Technology is great. It allows us to connect with students across the globe… until it doesn’t. Last night was the first major system issue that I’ve seen in my first two contracts with VIPKid. It was a Saturday, and mid-day, teachers began posting online that they could not log into the app. As class time neared, the anxiety (and posts) increased in urgency and frequency. I was fortunate; since I don’t teach on weekends, I could watch from afar, but many were not that lucky. So, what can you do to help make the next system issue a little less stressful?
I get it. I am prone to panic. I like to be prepared, and when life throws me a curve ball, I duck. But just know that there are thousands of other teachers in the same boat and be comforted that VIPKid is working on the issue.
Ensure you have backup technology.
Any time there is a system issue, it’s always good to rule out that it’s your equipment. Last night, the issue was with logging into the app. If you are getting the same error on the PC App, the iPad app, and your phone app, chances are good that it’s not you! I realize not everyone has both a PC and an iPad, but if you have the option to test, it’s a good one. I recently invested about 2 months of my VIPKid salary into a new iPad just to have a backup option. It’s already saved me once, and the comfort it gives me is worth every penny.
Especially when we are in a time-sensitive situation, it can be easy to forget this step. But be sure you know how to take screenshots on your particular device. If you have a problem, take a screenshot. I have a folder on my computer that I delete every couple of months. That’s where I store all my screenshots. When you open a ticket with VIPKid, it is important that you attach screenshots so the helpdesk can see exactly what you experienced. Be sure to include the time/clock on your device as well since this shows when the issue was happening. If you aren’t sure how to take a screenshot, try one of these methods.
Open a ticket.
If you aren’t able to log in at all from any device, this might be more difficult. But if you can log in from a device, open a ticket. Contact a fireman. Get help. There are a few ways you can contact VIPKid:
- Create a Ticket in the Support Center. In the PC app or online teacher’s portal, “Support” is the far right menu option in the bar at the top. For a tour of the support center, check out VIPKid Support Center. Tickets are best used for issues that are not time-sensitive. You can also see a step-by-step walkthrough of how to open a ticket by clicking here.
- Contact the firemen. For more urgent issues that require immediate intervention, contact the fireman. There are three ways that you can contact the firemen: through the button in the classroom, through the “contact us” icon on the bookings tab, and through the message button in the phone app. A detailed walkthrough can be found here.
Keep informed through official VIPKid channels.
- VIPKid Announcements in the Houtong. Though everyone can add discussions in the Houtong, there is an official VIPKid “Announcements” category that is for admin use only. That’s where any official statements will be released. You can access this discussion thread using this link.
- VIPKid Education (Official VIPKid Group) on Facebook. There are MANY VIPKid Facebook groups out there, and many of the admins will do their best to keep you informed. However, the only one that has actual VIPKid employees who moderate (and update) us is the VIPKid Education (Official VIPKid Group).
- VIPKid Advocacy. VIPKid Advocacy on Facebook is manned by the teacher advocacy team. Most notably, the infamous Erik Chong is a part of this group, but there are also other members who monitor and respond as well.
If you are looking for updates via social media, always search the group first before starting a new post. When you are in a group, there is a “Search this group” box in the left menu bar. Just type in your search term and hit enter, and it will pull up related content. Last night alone, there were 18 different posts about “log in,” another five about “outage.” (You get the idea.) It’s fine to start a new thread, but chances are, if it’s a big problem it’s already out there somewhere.
If you have other tips for keeping cool when the system is down, let me know in the comments. If you are a new teacher, don’t worry. System issues (especially big ones like this) are few and far between. Any time you use technology, there is always a risk of problems. This is just meant to help you be ready IF there is an issue.
I hope this was helpful. Happy (and issue-free) teaching!