:
- Smile big the WHOLE time!! (the cheesier the better)
- Be silly
- Use a lot of hand & body gestures
- TPR (total physical response). You should constantly be moving and using your body language to teach.
- Talk slowly.
- Make eye contact
- Use appropriate props for the lesson (puppets, whiteboard, ABC letters, etc)
- Pace yourself so you don’t end early or go over.
As silly as you may feel teaching an adult that is acting like a 5 year old, it is critical to get into “character” and be “over the top” and animated. These students you will teach in the future are learning English so they need a TON of TPR (total physical response). Your interviewer will be assessing you on whether you can show them that.
Mock 1 Interview
If you pass the demo interview, the company will email and request you schedule your mock 1 interview. This is another interview where you will teach 2 different lessons. You will teach:
- Younger student lesson
- Older student lesson
The company will email you the powerpoint slides again of the lesson so you can prepare to teach your mock 1. Once again, you will be teaching an adult that is acting like a 5 year old. Then they will transition in the middle of the lesson and act like an older kid who is 8-13 years old while you teach the older kid lesson. It is still important to smile and use TPR, but it is important when you teach the older student lesson to use age appropriate expressions. They don’t want to feel you are treating them like a “baby.” After you teach your mock 1 interview you will receive an email. In the email one of these options will be there.
- You are hired and don’t have to teach mock 2 interview
- They request you schedule a mock 2 interview so they can see you teach more
- They give you a choice to attend a Kick off Meeting or take a Mock 2 interview
By choosing the Kick off meeting option, you are automatically hired after you finish the meeting. However, there is a catch. By choosing the kick off meeting, you have to teach 5 trial classes before you are allowed to teach major regular course classes. Trial classes are parents in China that are “testing” out this program. They are allowed a few free classes to see how they like it. Some teachers prefer to take a chance and do a mock 2 interview and hope they pass. Other teachers have decided a Kick off Meeting is the safe route because they are automatically hired. But then they have to wait to teach 5 classes.
VIPKID App/Teachers Portal
Once you are hired, you can download the VIPKID app to keep track of your students and classes you teach. The app also records your statistics such as how many minutes, classes and students you have taught. You can also view your parent feedback, certifications and any referrals you may have.
VIPkid requires teachers to use a reward system while teaching. The rewards aren’t really “tangible.” since the kids obviously live far away. The reward system is meant to encourage and motivate the students throughout the lesson. There are thousands of rewards you could easily come up with. My own children’s toys and games have been very helpful to use as rewards. The younger students like receiving a pretend ice-cream scoop on a cone. Some of my students love legos, so I pretend to give them a lego figure by holding it up to the camera when they do something well. Other younger kids love when you put a sticker on your face and act silly every time they do a great job. Other students love for you to draw them a quick picture. The kids also love to get high fives or thumbs up during the lesson. The older kids tend to think the cutesy rewards aren’t as appealing. I have had some students request not to even have a reward. Can you blame them? However, since it is a requirement for VIPkid to do a reward each lesson, I will do “older” type of rewards. For example, when my older students do a good job, we will stop and chat about their hobbies for 10 second to get a break from the lesson. Also for the older kids, I typically reward them with games like tic tac toe or hangman. Rewards that aren’t so babyish for older kids are the best. One older level girl I taught loved dancing, so every 5 minutes I would turn on music and she and I would dance for 10 seconds. Another older boy I taught loved basketball. So for a reward I brought a basketball to class and he brought his basketball too. When he got a problem right, we would practice spinning it on our finger for a few seconds. The rewards for the lesson aren’t supposed to be long or sidetrack from the lesson. You only have 25 minutes to get through the entire lesson, so the reward is usually a quick acknowledgment that they are doing a good job and then you continue on with the lesson as follows.
What will I teach?
All of the lessons you teach will typically be a 25-27 page powerpoint presentation. At the end of each unit, you will give a Unit Assessment which is 45 slides long. You don’t have to create any lessons because it is all done for you. It is a good idea to look over the slides though and plan for any props or rewards you may want to bring to the lesson. Here are just some of the many topics you may teach:
School Rules, Discoveries on Water, All about Me, Fairy Tales, Land Animals Changes in Matters, Animals I know, Our days on Earth, Teacher Talk, Abroad, Beijing the Capital, Colors Around me, Behavioral Adaptations, What is in my Neighborhood, Animal Body Parts, Cars Trucks and Bikes, A Year on Earth, My Face, Physical Adaptations, Exercising, Animals Grow and change, Choosing a Friend, Aquatic/Semi-aquatic Animals, Eating Customs, Personal Information, Things in My Home, Who am I, Smells Nice, Tastes Good, Life in the City, My Toys, Exercising, I’m doing Well at School, Happy Holidays, Season’s Wishes, Eating Healthy, Needs and Wants, Journey into Space Kwanzaa and Ramadan, Outdoor Hobbies, Fables and Folk Tales, Marriage Relations, Technology Now
The great part about this job is that you can choose when and how many hours you want to work. You can work 1 hour or 20 hours. Some weeks I’m exhausted so I only open up a couple time slots in the week. Other weeks, I’m feeling more ambitious so I open up a lot of time slots to make more money. The schedule above is one of my weeks that I taught. The green color is the slots that I opened and they got filled up by parents. The white spots with the little checkbox next to it are slots I opened but hadn’t got filled yet by parents. The red color on the side that says “Hot” are the times that are best to open up your availability because you will most likely get booked by parents at those times.
The age range of these children is 5-13 years old. After your interview, they will tell you what ages and levels you are certified to teach. When I first got hired, I mainly taught the older kids (level 4,5,6). You can request to get certified to teach the other levels by sending an e-mail to the company. I love teaching the older kids because they can engage in conversation ad understand humor a little more. The younger kids are SO fun too though because they get excited over small things.
IT Issues/No Shows/Cancellations
I was really nervous about having issues with my internet or computer while teaching. When you are teaching if you ever have a problem, you click “contact fireman” You can report any issue with bad audio or if you can’t see student or the student is acting up and they will help resolve it. If it is the student’s IT problem, you will still get full pay for the class even if you are unable to teach. However, if it is a Teacher IT issue, then you will only get 1/2 pay for that particular lesson.
For any reason if a student doesn’t show up to class, it will be marked as “student now show” and you still get paid. However, if the teacher doesn’t show up to teach the class, then the class is marked as: “teacher no show” and you get 10 dollars deducted from your pay. One time I didn’t show up to a class because my computer was freezing and I couldn’t log in to the classroom to teach and by the time I logged in, they had already marked me as a teacher no show. Teacher no shows look very poorly on
If a teacher ever has to cancel a class, they can do so in advance but you are only allowed 6 cancellations in a contract period. Your teaching contract is 6 months. However, you can renew every six months.
I never thought I could be a morning person until I got this job. I love my sleep, but I have gotten up at 4:00 -6:00 am almost every morning for a few months now. So anything is possible. I would be happy to answer any other questions you may have. If you end up deciding to apply, I would appreciate if you use my referral link here
Some great facebook pages I am a part of are called:
vipkid newbie support
Collaborative Lesson Bank
vipkid teachers community(unofficial
vipkid props and reward systems
There are thousands of people that can answer questions, lend support or give great ideas for your classes.
Watching you tube videos was KEY to preparing for my interviews. Here are some great examples of videos I liked that show what you will be teaching in the demo and mock 1 interviews.