Whether you’re a new VIPKID teacher or a veteran teacher, there are certain things that you should know to make this job as easy and lucrative as possible. For me, teaching with VIPKID has allowed me to travel the world full-time, connect with my students on the other side of the world, and thoroughly enjoy my job.
Some of these VIPKID tips and tricks you might be familiar with, others you might not know yet. Either way, I hope these tricks help out my fellow VIPKID coworkers.
VIPKID offers teachers $2 extra per class when they book short notice classes. Short notice bookings are classes that are booked within 24 hours of the class start time. Most teachers probably already know about this but very few use it to their advantage.
Prior to actively using this trick, I would randomly get a short notice booking here and there. The extra $2 per class was nice but it was hardly noticeable in the grand scheme of things.
It took me a year, but I finally realized that I could potentially earn $4 per hour more by only booking short notice classes. I figured out that waiting to open classes until the night before has put hundreds of extra dollars in my pocket each month.
Some teachers are turned off by this approach because they want to be available for their regular students. I completely understand this because I have hundreds of students that I know and love. Leaving slots for them to book in advance is important for me, too.
So instead of booking ONLY short notice slots, I open 50% of my slots ahead of time and 50% the night before they are scheduled. By doing this, I am still averaging $23 per hour as opposed to $21 per hour.
Based on my schedule and the number of classes I teach, I would typically make around $2600 per month by opening all of my classes two weeks in advance. But, by opening 50% of my slots ahead of time and 50% as short notice classes, I am making around $2850 per month. That’s $250 more per month for the exact same amount of work. Booking short notice classes also allows me a lot more freedom to decide what my schedule can look like.
Who Shouldn’t Do This
I would only suggest this booking method for teachers who have a strong following of students already. If you are a new teacher and you’re still getting your feet wet, I would wait to try this until you have a steady stream of students.
If you’re a VIPKID teacher, you know how irritating it can be to submit feedback after each class. While it’s helpful for the parents to know how their child is doing, feedback becomes so repetitive for us teachers, especially with regular students.
Luckily, I have found an easier way! Some people swear by the app, FeedbackPanda, but I refuse to pay for it because I’m trying to earn money, not spend money.
Nope, my trick is completely free and it’s so easy. Voice record your feedback. Yes, just like you would voice to text your friends, you can also voice to text on the VIPKID app.
In order to do this, you’ll need to use your phone or iPad (this MIGHT work on computers but it doesn’t on my Macbook Air). Go to the missing feedback section and select the class you want to leave feedback for.
Once you have reached the text boxes, open your phone or iPad keyboard as if you were going to type. You’ll see a small microphone on the top right-hand side. When you choose this, start dictating your feedback!
My favorite part about this is that it’s hands-free. I don’t need to sit and type comments for an hour after a long slough of classes. I can be cleaning, folding clothes, or doing other tasks while still completing tedious feedback.
3. Internet Speed Check
I’m in several different VIPKID Facebook groups and internet speed seems to be the hot topic 99% of the time. I understand it can be a bit confusing, especially for new teachers. So that’s why I hope this bit of “insider” VIPKID information helps those who are wondering about internet stability.
There is a definite way to check your internet speed and that is through the VIPKID app on your phone or tablet. Find it by going to the “Account” tab on the bottom menu. Once you are here, you’ll see a small hexagon in the top right-hand corner (it looks like a nut or bolt); this is your settings menu.
Choose the settings menu and click on “Network Diagnostics”. The VIPKID app will automatically begin testing your internet speed and stability.
If your connection is suitable for teaching, it will say “your internet connection seems okay”. If it’s not suitable for teaching, it will say “your internet connection is unstable”.
Another Way to Check Your Internet Speed
Another way to check the internet speed is through the website speedtest.net. When you use this website, be sure to pay attention to the download, upload, AND ping results.
As a rule of thumb, you’ll want your ping to be as low as possible. VIPKID suggests that it be under 200, but the lower the better! Download speeds can vary but the higher the better. Most people find that anything below 5mbps is a bit risky. VIPKID recommends 20mbps download speeds but you’ll soon realize that you can get away with much lower speeds.
Some teachers will tell you that the upload speed doesn’t matter.. don’t listen to them. The upload speed DOES matter, but as long as it’s above 1mbps, you should be fine.
Please keep in mind that this is all relative and completely depends on your situation. If you are sharing the internet with several other people, you’ll want higher download and upload speeds in order to keep a stable connection.
