Teaching English Online with VIPKid

Prior to moving to Côte D’Ivoire, I needed a way to continue making some sort of income while over there. I remember a conversation I had with someone at an english immersion camp I worked and I decided to reach out and ask her what she had been doing. She explained to me the company and how to get started.

Let me tell you: It was not easy to get started. I was super nervous about being in front of the camera and trying to talk to children, much less actually teaching them something. It took me a while to actually push myself through the process. I watched countless videos online on Youtube on how to get through the process, what to expect, how to learn their method of teaching, getting accustomed to the program, etc.

Teacher Mary in the classroom!

One day I decided to finally just go for it and send in my demo/interview video. I had heard somewhere that the initial video is more about seeing if you are a good personality fit and will eventually be a good fit for being a teacher. It wasn’t perfect. I must have recorded it over 5 times at least. I did not feel prepared, but I needed to get myself through the process before the holidays. I wanted to be ready to get going by the time I arrived in Côte D’Ivoire.

I soon found out that I had passed the initial interview and I could start doing my next step: I would have to teach part of a class with a current teacher. Again I put this off for so long, it was so hard and scary! Looking back now, it feels so long ago and I made it so much harder than it was. I am a master now! Anyways, VIPkid provides you with the slides you need to teach and a lot of information about the curriculum, the method of teaching, and in general tips on how to get started and feel comfortable.

Before my mock class, I spent lots of time gathering props and supplies. Notably, I would need an ethernet cable and usb adapter. For whatever reason it was very difficult to find these at a reasonable price! I did not want to spend tons of this when I really didn’t know what I needed. I also did not have a printer and printing was also a pain to get done as well. I visited several shops until I finally felt like I had everything. In fact I did have everything… except for the usb to ethernet adapter, which was stuck in the post. I decided to go for it and do my mock class without it. I had heard that they do a speed test and they can know if you don’t have a wired connection, but my wifi was okay and I would be right next to the box anyways. Plus I needed to get this process done because the holiday were looming ever so closer.

My mock trial was not perfect, but in reality, it doesn’t need to be! They want to see that you are on the right track and have read the materials provided. They want to see that you are well prepared and take this seriously. You do not have to finish all the slides, you only have 10 minutes, so they want to see a basic overview of who you are and how you teach. Your mock class mentor will also give you some guidance and feedback on your class afterwards. If you pass then time to sign the contract!

I also hesitated in signing the contract because I wasn’t sure if wanted to try and get the other certification available and do another mock class or not. What finally convinced me to just get it over with and sign was learning about all the workshops provided for VIPkid teachers once you have signed. I wanted to get more immersed and learn more about the platform, how it works, what to expect, everything before I jumped in headfirst. It’s also required to get an english teaching certificate before you can start teaching. I already had a TEFL/TESOL certificate, but I went ahead and also finished the TESOL through VIPkid. It was easy since I had already studied most things, but for those who are first time teachers, it’s important to read and will indeed help you be a better teacher.

My profile picture for VIPkid. Students love my Peppa Pig family!

It was about a month later until I opened my first class. It was our second week in Côte D’Ivoire and I was terrified. But it needed to finally just do it and start making money. Getting my first booking was nerve racking! It was on a Sunday and just one single booking. I probably spent 3 hours preparing for that one class. Arriving in the classroom and meeting the student was scary, but soon I began to relax and settle into the style. It went very well in the end! At least I thought it did at the time (like I said, I’m a master now!).

Over 250 classes later, I’m absolutely loving giving classes. I give about 11 classes per day, which is tiring, but I’ve figured it out and figured out how to manage it. I know what to expect now, so it’s easy!

It’s easy, but it’s not easy. It requires you to be adaptable and creative. You have to remember your students and have a real passion for them. It sounds daunting now, but I promise it gets easier and you figure it out along the way.

Sound like something you want to do? Let’s get started! Start with this link: Become a VIPkid teacher! This link is a referral link, but never fear, because I will be here to help you get through the process! Send me a message! Fill out the information and I will also get a notification from VIPkid so I can help and guide you along the way. I can’t wait to share the joys of teaching with you!

So, what is the application process to teach with VIPKid?

According to their website it is as follows:

1. Sign up to create an account and complete a simple form.
2. Review some materials and do a short demo lesson so we can get a glimpse at how awesome you are.
3. We provide a bigger welcome to the world of online teaching. You’ll get access to additional information and support.
4. Do a mock class with a current teacher (they’ll help prep you for the real thing).
5. Sign your contract and get teaching!

Okay so let’s break it down. First step, you have to be eligible which first and foremost means you are a citizen of the United States or Canada (or at least have eligibility to work in one of those places). Second you have to have a Bachelor’s degree, in anything. Education? Sure! Drama? Sure! Rocket Science? Sure! Just have those 4 years (or so) behind you and educated. Last thing: You have to have at least 2 years of working with children (sometimes you can get by with just 1, but it’s better to have at least 2). This isn’t super strict. As long as you’ve spent about that much time nannying, teaching, coaching, volunteering, etc etc. Does not have to be full time 40 hour a week type things to count.

Okay first step: CHECK.

Second step: The demo video. You will have to review and teach 6 slides from an actual VIPkid lesson. You start by passing a short multiple choice quiz, to double check that you learned everything. Then you have the choice between doing the SMART DEMO and a Live Interview. I recommend the Smart demo, it’s short and easy, and you get feedback quickly. This is what I did. You will record a video of yourself pretending to teach the 6 slides. The video will then be recorded by VIPkid and you will either be asked to record again or continue in the process. What’s great is you can practice tons of times beforehand, and you can submit the best one. It can be a little awkward, but you can practice with me first. You’ll soon be a master!

Live interview. You could opt instead to do a live interview with someone from VIPkid in China. You will still have to teach the 6 slides. They may also talk to you, ask a few questions, and this could also give you a chance to ask any questions or raise any concerns you may have directly to VIPkid. Supposedly some people have still found this option rather difficult because sometimes it is hard to hear or understand the interviewer.

Yay you passed! Okay time for the most important step: The Mock Class. This is where you will really start to get immersed in the world of VIPkid. You will have to teach part of a class aimed at either younger students or older students. You will be with a current VIPkid teacher mentor and you will start out by introducing yourself and having a brief chat. The mentor will then pretend to be a Chinese student while you pretend to teach the slides. It can be a little bit awkward at first, but just go with it, remember they also went through this process as well. At the end, your mentor will review a few things with you and how you did. They should also give you some tips as well. Don’t worry if you don’t finish all the slides, you aren’t supposed to anyways. Within 24 hours you should receive the results of whether you passed or not. If you don’t pass the first time, consider it a blessing! You know get to practice one more time before you actually start teaching. Use the tips they give you and embrace it.

Yay you passed! Time for the boring part. Signing the contract.

Just kidding, this is arguably the best part and the most exciting part of the process. If you have a teaching certificate or a TEFL/TESOL you will have to upload it. If you have nothing you will need to study and obtain the TESOL that VIPkid provides. Even if you already have these, it’s best to get the VIPkid one anyways. Should be easy doing it a second time regardless.

Last step? Open slots! It is time to teach.

Not ready to teach yet? That is okay! Take a workshop. VIPkid offers a plethora of Zoom video conferences to help teachers prepare for their new classes, but also to continuously provide training and better their workforce. VIPkid provides so much of what you need, don’t fear, you can succeed!

If you sign up with my link I will personally help you and give you resources that will help you succeed in both your hiring journey and your teaching journey ahead. I have found teaching to be such a joy in my life and I want to share that joy with you!

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