Adding a VIPKid Referral Code

When you sign up through a VIPKid mentor, you get 1:1 guidance and support through the hiring process and beyond, and we get a little bonus once you teach your first class.

When you are just getting started as a new teacher applying with VIPKid, there are two ways you can sign up with an existing teacher as your “referring teacher.”

  1. You can sign up using a referral link. This automatically associates you with the referring teacher, and we’ll be notified of your application. As of October 1, VIPKid teachers are no longer allowed to share our referral links or codes in a public space like this, but you can contact a teacher directly if you would like their help.
  2. You can sign up using a referral code.

To do this is simple:

If you do not yet have a VIPKid teacher account

  1. From the registration page, click on “Sign Up.
  2. Click on “If you have a referral code, click here.”
  3. Input your referring teacher’s code in the box that appears. Complete the remaining information and click the “Sign Up” button.

If you already have a VIPKid teacher account

  1. Once you are logged in, click on “My Account.”
  2. Click on “Add Referral Code” (available until the time you sign your contract with VIPKid!)
  3. Add the referral code of your mentoring teacher.

If you aren’t sure what a referring teacher is, or if you want one or not, remember VIPKid’s objective is for you to have the opportunity to work with a friend or trusted acquaintance who is already a teacher. You get 1:1 guidance and support through the hiring process and beyond, and we get a bonus once you teach your first class. Most importantly, it’s totally free to you! We are here to help you.

In the meantime, best of luck, happy applying, and happy teaching!

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One Year and 100 Blog Posts Later…

This is my 100th blog post. And since September 18 marks the one year anniversary of when I signed my first contract with VIPKid, it’s only fitting that this post be a first year check-in. Consider this my behind the scenes “VIPKid tell-all!” I’ll share the answers to three questions people don’t usually ask me, but I’m sure they’ve wondered.

How much money can you make with VIPKid?

How much money you make with VIPKid depends on a lot of factors. Are you working part time, or full time? How long have you been doing it? Do you work enough to qualify for a raise?

  • My husband and I once calculated that if you made an average of $8.00 per 25-minute class and worked “full time” – 40 hours per week, you would make around $42,000 per year teaching classes. It’s important to remember that if you are looking to do this full time, you have to grow your business. It takes time to get to a point where your schedule is consistently filled.
  • I work VERY part time. I only teach 3 classes per day, and only Monday-Friday. Last fall I did teach up to five classes per day, but I scaled back in February and have kept it at three. Here’s a breakdown of what I’ve made, working 1.5 – 2.5 hours per day M-F.

What are the worst parts of working for VIPKid?

There are three things that I struggle with when it comes to VIPKid. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of things that people find to complain about. No company and no experience is perfect, but these are the big ones for me.

  1. Class Attendance. Many people complain about VIPKid’s strict attendance policy. You can only have six missed appointments per contract without risk of a contract termination. (If you are an existing teacher, you can read the policy here.) I understand the policy – trust me, there are some mornings when my alarm goes off that I might just stay in bed if there weren’t a strict policy in place. But it does lend itself to teaching while sick or through other difficult life circumstances. Yes, there are ways that you can apply for “soft” or “medium” cancellations that come with fewer consequences, but in most cases, I find myself simply pushing through. And honestly, I don’t want to let my students down. They have been looking forward to our class all day, or maybe even all week. I don’t want to be the one to let them down.
  2. Setting Boundaries. When you enjoy something as much as I enjoy VIPKid, it’s sometimes hard to “turn it off.” Even when I’m not teaching, I’m often blogging, or watching videos, or editing videos. But it’s important to set boundaries – both with how I spend my time and also with spending money. No, I don’t need ALL the cute props I see.
  3. Learning Social Media. This may sound silly, because I’ve been using social media for a long time. And I should start by saying, you don’t have to use social media to teach. It is NOT a part of the job. But if you are interested in the recruiting side of the business (which I am) or growing with the “builders program” to take on new roles within VIPKid, then social media can help. On one hand, I’ve enjoyed learning new things, but on the other, it can be overwhelming to learn how to effectively use You Tube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest for business. And don’t even get me started on video editing! I try, but I’m still much better with words than with videos! So it’s been a challenge, but one that I do sometimes enjoy.

What is the best part of working with VIPKid?

