VIPKid Time Management

Remember the “Rule of Five” and you’ll be a five-apple teacher in no time!

Some time ago, a fellow teacher asked me for tips on time management. As I thought about it, I follow a very simple process. Even though classes have a slightly different number of slides, you can use a technique I call the “Rule of Five” to help keep track of your timing. The example below uses the format of a standard 25-page MC course, but in a longer lesson, just divide the content by 5 and do the same.

Check out the below visual I put together, and let me know what you think in the comments!

Getting Bookings with VIPKid

The more students who CAN book you, the more students WILL book you!

So you’ve made it! You’ve been hired as a teacher with VIPKid. Now all that remains is getting booked!

In 2018, VIPKid reported having 60,000 teachers and 500,000 students. By all reports I’ve heard, that number keeps growing! But with so many teachers to choose from, getting booked is not always immediate!

If you are thinking about applying with VIPKid, I always suggest starting as soon as possible because it WILL take time to build up your student base.  Below are the most common suggestions to help make that happen as quickly as possible.

First of all, be sure you have opened up the correct weeks! Most parents book two weeks in advance, so if you aren’t sure, check out VIPKid Booking Schedules.

Then…

Review your profile picture.

VIPKid will send you instructions for your profile picture.  They suggest that it be clear and in a professional style. If that’s not working to get you bookings, then try something else! Parents will be scrolling through hundreds of profile pictures, and that will be the first thing that catches their eye. Make sure:

  • You take up most of the frame. The background (even if it’s your amazing classroom) isn’t what the parents are interested in. They are interested in you!
  • Make sure it is well lit. Avoid shadows on your face.
  • Smile. Kids will want a fun teacher who smiles authentically and a lot.
  • Think about the colors that you are using. If you are wearing neutral colors, try something more colorful. If you are wearing patterns, try a solid color.
  • Consider adding something to make you stand out. While the main focus of the picture is you, you can add something to make you different. Maybe you’re holding a prop or a pet. Maybe you are in an active teaching pose. Find something that will catch a parent’s eye.

Review your featured photos and intro video.

Many of the same guidelines as above will apply, but you do have a little more flexibility to make these fun and personal! I have three important pieces of feedback here.

  • Make a video and use pictures that are fun for you! They don’t have to be the type of things that will go viral. We aren’t all you tube stars! Just have fun with them, and that will shine through!
  • Take one of the VIPKid workshops about “marketing yourself.” These are led by veteran VIPKid teachers and mentors, and they can give you great feedback on how to spruce up your profile to appeal to parents.
  • If at first you don’t succeed, try again! You aren’t committing to use the same pictures and videos forever! If you aren’t getting bookings, try something else!

Take workshops.

VIPKid offers a robust list of workshops like the one I mentioned above. There is a workshop for anything you might need help with!

As a new teacher, the very first one you should sign up for is the New Teacher Kickoff Workshop. It is usually the first one linked under the “Library–>Workshop Schedule” menu in the teacher portal.

new teacher kickoff

That will be a great introductory session and they will introduce a roadmap of other helpful workshops to help you get your feet wet.

Teachers also often speculate that learning partners get lists of teachers who attend workshops and might be more inclined to recommend them. I can’t confirm or deny this, but it certainly can’t hurt to take them!

Another good workshop that’s targeted specifically to getting bookings is called “Marketing Yourself.” This is offered several times per month and you can get live tips from the pros.

Add Certifications

You saw above the massive number of students reported by VIPKid in 2018, and these numbers are growing by the day! It makes sense that the more students you are qualified to teach, the more bookings you can get.

Depending on when you were hired, you may have one or two certifications already.  With the 2019 VIPKid Application and Interview Process (Updated March 2019) most new teachers will be certified to teach either “lower level” (Interactive Level 2 + Level 3) or “upper level” (Levels 4 and 5.) When I was hired, 60% of students were in level 2, and shortly thereafter they began being converted to Interactive Level 2. So if you started with the upper levels, a great way to get added potential students is by certifying for the lower level classes.

Trial Classes are another great way to increase your bookings. Many times, parents sign up for trial classes at the last minute, so more tenured teachers are less likely to be available. As an added bonus, trial students can often turn into regulars!

