teaching english online with VIPKID

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Curious about teaching English online with VIPKID? Awesome! VIPKID is one of the top online English companies out there. This post will answer the question, “What is VIPKID?” and give you an overview of what you can expect as a 2020 VIPKID teacher.

Remote jobs are becoming more popular every day and teaching English online is a great place to begin your remote work adventure. There is a lot of information out there about VIPKID. This post will give you an overview of their online teaching program as well as my best teacher tips and some resources you can check out if you think it might be a good fit for you.

Important Update

In the years since this post was first published, VIPKID changed its online teaching platform, modified the application process, and shifted to a worldwide student base. Some of the information below is now out of date. For details about their new programs, check out the official VIPKID website.

What is VIPKID?

VIPKID is an English learning platform based in China that has thousands of teachers and students. The VIPKID Education Program uses the flipped classroom model. The student watches videos and completes assignments, then have a 25 minute class in real-time with an English-speaking teacher.

Many students do this in addition to their regular school work, and VIPKID classes are often done as extra-curricular activities or out-of-class practice.

VIPKID has students from ages 4-12 at all ability levels. The program is based on an American elementary school education, so the classes cover a wide range of topics from science, to math, to traditional grammar and spelling.

How Does VIPKID Work?

If you’d like to become a VIPKID teacher, you’ll start by completing the VIPKID hiring process. Once you’ve been approved to teach, you’ll open up your schedule. Parents can browse through teacher profiles and schedules. They will choose the time slots they prefer and book them, usually 1-2 weeks in advance.

VIPKID will then provide you with information about your upcoming lesson and student. You will receive the lesson materials and teaching tips in advance so you can prepare.

On the scheduled class day and time, you’ll log into the teacher portal and enter the classroom with the student you’re teaching. The lesson will automatically load and you and the student will be able to see each other on the webcam.

You’ll teach the lesson for 25 minutes, and once the lesson is over you and the student will leave the classroom. Then, you’ll fill out a short paragraph for the parents explaining how class went.

Who Can Teach English Online With VIPKID?

To get started, you must meet the VIPKID teacher qualifications. VIPKID is looking for teachers who meet the following teacher requirements:

  • Native English speaker
  • Bachelor’s degree or higher
  • Eligibility to work in the USA or Canada
  • TEFL Certificate (optional but helpful!)
  • At least 2 years of experience working with children

A teaching degree or license is not necessary, but you should have some experience working with students in some type of teaching role (for example, tutoring, summer camp counselor, mentor, home school teacher, etc.)

A TEFL certificate is not required but if you have one it will help you move through the hiring process faster. If you don’t have a TEFL certificate, you will be required to complete an in-house TEFL training module before you can teach your first class. This certificate is only valid for VIPKID and is not transferable to other ESL teaching jobs.

Also, If you don’t have a Bachelors’s Degree, check out ten companies where you can teach online without a degree here! If you’re not a native English speaker, this post has some companies to look into!

VIPKID Tech Requirements

You must have access to a good internet connection since classes are held online. You’ll also need the following:

What Is The VIPKID Application Process?

The VIPKID application process has four steps. Normally, this process takes 1-2 weeks but lately it’s been taking longer since many VIPKID staff members are still working remotely.

1. Submit a written VIPKID application online

You will answer a few questions about your level of education, native language, and experience teaching or working with kids. Typically, teachers will get their application results quickly via email.

2. Complete a VIPKID Interview Demo Class.

After you pass the written interview, you will receive instructions on how to complete a VIPKID interview (also called the VIPKID demo class). It’s important to take this step seriously since your VIPKID base pay will be determined from your interview performance.

You will choose one of the following options to complete this step:

  • Have a live interview with a VIPKID employee. This usually lasts about fifteen minutes. You will answer a few questions and teach a short VIPKID lesson that will be provided for you in advance.
  • Record yourself teaching the VIPKID lesson provided and submit it for review.
  • Complete a short VIPKID Smart Demo on your phone. For this option, you’ll complete a quiz and record yourself teaching a short two-minute demonstration.

3. Certification and VIPKID Mock Classes.

Next, you will access the “VIPKID Certification Center” where you will read about the VIPKID program and receive your mock class lessons. You will choose if you want to work with beginner students or intermediate students and prepare the VIPKID lesson plans that correspond with your preferred level.