This one is easy. The best part of working with VIPKid is getting to know these amazing students and their families. A close second is learning about the culture in China. After one year with VIPKid, I would say 2/3 of my classes are filled with “regular” students that I have taught multiple times. My most taught student is Emma, and I’ve taught her 64 times in the last year. She just recently overtook Erica (my very first student!) I look forward to seeing Tracy, Rosie, Eric, and Alina at their regularly scheduled times each week. There is NO END to the number of “cute and amazing kid” stories that I have. (Ask Michael, he’ll tell you.) I adore it when my students pull out a musical instrument to show me what they are learning, or when mom sends me a video of their daughter learning how to make dumplings with her grandma. I ADORE the people that VIPKid has brought into my life, and I will forever be grateful!

What’s the verdict?

This will come to no surprise, but I would ABSOLUTELY recommend VIPKid. I have no regrets and no intention of ending my teaching career. When I began, it was a way for me to earn a little extra money for our capital campaign at church. Now, I cannot imagine life without teaching. I have come to embrace the name “Teacher Amelia” and all that comes along with it.

If you’ve been tagging along with me for the last year, thanks for putting up with all of my stories and musings! I hope you will celebrate these milestones with me this month!

If you are new to VIPKid or have been thinking about starting out, DO IT! When you are ready, here’s how to apply (along with some helpful hints!)

I would be remiss if I didn’t give a solid honorable mention (maybe even a tie!) to my amazing referrals. Right up there with my students and learning about their families and cultures, I have truly enjoyed helping new teachers get started. I’ve lived vicariously through them as they’ve moved to Spain, Poland, Israel and more. I’ve had the chance to cheer them on in their careers (both with VIPKid and their “day jobs.” I’ve become closer to friends I’ve already known and gotten to know totally new people. Oh, and I learned about elephant snot. (Teachers use many tools in their classrooms. I’m just sayin’.)

So join us. You’ll be glad you did!

How to Win with the Smart Demo

The smart demo is a great way to quickly move to the next phase, but it doesn’t replace being prepared.

As you are preparing to complete the Smart Demo, there are a few things you can practice to ensure your interview is a winner!

Repeat the target word two different times.

Introduce the word, touching your chin to indicate they should watch and listen. Then, cup your ear and wait for your imaginary student to respond. Then repeat.

Use TPR.

If you aren’t yet comfortable using TPR, now is the time to practice.  You will want to use both instructional TPR and regular TPR to help convey your meanings. When you see your slide you need to teach, be thinking of different motions that you can use!

Speak slowly and allow the student time to respond.

Yes, I know there’s not really a student. But if there were, you would need to leave  time for them to listen and answer. So slow down!

Demonstrate error correction.

You will want to pretend that the student made a mistake. It is important to show that you can stay positive but still correct an error.

Encourage, encourage encourage!

Stay upbeat. Acknowledge good responses (you can use thumbs up, smiles, nods, clapping, or whatever feels natural to you. Just make sure you are encouraging your student.

Make sure any props are relevant.

If you do use props in your smart demo, make sure they are relevant and help your students learn. Pay attention to what you are using, and be intentional. Things like whiteboards, magnetic letters and flash cards can all be very versatile and used in a number of ways!

The smart demo is a great way to quickly move to the next phase, but it doesn’t replace being prepared.  So practice and plan, and if you have any questions, please let me know in the comments!

If you’d like to see some ideas in action, check out this video!

Thanks! And happy teaching!

VIPKid – Teaching on the Road

My VIPKid journey has been filled with milestones. In fact, we earn different badges to celebrate the big ones. So far, after 1.5 contracts, I’ve earned a few:

  • 30/100/180 days as a teacher
  • 1st, 10th, 100th, and 500th classes taught
  • 1st, 50th, and 100th 5-apple ratings
  • 100th student taught

This morning I celebrated my own personal milestone: teaching my first class remotely. One of the most amazing benefits of teaching with VIPKid is the ability to teach from anywhere you have an Internet connection. Up until now, I just haven’t taken advantage of this.

My husband needed to come to New Orleans to renew his passport, so I tagged along for the ride. I actually closed my early morning times so I could sleep in, but I have my normal Monday morning 7am class (Rosie) who books like clockwork several weeks in advance. Today she had a mid-unit assessment scheduled, so we took the show on the road.

It just so happened that this was a very easy lesson for props. What did I bring? One ziplock bag that included:

  • My mini-whiteboard and a magnetic marker
  • Uno cards
  • He/She/It magnets

Because I was teaching a student I was very familiar with, I did not hang a special background. I sat in front of a blank wall with a picture on it. I was in front of a large window that offered plenty of light, plus I dragged a lamp nearby.