If you meet the requirements, Level 1 is growing by leaps and bounds, so if you have taught the minimum number of classes and there are vacancies available, this would be  a good option.

The more students who CAN book you, the more students WILL book you!

Open Short Notice Bookings.

I know this is scary, especially for new VIPKid teachers. But if you are a parent, you know how hectic life can get. Often, parents need to schedule last minute classes because that’s when their kiddo is available. When this happens, their regular teacher may not be available, so they will be more likely to give a new teacher a try. (Plus, lots of trials are booked as short notice too!) Don’t be afraid of short notice. My very first student was short notice, and she is now my most regular. If you’re still nervous, check out VIPKid Short Notice 24-hour Bookings for more information.

Don’t give up!

This is the most important advice I have. No two teachers alike, and everyone has a different experience. For some teachers, it takes days to get bookings. For others it takes months. If you try something and it doesn’t work, then don’t be afraid to try something else.  Ask your mentor for help. They can help review your information or perhaps even recommend you to others if they have a good parent network!

If you’ve tried all of these tips, check out these additional booking booster ideas!

The students will come, and by following the tips above, you’ll be ready to support them in the very best way possible.  If you have tips of your own, or questions about anything you’ve read here today, let me know in the comments!

Happy teaching!

 

VIPKid Short Notice 24-hour Bookings

From my very first class, I realized that short notice bookings were an important tool for my VIPKid growth. At the same time, they were one of my biggest fears. Below are the basics about short notice classes, how to deal with them, and how they can help you.

What is a short notice class?

When you log in to update your availability and open time slots to teach, you have the option to allow short-notice bookings. This means that a parent can book a class anywhere from 24 hours to 1 hour before the class start time. (If you don’t select this option, the time slots expire 24 hours before the class start time.)

It’s been my experience that most short notice bookings come in overnight. I go to bed, and when I wake up the next morning, a class has been booked! Some of these classes are trial classes, and perhaps parents decide at the last minute to try it out. Sometimes these are regular major courses, and perhaps schedules have changed so the parents need to make a last minute adjustment.

What are the benefits of short notice classes?

  • Experience: As a new teacher, you need experience to teach. The more available you are, the more likely you are to get bookings.
  • Flexibility: The more short notice classes you teach, the more comfortable you’ll be in quick lesson preparation. This could lead to other opportunities such as substitute teaching.
  • Money: All courses booked within 24 hrs will earn an extra $2 as a short notice bonus. If you teach several short notice classes in a week, that can add up fast!

I’m convinced. How do I open my classes up for short notice booking?

The process to allow short notice booking is simple.

  • If you are using the VIPKid Teacher app, once you use the slide button to open the slot, touch the “24H” button to turn it blue. In the screenshot below, the 5:00 am timeslot is NOT available as a short notice booking but the 5:30 am timeslot is.

mobile app booking slots

  • If you are using the VIPKid Teacher Client/PC App or the VIPKid Teacher’s Portal in a web browser, when you click on the timeslot to book it, first check “Course” and then change the bottom option from “Available” to “Short Notice.”

screenshot - booking timeslots

How can I prepare for a short notice class? 

As a new teacher, this was my biggest concern. I was terrified that I wouldn’t be able to do a good job without adequate preparation time. As I gained experience, I found there are a few key preparation steps that make short notice classes easy.

  • Have a small stable of key props. You can almost always use Meg and Mike, dino, and numbers. If you have a set of magnetic letters handy, these can be used in any of the sound blending and phonics activities. I keep a harmonica handy that I use to open any song (I just play random notes!) and I keep a trophy nearby that I show them when they win a game. (This has gotten more than one “WOW!” from students. While it’s great to have super-customized props for each and every lesson, they aren’t necessary.
  • Have a few different secondary reward systems at your fingertips. An easy one that I’ve used several times is alphabet blocks. My kids’ real blocks are long gone, so I printed and laminated some pictures of blocks, but either would work. Before the class, pull out the letters that spell your student’s name, and each time they do a good job, they spell one letter of their name. This personalization makes it seem like you are prepared with a custom lesson, but only takes a minute. I also had balloons blown up for my “birthday” class, and I didn’t want to waste my breath (literally!) I’ve used the balloons as a secondary reward system for several students, and they’ve stayed inflated for several weeks.
  • Download the teacher app to your phone. You can quickly and easily flip through the slides on your phone while you dry your hair, get dressed, etc. (You can also flip ahead while in the lesson with your student.) Using the app also lets you quickly scan teacher feedback to see what works well and what reward systems have been used recently with the student. Even a cursory review of the student and lesson can ensure you are able to be effective and meet the objectives for the class.