Invest in an Ethernet Cord
A hardwire connection to the router (ethernet cord or tethering) will result in a more stable connection for your VIPKID classes. It isn’t necessary to be directly connected but if you’re experiencing problems, I highly recommend connecting your device to the router via ethernet.
4. Google Fi for Backup
Here’s a lesser-known tip for VIPKID teachers. As discussed above, internet stability can be scary, especially when you’re traveling. Some people turn to local SIM cards or TEP devices for backup internet.
I say poo to all of those things. Get yourself on the Google Fi network and never worry about backup internet ever again. We use Google Fi as our cell phone provider and I’m able to easily use this as a hotspot anytime my internet fails.
Google Fi is awesome for so many reasons.
First, you ONLY pay for the data you use. They charge $10/Gb, so if I use 4Gb of data during a month, it’ll be $40 (plus a $15 flat-rate service fee). If I use 2Gb, I’ll pay $20 for that month of data.
Google Fi also caps off at 10Gb of data. As soon as you reach 10Gb used, data becomes free for the rest of that month.
If I use my phone as a hotspot for VIPKID, it takes approximately 0.1Gb of data per class. Therefore I use about 1Gb of data for every 10 classes. Again, I only use this for emergency situations but it has saved my butt time and again.
Another reason Google Fi is so awesome is that international data is the same price ($10/Gb) and they provide service in 170+ countries.
We’ve used our phones in Thailand, the Maldives, Indonesia, Australia, and New Zealand. We’ve been able to get steady LTE in all of these locations.
For VIPKID teachers and especially for those traveling, I highly suggest switching your cell phone provider to Google Fi. The network is phenomenal and the prices are unbeatable.
There, I said it. Props aren’t as important as VIPKID makes you believe. The most important prop at your disposal is yourself and your ability to connect with these kids.
Something that I have found to be very useful instead of physical props is the last slide on the PowerPoint. VIPKID leaves that slide blank 99% of the time. So instead of using toys and stuffed animals, I use the last slide to play games with my students. Sometimes I even use it to write out a few concepts that need more of an explanation.
In order to skip forward to the last slide, I type in the last page number in the bottom left corner box. This quickly brings me to the last slide. I also take note of which slide I was previously on so I can jump back to where I left off.
Use this last slide to play games with your students for rewards and to explain new concepts and vocabulary words. For example, if my student doesn’t understand the word “sun”, I go to the last slide and draw a sun. Easy!
None of the games listed in the blog post above require physical props and surprisingly these are the activities that build the most rapport with my students.
I always let my students win and I make a huge deal about it. Sometimes I even pretend to cry and they LOVE it. I had one young student laughing so hard that he started to silent laugh. We all know that the silent laugh is the best, so give these games and the last slide of the powerpoint a shot!
7. Get More Referrals
It’s no secret that if a VIPKID teacher refers another teacher, they earn $100 per successful referral. VIPKID is a rapidly growing online English teaching platform that serves over 500,000 Chinese students. This number is always growing; I have new students sign up for classes every other day.
Since the demand for classes is so high, VIPKID is always looking to hire qualified teachers (those with a bachelor’s degree and an American or Canadian accent). VIPKID outsources the recruiting and orientation process to their current teachers because who better knows how to teach with VIPKID than the teachers themselves?
Referring teachers are expected to help their referrals through the entire process, step-by-step. For our time and effort, VIPKID gives us $100 per successful referral (the teacher MUST teach classes with VIPKID to get your incentive).
Many teachers choose to forgo this option and stick to solely teaching. For the first year that I taught with VIPKID, I didn’t put any effort into orienting new teachers. As a veteran teacher, I am shifting my focus a bit. I still teach 28 hours per week, but I also want to help others find this company and start their remote careers as well.
In an effort to spread the word about VIPKID, I posted a few links to my social media accounts. Unfortunately, this didn’t produce any results. It isn’t as easy as slapping links and a quick description of the company onto your social media sites and crossing your fingers.
Start a Blog or Youtube Channel
I’ve found that the best way to recruit new teachers is to answer as many questions as possible about VIPKID. Put the information out there for others to find. Give answers to common questions about this company and the teaching opportunity. And of course, be brutally honest. Building trust is the best way to spread a message.
As soon as I started blogging about VIPKID and my personal experience, my referrals increased. I highly recommend blogging or YouTubing about your experience as well.
To start your website, I highly recommend signing up with Bluehost; this it the hosting provider I use and it’s the easiest way to set up a successful blog. It’s also extremely affordable.
From there, start sharing your experience with others about VIPKID!
