I heard about VIPKID in a mom’s Facebook group a year before I applied. It sounded amazing even then… too good to be true kind of amazing. A Chinese company hiring American teachers to work from home? I looked at it briefly, decided it wasn’t for me, and moved on. But I was so wrong! It’s not too good to be true. One of the first questions I get about this job is about the legitimacy of the company. I have worked with US-based companies less legit than this one. I signed a legal contract with the company as an independent contractor, I’ve been paid consistently, and correctly every month for more than a year. It’s a good company. You won’t be signing your life away, or joining some secret-agent spy ring.
The next question I get is about the hours. I won’t lie, they’re quite the adjustment especially if you’re not a morning person. Think about it though. We’re teaching kids. Would you want your six-year-old getting up at 3am to take a Chinese class with a Chinese teacher? I’ll answer for you. No. No you would not. So we can’t expect the Chinese parents to be any different. We’re adults, we can handle ourselves at 3am. …. mostly…. All that being said, you have a 12 hour window that depends on your time zone. I live in Arizona and we don’t do daylight savings. I can work any time between 6am and 6pm. So there are a few options that aren’t too insane. There are peak times between 6pm and 8pm Beijing time, that’s 4am to 6am my time. This is the website/app that I use to help keep track of the time difference. It makes it way easier.
You are in charge of your own schedule. You open slots on your portal, and parents can book you for those times, and those times only. This is why teachers sometimes do not get bookings. The parent side of the website highlights new teachers, but your profile picture and your introduction video are very important. Timing is also significant. Bookings during major holidays are lower, especially for new teachers. Chinese New Year, for example, can be a difficult time to get started. Do your kids take extra curricular classes during Spring Break? I wish mine did. That’s a great idea. But mine don’t. We usually go on vacation during Spring Break. So do the Chinese children. You don’t have to avoid national Chinese holidays, but be aware that it might take a few more weeks to get established. It’ll still work out.
The hiring process is intense. They’re looking for the best of the best, and competition is fierce. It’s also your training for the position. Don’t get discouraged. You start with an interview. There are a couple different processes for this. Follow the emails, and feel free to contact me if you have specific questions. The process is different for everyone. You’ll most likely do a Skype interview or submit a video of you teaching. If VIPKID thinks you might be a good fit, you’ll find out how much they’ll pay you in the interview, or when you get feedback on the video. Pay is usually $14-$22 and depends on your experience, and the teaching you do in the interview. This does not mean the hiring process is over! You still have a few steps to get through. Firstly, the mock classes. This is where a lot of the training comes in, but it’s still an assessment of your skills. The mentors are looking for your personality and ability to adapt. My best tip is fake it till you make it. Even if you’re nervous, fake confidence. Keep your energy up. After that, you’ll do some paperwork, possibly a second mock class or a workshop and then you’ll start classes. It took me about a month to get through it, but I’ve had applicants get through in as little as a week and a half. If you were teaching in a real office, or a real school you’d still have a rigorous application and training process. Don’t write it off as fake, or not worth it because of the hiring process.
The last question I usually get is “how do I get started?” The company offers small, one-time bonuses for the current teachers who help other teachers get hired. If you sign up with me, I will send you a step-by-step guide on getting started and coach you through the interview process. Click here and start by entering your email and password. You don’t have to do the application yet. Just the email and password will be enough to save you a spot.
When you get done with the hiring/training you’ll get access to your own portal and can start opening slots. It’s a job that takes adjustment, like any other. But it’s rewarding, and you can literally wear PJ pants to work.
These are the answers to the first questions people have for me, but what questions do you have? Does VIPKID sound like something you want to try? Check out this page for more information on how to get started.