If you still have questions, here is a link to more information on short notice classes from VIPKid. As always, feel free to ask me questions in the comments or by contacting me here. I would love to help you in your VIPKid journey. If you haven’t yet signed up, feel free to use my referral link and I will help you in any way I can!

My First VIPKid Class

If you have dreams of pre-planning every single lesson, it’s not going to happen. But do you want the good news? It’s not necessary!

This picture is not my most flattering picture. It showcases my look of terror! It shares with the world the look of adrenaline coursing through my veins when I woke up one morning to see that I had been booked for a short-notice class with my very first VIPKid student.

Her name was Erica, and the lesson was one that I had not seen before. Now you should know that I am a bit of a perfectionist. In my mind, I had hoped to have a full filing cabinet with printed objectives, props, and customized lesson plans for any class I might be asked to teach. I thought I would have my lesson plans arranged a week in advance, ordered by day and time. Let me tell you, if you have dreams of pre-planning every single lesson, it’s not going to happen. But do you want the good news? It’s not necessary!

Why did I have a short notice class?

I wish I could say that I was so confident in my teaching abilities that I knew I could handle anything. In reality, there was an incentive sponsored by VIPKid that paid teachers for opening a certain number of short notice PPT slots, so despite my anxiety, I opened them up.

“Oh, I’ll never get booked,” I thought. “I’ll check the VIPKid app on my phone and go back to sleep,” I thought.

Imagine my surprise to wake up to a notification, “Congratulations! You’ve been booked!”

What did I do?

Needless to say, I was immediately wide awake! After a quick shower, I browsed through the lesson on my phone while I dried my hair and put on makeup. I might not have a detailed plan in place, but at least I would be familiar with the learning objectives, reward system, and slides.

I grabbed a few props that I already had prepared from my mock classes, and yes, I went a little overboard. I ran to Walmart (since I still had over an hour before class began.) The lesson was about birthdays, so I bought balloons, candles, and a few other small props. I didn’t spend more than a couple of dollars, because I had promised myself that I wouldn’t let my enthusiasm cause me to spend my earnings before I’d even gotten paid!

I had time for a quick selfie before I jumped into the classroom to ensure everything was working properly.

So how did it go?

I know, the suspense is killing you!

In short, it went fine. I’m sure if I were to go back and watch the video now, I would cringe. My time management was terrible, and I didn’t finish the slides. My blood pressure was probably through the roof the entire time.

Reviews of the student had not been exactly glowing. There were reports of her not smiling, and comments that she got distracted easily. I went into the lesson expecting the worst, and just hoping that I didn’t get fired!

Erica was a superstar, though. It’s true she didn’t (and still doesn’t) smile much. She doesn’t like to sing the songs (although music class IS her favorite class.) But she is intelligent and a great student. How do I know? She is one of my most regular repeat students. I teach her almost every week now!

No, my teaching was far from perfect, but it wasn’t about that. It was about connecting with the student and helping her achieve the lesson objectives.

Once that first class was completed, I was able to take a deep breath and relax a little bit. I had survived, and so had my student. There would be other milestones and other sources of anxiety, but the bandaid had been ripped off and I saw that I would be fine.

Are you nervous about your first class? Do you want someone to help talk you through it? Feel free to reach out to me, and I’ll be happy to help. Want to share your own success stories or fears? Leave them in the comments! If you are ready to take the plunge and become a VIP teacher so you can have your own “first class” memories, I would be honored to help you along the way! Feel free to ask for help and use me as your referral. Let’s get started together!