This post will cover the ins and outs of the VIPKID hiring process, updated for 2021. Keep reading to learn how to pass the VIPKID application process with flying colors!
Here’s the general outline of what you can expect when you get hired by VIPKID.
- Fill out a written application online
- Complete an Interview and Demo Lesson
- Choose which levels you want to teach and review the material in the Certification Center
- Complete mock classes to get certified
- Complete the TESOL VIPKID Foundational Program if required
- Upload Documents and Start Teaching
VIPKID is one of the largest online English learning platforms around. With VIPKID, native English speakers from the USA or Canada can teach English to children in China. The hours are flexible and classes are held 100% online.
Terms To Know Before Starting The VIPKID Hiring Process
VIPKID Teacher Portal: The VIPKID Teacher Portal is VIPKID’s website for teachers. Everything you do with VIPKID from the application onward takes place in the Teacher Portal.
You don’t have to download any extra programs like Skype or Zoom. In the Teacher Portal, you will be able to access all your classrooms for upcoming classes, see your payment, read parent feedback, make your schedule, etc. Your interview and mock classes will also take place here.
The VIPKID Classroom: The classroom is where all your classes happen in VIPKID. When it is time to do your interview and mock classes, you will do them in the VIPKID classroom. This just means that you click the big button in your teacher portal that says “enter the classroom.”
VIPKID Interview And Demo Lesson: The terms “Demo Lesson” and “Interview” are used interchangeably. The demo lesson is a shortened 10-minute version of a VIPKID lesson. During your interview, you will teach the demo lesson.
VIPKID Mock Class: After passing the interview, you will teach one or two mock classes with a mentor (veteran) teacher. The mock classes are full-length VIPKID lessons. During the mock class, your mentor will give you feedback on how you can improve and answer any questions.
PPT (or PowerPoint): VIPKID provides you with Lesson PowerPoints called PPTs. These are the lessons you use for each class. The PPT contains everything you will need for the lesson, including a welcome page, a warm-up activity, and a goodbye slide. You will also get PPT’s for your Demo class and mock class. They are loaded into the classroom for you before each class.
How Long Does The VIPKID Hiring Process Take?
For most people, the full VIPKID hiring process takes 1-2 weeks. Since some of the steps involve coordinating with a mentor teacher, it might take you longer if you have a busy schedule.
Update for 2020: Because most of the VIPKID staff is still working remotely, the VIPKID application process seems to be taking longer than normal.
The Written Application And Basic VIPKID Requirements
Applying to VIPKID is as simple as a few clicks of the computer mouse! After you input your email address and create a password on their website, you will be taken to a simple application form to fill out.
The VIPKID Teacher Requirements Are:
- You must be a native English Speaker
- You must be eligible to work in the USA or Canada. (As of December 1, 2019, VIPKID will no longer hire teachers who live in California)
- You must have a Bachelor’s degree or higher (No Degree? No problem! Check out these alternate companies that hire teachers without Bachelor’s degrees here!)
- You must have at least a year of experience working with students in some capacity (this can be teaching, tutoring, mentoring, counseling, etc)
These experiences are helpful but not mandatory
- A teaching degree
- A teaching certificate
- Classroom teaching experience
- A Teaching English as a Foreign Language Certification (I got mine through International TEFL Academy!)
When you submit your application, you will hear back via email. If you pass the application, the email will include information about how to set up your interview.
The VIPKID Interview Process
After passing the written VIPKID application requirements, you will receive an email giving you access to the Teacher Portal and inviting you to an interview.
You’ll see this step in the process referred to as the “Interview” or the “Demo Lesson.” They are typically used interchangeably, but this stage is more of a teaching sample than a traditional interview.
You’ll be given a short lesson to prepare and you’ll teach it as if you were teaching a real class. You probably won’t be asked any VIPKID interview questions and the bulk of the evaluation will be on how well you teach the demo lesson.
In the Teacher Portal, you will have access to the VIPKID Interview Demo Lesson PPT, helpful youtube videos, and the interview rubric. The interview stage is important because it will determine your base pay if you get hired.
You have three options for the VIPKID interview process.
1. VIPKID Recorded Demo Lesson.
One way you can do your interview is by recording yourself doing your teaching sample. You can do this at any time and upload it to the Teacher Portal.
You will begin by telling a little about yourself, including your educational background and teaching experiences. Then you will teach the ten-minute demo lesson to an imaginary 5-year-old student.
2. VIPKID Live Interview With A VIPKID Employee.
I chose the live interview because the thought of recording myself freaked me out, but it’s just a matter of personal preference.
Choose and date and time from a calendar in your teacher portal. An hour before your selected date and time, you will see a button on your teacher portal that says “enter the classroom.”
Take the time before your interview to test your technology, familiarize yourself with the classroom, and practice before the interview begins. It will be just you in the classroom during this time.
You will have ten minutes to teach the demo class to the interviewer while they pretend to be a five-year-old student. Your interviewer will give you some feedback and you should get your results via email.
3. VIPKID Smart Demo Interview On Your Phone
This is the newest way to complete the VIPKID interview and my personal recommendation since it’s the fastest. The VIPKID smart demo lesson is a super short version of the VIPKID Demo Lesson that you can do from your phone.
