Looking Back on My Years with VIPKID

Nearly two years ago, I signed my first contract with VIPKID. My original intent was simply to make a little extra money.  Our family aimed to live a debt-free life and we were intent on paying off our mortgage.

I also expected to develop a broader perspective of the world of education. Yet, I had no idea just how much it would change my life. While it started out as a side hustle to earn extra cash, I have fallen in love with teaching all over again.

Rediscovery

I first began my teaching career as a student teacher when I was yet in college. Since then, I have volunteered to teach aboard (summer 1993 in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico), served as an elementary science specialist,  and taught every grade but high school. I have been a substitute teacher and currently teach professional development courses online for other educators.

I have taught homeschool co-ops and have lead hundreds of students on nature walks. I have also worked in informal education settings – teaching natural sciences at the estuarine reserve and marine life center. And would you believe, I am now my son’s Scoutmaster?! 

I have focused so much of my energies on homeschooling my own children in recent years that I have missed having direct interaction with students and the fulfillment that comes from cultivating those relationships. VIPKid has helped me rediscover this joy. 

I don’t invest my time and energy into something just because it’s a job. I do it because it’s my passion. I must admit though, working from home in the comfort of my favorite pair of leggings is pretty hard to beat. 

Personal notes from my students

Building relationships

To build a rapport with my students, I generally spend the first few minutes of the class intentionally getting to know my students. This is especially important with students I have not taught before. I ask probing questions to learn about their interests. 

As I leave feedback for parents, I ask for input about how I can customize  lessons to better suit their child. I am a more effective if I am able to make the lessons more personal. I believe strongly that this personal touch and extra care for the families with whom I interact has helped me to develop a close friendship with several of the parents of my students.

Through conversations we have shared over time, either through the VIPKid platform or through WeChat,  we have discussed not only their child’s education, but we have also shared insights about our unique cultures, traditions, and beliefs.

My own children have been learning Mandarin Chinese since they were in preschool and as a family, we traveled to China in 2013.  I am familiar with the culture yet the relationships I have developed with my VIPKid families has enriched my life exponentially.

Are you seeking employment?

If you have a bachelor’s degree (no matter the content area) and experience working with children, I strongly encourage you to consider VIPKid. The hiring process has been simplified and there are a wealth of resources to help you get started.

I would love to help coach you along the way. My personal referral code is EVA000007 – reach out to me with any questions.

I Travel to China Every Morning with VIPKID

These past couple of weeks have been crazy busy and so very fun! I took on a new job with VIPKID and I have thus been immersed in learning all the material as I have dove head first into this new adventure.

I first learned of VIPKID in late September. I was intrigued by the possibility of working from home and most importantly, finishing my “work day” before my own children crawled out of bed.

Through VIPKID, I now teach English to children in China. Because of the time difference, I generally begin teaching at 4:30 or 5:00 am each weekday. I could begin even earlier but I fear I would be a zombie the rest of the day. It’s been a very rewarding experience thus far and I am excited to share with you.

My VIPKID Experience @EvaVarga.net5 Questions I’m Often Asked About VIPKID

You have to get up at 4am? Are you crazy?!

Yes, I have to get up early – Beijing time is 9 hours different than Pacific time. Admittedly, when my alarm goes off, my knee-jerk reaction is, “What have I done? I just want to sleep!” But once I am in the virtual classroom and I see the smiling faces of my students, I am quickly reminded of the joy this new job brings me.

VIPKID was listed #5 on the “best places to work from home” list from Forbes this year.

Teachers at VIPKID are able to set their own calendars. I homeschool my kiddos and also substitute teach. With the time difference, there are only certain times (Beijing time) that I am available. Sadly, in November my available hours will be even less due to the time change. I may consider waking even earlier – at least a couple days a week to accommodate my return students.

Working with these children is so much fun! I’ve already connected with several students who have continually booked classes with me 3x each week and it’s only my third week!

I’ve never taught ESL? Is it difficult?

Teaching with VIPKID is a lot easier than I initially anticipated. They provide powerpoint slides for each lesson. I thereby need only gather a few props to augment the lesson and I’m ready to go.

You learn all you need to know through online training workshops and tutorials. They also offer in-person coaching at some cities around the country.

Through the interview and mock class process prior to signing the teaching contract, I learned tips and suggestions for success in teaching each of the levels. Most importantly, I learned how to teach students with little or NO English experience by using lots of modeling – a technique called Total Physical Response (TPR) – and lots of props.

Classes are one-on-one and it’s a great cultural experience. I love getting to know the students and engaging the advanced students in conversation.

Are you required to work a certain number of hours or certain days?

Just like substitute teaching, I can create my own schedule and teach as many classes as I want. It is entirely up to me!

Some VIPKID teachers teach on the weekends – even pulling all-nighters. But not me. I designate a few hours each weekday morning to VIPKID and the rest of the day is my own.

How much are you paid?

Teachers at VIPKID can earn anywhere from $14 – 20 per hour. Each class is just 30 minutes (25 minutes of actual teaching time and 5 minutes allowed to write feedback). Arriving on time to class and teaching 30+ classes per month earn you bonuses.

While you aren’t going to get rich and the hours are not guaranteed, it is super fun and a great way to make some money on the side. The company is helpful and they always have fun incentives. They pay you for successful referrals and offer fun contests where money prizes or swag items are awarded.

If you are interested in teaching with VIPKID, please use my referral code 04XIOQ  –  and let me help you along the way!

VIPKID is a Chinese-based company, and if you work for them as a teacher, you are working as a contractor, which means that you will need to primarily be responsible for promoting yourself and ensuring your own success.

Teaching online? Do you need to be tech savvy?

You can work from anywhere in the world as long as you have a reliable internet connection, a webcam, and a headset. Teaching online is definitely different, however, than teaching in a real classroom. There are nuances and obstacles – often related to tech issues – that sometimes arise and this can affect both the parent feedback you receive and your pay.

Though I have only been with VIPKID for a month, I have found nothing but positive experiences working for this company. They are constantly working to improve – their communications, their curriculum, and their system of incentives.

The Chinese employees that handle parent communications are helpful and supportive. The pay is commensurate with the amount of work expected.