So… your favorite tutor has gone and done a thing!
In case you hadn’t seen on my YouTube or Twitter feed (if you don’t already follow me on Twitter or YouTube, you absolutely should!) I’m so thrilled to tell you that I’m now officially a teacher for VIPKid! And so, today I want to share how my first week as a VIPKid teacher went!
My first week as a VIPKid teacher ran from August 19 to August 25 and it was an amazing experience, though I certainly had a LOT of questions throughout the process.
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Table of Contents
How I felt going into the week
I had low expectations
To be honest with you, I wasn’t expecting much for my first week as a VIPKid teacher. I heard about the “booking frenzy” on the Friday before I went live but was unable to open up my bookings in time due to technical difficulties with my profile so it wasn’t fully live until Monday 7pm Beijing Time! It was a bummer and totally inconvenient but I figured a slow start might be good for managing my stress and day job responsibilities. Hello, I did write a whole book on balancing a day job, side hustle, and life!
I was certainly nervous going into my first week as a VIP teacher!
- How would bookings go?
- Would the kiddos like me?
- Would I be an effective teacher?
- How on Earth would I manage to stay on the 25-minute schedule?!
- What if I overpromise with my booking availability and skipping out on sleep gives me migraines?
Once I saw that missing the booking frenzy led to a slow start, I definitely felt much less nervous and was really able to start enjoying the process and my bao baos. Bao bao means “treasure” in Chinese; and casually also means “baby”… but more importantly, it’s what your students are called on the VIPKid platform!
Since I had already decided the Friday prior that I was going to quit my day job on the 23rd (that’s a loooong story for another day, if any of you are curious to hear it!), I was thrilled at the prospect of having plenty of time for growing StephanieCristi and Tutor in Tinseltown, which of course included blocking out significant chunks of time for VIPKid.
I am also a total softie when it comes to young children and after 15 years, I still feel happiest and most fulfilled when I’m teaching and tutoring, so this job is right up my alley!
How bookings went
As expected, I did not have many bookings during my first week as a VIPKid teacher. Here’s a screenshot of my stats page at the end of the week:
Given how eager I was to get my first student and really grow my role within VIPKid as one branch of my tutoring business, receiving an alert each time I had a time slot booked was basically on the same level as receiving a text from my crush back in high school!
Haha… sorry babe!
No, but seriously, I was so pumped this entire week, I must have talked the BF’s ears off about my kiddos, their English and eagerness to learn, and just how dang cute they all are! Thankfully he shares my vision for remote work and shares in my VIPKid excitement.
Anyway… once you open up your schedule (I’ll go way more into detail on this whole process in a later blog post) bookings are very straightforward, since it’ll be the parents reaching out and booking classes within the availability you’ve posted.
So the key is to leave your schedule as wide open as possible and keep your phone close at hand, in case you get any last-minute bookings.
Oh! And that’s another thing – I highly recommend you open yourself up for short-notice bookings, especially if you missed the booking frenzy. Since you don’t have any experience or reviews yet, you’ll want to make yourself as appealing and available as possible in order to get the ball rolling. All of my classes this week were last-minute, which also meant a small pay bump – it was a fabulous win-win!
How lessons went
Lessons went great! I had SO much fun and honestly, the children are a joy to work with! Even when you can tell they are visibly tired or perhaps even a tiny bit cranky from a long school day, they are still sweet, funny, and so eager to learn from a native English speaker.
I just can’t get enough of their little smiles and the youngest students are just the funniest! I even had one give me his best impression of a mummy when we were learning about Egypt! And don’t get me started on his Egyptian walk!
First impressions of the VIPKid platform – including payment tracking
Between my work as a tutor and as an ABA therapist, I’ve used TONS of teaching apps and programs over the years. And to be honest with you, most have been a huge disappointment. They’ve been glitchy, slow, or just had a bad user experience all around. Needless to say, I wasn’t very hopeful for this platform.
Holy cannoli was I wrong!
It is so carefully thought out and well-executed. It honestly feels like they thought of everything to make the teaching experience a positive one. Tokens to buy cool gear or to purchase raffle tickets with, games to keep us up – to – date on VIPKid changes, and even promotions to encourage parents to book our classes during the summer slump. They make it really simple to jump in by uploading the powerpoints to your lessons as soon as a class is booked. This means that if a class is booked 2 weeks out, you could, if you wanted to, go preparing and reviewing slides for the entire time period!
This is a screenshot from the classroom for one of the trial lessons. If there are technical issues or your student doesn’t show up (like mine did in the class pictures above) you can contact the fireman at the top right corner and they’ll tell you how to proceed.
You’ll also see that they give you tips and tricks for every slide in the lesson, so there’s really no way to mess this up! Just make sure your students are:
- speaking a significant amount on every slide,
- and having tons of fun.
Even in my first week as a VIPKid teacher, there are no surprises with VIPKid, and as someone who wants to do this on a nearly full-time basis, I love the organization and user experience. If you have lessons back to back, they even automatically switch out your “classrooms” between students so you can make it to your lessons on time every time.
Given how many incentives VIPKid offers above and beyond your pay rate and how some are distributed across all the lessons of the month (such as the finished classes incentives) while others are on a lesson – by – lesson basis, I’m honestly surprised at how clearly they organize the payments tab of the platform and how easy it is to make sense of it. Here is a screenshot from my own payment tab on my account at the end of week 1.
You’ll see that it’s split up into:
- Participation incentives
- Other incentives, and
And when you click one each category, it opens up for more details. This is what shows up when you click on Courses, and to the right is the Participation Incentives.
I didn’t have any trial classes or referrals, which is what shows up under Other incentives, so let me just leave it at that.
I hope you can see that tracking your payments is really very easy with VIPKid, though you won’t need to micromanage them, they have a very quick turnaround of updating your payments tab with completed classes. Usually, within a few hours, my day’s lessons are reflected in my class count and payments.
I was a little relieved at the chance to ease into this new position and routine, but also very curious as to how a booking frenzy will go for a new – or relatively new – teacher and how fast one could build up a consistent classload.
I may be leaving Miami in the coming months (maybe I should be The Trekking Tutor instead of Tutor in Tinseltown… given how often I move!) and it’s comforting to know that at least a portion of my income will remain consistent despite moving to another state. Plus I’m also traveling this coming weekend so YAY for remote work!!
Needless to say, I had an incredible experience my first week as a VIPKid teacher! I hope you’ll consider joining the team, since we are at a massive need for more teachers!
If you have any questions, please drop them below, I’d love to help you out throughout the decision and application process!
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With all my love,