Then, you’ll schedule a live Mock Class. A mock class is a 10-15 minute lesson that you teach to a mentor teacher. The mentor teacher will give you feedback.

Some people are approved after their first Mock class. Many of us, myself included, are given things to work on and must schedule additional mock classes. You can take the mock class as many times as you need until you pass.

4. Upload documents

You’re almost a VIPKID English teacher – now for the super fun paperwork part! You’ll need to submit the following:

  • Your bank information (so they can pay you)
  • A standard background check
  • Sign your contract
  • Write your bio
  • Upload your video introduction so prospective parents and students can see how awesome you are.

VIPKID Job Review: Lesson Planning and Preparation

Each VIPKID class is 25 minutes long. VIPKID lessons are one-on-one with a student and all lesson planning is done for you. There is minimal prep work and grading – all you have to bring is a smile, energy, and props for the lesson.

For each student you teach, you get access to their lesson 24 hours in advance to prepare. You’ll be able to see the slides, lesson objectives, and suggestions from previous teachers.

In my experience, the VIPKID lesson plans are so fun! They are not just boring vocabulary memorization. Most lessons cover a wide variety of topics like reading, writing, grammar, science, and math.

Don’t panic – the math is simple stuff. We’re talking like word problems and the names of different shapes type math. Nice math.

Navigating the VIPKID Teacher Portal

VIPKID classes are run through the VIPKID Teacher Portal. This is a special website where all VIPKID classes are held.

Just sign in to your account on the website, click on the classroom you wish to enter, and you will be taken to the VIPKID classroom screen.

In the classroom, you will see the student and the PowerPoint you are teaching. The PowerPoint will be loaded into the classroom for you in advance, so you don’t need to worry about storing lessons on your computer.

You can write on the screen, give reward stars, and type in a chat box while in the classroom. Recently, VIPKID has rolled out more advanced features like cute filters on your camera.

It’s most comfortable to use a laptop or desktop computer, but they do have an iPad app that you can use if necessary.

There is also a handy VIPKID mobile app that lets you see your schedule, payment, and other important information right on your phone. You can’t teach classes from your phone, but it is awesome to be able to adjust your schedule so simply. If you want, you can enable alerts in the app so that you never miss a class.

Choosing your VIPKID Schedule and VIPKID Teaching Hours

A big perk is that you can choose your own teaching schedule. There is no minimum or maximum amount you must work in a week. It is really whatever works for you.

Each week, you get a screen that looks like a calendar with time slots on it. There are time slots for every hour that VIPKID is open, which is 8:30 am – 10:00 pm Beijing Time every day of the week. (If you’re in the East Coast Time Zone, this is 8:30 pm – 10:00 am Eastern).

Click the time slots you want to open in the calendar and they will become available for parents to book. Some weeks I teach one class, some weeks I teach thirty. Your VIPKID teaching hours are up to you.

teaching english online with vipkid - an overview
Make your own schedule for the perfect work-life balance

When do parents book VIPKID classes?

Parents sign their students up for your classes based on your profile containing your experience and bio. Parents can only book you for slots you opened. VIPKID won’t assign you any classes on a day or time you didn’t open first.

Most teachers will see a surge in bookings on Friday for the classes they’ve opened two weeks out. Classes can be booked at any time, but parents will only be able to book time slots for about two weeks in advance.

When are the Peak VIPKID Hours?

The “peak time” for classes is the time when the demand is highest. These slots are more likely to get booked. “Peak time” is from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm Beijing time.

Again, you don’t have to work these times, but these are the times where lots of parents are looking for classes so it can be easier to fill your schedule. On the weekends when the kids are out of school, you can fill more slots too!

Can I teach VIPKID full time?

You can open as many VIPKID time slots as you want each week, but teaching full time in the traditional sense of the word is difficult. While in theory, you could open 40 hours worth of time slots, it might be hard to get them all booked when you’re first starting out.

If you plan to work from North America, you’ll probably need to work overnight to get full-time hours. Because of the time change, the highest demand for classes will be very early mornings during the week and overnight on Friday and Saturday.

How does VIPKID vacation time work?

Since there are no VIPKID minimum hours, you don’t have to ask off time for a vacation. You simply won’t open your schedule for the days you can’t work.