The results? An easy, effective class.

If you are thinking of taking your own classroom on the road, here are some suggestions:

  1. Consider using digital props and rewards. Google Slides is a great option for both, although there are other options available.
  2. Create a grab bag of versatile props that you can grab and take with you. I would suggest:
      A small, magnetic whiteboard and marker
      Magnetic stars that can attach to the whiteboard
      A small pronoun chart or print outs of pronouns
      Flash Cards (ABC’s, animals, numbers/math, and shapes)
      Key characters (Meg, Mike, Dino, and maybe the level 1 characters if you teach it)
      A simple backdrop (This could be a shower curtain, a blanket, or even a colorful gift bag that could be hung from the wall.)
      Some external, battery powered lighting (just in case.)
  1. Have fun! Just like with your classroom at home, if you are engaged and enjoying class, your students will too!

I also let Rosie’s mom know in advance I would be on the road so she wasn’t surprised. When I got set up, I sent her a picture of the day’s “classroom” on WeChat. After class, I got the sweet message below from her.

So, even though this isn’t a milestone “officially” with VIPKid, I consider this morning a success.

Have you taught successfully from the road? What’s your go-to list of traveling props? I’d love to hear about them in the comments! If you would like to keep up with my future trips I’ve started a dedicated feed on my instagram. I hope you will check it out!

If you are looking for an opportunity to have a job where you can travel as well, I’d love to help you get started with VIPKid. The first step is to apply. You can get a preview of all of the steps in the process here: VIPKid Application and Interview Process (Updated May 27, 2019). I would be happy to help you through the process. Just let me know!

VIPKid Booking Schedules

As you get ready to open up your schedule for VIPKid, it’s important that you understand how the booking process works.

Congratulations! You’ve been hired! You immediately open up times for parents to book for the very next day, but… crickets. Where are they?

The answer is simple. They are in classes they’ve already booked with other teachers!

As you get ready to open up your schedule for VIPKid, it’s important that you understand how the booking process works. For maximum results, always keep your schedule opened for at least three weeks in advance, as long as you are certain you’re available to teach then.

What’s the standard booking window?

The “normal” booking process for most parents is two weeks out. The system opens up general booking at noon on Monday (Beijing time) which is overnight Sunday night for many of us.  You may hear this referred to as “the frenzy.”  At this time, most parents are booking not for THAT week, but for the following week. (See the picture at the beginning of this post for an example.) Immediately following a class, if you have time slots open in two weeks (this is three weeks after the frenzy) parents will be asked if they would like to book a class that week. That’s why it is in your best interest to open timeslots at least three weeks in advance, as long as you are certain you can teach then.

What are “interested students” and when can they book?

According to the VIPKid Support Center ,students or their parents can select up to five teachers, and their corresponding time slots, each week as “regular teachers”. If a student chooses you to be a regular teacher, you will see a notification on your Bookings page that you have an “Interested Student”. You will not see their names, just that someone has an interest. This will only be visible for timeslots that you have not yet opened up for the week after next. Bookings for your “interested students” will open four hours before the frenzy, on Mondays at 8:00 am (BJT.) The system will sort the student preferences and match them with your available timeslots. If your slot is open, there is a high likelihood that the time will be booked, either by one of your interested students or perhaps another student, although it is not guaranteed.

What are priority bookings?

Priority bookings are a way for students to request specific times from their teachers, even if those timeslots are not available. When you receive a priority booking request from a student or their parents, you may accept, refuse, or simply not respond and the request will expire.

I hope you found this helpful. If you have questions about your schedule or are looking for feedback, let me know in the comments!

You may also find these posts helpful as you learn more about scheduling:

If you are just getting started and would like help during the hiring process, I would love to be your mentor! Feel free to apply using my referral link using these VIPKid application tips.

I would be happy to help!

The Five Secrets to Working From Home

Working from home is a great way for employers to save money on overhead and employees to benefit from flexibility and time.

At the risk of revealing how old I’ve really become, I’ll confess that I have been working from home on and off for the last (gasp) 20 years. The first time I worked from home, I was in my twenties, and I HATED it. I felt isolated and disconnected, and I struggled to maintain an appropriate work-life balance. Today, I LOVE working from home, and I truly value the flexibility it affords. Over time, I’ve learned a few insider secrets that made all the difference, so I thought I’d share those with you today. Read on to learn my top five secrets!

