VIPKid Support Center

This might be the last of my blog posts you have to read.

I hope you still read them, but I wanted to let you know about one of the best kept VIPKid secrets: The Support Center. It’s true, if people read more in the Support Center, my blog would be obsolete!

If you are looking for an “official” answer about any of VIPKid’s policies and procedures, I would start in the Support Center.

Besides being able to open a ticket, there is an extensive knowledge base. Topics fall into the following categories:

  • Payment, Contract & Account
  • Bookings, Cancellations & No SHows
  • IT & Features
  • Feedback, Students & Parents
  • VIPKid Community
  • Important Procedures
  • and more….

Within each of these categories, there are hundreds of topics, including fan-favorites like:

  • How long do I have to wait during a no-show?
  • What’s the process to request a soft cancellation?
  • Where’s the next meetup?
  • Am I in the running to win the trip to Beijing?
  • and so much more!

If you haven’t seen it yet, log into the teacher portal at this link, and be sure to take a peek at the video I made to show you around:

Support Center Tour

If you have questions, please let me know in the comments. If you are just getting started and would like some help applying and getting familiar with the company, I’d love to help you through the referral process. I suggest starting with Completing the VIPKid Application.

 

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New Smart Demo Lesson – VIPKid Shortcut – April 2019

Starting in late April, the new Smart Demo option will make applying for VIPKid easier than ever!

Have you thought about applying for VIPKid, but you were concerned about the long interview process? If so, I have great news!

In the next few days, the faster, easier Smart Demo Lesson will be available to make your application process easier than ever!

What is the Smart Demo Lesson?

It’s a short, 2 1/2 minute recording that’s done right from the VIPKid Teacher App on your smartphone!

(If you don’t have it yet, just search for VIPKid Teach for Mobile for iPhone or Android phones!  The icon will be labelled VIPKid Teach.)

What is included in the Smart Demo Lesson?

Step 1: There will be a short review and 5 question quiz covering the basic VIPKid concepts:

  1. Lesson Objectives
  2. Repetition
  3. Speaking Speed and Language
  4. TPR
  5. Modeling

Step 2: Record a short, 2.5 minute demo based on a lesson slide.

How do I complete the Smart Demo Lesson?

  1. Create a VIPKid account.
  2. Download the VIPKid teacher app.
  3. Go to “Interview” in the app (It should say “Interview Pending.”
  4. Review the material* and answer the 5-question (multiple choice) quiz.
  5. Record the demo on the app and submit.
  6. Wait for feedback from VIPKid.

*In the material, you’ll be able to review a brief introduction that gives you instructions. There will be an overview of each of the five key areas that will be covered in the quiz.

If this process doesn’t work for you, remember you can also check out one of the following options:

Once you pass the Smart Demo lesson, what’s next?

Once you’ve passed (yay!) you’ll then move onto the certification process.  You’ll want to:

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How long do I have to answer each question? – You will have 1.5 minutes to answer each question.
  2. What do I need to do for the demo slide? – There will be a slide provided to you (as question 6.)  There will also be an example of how to teach it.  You will need to spend 2.5 minutes demonstrating the slide.  Be sure to:
    • Speak slowly.
    • Be sure you allow time for a “student” to respond (pretend that you have a student.  It wouldn’t hurt to “correct” them once or twice as well!)
    • Don’t use extra words (incidental language.) Instead of saying “Can you say the word run?” simply say “Run” and encourage the child to repeat non-verbally.
    • Make sure you introduce the word and have the student repeat three times.
    • Use lots of TPR.
    • Be sure to cover the slide objectives that are listed.
    • If there’s an action (like “circle” or “drag and drop”) be sure you explain and DEMONSTRATE to the student how to do the action.
    • Use a prop! Once you’ve completed the application process I (or your mentor) will be happy to help you come up with a prop or props to use to help you on this slide!)
  3. What tips do you have for shooting a quality video?Be sure you are in a well-lit space. If possible be sure the room is bright with no distracting background and no glare.
    • Make sure your phone is positioned so that your head and shoulders are fully in the frame. It will be important for them to see your body language!
    • If possible, have your phone in a holder or propped up so you don’t have to hold it steady.
    • Wear a solid-colored shirt. (I would wear orange, but it’s not required!)
  4. How do I know my results?  You will get the answers to the quiz (and your score) immediately. You will get personalized feedback on your demo within 24-48 hours.  If you have not heard back within 36 hours, please email teachvip@vipkid.com.cn.
  5. How long does the whole process take?  VIPKid suggests allowing 10 minutes for the full Smart Demo Lesson: 5 minutes for the quiz, 3 minutes for the demo lesson, and 2 minutes for the analysis report.
  6. How long do I have to complete the Smart Demo Lesson? It’s recommended to submit the video within 3 days after completing the basic information.
  7. What do I need to do to pass? It will be difficult to pass if you get less than 3 questions correct; however, the demo will be more heavily weighted than the quiz.
  8. Can I restart the video recording? Yes there will be two buttons – one to re-record and one to submit.
  9. If I don’t pass, can I try again? Your interviewer can allow you the opportunity to re-record in certain circumstances. This will be decided on a case-by-case basis.

