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Have you been considering working for VIPKID?
I’ve been a VIPKID teacher for about a year and a half now, and to be totally honest I haven’t loved every minute of it. But I have loved an awful lot of them!
And I’ve been overall pleased with my time with the company, enough so that I’m still teaching through their platform now!
I’ve broken down my most — and least — favorite parts about working for the company here. Everything here is just my opinion, and not everyone feels the way I do.
Hopefully, though, this article will give you a better sense of what it’s like working for VIPKID and will help you make an informed decision.
Table of Contents
- My Top 5 Favorite Things About Working for VIPKID
- …And My 3 Least Favorite Things
- On the Balance
- Tips from a VIPKID Teacher
- To Wrap Up
My Top 5 Favorite Things About Working for VIPKID
Here’s what I love about working with VIPKID.
It Starts My Day off Right…And I Get Ownership over the Rest of My Day!
Some people teach VIPKID classes in the evenings, but the vast majority of teachers open classes in the mornings. (You’ll have a better chance of filling up your schedule in the mornings because it’s afternoon in China when more kids are available to get tutored after school.)
I usually teach from 6 to 9 am Central Time, meaning I teach 6 25-minute classes. Sometimes I start teaching at 5, but usually that’s too early for me.
Waking up at 6 and teaching before I start the rest of my day gives me a feeling of accomplishment and makes me feel motivated and energized by the time I’m done with teaching.
The Students Are so Great!
Seriously — they’re adorable.
And now that I’ve been teaching for a while I have some regulars that keep me updated on their lives, and with whom I have inside jokes and good rapport. Best of all, I get to watch their English skills improve over time, which is unbelievably fulfilling.
Not every student is well-behaved and adorable, but the vast majority are. Those students make it all worth it, every single day.
There’s Basically Zero Prep Work!
Once you’ve gotten in a teaching groove and set up all your props, you’ll have pretty much no work outside of class time. I have a bunch of general props and a few different rewards, so I just get out the folder I keep my teaching tools in and I’m ready to go each day.
Not having to spend a bunch of time thinking about and doing work outside the hours when I’m getting paid is a blessing that I truly value.
The Paycheck Is Great!
Some months I work more, some months I work less. Every single month I end up with extra cash in my bank account from VIPKID, though, and that feels really good.
My article about how much you can expect to make through VIPKID and how to increase that number has more in-depth info about how much VIPKID generally pays teachers, but generally you’ll make $16-$24 an hour teaching through VIPKID.
No matter how much you work, you’ll end up with a little extra money (or a lot), and having that extra oomph in your bank account definitely feels good.
I Love the Vipkid Community
One of my very favorite parts of working for VIPKID is that I feel really supported and like I’m part of a community. (Both fellow teachers and in the company.)
There are moments when I feel annoyed because I’ve asked a question or lodged a complaint that hasn’t been resolved instantly, but generally VIPKID has a really great staff, and there are people to help you with technical and behavioral issues in the classroom as well as to help you with anything you might need outside of it.
Apart from their staff, VIPKID has a giant and very involved group of teachers. I’m in multiple VIPKID Facebook groups, and when I’ve posted with questions or concerns more seasoned teachers have always been there to respond quickly.
The Facebook groups also just provide a sense of camaraderie, because they’re a place where you can talk about all the silly, frustrating, or just downright oddball things that only happen in a VIPKID classroom.
…And My 3 Least Favorite Things
Here’s what annoys me sometimes about the job.
Sometimes Waking up That Early Is a Real Pain
99% of mornings, I love waking up early and getting going first thing. But the mornings that suck suck hard.
And while working from home and being my own boss definitely makes it easier in some respects (for example because I can run make coffee between classes), it can also be even harder to get cracking when I have only myself and someone thousands of miles away motivating me to do so.
At least on those days, I can take a post-class 9 am power nap!