About Me

Today, I work as a staff manager for Windstream Enterprise. I manage a customer service team that spans three locations (plus a few other scattered employees here and there!) I also have project management/process improvement role that allows me to work with all of our leadership teams in many locations. In the mornings before my “day job” begins, I also teach English to students in China through VIPKid. Though these two jobs are very different, both share one amazing feature: my commute is one minute to walk upstairs.

About Working From Home

Working from home requires dedication, consistency, and boundaries. It is very easy to lose balance when you don’t have a traditional brick and mortar time clock. Some people find that they work all day and all night. If your workspace is the kitchen table, it’s altogether too easy to “hop on” and work a few emails while you make breakfast or eat dinner. This can quickly lead to burnout, not to mention frustration from your family. On the other hand, you can also err in the opposite direction. If you are supposed to be focusing on work but you stop to fold laundry, clean house, or do any one of the many other things that demand your attention – your productivity can take a hit.

The Five Secrets to Success

  1. Have a dedicated workspace with a door that closes. Working from the dining room table might seem like a convenient option; however, I can tell you from experience it is not. It worked great until:
    • I had to throw all of my work supplies into a basket when it was time for a dinner party, and then couldn’t find anything for the next week.
    • My kids were out of school and my family was visiting, and everyone decided they wanted to come in and “keep me company” while I was working.
    • My husband, who also worked from home, decided he would pace while on conference calls, regularly making the path from the kitchen to the living room (right through my “office”).
    • Once I moved my office upstairs, it worked much better for everyone involved!
  2. Shower. Shave. Get dressed. Yes, we’ve all heard the siren’s call of “working in your pj’s.” I might or might not be writing this blog post in my bunny slippers right now. And OCCASIONALLY, this is probably ok. But as a general rule, you are being paid to do a job, and so you owe it to your company and to yourself to give it 100%. That means being alert, focused, energized and engaged. When I’m in my pajamas (or yoga pants, or sweats and a t-shirt) I’m in Saturday morning mode. Sure, I can go through the motions. But I just don’t feel “on” like I do when I’ve gotten dressed for the day.  Don’t get me wrong; I don’t wear high heels and a business suit to work. I’m not sure I even own “professional” attire anymore. But I always shower, get dressed, and put on (minimal) makeup. Here’s my morning routine on  a workday:
    • 4:30 am – The alarm on my apple watch goes off. (It vibrates, so it doesn’t wake up Michael.)
    • 4:57 am – After 3 snoozes on my watch, I get up and turn off my backup alarm.
    • 5:00 am – Shower/Shampoo/Wake up.
    • 5:20 am – Get dressed, slap on some basic makeup, and put on the little jewelry that I wear.
    • 5:30 am – Grab a Diet Coke and head upstairs.
    • 5:35 am – Dry my hair while booting up my computer and checking facebook on my phone. Continue to Drink Diet coke.
    • 5:45 am – Set up my VIPKid classroom. Lay out the props I’ll be using in class, sign into the classroom, and make sure the classroom is working properly.
    • 5:55 am – Sit down in my classroom. Apply lipstick. Put on headset. I’m ready for class.
    • 6:00 am – Begin my first of three classes. Each class is 25 minutes, with five minutes in between to reset my classroom, write feedback, or grab another sip of Diet Coke.
    • 7:30 am – Finish my last class. Feed the dog, grab breakfast, and finish any feedback from my classes.
    • 8:00 am – Move my chair from my classroom to my office. Sit down in my office. Put on headset. I’m ready for work.
  3. Establish boundaries. For those of us who like routine (see above) this may be easy. My work laptop “lives” upstairs, so when I come down after work, I rarely continue to work. Sure, I can check my phone, but I won’t get sucked into a big project. Likewise, my laundry, housework, etc. is all downstairs, so I’m not tempted to work on other things during my work day. I don’t have a television in my office, so I’m not tempted to turn on any shows that might distract me. And my family knows that if my door is closed, they should not disturb me. With Windstream, I work with a great group of people who don’t mind the occasional cameo of a spouse or child on video behind me, so my door normally stays open.  But with VIPKid, maintaining a classroom free of distraction is paramount, so the door is closed during class. Those boundaries help me be successful in whichever job I am doing.
  4. Take breaks. In an office environment, there are natural “water cooler” moments built into the day. When I first started working at Windstream, my desk was right by the main elevator, so people always stopped by to say hi as they were coming and going. Now, it’s possible that the only one to come upstairs besides me is my dog!
    • Plan a lunch break, even if it’s just to go downstairs and make a sandwich.
    • Make an effort to leave the house. Walk around the block, go to the gas station to get a drink, or make dinner plans with friends.
    • Stand up between meetings or classes and stretch. Walk around the room or simply look away from your computer.
    • Schedule time for conversations. Two colleagues and I recently put a meeting on our calendars for Friday at 5:00. We jumped on a video call and did nothing but catch up. It was FANTASTIC! With VIPKid, look for local meetups so you can get to know other teachers near you. These are the types of interactions that you miss out on while working from home, but you don’t have to!
  5. Embrace (and invest in) technology. If you are going to be successful working from home, you MUST have reliable technology. If you provide your own equipment, be sure it is high quality and dependable. With VIPKid, I invested in an iPad to ensure that I have a way to teach if either my internet or power is out. Be sure you have reliable, high-speed internet that won’t be impacted if you and your hubby are both on video conferences (ahem, Michael.) or if your kids are in a Fortnite dance battle.  Find a headset that is comfortable and works for you. I wear a headset almost nonstop from 6 am until 5 pm. My preference is  a simple Logitech USB headset, but my husband prefers airpods. Whatever you choose, be sure you have good quality, reliable equipment and technology.

