If you thought teaching couldn’t be as lucrative as it fulfilling, read this VIPKID review. It’s one of the best online jobs.
VIPKID made our list of the top 3 work from home jobs.
But, before we get to the positives–and negatives–let’s answer two questions. Namely, what is VIPKID? And is VIPKID legit? Let’s start with the first one.
What Is VIPKID?
VIPKID is an online ESL education service that provides one-on-one teaching.
VIPKID has 60,000+ teachers around the world.
Students are between the ages of 4 and 12 years old. This feat is possible because VIPKID hires experienced American teachers to deliver their fully immersive lessons via the company’s platform.
VIPKid teaches in 300+ low income schools across China.
These lessons are provided by VIPKID and are based on United States Common Core State Standards. The program also uses a flipped classroom approach to nurture creativity and critical thinking skills in students. The company headquarters is in Beijing, China, and the majority of the students who use VIPKID are also based in China.
This company was founded in 2013 by Cindy Mi and Jessie Chen, who bring both educator and administrative experience.
The pair established VIPKID with the goal of providing a global education. The curriculum is based on a progressive pedagogy, and reinforced with US Common Core Standards.
VIPKid teaches 500,000+ students online worldwide.
This approach has garnered approximately 500,000 paying students. And its success has allowed VIPKID to provide free English classes to more than 300 low income schools in China.
VIPKID employees over 60,000 native English speaking teachers around the world who have at least some prior live teaching experience. As a teacher with this company you will be working with kids one on one.
This is done through a platform that mimics a video call (like Skype or FaceTime). There is room for your lesson materials as well.
Is VIPKID Legit?
One sure-fire way to tell if a company is legit is to see who’ve they worked with (or are working with currently). And their partnerships include BOB Books, National Geographic, as well as Smart Study.
Additional partnerships include TESOL International Association, Lexile, and Sterling. The partnership with National Geographic allows portions of their language learning curriculum content.
Working with TESOL International Association provides support by way of research and advocacy. This is because it relates to the best practices for language acquisition.
VIPKID uses Sterling Check, a leader in background checking.
Sterling allows VIPKID to completely screen applicants to ensure the safety of students and their families. Lexile provides an assessment to ensure that each student starts at the right level for their education.
And partnering with Smart Study and BOB Books enhances the learning experience with their popular multimedia.
VIPKID Teaching Requirements
To work with VIPKID you must be legally allowed to work in either the US or Canada. Applicants are also required to have a Bachelor’s degree, and experience teaching in North America.
Applicants must have a Bachelor’s Degree.
The application process can be a bit daunting for some, it does require several days and includes an interview with company executives as well as teaching a mock lesson.
In addition to the application requirements, you must have:
- Desktop or laptop computer.
- Recent version of Flash Player, web-camera.
- Minimum internet speed of 20 mbps.
- Headset with microphone.
VIPKID Application Process
After you submit a resume you will move on to an interview with executives to talk about your resume and background. At this time you will also demonstrate your teaching skills, by giving a ten minute lesson based on the slides provided.
VIPKid requires you to prepare a 30 minute lesson.
Once you have completed this interview you will receive training materials to study and the materials for a full lesson. You must then prepare this 30 minute lesson to demonstrate your teaching skills to a teacher-mentor. Basically, the company wants to ensure that you can do the job and teach the provided curriculum as it has been designed.
What Former Applicants Have Said
Those who have completed this step say that the hardest part is to get the timing right. You have to end at right about 25 minutes, you can’t go over time and you want to leave time for questions.
Additionally, you don’t want to end too early and not give the students (and their parents) exactly what they expect. It is important to remember that you are not in your live classroom. You do not have the luxury of reviewing things over and over or over explaining when teaching with VIPKID.
“You’ll be teaching one-on-one, so clarity is key.”
Total physical response, repetition, and props are all welcome and should be used. Also, there are plenty of YouTube videos out there with examples of these mock lessons. Just be sure when you are looking for these videos that they are official VIPKID videos so you are getting the correct information.
After you make it through the application process you can sign a contract with VIPKID. Additional documentation and a background check are also required.
Getting Started With VIPKID
Once all of these steps complete, you can start scheduling classes. You must schedule two weeks in advance at minimum, and if you need to cancel, it must be at least two weeks in advance. However, your preparations are otherwise quite minimal.
Lesson plans are provided by VIPKID and little to no preparation is generally needed beyond reviewing the lesson. Sometimes however it may be necessary to make or purchase props. Lessons are 25 minutes long, leaving five additional minutes to answer questions.
VIPKID pays between seven and nine dollars per 30 minute session. This comes out to the often quoted up to $22 per hour. Teachers are considered independent contractors for tax purposes.
Each contract is six months long at the termination of which, you may be considered for a rate increase. Teachers receive payment through direct deposit monthly, around the middle of the month.
VIPKID boasts that in working with them you can choose your work hours, make up to $22 per hour, and receive bonuses for referring friends.
The company also promotes the lack of necessary prep on the teachers part with all lessons provided to you. This is all true to at least some degree, but there are some other things to consider before you throw your hat in the ring.
Finding New VIPKID Students
One of the issues that teachers vetted by the extensive application process described is that it is hard to get started. The student’s parents book the teachers, so if you are new, finding students can be challenging.
Another issue teachers have seen is that cancelling classes is nearly impossible except in the case of a true emergency. Some have even reported that they had to pay $10 for cancelling at the last minute. Regardless of how legitimate the reason.
VIPKID Teaching Hours
Another item to consider is timing. Peak hours in China are not that convenient for United States based teachers. The peak times in Beijing are 6:00 p.m. through 10:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9:00 a.m. through 10:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Timing is an important consideration.
This equates to between 2:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. until between 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. during the week in the United States, and between 5:00 and 8:00 p.m. through between 6:00 and 9:00 a.m. on the weekends. If you are in Hawaii you are looking at 12:00 a.m. through 4:00 a.m. during the week and 3:00 p.m. through 4:00 a.m.
This is a big consideration if you are looking at VIPKID for a second job, or to work around other commitments. You can choose your own hours, but if no one wants to take a class during your chosen hours, that’s not much of a perk.
VIPKID Review Wrap-Up
VIPKID is a legitimate side venture, but there are many cons to go along with the flashy pros you see advertised everywhere. Prior to signing up it is important review all information to see if VIPKID is the right fit for you.