I Don’t Have More Control over What I Teach (And Some of the Lessons Are Weird)
I usually love not having to worry about lesson planning. But sing VIPKID’s prepared lessons does mean that every once in a while I’ll have a student who should be moving at a different pace or I’ll have to teach a lesson with content that I would never teach.
I find ways to move quickly through parts of lessons that I don’t like, and I always write a note to the student’s Learning Partner (the Chinese VIPKID employee who helps them through their VIPKID process) that they should adjust levels.
These methods don’t always work super well, though, and sometimes I’m left frustrated and sad for a student whose needs aren’t being served in their current class level.
I Don’t Always Know What My Schedule Will Look like (Or Who My Students Will Be)
There are periods when my schedule fills all the way up and every slot I open gets booked, and there are periods when I just don’t get any students.
Likewise, there are periods when almost every student is a regular and others when I never teach the same student twice.
I don’t mind teaching new students, but the uncertainty of whether or not I’ll get bookings can get annoying — especially when I’m counting on my VIPKID income.
On the Balance
There are definitely things I don’t like about teaching for VIPKID, but I honestly think I’d find things to complain about even if I were employed as the Princess of Genovia.
Overall, I’m thankful to have a job that allows me freedom and flexibility. And I truly love that I get to teach kids!
Weirdly, because this job is remote, the people are what makes it worth it.
Tips from a VIPKID Teacher
Having been a VIPKID teacher for a year and a half now, there are certain things I’ve learned that have made my job a lot easier.
These tricks have made my life easier and taken a whole lot of stress off of me. I hope they help you out too!
Open Slots Ahead of Time
There are some teachers who open slots as late as possible to increase the number of short notice bookings they get (short notice bookings come with a $2 bonus).
I open all my classes way ahead of time — two weeks ahead, to be precise.
Opening slots early gives students more time to book classes, making them more likely to fill up. And I’d rather get full bookings than an extra two dollars here or there.
Prepare Your Classroom Now
I put a lot of work into my VIPKID classroom when I first started teaching with the company: I bought an ethernet cable, figured out lighting, and spent a lot of time watching teacher videos to help me get comfortable teaching.
I also spent a lot of time decorating my classroom, creating reward systems, and gathering and making props. It was a lot of work at the outset, but it paid off because now I barely have to put any work into my classroom: it runs itself.
Going the extra mile and prepping everything thoroughly when you start teaching makes everything easier down the line. You also might have a little more enthusiasm when you’ve first started, making all that prep more exciting and fun than it would be in a different situation.
Certify for At Least Two Levels
There are six student levels, from beginners to older, intermediate students.
Certifying for at least two levels will get you more bookings because you’ll be able to teach a larger range of students.
Apart from that, though, it makes teaching more fun (at least for me). I love switching between older students whom I can have thoughtful conversations in English with and younger students who are bubbly and excited and just plain cute.
Teaching different levels keeps me from falling into a rut, which is super important if you want to avoid burning out.
Speaking of which…
Give Yourself a Break
When I first started teaching with VIPKID, I opened a jillion slots, taught seven days a week, and totally overwhelmed myself. I wanted to quit, honestly — I was just doing way too much.
I quickly realized that I needed to figure out a sustainable schedule that worked for me if I wanted to make VIPKID a part of my life. I now teach 3 hours a day, five days a week. If I’m having a super busy week, I’ll cut down to four days.
And I try not to teach more than 6 classes in a row because I find it hard to concentrate and stay on my game after too long, and that’s not fair to the students or me.
To Wrap Up
Everything I’ve mentioned here, both the pros and cons and the tips, is entirely my opinion and based on my experience.
I really do love teaching English online for VIPKID, and if you think you might too I’d encourage you to give it a try.
Applying is pretty low-stakes, so there’s no reason not to!
If you want further guidance on applying and getting certified, check out my breakdown of the basic requirements for VIPKID teachers and my guide to passing your mock class!
Comment below with any questions or qualms, or if you have any of your own thoughts about VIPKID that you’d like to share! I can’t wait to hear from you.