If you have other questions, please let me know, and I’d be happy to help.  If you’re ready to get started, I suggest starting by Completing the VIPKid Application. If you’re ready to apply, here’s how to register with my referral code to get extra help through the process.

Good luck, and happy teaching!

How does your VIPKid apple rating measure up?

One of the features of the VIPKid platform is that parents are allowed to rate the classes we teach at VIPKid. Parents can leave five-apples, which is the best (and what counts toward raise eligibility with VIPKid) or they can leave fewer – all the way down to the dreaded one-apple.  Previously, I shared a little bit more about feedback in my post An Apple a Day. At this time, I was still new. I had only received 7 feedbacks from parents, and was still learning myself. Since then, I’ve earned 122 5-apple ratings, and continue to be touched and inspired by much of the feedback.

So I’d like to peel back the onion, er, apple? a little more and share some important and often overlooked components of parent feedback.

Not everyone leaves feedback.

One of the most common things I hear is, “I’ve taught ____ classes, and I don’t have any feedback. Is that normal? YES! Some parents never leave feedback. Some leave intermittent feedback. Some might not leave any feedback for months and then rate your last 60 classes. There is a great divide among teachers – some say you should ask for feedback, while others never ask.  Either way, don’t sweat it. There’s not a magic formula and you really have limited control over whether or not a parent leaves feedback. But if they do, remember…

Feedback is made of opinions.

This is not going to be a popular way to start this post, but it’s true. Many of the things that can influence a parent’s rating will be subjective.  Some common tags relate to prop usage, timely error correction, TPR, pronunciation corrections, expressive attitude, patience, class environment, and encouragement (among others.) Some of these are easy enough to quantify. For example, if a parent says that you failed to correct errors in a timely manner, it’s easy to watch a playback and either validate or invalidate this. However, if a parent says you did not have patience, that’s much harder to prove or disprove. There’s no quantitative way to measure patience in a visible way.

There *are* ways to get feedback invalidated, if a few circumstances are met.

It’s important to know that you can get feedback invalidated. It won’t be removed, but it won’t count toward your average. If you have gotten a 3-apple or below score, and you want to try to get it removed, check out the process here.

But better than invalidating bad feedback…

There are ways to improve your chances of getting positive (5-apple) feedback.

On March 7, 2019 VIPKid sent out some tips on what parents like and expect in a VIPKid teacher. As they said, “Knowing what parents DON’T want is the first step toward achieving a high feedback average.” They outlined eight behaviors to avoid that will help you avoid the dreaded low-apple feedbacks.

It’s important to note that these are not “requirements.” Often, teachers get upset and say that VIPKid can’t require us to do these things, which is true. But VIPKid also can’t force a parent to like our classes either. They provide these tips because they know their parents better than we do.  So I encourage you to take these things seriously.  Below are a few of the highlights that stood out to me.

