Genevieve Breaks Down VIPKid’s Pay, Schedule, and Hiring Process
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Genevieve is an ESL teacher in Spain and an online ESL teacher with VIPKid. She also runs wayfaringwanders.com, a blog about her travels and adventures.
What is your teaching background? Did you have any experience before VIPKid?
My teaching background before VIPKid was very limited – and by limited I mean next to none, lol. I have experience babysitting and I worked at an internship in college where I taught a few classes about media literacy to young girls. My college degrees are actually in Marketing and Media Arts – not related to teaching at all!
What was the hiring process like? Did they offer any training?
The hiring process for VIPKid is pretty long and rigorous. For a really in-depth look, you can visit my blog post here. In total it took me about 3 weeks. You can definitely complete it quicker than I did, but that’s just an example of how long it can take. First you need to submit your resume or CV. Then, once accepted, you have to upload a lot of different documents (college diploma, passport, pictures, promo videos, etc) and go through a series of interviews and practicums (mock classes with teachers who pretend to be students) with a few different people before you can actually start teaching. In addition, they offer a series of training videos which are mostly watched on YouTube.
Do you have any advice on how people can stand out in an online application/interview?
My biggest recommendation for your online application would be to make your CV stand out. Highlight any teaching experience you have! This can include teaching your own children. A lot of the teachers with VIPKid are stay-at-home mothers or fathers! Include anything such as babysitting, nannying, teaching any classes to young children – after school classes, swimming lessons, karate, you name it! They want to make sure you’re comfortable teaching the ages of the children VIPKid has, 5-12 years old. If you make it to the interview stage, be cheerful! VIPKid wants employees that are happy and entertaining, teachers from which young children will want to learn!
Is there anything VIPKid does that sets them apart from the competition in terms of an employer?
The pay for VIPKid is pretty nice. On average, you’ll earn somewhere between $17-22/hour working from your computer, depending on how many classes you teach each month. The money is directly deposited into your account in the middle of the month. One of the biggest perks to working for VIPKid is that they do all of the lesson planning for you. While you’re still expected to go over the prepared lesson ahead of time, this means that the actual devotion to each class is fairly minimal. There’s not a lot of prep work, no homework grading, no essays to read… Just the 25-minute class and short feedback and you’re through! VIPKid is also paying for me to complete my Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) certificate, which is saving me hundreds of dollars!
Do you remember your first class/student? What was it like?
Yes! I remember my first class very well because I was absolutely petrified, lol! It was with a seven-year-old named “Grace” (the children frequently pick American names for their classes). During my practicums, I was so nervous about not finishing the lesson within 25 minutes — I actually went over on my time and the practicum evaluators cut me off before we finished! When it came time to teaching my first class, I quickly discovered that the children are familiar with most of the material on the lesson slides and class actually moves at a much quicker pace. I had to improvise for the last couple of minutes in order to fulfill the complete 25 minutes! But overall it went well and it really calmed my nerves about future classes. Once you get the hang of things, the class will go smoothly.
How often do you work and how is the schedule determined?
VIPKid requires that you open a minimum of 15 time slots per week. Each time slot is 30 minutes, 25 for class and 5 extra for feedback or tech issues. This means that you must open a minimum of 7.5 hours each week, but you’re free to open up more if you’d like, as it’s unlikely every slot will fill. They require the 15 slots to be opened during Beijing’s “peak times” which are from 6pm-10pm every day and additional hours on the weekends. This means that if you’re in the US or Canada, the hours are going to be pretty early. When I was still living in the US, I worked Monday – Friday from 5:30am – 7:00am (3 time slots each weekday morning) to hit the minimum 15 required slots. Another beautiful thing about working for VIPKid is that you get to pick which time slots you want to open. Some teachers work only weekends or only a couple of days per week. The choice is yours! For a downloadable PDF with more hours and information, you can click here.
Do you have any advice for people considering teaching online?
My biggest advice for people considering online teaching through VIPKid is to make sure you’re into it before you commit. The hours can certainly be tough if you’re not used to early mornings! If you can’t commit, it isn’t fair to the students that book you and end up waiting around for a teacher who decided to sleep in. Know what you’re willing to take on before you make the commitment.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced working online (technical, communication, etc)?
Anytime you’re relying on the internet for something, it can be challenging. Because the VIPKid classes are taught through a Skype-like platform, there are going to be technical issues on occasion. Most of the time, this happens from the student’s end, but teachers are certainly prone to them too! As I was in the process of moving this summer, I stayed with a friend who had less reliable internet than I was used to. The network couldn’t maintain its connection and class ended up being canceled due to a Teacher IT issue (my first and only one), so it can happen! There are also storms that can knock out power and any number of things that could cause issues for class. Life happens, but luckily unforeseen issues are built into your contract. It’s important to stay in contact with the VIPKid staff by emailing or contacting them to let them know what’s going on. VIPKid recently launched their app, available for Android and iPhone, which is a great way to get ahold of tech support!
What’s next for you? Will you continue to work online and teach?
I actually started working at VIPKid to see if ESL teaching was for me. Turns out, I love it! I’m currently on my second contract with VIPKid, just having finished my eighth month with the company. The extra income is great and the kids are adorable. The job is easy and it’s fun to watch kids grow, especially when you start getting regular students who come back to you frequently. Watching their English improve is hugely rewarding! Because I ended up loving teaching ESL so much, I decided to move to Spain to teach in the classroom! In conjunction with that, I’m still working for VIPKid and now the hours are much better. Peak times for me in Spain are from 11:00am-3:00pm and the extra income is perfect for me. I definitely plan on continuing my journey with VIPKid. The flexibility and the hours are perfect for me right now and the extra income doesn’t hurt!
If you think you might be interested in applying for VIPKid, click here!