I’ve been an online English teacher with VIPKID for about 15 months now. Throughout my time working with this company, I have been asked a plethora of questions. Below you can find a list of the most frequently asked questions I receive as a VIPKID teacher.
I’m New To VIPKID. How Do I Get Bookings?
This is by far the number one question I get asked: “how in the world do I get bookings with VIPKID as a new teacher?”
Fair question. Getting bookings as a new teacher can pose a challenge for many; do not feel like you are singled out for one reason or another. As a new teacher, it will take some time to get your first booking. How long? It varies depending on your certifications, but it’s typically anywhere from one day to two weeks.
Please, do NOT be discouraged. I can promise you the bookings WILL come. On average, it takes about two months for new teachers to get a fully-booked schedule. Parents need time to get acquainted with you, but before long you’ll have a stream of regular students waiting to take your classes.
If you haven’t started the hiring process or are in the middle of the process and you don’t have a referral yet, use my VIPKID link & referral code: LAURA0279. I’d be happy to be your mentor and help you start teaching as soon as possible.
Is VIPKID Legit?
Sometimes I am confused by this question because for me I think, “well duh? How else do I pay my bills?”
But then I think back to before I started teaching with VIPKID. I saw advertisements everywhere for this company and thought it was too good to be true. I didn’t think it was possible to be paid $25/hour teaching children from my computer, set my own hours, and work from anywhere in the world.
Luckily, I looked into it more, gave it a shot, and I’m damn glad I did. We’ve used VIPKID to travel all over Southeast Asia, while still paying all of our bills on time. In September, we will be exploring Europe for three months on my VIPKID salary.
Is VIPKID A Pyramid Scheme?
Definitely not. VIPKID is an online teaching platform; the farthest thing from a pyramid scheme.
Some people wonder about this because teachers get a $100 incentive for recruiting other teachers.
Let me explain this further:
VIPKID is an online English teaching platform; it serves children and families in China (primarily). There are over 500,000 students currently taking classes with VIPKID and this number grows exponentially every day.
Consider the population of China, 1.2 billion people. Since education is their top priority (you’ll learn this very quickly while teaching with VIPKID), parents are always looking for ways to give their children a leg-up on the competition. VIPKID classes are a hot commodity in China and VIPKID teachers are even hotter. To fill the demand for classes, VIPKID actively hires new teachers every day.
Something they do not do, however, is train their new teachers. They decided that the best way to train new teachers is by having current teachers help them through the hiring process. Whether this works or not, they have been outsourcing new teacher orientation since the beginning.
If you decide to recruit new teachers (completely optional), it’s your job to help them through the arduous hiring process. You must be there to answer their questions, give them advice, and practice mock classes with them.
And that is why VIPKID pays veteran teachers to recruit new teachers.
What Are Priority Booking Requests? Do I Accept Them Or Refuse Them?
Every week on Monday afternoon, VIPKID opens teachers’ schedules for the following week. This is when parents rush in to book classes with their favorite teachers, also called the booking frenzy. Any classes beyond the following week are off-limits. Teachers may open these classes ahead of time, but parents are not allowed to book them…
..unless, their child has had a class with you during the current week. For example, let’s say a student (let’s call her Freya) has a class with you on Wednesday, June 5 at 8:30am. Two weeks out is June 19th at 8:30am. Freya’s parents have priority to book that slot before any other student.
If the parents choose to request a priority booking, you can find this under the priority booking tab on the homepage of your VIPKID teacher’s portal. You can see a picture of the priority booking requests below.
Now, I can either choose to accept or refuse the priority booking request. OR magic answer number three, I can let the priority booking expire. Since I don’t typically know my schedule two weeks in advance, I usually let my booking requests expire. Some weeks I have 50+ booking requests and I let them all expire.
The reason I do this is that I don’t have time to go through each request, refuse it, and write an explanation. I’ve also found that parents don’t expect you to respond to them. Not once have I ever had a parent become upset because I didn’t respond to their priority booking request. I also have never lost any students for ignoring these requests.
