Saturday, November 4, 2017

I Work From Home As An English Tutor.

1. I don't speak Chinese. 

2. I don't write curriculum.

3. I set my own schedule and availability.

4. I make $20 an hour. 

5. I work in my PJ pants while my kids are asleep. 

6. I'm an English tutor for VIPKid, a Chinese company that employs tens of thousands of Americans, called one of the best work-from-home jobs available according to Bloomberg and Forbes.

VIPKid is a Chinese company that hires English speakers (mostly Americans) to teach kids in China, ages 3 - 16, 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. 

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. 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.

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. (If you sign up through my link, I'll coach you through the application process with emails and Skype practice to help you get hired at the highest pay.)

- 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.)

- 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: Create your VIPKid profile with a short bio and some photos, 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 slot on my schedule, it books within 12 hours.)

Curious? More Questions? Feel free to ask! And if you sign up through my link (here), I'll help you ace the application process and get started tutoring as soon as possible! 

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. 

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. 

Just reach out with any questions! 

1 comment:

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