If you have any questions about how to create a successful blog, don’t hesitate to reach out. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
8. Learn How to Count with Your Fingers
I’m sure you’re wondering what the heck I mean by this. Of course, you know how to count on your fingers.
Well, believe it or not, students in China actually count on their fingers DIFFERENTLY than we do in America.
In the video below, I show you exactly how to count on your fingers the Chinese way.
In my opinion, it is very helpful to know how to count with your fingers the way the Chinese way because many young students are still learning how to count. Using the proper signs will help them understand the numbers in English.
I also use these numbers to help me teach the question, “how old are you?” I’ve found that many beginner students don’t understand this question.
To help them understand what I’m asking, I typically say, “how old are you?” If they don’t respond, I say, “are you.. five years old? Or six years old? Or nine years old?” while showing them the different number signs on my hand.
Nine times out of ten, the student will pick up on what you are asking if you use these number signs.
9. VIPKID Phonics Game
One of my favorite games to use in my VIPKID classroom is called the phonics game… I invented that super clever name all by myself, can you tell?
The phonics slide game has helped me teach my students how to blend words and has helped their pronunciation as well. It also helps me keep my students’ attention; the phonics slide is typically placed around the 16-minute mark of each class. This is prime time for the student to lose interest. Use this game to rope them back in.
Check out the video below to learn how to play the phonics game with your student:
In most cases, your students will be able to blend words easily and independently. Playing the phonics game will be possible because they already know how to blend these words and it just adds a little fun to the lesson.
Tips for the phonics game
1. If your student is struggling to blend, I recommend going through each phonics word first and have them repeat after you. Once they feel comfortable blending these words, then you can play the game with them.
2. If your student mispronounces one of the phonics words during the game, don’t stop them or correct them until the end. Once they have completed the game, then you can go back and have them repeat the word they mispronounced.
3. If you are playing the game and the student starts to say the blends with you during your turn, take a second to say “oops! Teacher’s turn. Shhh!” and then continue blending. That usually stops them from saying the words with me.
10. Teaching with VIPKID During Festivals
Not only are Chinese festivals (holidays) a treat for our students, but they’re a treat for us, too!
China has many festivals throughout the year and during these times, Chinese schools are closed. When students are out of school, VIPKID bookings go WAY up.
Take advantage of these times, open as many classes as you can handle, and increase your earnings for the month.
Common Chinese Festivals
New Year’s Day (January 1): New Year’s Day is recognized in China. There’s a common misconception that because China has Chinese New Year that they don’t celebrate New Year’s Day. They do!
Chinese New Year: frequently called Spring Festival. It is celebrated for an entire month that spans between January, February, and sometimes March. The exact dates vary each year.
Lantern Festival: the Lantern Festival signifies the end of Chinese New Year. The date of this holiday varies each year.
Qingming Festival (April 4): also known as Tomb-Sweeping Day. This holiday is celebrated to remember their ancestors.
International Workers Day (May 1): also known as May Day or Labor Day. Students are typically out of school for five days surrounding this festival.
Children’s Day (June 1): in most cases, kids in China go to school for a half-day on this designated holiday. It’s a day of fun, games, and very little school work.
Dragon Boat Festival: you’ll actually read about this festival a LOT throughout your VIPKID classes. This holiday is a memorial for Qu Yuan, a famous Chinese poet and politician. The exact date for this festival varies each year.
Summer holiday (end of June – September 1) although this isn’t a national holiday, students do not have school from the end of June to the beginning of September. There are lots of VIPKID bookings to be had during this time!
National Holiday (October 1): this is China’s 4th of July. It’s typical to see students out of school for an entire week during this time.
Mid-Autumn Festival: this festival recognizes the autumn harvest and the date varies each year.
Another thing to note is that although students have this time off from school, they oftentimes go to school on Saturdays or Sundays to make up for these lost days.
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The Wrap-Up: VIPKID Tips & Tricks
I’ll continue to praise VIPKID for its phenomenal teaching platform. I have been with them for over a year and a half now and this job has changed my world significantly. If you’re looking to earn some extra money, travel the world, or find a more flexible and remote career, give VIPKID a try.
Use these ten VIPKID tips and tricks to get the most out of teaching your students. Enjoy going to class, worry less about internet issues, and get paid more. It’s a win-win for everyone!
Sign-up for VIPKID
If you’re looking to sign up for VIPKID, use this link and the code LAURA0279. This will make me your referring teacher. I’ll help you through the arduous process and we’ll get you teaching in no time! If you do use my referral code, send me an email at email@example.com so I know where to send tips!
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