Saturday, November 4, 2017

How To Be A VIPKid Teacher For Chinese Students

If I told you there's a part-time, work-from-home, online tutoring job that pays $16 - $22 per hour, and you can choose your own days and hours, and work in your PJ pants, would your first thought be that it's a scam? Probably. 

Coverage from Bloomberg News and Forbes confirms, not only VIPKid's validity, but its success, as both a company and employer.

VIPKid is a Chinese company that hires English speakers (mostly Americans) to teach kids in China, ages 3 - 12, through 25-minute online lessons.

My "work" hours are 5-7 am, Monday - Friday. These are after-school hours in China, so students fill these times quickly. There are many other hours available, including evenings and overnights, but my own kids need me the rest of the day.

The student video chats in the top right.
All you need to start is a 4-year college degree, a stable internet connection, a computer, and some kind of teaching experience. Do you help your kids with homework after school? Have you ever taught religious ed or Sunday School? Do you homeschool? Have you helped kids that you babysit with their homework? This all counts. At least three years of experience is ideal. (While it's not necessary, if you have a teaching license, you earn a higher rate. If you have ESL accreditation, you earn even more. Many full-time teachers also work with VIPKid as supplementary income.)

The curriculum is already done for you. Training videos abound in your online resource center. Mentor teachers provide regular free workshops. There's a Canadian support team for day-time needs and a Chinese support team to provide around-the-clock coverage. This is a huge operation!

VIPKid is not going for a specific look. Their teachers are diverse in every way. 

They are looking for a specific teaching style. When I first posted about VIPKid, I described the teaching style as over the top, song & dance. But that wasn't accurate. YouTube videos of audition tapes might make you think they're looking for theatrics, but calm, clear, and intentional are more important than singing in tune or jazz hands.

That said, there are some really great YouTube videos of sample classes, if you're curious about the format.

So what's the bad?

1. The interview process is grueling! The entire hiring process takes about a week -- so next week, at this time, you could be teaching! -- but it's an intense learning curve. Here's an overview of the process:

- Sign up (5 minutes): provide your basic info and let VIPKid know you're interested.

- Demo Lesson Interview: study the short powerpoint provided by VIPKid, and teach it to a mentor during the first interview. Your interviewer will provide constructive feedback, to prepare you for your next interview. (There are many sample YouTube videos that VIPKid teachers have uploaded about successfully passing this Demo Lesson.)

- Mock Lesson Interview: study the longer powerpoint provided by VIPKid, and teach it to a mentor during the second interview. (Again, many YouTube videos on this exact lesson, about how to pass this interview.) Your interviewer is also checking to see how you incorporate the feedback from your Demo Lesson. At this point in the process, you'll find out if you're hired or not.

- 2-hour Online Orientation Class: everything you need to know about teaching for VIPKid, including how the online teaching portal works, resources, and worst case scenarios. I really enjoyed this class. It is empowering!

- Set up your profile, open your availability, and start to teach!

2. You're a contract employee. So you have complete freedom with the flexibility of your hours and commitment. But as a contract employee, you're considered self-employed, which means your income is pre-tax. On the positive side, this also means that your home internet bill, home office space, and any optional supplies you use in class are tax-deductible.

3. There's no guarantee that kids will sign up for you as a tutor. Your profile can tell parents a lot about who you are, and how you teach. Parents see your headshot, a few lifestyle photos, a 30-second video, and a 4-sentence bio. They also see feedback that other parents have left. It takes time to fill a regular schedule. I only had one or two classes a week for the first month. Two months in, my schedule was consistently 80% booked. Four months in, my schedule was fully booked. (Update: one year in, I'm established enough that any time I open a time on my schedule, it books within 12 hours.)

Curious? More Questions? Feel free to ask!

My intent, when I started this process, was just to see how far it would go. My husband and I weren't sure we could swing something else in our family schedule, but we knew the extra income would be nice, and there's no risk, since there's no up-front cost commitment. What's the harm in trying it out?

The 12-hour time zone difference means I can work while my kids are sleeping, and then our family can all eat breakfast together, and start the day! 

This job opportunity is a blessing for our family, and maybe it could be a blessing to you too.


  1. I Loved this blog regarding the Cool New Work-From-Home Job and thanks for how to get the job. Keep sharing more and more.

  2. Hey Charlene,
    I think I will apply. I'll put you in as a referral!
    Kim Grover-Haskin

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