I remember when I first started teaching with VIPKID. The scariest moment was going into my first class ever and seeing a trial student waiting for me. What the heck is a VIPKID trial class?
Do I teach it the same way as a major course lesson? I had no idea and I felt like I was being thrown to the wolves.
In order to make you feel more secure going into your first VIPKID trial class, I’ve put together this extensive guide that will help you understand exactly how to teach a trial class successfully.
What Is A VIPKID Trial Class?
A trial class is a lesson with a student that is not currently signed up for VIPKID. In order to market their services to potential customers, VIPKID offers every Chinese student three free trial lessons to see if they like the platform.
VIPKID has developed specific lessons that cater to trial students. This is a way to introduce them to online education and the VIPKID platform.
Some trial students decide to sign up for VIPKID, others do not.
Whether a student signs up for VIPKID depends on their parents and whether or not they can afford it financially. Unfortunately, many families do not have the means to enroll their children in VIPKID classes.
Earning Your Trial Class Certification
Many new teachers are curious and eager to teach trial classes but can’t figure out how to get bookings.
Trial classes are highly demanded lessons, therefore being able to teach them will ultimately increase your booking rate. But, before you can start teaching trial classes, you’ll need to earn your VIPKID trial class certification.
To do this, simply go to your “Resources” tab in your teacher’s portal. Choose the “Certification” option on the drop-down menu. Click on “Major Course” and scroll to the bottom of the page. Here, you’ll find all of the trial certifications available for teachers.
In order to earn these certifications, click on each one and follow the directions. Some require that you pass a simple quiz, while other certifications require that you submit a demo video. Either way, earning your trial certifications is crucial as a new teacher.
How To Know If You’re Teaching A Trial Class
To know whether or not you’re teaching a VIPKID trial class, go to your “Classroom” tab. Scroll through the list of your upcoming classes. If you are teaching a trial lesson, you’ll see the word “Trial” next to the classroom description. You can check to see what materials you’ll be teaching by clicking on “Materials” on the far righthand side.
On rare occasions, you may be booked for a trial lesson and see the words: “Booked – info pending” or “studentname” under the student’s name. When you see this, it just means that VIPKID has booked you to teach a trial lesson at that time, but they aren’t sure what student you’ll be teaching yet.
For me, not knowing which student I would be teaching or what level they might be at was nerve-racking. Luckily, there are only a handful of trial lesson slides. The best thing to do is review all of the trial class materials so you are ready for whatever is thrown at you.
How Long Are VIPKID Trial Classes?
A VIPKID trial class is 25 minutes long. If a student shows up to class early, do not start until the clock reaches 0:00. You will also want to stay in class until the 25-minute marker unless told otherwise by the fireman or if the student doesn’t show up to class.
If a trial student doesn’t show up to class, you can leave after the 15-minute mark.
If you complete the slides early, ask your student questions, play games, and engage in conversation until the class time is up. You can also extend the lesson by reviewing the concepts you’ve learned. Leaving any lesson before the 25-minute mark could result in a Teacher IT or negative feedback from a parent.
Do You Get Paid For VIPKID Trial Classes?
Although trial students and their families don’t pay for trial classes, VIPKID pays its teachers for these lessons.
For a VIPKID trial class, you’ll receive the same payment as you would for a major course class. There are a few differences to teaching trial classes, though.
Unlike major course classes where teachers are paid fully when the student doesn’t show up, teachers are only paid half of their base pay when a trial student doesn’t show up. This is because we are allowed to leave a trial class after 15 minutes if the student doesn’t show up.
Alternatively, teachers can make an extra $5 for each trial student that later signs up to become a regular VIPKID student. Most months, I earn an extra $40-50 because I have a handful of trial students sign-up with the platform.
Like I said before, teaching my first trial class was a bit rough, to say the least. I had no idea how to teach new students. It took teaching several trial classes in order to get my feet on the ground.
My hope is that I can offer you some advice to save you from the terror of teaching your first VIPKID trial class. Here are some things VIPKID does not tell you about teaching trial classes:
1. Trial classes are laidback
Unlike major course classes where you’re supposed to correct every single pronunciation mistake that the student makes, trial classes are VERY laidback.
Since this student is new to the platform and to learning Engish online, you’ll want to make your class fun and enjoyable. Hounding your student to pronounce a word correctly or say a sentence accurately is completely unnecessary.
Your goal for a trial class is to teach the student something new (even if it’s something small) and to build rapport.
If you don’t finish all of the lesson slides, it’s no big deal. In fact, during some of my trial lessons, I only make it to slide #10; this is especially true if I’m engaging in conversation with the student (building rapport).
2. What kind of props do I use for a trial class?
Luckily, there are way fewer slideshows for trial classes than major course classes. This makes preparation easy. The props you use for one trial class can be used for the majority of your trial classes.
When I first started teaching with VIPKID, I used a small handful of props for trial classes including a whiteboard, a microphone, and a hand puppet.
But the prop that came in handy the most for trial lessons was my personality. Since your goal is to connect with the student and make a great first impression, it’s important to be cheerful and animated. Who knows, maybe you’ll get yourself a new regular student!
3. What if a trial student just doesn’t understand the instructions?
This has happened to me time and time again. What if a trial student just doesn’t understand what you’re saying? What if they can’t follow directions?
The biggest difficulties I have with new students are getting them to circle an image on the screen and telling me their age. This is especially true for younger and lower level students.
Some students don’t realize that they can interact with the lesson slides, which is why they struggle to circle on the screen. If this happens, I figure out a way for them to answer the question without having to circle or move the objects.
For example, I assign each object a letter (A, B, C). I write these letters above the objects and re-ask them the question. Now, the student can answer the question without drawing on the screen. They can just tell me which letter.