Talking with other veteran VIPKID teachers, they do the same thing. If you aren’t certain that you can teach that day and you don’t want to send a refusal, just let the priority booking request expire. No big deal.
What Is The VIPKID Student No Show Procedure?
Another common question I get asked is, “what do I do if a student doesn’t show up?”
The first thing you’ll do is do a little dance because you’re getting paid for doing nothing. Although I love my students and enjoy having classes, it’s nice to have a well-deserved paid break.
Now, there are different procedures for different finish types. Here are examples of each one:
A Canceled Class
This means that a parent has canceled the class within 24 hours of the start time. If this happens, you’ll see a number next to the “Classes Canceled” section on your VIPKID mobile app. You do not have to show up or login to the classroom if one of your classes is canceled.
Be aware that parents can cancel classes prior to the 24-hour window, which does not count as a canceled class. Another student may fill this slot and you will go about teaching like normal.
A Student No-Show
Student no-shows happen when you enter a classroom and the student never shows up. This happens quite often during holidays or summer vacation. Last summer, I usually had at least one student no-show per day, if not more.
When a student doesn’t show up without warning, you must stay in the classroom for the duration of the lesson, however, you don’t have to stare at the screen and be bored out of your mind for the entire 25 minutes. Keep the classroom up in the background and surf the internet.
If a student no-show occurs with a trial student, you can leave the classroom after 15 minutes.
Payment For Student No-Shows
If a student no-show occurs with a main course student (not a trial student), you will receive full-pay for that class.
If a student no-show occurs with a trial student, you will receive 50% of your base pay (plus $1 for participation and $1 if you’ve taught more than 45 classes in one month).
Feedback For Canceled Classes Or Student No-Shows
You’re off the hook! No feedback submission necessary. In fact, VIPKID won’t even have it as an option under your missing CF/UA tab.
Many new teachers ask about profile pictures and I won’t lie, they are quite important. Since VIPKID only allows teachers a short 30-second intro video and a brief description of their qualifications, any exposure is important.
Your profile picture should be a mix of professional, fun, and attractive.
By this, I mean that you should present yourself in a professional way. Your surroundings should be appropriate, your entire face should be visible, and you should be wearing clothes that you would wear in a classroom.
Next, you should be sure to have fun with it. There is no need to get headshots taken or wear a suit and tie; it’s not that serious. For my picture, I am wearing everyday (classroom appropriate) clothes and standing next to a tree in the forest.
And last, your VIPKID profile picture should be attractive. You will want to brush your hair and smile. Lighting is also important and natural sunlight seems to work the best for profile pictures.
There is room for additional pictures; I suggest using these because again, any exposure is good exposure. The remainder of the pictures could be of you with your children, dog, doing a fun activity, or anything appealing. My additional pictures are of me in Bangkok celebrating Loy Krathong Festival and the other is a picture of me standing at the peak of a mountain.
What Are Short Notice Bookings?
Short notice bookings are classes that are booked within 24 hours of the class start time. You can choose to open short notice classes or not, it is completely up to you.
I enjoy opening short notice classes because teachers are paid an extra $2/class. That’s $4/hour and I can’t say no to that kind of money. In fact, I typically open four teaching slots in advance for my regular students. Then, the night before I teach, I open four more classes. This brings my average hourly wage to $23/hour.
Note: I wouldn’t necessarily suggest waiting to open classes until the night before if you’re a new teacher. It’s best to have a consistently full schedule before you start doing this.
You can open short notice bookings by clicking the 24-hour button while scheduling classes. As you can see, the classes highlighted in blue are considered short notice classes.
How Do I Get 5-Apple Feedback From VIPKID Parents?
This one seems impossible but the answer is easy! In order to get 5-apple feedback from parents.. ask!
I didn’t know this trick for several weeks after starting classes and I didn’t earn any feedback. So what gives?