First, you’ll download the VIPKID Teacher app and sign in with your account info. Then, you’ll click on “Interview” → “Introduction materials” to get started. You’ll take a quiz and record yourself teaching one slide to a pretend student.
VIPKID Interview Tips
The interview is the first chance you get to show off your skills. To make a great first impression, follow these VIPKID application tips.
- Review all the materials provided.
- Make sure your technology is working correctly and charged up.
- Wear a headset with a microphone so there isn’t a disruptive echo.
- Set up your “classroom space” including a background on a plain wall behind you.
- Good lighting for your online classroom is extremely important.
- Use at least three props and a reward system.
- Practice with a timer. As a rule of thumb, you want to move at about one slide per minute.
- Practice with another person.
- Always encourage the student to speak in full sentences
- Speak slowly but still naturally, no need for robot teacher voice
- Correct errors gently.
- Use Total Physical Response (TPR), or hand gestures and body language to illustrate what you mean.
- Have the student repeat target words and sentences 2-3 times.
The VIPKID Mock Class
After you pass the interview, you will go to the VIPKID Certification Center by logging into the teacher portal. The certification center is where you will find the materials for the Mock Classes.
In the certification center, you will get to choose which level you want to teach. You can either do beginner (level 2 and level 3, usually younger students) or intermediate (level 4 and level 5, usually older students).
There are two lessons for both beginner and intermediate that you will need to prepare for. The lessons are 10 minutes long and your mock class mentor could choose either one for you to teach, so prepare both.
What To Expect For Your Mock Class
The mock class will be about 30 minutes long. You will have access to the VIPKID practice room in advance to test out the different tools and set up your classroom.
In the mock class, you will work with a mentor teacher who has been with the company for a while. Your mentor teacher will pick one of the two lessons from your chosen certification level and you will teach the lesson, pretending your mentor teacher is a student.
Your mentor teacher is there to answer all of your questions and get you prepared for real students. (Yay!) Follow the same steps you did to prepare for the interview, lots and lots of practice.
Remember that you can attempt the mock class as many times as it takes to be successful. When I went through, it took me more than once. It’s normal for my referrals to attempt the mock class 2-3 times before passing and that’s totally okay.
Teaching in a little online box is way different than teaching in a regular classroom. Doing the mock more than once just ensures that you are super ready for your future VIPKID kiddos.
Upload Documents and Complete VIPKID TESOL Training
During this phase, you sign your contract with VIPKID and upload the required documentation. This includes a copy of your degree, authorization to run a background check, and copies of your teaching license and TEFL certification, if applicable.
How long does it take for VIPKID to review documents?
It can sometimes take a while VIPKID to verify all your documents. When you’re excited to get started, this can be annoying, but luckily there are a few things you can do while you wait.
Go back to the VIPKID certification center and consider applying for other certification levels. If you get VIPKID certifications for both intermediate and beginner levels, you’ll have a larger pool of potential students.
Another thing you can do while you wait on your VIPKID contract is to look through the extensive catalog of VIPKID workshops. You can find workshops and teacher training videos by clicking “Resources” then “Library” in the VIPKID Teacher Portal.
Booking Your First VIPKID Class
Congratulations! You made it! Now that you’ve finished the application process and uploaded all your documents, it’s time to teach your first class.
There are a few things you can do to ensure you have the best chance possible at getting booked from the get-go.
Open Classes during Peak Times
Peak times are evenings in China, usually around 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm Beijing time. When you open your bookings tab in the teacher portal, you’ll see some boxes with a light orange indicator (good) and some boxes with a bright orange indicator (great!).
You’ll have a better shot getting booked during one of the orange or bright orange time slots. This post has more information about VIPKID scheduling and hours.
Open classes on the weekends
If it works with your schedule, open classes whenever you can on the weekends, China time. Since students are out of school, there is a demand for classes all day on China’s Saturday and Sunday (which is USA East Coast Friday evening – Sunday morning.)
Mark your classes “Short Notice”
You have the option to open classes “short notice.” Normal classes can be booked up to 24 hours in advance. Short notice classes can be booked up to an hour in advance.
Choosing this setting gives parents an extra day to find and book you which can be helpful when you’re starting out. The only thing to remember is to check the booking an hour before it’s supposed to start to see if it got picked up.
You won’t get a notification when it gets booked and sometimes teachers accidentally sleep through short notice classes that were booked overnight… oops.
Getting Your First VIPKID Class Summary
- Open as many classes as you can on the weekends
- Open classes during bright orange Peak Peak times (around 6 pm-8 pm China Time)
- Mark classes as “short notice” and check the booking page regularly
In the beginning, try to open lots of time slots to have a better chance of getting booked. Remember to also give yourself lots of breaks between classes so you don’t get burned out at the very beginning.
In the beginning, I planned a 30-minute break between each class to do feedback and prepare for the next class. When I got more comfortable after a few days, I added more classes back to back.
It will take a few weeks for your schedule to fill up regularly, so don’t be worried if you aren’t booked solid right away. Stick with it and have fun. Your students are going to love you!