It’s also important to know that it’s more than okay to help the student along.
4. What kind of rewards should I use for trial students?
Rewards for VIPKID trial classes should be relatively the same as a major course class. The only difference is that you should keep the reward fun and simple.
Currently, the VIPKID trial lessons are the ones you’ll find below. As a VIPKID teacher, you’ll notice that these lesson plans can change frequently. When I first started, we taught completely different trial lessons; therefore, it’s best to always look over the slides before your trial class so you know what materials you’ll be teaching.
The level 1 trial lesson is targeted toward students that have little to no experience with English. These are your PreVIP students and will range in age from 3 to 6 years old.
This trial lesson focuses on introductions (I am *student’s name*), colors, and the first letters of the alphabet.
Pro-tip: have fun with your students by taking them around your teaching room in search of different colors. You can also sing the alphabet in this lesson to extend and see how much your student knows.
Level 2 Beginner
The level 2 beginner VIPKID trial class is designed for students that are new to English language learning but are a little older than PreVIP students. These students are typically 4 to 7 years old.
This level focuses on facial body parts and is an extremely easy lesson to teach. The students pick up on these new vocabulary words quickly.
Pro-tip: create a game where the student shows you their eyes, nose, and mouth. They’ll love it!
Level 2 Advanced
The level 2 advanced VIPKID trial class is directed towards students that have had a bit more exposure to the English language. They are still beginners but the majority of the students will know simple vocabulary words.
You’ll focus on animals during this trial lesson. It’s a great opportunity to get the student talking about their favorite animals.
Pro-tip: I always extend the lesson by asking, “do you like tigers? Yes or no?” I do this for each animal that is introduced.
Level 3 Static
Getting up to level 3, you’ll notice that there are two different types of lessons: the static level 3 and the interactive level 3.
The static lesson means that the student cannot interact with the slides or move any objects. This is an older version of a trial class, so I wouldn’t be surprised if VIPKID discontinues this soon.
In my opinion, this is a great trial lesson to teach. You’ll be teaching your students about animals and the way animals move. For example, “a dog can swim” is one of the targeted sentence frames.
Pro-tip: I like to extend the lesson by asking my students, “what other animals can swim?” I do this for each type of movement (ie. fly, walk, etc).
Level 3 Interactive
The level 3 interactive trial class is one where the student can interact with the slides. Throughout this lesson, your students will be learning about different kinds of food. They will be able to grab and drop different objects on the screen while talking about them.
Level 4 & Level 5
Truthfully, I’ve never taught this specific slideshow for a level 4 trial class. I’ve taught well over 3,000 classes to over 800 students and I’ve never encountered this lesson or the lesson below (level 5). I think these are new slideshows that were just recently added.
The important thing to note about level 4 and level 5 students is that they should be pretty advanced. Some will be timid and nervous about using their English language skills, but that’s why you should praise and encourage them.
Overall, conversation should be plentiful while teaching level 4 and level 5 trial students. Get to know them a little and teach them something new.
Level 6 students have reached the top of the pyramid. This lesson should come very easily for them, but your goal is to get them talking, work on pronunciation, and dive into complex ideas.
Just like any level 6 lesson, the student should lead the lesson. Engage in conversation as much as possible.
VIPKID Trial Class Feedback Examples
Feedback submissions for VIPKID trial classes always confuse teachers. What are we supposed to write in our feedback to a VIPKID trial student?
The best part about teaching trial classes is that they are so laidback. These students have never taken lessons with VIPKID before and they don’t know what to expect. This holds true for VIPKID trial class feedback, too.
In your feedback, you can make it short and sweet. Say positive things about the student and their learning abilities. Mention a few things that they did well and let them know that you’d love to have them in class regularly.
You’ll quickly see that VIPKID trial class no shows are common. For every 10 trial classes I teach, I can assume that at least one student won’t show up. Since trial class students aren’t financially obligated to attend class, trial student no shows occur more often.
When this happens, there’s no need to call the fireman and ask him what’s happening. Just wait in class until the 15-minute mark and then you can leave. I like to use this extra time to complete feedback from other lessons or have a bite to eat.
For trial class no shows, you will not need to leave feedback.
Understanding the Rebooking Function for Trial Classes
Understandably, having trial classes end in a student no show can be frustrating. Unlike major course classes, teachers are only paid half of their base pay for trial student no shows. This pay cut can ultimately hurt your monthly paycheck.
Luckily, VIPKID has created an option that helps with this problem. It’s called the trial class rebooking function.
The VIPKID trial class rebooking function allows VIPKID to switch trial students if they know the current student won’t show. VIPKID switches the student AFTER the class has already begun, which is why they need each teacher’s permission.
Personally, I don’t use the trial class rebooking function because I like to have a break every once in a while!
To opt-in for the trial class rebooking function, go to your teacher’s dashboard, hover over “My Info”, and choose “Account Center” in the drop-down menu. On the left-hand side, select “Enable Trial Rebooking” where you’ll be able to opt-in to this feature.
The Wrap-Up: VIPKID Trial Class
Teaching a VIPKID trial class can be confusing and daunting at first, but you’ll soon realize that they are really fun and easy-going. Trial classes are a great way to connect with new students and add clients to your list of regulars.
If you have more questions about VIPKID trial classes, don’t hesitate to reach out. You can leave a comment on this blog post or send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want More On VIPKID?
Want to know how I keep my students and their parents begging for more classes? Grab my free guide that details exactly how to become a highly demanded teacher. I just need your name and email address and I’ll deliver your guide directly to your inbox!
Find this post helpful? Save it to Pinterest for later!