When you are first starting out as a VIPKID teacher, be sure to ask the parents to give you 5-apple feedback after each class. It’s not pushy and it’s not rude, it’s just necessary.
This is what you can say to parents in order to receive 5-apple feedback:
“I was so happy to meet ______ today. During our lesson, we focused on the months of the year. A few of our new vocabulary words included: May, June, and July. I was really impressed with _____’s reading skills. He can easily use blending skills to sound out larger words that might be unfamiliar to him. I hope to have ____ in class again; great job!
If you liked my teaching today, please leave me 5-apple feedback. It is very important for VIPKID teachers to receive positive feedback after every class. Thank you very much!”
The reason feedback is so important is because parents are more likely to book your classes if other parents have had positive experiences with you. After you have a full schedule with regular students, it won’t be necessary to ask for 5-apple feedback. This is just to get you started as a new teacher.
Who Is BaoBao?
I was so confused by this term when I first started with VIPKID. WHO THE HECK IS BAOBAO? Why does he keep booking classes with me?
Baobao just means student. This is not their actual name, it’s just a stand-in name if the parents haven’t filled out the child’s profile entirely.
Why Is My VIPKID Paycheck Smaller Than Expected?
Another confusing aspect of VIPKID is the payment system.
When I was hired, I was promised $8/class as base pay plus an additional $1/class for participation and another $1/class for teaching more than 45 classes in one month. In my mind, I was going to make $20/hour right off the bat.
And while this WILL inevitably happen, VIPKID will not credit your account that extra $1/class until you’ve taught 45+ classes during that month. Therefore, my account would only show that I’m making $18/hour UNTIL I hit that 45 classes mark. That’s when BOOM, an extra $45 will show up in your payment center just like that.
Interestingly enough, VIPKID decided to confuse teachers EVEN more. If you’ve taught between 30-44 classes within a month, you’ll see $0.50 being credited to your payment center account for each class. Again, this will change when you teach your 45th class.
If you choose to be paid bi-weekly (like I do), your participation incentive and finished classes incentive won’t be paid out until the end of the month.
Can I Get Classes During School Hours in China?
I was worried about this before I started teaching with VIPKID because I wanted to be able to teach as much as possible. For me, it was easier to teach into the night rather than waking up at 4am.
The only problem was that most students are in school when it is evening in America. I was sure I couldn’t get any classes during those times.
Surprisingly, many students DO take classes during school hours. Popular times for students to take classes during school hours are:
1. In the morning (9am-10am Beijing time)
2. During lunch hour. Many students go home to eat lunch and believe it or not, they take VIPKID classes on their break.
3. ANYTIME. While it isn’t as common to get classes during the day, it is definitely possible, especially after you’re an established teacher. I’ve had many students with chickenpox take my classes during school hours.
If you’re looking to get classes during irregular Beijing hours (school hours), I recommend getting your Level 1 certificate. Many Level 1 students are five years old or younger. These students aren’t in school yet and you’re more likely to get bookings with them.
Can I Make Enough With VIPKID To Do This Full-Time?
This depends on your situation. For me, VIPKID is more than enough to sustain my everyday lifestyle. However, if you’re living in New York City or Los Angeles, I wouldn’t recommend quitting your day job.
I typically make around $3,000 per month with VIPKID while working only four hours per day. Some teachers work 40+ hours a week and bring in a lot more than I do.
Teaching English online has proven to be more lucrative than teaching in a brick & mortar school but of course there are pros and cons to each job.
If you’re looking to make VIPKID your full-time job, I recommend getting your bearings first before quitting your day job. It took me about three months before I was able to make enough to quit my full-time job.
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The Wrap-Up: VIPKID Frequently Asked Questions
Teaching with VIPKID is an excellent opportunity that has ultimately allowed us to travel the world full-time. As with any company, new employees have questions; it can be difficult to find the answers to these questions but I hope I covered a few of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to teaching English with VIPKID.