The VIPKID application process is known for being surprisingly quick – from the moment you apply, it can take you as little as one or two weeks to start teaching. However, there is one stage whose length depends mostly on you, how fast you are able to prepare for it and pass it: the mock class. So let’s look at what it is, how to prepare for it and nail it on your first try.
What is the VIPKID mock class and where does it fall in the interview process?
After you’ve submitted your basic information and after you’ve recorded or scheduled a demo class and passed it, you’ve got one last hurdle to face before getting to sign your contract, the mock class. The good news is if you’ve gotten this far, that means VIPKID wants you to teach for them and therefore will try to help you pass this interview stage fast and with the least amount of tries.
Say what? You get more than one try?
That’s right. Unlike the demo class, you can take your mock class more than once – technically as many times as you need in order to pass it. However, if you listen carefully to the feedback your mentor gives you at the end of the class and put it into practice the following time, there’s no reason why it should take you more than one or two attempts to get it right.
The mock class, very much like the live demo class, is a pretend class you will have to teach in front of a VIPKID recruiter who will take on the role of a young child. Although the basics of the mock class aren’t all that different from the demo (you will still need to teach some vocabulary, elicit full sentences, use props and rewards and so on), there are a few key differences, such as the length of the class, the material provided and the overall complexity of the lesson.
Mock classes are a bit longer than demo classes and last a total of 25 minutes. However, you’re only expected to teach 10 of those minutes, leaving you with a bit of time at the beginning to receive your instructions and 10 minutes or so at the end to discuss how the interview went and listen to the feedback of your recruiter and the suggestions they might have.
While the demo class asks all candidates to prepare the same set of slides, the mock class tasks you with deciding which VIPKID levels you would like to get certified for – levels 2&3 (age 5 and up) or levels 4&5 (usually up to 12 years old).
Now, choosing one level or another has implications that go a bit further than the simple mock class because the level you get certified for will decide the age and level of the kids you will be working with, at least until you get certified for other levels. It’s worth mentioning most teachers seem to opt for levels 2&3 because it gives you the best chances of getting booked right away, since most of the kids on the VIPKID platform fall within that range.
Once you’ve selected the level, you’ll have access to two sets of slides – option A and option B. Although you’ll only need to teach one of them, it’s important you prepare both sets equally well as you won’t know until the last minute which lesson your recruiter wants you to teach for the mock class.
The complexity of the lesson
Not only are VIPKID mock classes longer than demo classes but they’re also more complex. The mock class follows the same structure as an actual VIPKID lesson, which is meant to facilitate and maximize the learning process of your student, so it’s important you follow the order and the instructions provided on each slide (the IPAED method – you can check out the video below if you want to fully understand how it works).
How is it evaluated? What is VIPKID looking for?
While the demo class is mostly focused on making sure you have the potential and professionalism to become a VIPKID teacher, the mock class is where things get a little more technical and your ESL teaching skills get truly tested.
In your mock class your VIPKID recruiter will expect you to:
- Use common ESL techniques – such as grading your language and using supplementary tools.
- Use VIPKID techniques – so keep in mind the lesson objective, focus on building rapport and have a positive and energetic approach.
- Be mindful of important teaching practices – like being patient and praising your student.
- Be professional – that includes being presentable, putting some thought into your background and making sure you have good lighting and a good Internet connection.
For more information on the VIPKID mock class rubric, you can refer to the Applicant Performance Indicators list that can be found on the company’s official website.
Tips on how to do well
Earlier we said you can take your mock class multiple times and that you shouldn’t worry if you haven’t passed it the first time, but… wouldn’t it be nice to pass it on your first try?
So here are a few things to keep in mind when preparing and delivering your mock class:
- Look energetic and enthusiastic – chances are, you may be nervous, but try to not let that get in the way. Do your best to look as relaxed and cheerful as possible since one of the most important aspects you’ll be graded on is your ability to create a safe and happy atmosphere so trying to actually have fun will help a great deal.
- Watch your speed – set a timer and make sure you spend about 1 minute on each slide (a total of 10 minutes on the whole presentation) and pace yourself accordingly.
- Grade your language – always choose your words based on the level of the student (or better, the level your recruiter pretends to have) and avoid using unnecessary fillers.
- Build rapport – don’t forget to use the first slide as a chance to build rapport with the student and make them feel comfortable (maybe by asking some easy icebreaker questions).
- Use a combination of props and TPR – while TPR is great and should be used throughout the lesson, you should always have at hand a variety of props (both 2D and 3D). So go through your lesson plans and decide what realia, drawings or printables you will need and when.
- Check your setup – record a video of yourself and make sure both your background and lighting are on point.
- Reward and praise – choose the reward system you’re most comfortable with and use it throughout the lesson (giving a reward every other slide could be a good rule of thumb but do what feels right during your class). Even when you’re not giving a reward, you should always remember to praise and encourage your student.
- Correct your student when necessary – your recruiter will purposefully make mistakes so don’t let those slide. Make sure you correct gently and elicit full sentences when appropriate.
- Watch a ton of videos but do it your way – everybody’s got their own personality and their own way of doing things so, while it’s great to look for ideas on YouTube and blogs, make sure what you do during class is 100% you and doesn’t feel forced.
If you want to know straight from a recruiter what are some of the most common mistakes made and the reasons why candidates are asked to retake their mock class, watch this video!
4 VIPKID mock class examples
Even though you should absolutely refrain from trying to recreate the mock class walkthrough you’ve watched (it could do more harm than good), it’s always a good idea to look for advice and ideas from other teachers.
For this reason, we’ve listed below 4 mock class examples we’ve found to be particularly useful.
UPDATED VIPKid Certification Walkthrough & Tips by Teacher Nancy – Level 2/3 (Option A)
Why we like it: if you only had the time to watch one mock class walkthrough, this would be the one! Teacher Nancy explains the reasoning behind each teaching stage (the IPAED method: first introduce the language, then have the student produce with minimal assistance and so on… ) while also giving great tips to engage your student and build rapport.
VIPKid NEW Lower Level Mock by Teacher Rebecca – Level 2/3 (Option B)
Why we like it: now, it’s true that it’s important to look as enthusiastic and cheerful as possible but some of the energy level examples you see on YouTube are not for everyone, so here’s a more laid-back mock class walkthrough that’s still very clear and effective.
VIPKID: My Country, My Culture Video Walk-Through (New 10 minute version) by Teacher Nancy – Level 4/5 (Option A)
Why we like it: this video provides a great example of how we can adapt our language and TPR to teach older students.
VIPKID Mock Class Earth: Our Home Pollution | TAUGHT IN 10 MINUTES by Teacher Haley – Level 4/5 (Option B)
Why we like it: this video is perfect if you’d like to get a feel of what an actual mock class looks like since Teacher Haley keeps the timing real (with a timer and all).