If you’re planning to go on a longer vacation, it’s a good idea you can let your students know in your teacher bio or in the feedback you send after each class.

VIPKID Salary and Payment Updated for 2020

For each 25-minute class, VIPKID teachers earn a base rate of $7-$9. On top of that, teachers can earn incentives.

Since the classes are each 25 minutes long, you can teach two classes an hour. On average, most teachers and earn about $14-$22 per hour.

Pros and Cons of VIPKID

I’ve been happy with my VIPKID experience, but nothing is perfect. Here are a few of the highs and lows of VIPKID teaching:

Pros of VIPKID:

  • There are no minimum or maximum teaching hours so you can work as much or as little as you want
  • Schedule flexibility
  • Lesson plans are done for you, you just show up and teach

Cons of VIPKID:

  • The VIPKID teacher recruitment process is long and it can take a while to get regular bookings.
  • The hours in North America are very early in the morning.

What is VIPKID Teaching Like?

Usually, I teach early in the morning, so I set an alarm about 45 minutes before my first class of the day. I grab a cup of coffee and quickly look through the lessons I have coming up that morning.

Depending on the lesson topics, I might grab some VIPKID props to supplement the material. For example, if one of my classes is about ocean animals, I’ll make sure to have my shark puppet and fishbowl reward handy.

About 3 minutes before the class start time, I log into my first classroom through the VIPKID Teacher Portal. Sometimes the student is already in the classroom waiting for me but other times they arrive right before class starts. When you’re in the classroom, a notification box will pop up 10 seconds before the class time reminding you to begin the class.

I click the “Start Class” button and my camera and microphone switch on.

Once my student has their camera and microphone turned on as well, I greet them and we begin class.

The lessons in VIPKID are 25 minutes long and most PPTs are 26-28 slides, so we move at a rate of just under one minute per slide. It’s okay to go a few minutes over when teaching (ending anywhere between 25-minutes and 28-minutes is acceptable) but I never end class early. This is a big no-no in the VIPKID teaching world.

Lessons usually contain a variety of exercises around a specific topic. The student might be learning about animals, landforms, outer space, colors, or seasons while also practicing their reading, speaking, grammar, and listening skills.

Throughout the lesson, I take notes on my computer about areas the student did well and areas they need to practice. These notes are super brief, just enough to jog my memory when I’m writing feedback later.

When the class time is up, I make sure to reward and praise my student for a job well done. With my older students, we often say goodbye by playing a quick game of tic tac toe or rock paper scissors.

I click the “End Class” button which shuts off everyone’s cameras and microphones. I exit class and have about 2-3 minutes before it’s time for the next class.

Once all my classes are over, I work on my VIPKID feedback. This is where you tell the parent what you covered in class, what the student did well, and what they should review. VIPKID student feedback is only about a paragraph long so it takes about 5 minutes per class.

After feedback has been submitted, I’m done with school for the day.

Overall, teaching at VIPKID has been a great fit for me. I enjoy the flexibility and the work is meaningful and fun!

About the Author

Hi! I'm Nic. Let's chat about remote work and ways to incorporate more travel into your life. Whether you're here to find an online job or need some tips for planning your next trip, I've got you covered! More about me

7 thoughts on “What is VIPKID? Overview of Teaching English Online with VIPKID”

  1. Great post! I am looking to start doing something similar! Have you ever had any issues with scheduling since the VIPKID availability is submitted a month in advance?

  2. Sorry, I forgot to specify with my previous comment. I mean specifically scheduling with the combination of house sitting and VIPKID!

    • Hi Hayley! Even though it is encouraged to schedule VIPKID classes a month in advance, it isn’t required so you have some flexibility. I try to aim for longer house sits (a month or more) so I usually am able to schedule a few weeks out comfortably, but if I’m not sure about my travel schedule, I’ll wait until a week or two before to schedule classes. So far, this hasn’t been a problem. 🙂

  3. Hi Nic, I’m very interested in your information on online teaching. I have my associates degree in Elementary Education. I have also been a full time teaching assistant for almost 4 years. I am interested in obtaining my TEFL/TESOL certification with an online course. With most Universities the cost is way too much. I tried contacting an online company called “Teflen” but they never got back to me. Do you know of an accredited company that offers the above that is reasonable? Thank you in advance. Kimberly


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