Ultimately, you need to figure out what works for you. This might be the most important secret to working at home. Everyone is different, and what works for me, might not work for you. What worked in my old house no longer worked once I moved. So try different things until you find a routine and a process that allows you to be effective, efficient, and engaged.

Working from home is a great way for employers to save money on overhead and employees to benefit from flexibility and time. I have grown to love it, and have transitioned from the occasional “work from home” employee to a full-time “Remote Home Office” status.

I would love to hear from my fellow telecommuters. What do you love? What challenges do you face? Let me know in the comments!

If you don’t yet work from home and would like to try it out, VIPKid is always hiring. I’d love to help you get started, so feel free to get started by completing the VIPKid application, and let me know how I can help!

 

VIPKid Simplified Demo Lesson (May 27, 2019)

Effective May 27, 2019, the Simplified Demo will replace the VIPKid Interview and Full Demo process!

Effective May 27, 2019, some applicants are being offered the chance to schedule either a live or recorded “Simplified Demo Lesson.  This replaces the traditional VIPKid Interview and Full Demo for new applicants.

*Disclaimer* I have not known anyone to go through this yet, but this is based on my research and feedback from other referral mentors! (I’d love for you to be one of the first!)

Overview

This is very much like the VIPKid Interview and Full Demo, but the demo portion is shorter and more simplified. It’s based off of the “Me, Myself, and I” lesson and it is just a couple of slides and the demonstration is designed to take only 5 minutes.

What to Expect

If you choose the live demo, here is what you can expect:

  1. Question and Answer Session: Your interviewer will begin with a question and answer session, just like the full demo. This is a friendly discussion that’s meant to highlight your educational background, experience, and what you bring to VIPKid.
  2. 5-Minute Demo: You will need to be prepared to teach a short, 5- minute demo on the slides provided. You will need to:
    • Review the slides in advance and practice. It’s important to be comfortable with the material on each slide.
    • Use TPR. These gestures are a vital part of becoming a VIPKid teacher, so you’ll want to include them in your demo.
    • Build rapport with the “student” in your introduction.
    • Use props. Because there are only a few slides, you do not need to have a lot of props, but I would suggest at least two simple props to help illustrate the lesson.
    • Use a reward. You will want to reward your student for doing well when they respond appropriately.
    • Correct mistakes. Your interviewer WILL make mistakes, so you will want to be prepared. Be ready to encourage them to use complete sentences and correct pronunciation, and then reward them enthusiastically when they do!
  3. Coaching and Guidance: Based on your interview and demo, your interviewer will provide you specific feedback about how you might fit with VIPKid and what you can do to improve and prepare for the next step – VIPKid Certification!

If you choose the recorded demo, of course you will miss out on the interactive discussion, but it’s an easy (and convenient) way to get started.  You should receive your results within 24 hours, and it does give you the chance to record multiple times within a two-hour window. (Do-over, anyone?) If you don’t pass the first time, you will have an opportunity to resubmit.

If you haven’t already applied, this is the perfect time to take advantage of the new, easier options! The process is always being updated to make it a better experience for our new teachers, so if you would like some help navigating through the process, I’d love to be your mentor through the process.  The first step is completing the VIPKid Application.

Once you have applied and we are connected, I’ll reach out to you so we can get started!

Good luck!