There are a lot of reasons you might not want to apply for VIPKID, and I imagine that one of them is the early hours. We teach on Beijing time. It’s hard. It’s an adjustment for most of us.
I am not a morning person. I never have been. In high school, my mother would blast the Beach Boys so that I would wake up semi-normal instead of waking up cranky. I warned my husband many times before we got married that I didn’t mean anything I said before 8am. I’ve apologized for my early morning attitude on more than one occasion.
Most people can’t believe that I get up before 5am to work these days.
So how do you make the adjustment? Is it worth it?
Be Consistent with your Hours
When I was performing in plays in high school an college, I got these nightmares. I would be on stage in various states of undress with no idea what the play was even about, much less the lines I was supposed to say. When I started getting bookings, I had a similar nightmare about missing classes. I’ve heard that this is common among both actors and VIPKID teachers.
Start teaching classes at the same time every day. That can be difficult when bookings are inconsistent, but the faster you can get to a regular schedule the faster your stress will die down.
I still have dreams about missing classes if I change my schedule by more than an hour.
Set Multiple Alarms on Multiple Devices
Most of my teacher-no-shows have happened because i slept through an alarm, or because an alarm didn’t go off. My phone once ran updates overnight, and somehow deleted all my alarms.
I set an alarm at the time I want to get up, and then every 5 minutes until 15 minutes before class.
I usually wake up after the first alarm, so these aren’t disruptive to my sleeping husband most days.
Take Time Off
Everyone’s threshold, and financial situation will be different, but you have to be easy on yourself. If I start getting burnt out, it’s usually because I haven’t been taking my days off. I need two days off per week – Sundays and Thursdays. I work a few extra classes a day, so that I’m not losing money by taking the time off. I look forward to Thursdays! Freedom to sleep in… or as late as my kids allow. No rushing through bedtime to get to the evening classes. Time with my husband, or time on my own if he’s working. It helps me re-set for the rest of my classes. I am a better teacher because I take time off.
Know Your Limits
If you can’t work eight classes in a row, that’s okay! If you can’t teach Pre-VIP, that’s okay! This job is hard enough to do without making it harder on yourself. This job is easy to be passionate about, but it’s also easy to burn out.
When I was teaching high school drama, there was a sweet student who was not enjoying herself. She told me that she was considering dropping the class because it was stressing her out. I told her that we would miss her, but high school would be long enough. She shouldn’t force herself to do something she hated. The same applies to VIPKID. Whatever your reasons are for needing this job, they will be hard enough to deal with without torturing yourself.
A sweet friend of mine runs a fitness group for VIPKID teachers on Facebook. I’m not great at working out. I hate eating healthy, but I have so much more energy when I am taking good care of myself. Find the group here. It’s full of teachers dealing with the same hours, and difficulties you are. Everyone has been so supportive, and it’s fun to challenge each other.
This job is completely do-able. It’s kind of like an experiment at first. Figure out what works for you, and be healthy in the mean time!