[UPDATE: Dan was nice enough to do a video interview with me and I have embedded that above. He also did a shorter video on advice for aspiring online teachers and you can view that here – enjoy!]
How long have you been teaching for VIPKid and what has your experience been like thus far?
I have been with VIPKID since September 2015. My experience so far has been very positive. I started out just like all the other teachers teaching one student at a time. I have taught over 2000 students thus far. I’m one of the most sought after teachers with VIPKID. VIPKID gives teachers the opportunity to work from almost anywhere in the world. My main reason why I work for VIPKID is because it gives me flexibility in my schedule and to work from home. You could be the best teachers in the world but without the right curriculum then you can’t build your student base. VIPKID gives good teachers the opportunity to build up a large student based so they can work from home on a full-time basis. I make over $5000 a month teaching great kids. It doesn’t feel like work because my students are so much fun to teach.
What is your current teaching schedule? Do you feel you can work as much as you want?
I have built up my schedule since September 2015. I started out teaching 10 hours a week just part-time. Now, I’m teaching 68 – 72 hours week. I teach 10 hours each day during the week and 13 hours each day on the weekend. My booking rate for the time slots opened is over 90%. You have to open a minimum of 7.5 hours a week during peak times. But you could work 13 hours a day if you want. That is what I love the flexibility. The opportunity is there if you want to work hard.
Do you have any control over the students and classes you teach?
You do have control over the hours that you open up but you don’t have control of the students that you teach. VIPKIDs kids are between the age of 5 and 14 years old. From my experience over 85% of the students want to be in class. This is much higher than teaching in a traditional classroom. Plus you get to know the students and learn about their lives. You become a very important part of the student’s life. This is why I teach. I get more satisfaction teaching students one on one than in groups.
Do you have any advice for someone looking to teach online? Where should they start?
My advice for someone that wants to teach online. First, start with a smaller company. Even if you have experience teaching, you need experience teaching online. It is a different animal. I started with a smaller company called kukuspeak.com. I loved working with the staff there.
After 6 months, I applied to VIPKID. I really saw that with this curriculum I could keep my students and build a very large student base. I have built parent followers to over 2,700. In 2016, I have made over $75,000 with VIPKIDS.
What are some of the drawbacks and challenges you’ve faced as an online teacher?
Some of the drawbacks of teaching online for a company are sometimes you and the company don’t see eye to eye. If you go to another company then you have to start from scratch building your student base. Sometimes there might be some misunderstanding with the company that could result in a reduction of your schedule. Some of the challenges are more technology-based. First, you should get a backup internet. Second, a good quality computer and headset. Lastly, be committed and stick with it. It takes time to build your student base.
What is the future of online ESL teaching? Will the industry continue to grow?
The future of online teaching has a very bright future. It gives students the ability to take classes anytime in the car, at a restaurant, and in the comfort of their own home. Plus they get one on one teaching that is cheaper. It is a win-win for the teacher and the student.
What are some of the biggest benefits of teaching online?
You are always learning and improving because the curriculum changes at a faster pace. You have to be flexible and willing to change. Also, you can make more money teaching online than in a traditional classroom. The reason is that it takes less energy to teach online.
Did you have any teaching experience before VIPKid?
Yes, I have taught in South Korea, Myanmar, Philippines, and Saudi Arabia. I did my TESOL Certificate with Will-Excel in Harbin, China. I have 8 years teaching experience and over 1 year teaching online.
Related: The Top Online TEFL Courses
If you’re interested in working for VIPKid, you can apply here.