  • Be high energy. VIPKid says that 30% of negative parent feedback is related to low energy in the classroom.  Remember, most of these students have been in school all day already, so the last thing they need is to have a tired teacher droning on at them. If you need some tips on how to seem more energetic, check out The Secret to High Energy VIPKid teaching!
  • Be patient.  The single biggest thing that can contribute to a perception of patience is smiling.  You will need to correct errors (see below) but do so with a smile! Impatience can also show through your tone or by interrupting the student. I know we all try not to do these things, but I know I sometimes FEEL impatient, and so it can take some intentional work to make sure this doesn’t SHOW to my student.
  • Be encouraging.  Parents  LOVE supplementary rewards. No, they are not required by contract. Yes, parents like them. Parents dislike it when a teacher doesn’t use them. This
  • Change it up. Besides always using a secondary reward system, parents appreciate a variety of feedback. Change it up –
    • Good job!
    • Perfect!
    • Way to go!
    • High Five!
    • Awesome!
    • Yay!

Pro tip: if your encouragement is working, your student should be responding! If they aren’t, it’s time to find another way!

Whatever your 5-apple rating is – don’t worry.  Your feedback rating is just one of many things that factor into your overall success. Hopefully you found this helpful. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments!

If you are just getting started and would like someone to help walk you through the hiring process, I suggest starting here, and I’d be happy to help you along the way: Completing the VIPKid Application.

Good luck!

VIPKid Dictionary

Are you still struggling to incorporate your FAS with your SN PPT timeslots during your MC classes?

Are you new to VIPKid? Are you still struggling to incorporate your FAS with your SN PPT timeslots during your MC classes? Don’t worry! There are a LOT of acronyms with VIPKid.

The below is certainly not a comprehensive list, but hopefully it’s enough to get you started. If you have a new one I’ve missed, let me know in the comments and I’ll add it! Many are acronyms, but I’ve also included a few words that might be confusing if you are new to our VIPKid world!

Bao Bao: This is a nickname for “child” used by some Chinese families. Occasionally, you’ll see a class scheduled with “Bao Bao” and this just means that the parents haven’t yet chosen an English name OR perhaps it’s a trial and the student has not yet been confirmed. Often in Facebook posts, you’ll see teachers refer to their student as “Bao Bao” just like an American might refer to a generic student name.

Brand Ambassador: Brand Ambassadors are online influencers on social channels with an engaged audience who can help curate, promote, and share information with VIPKid teachers. If you’ve done a google search for VIPKid, I can assure you that you’ve run across some brand ambassadors. They will have content that’s clearly marked as their own content vs. “Official” VIPKid sanctioned content from their brand ambassador role.

Builder’s Program: The VIPKid Builder’s Program provides high-performing teachers with the opportunity to get involved in other aspects of the company. There are several different roles that fall into three main categories: Create (focusing on bringing the teacher voice into the curriculum development,) Promote (for teachers who like to share VIPKid in the community,) and Support (for those who want to support their peer teachers.)  More information about the different programs can be found below. To qualify for any of the builders programs, you must have taught at least 1,000 classes “as finished,” have a 4.90 apple rating from your last 100 classes, and have a 5.0 participation rate. More information on the builder’s program can be found in the VIPKid Support Center.

Coach: VIPKid Coaches are part of the Builder’s Program. Coaches are teachers who facilitate in-person coaching sessions were applicants can practice the basic skills of online teaching. This is a part of the VIPKid Interview Process – Fast Pass Coaching Day.

Community Ambassador: A community ambassador is a role that’s a part of the Builder’s Program. Teachers serve a three-month term and provide support to other teachers through the Official VIPKid Facebook group or the Hutong.

Curriculum Reviewer: Curriculum Reviewers share feedback with the Curriculum team via small group and 1:1 calls. This role is a part of the Builder’s Program.

FAS: Find a Star is a game that is often played during class. This can be done digitally through Google Slides or by printing out pictures or numbers and hiding stars underneath them. There are many different ways to play Find a Star, but it’s a popular game among teachers and students alike. You can see an example of it in Using Google Slides with VIPKid.

Finish Type: Each class is marked with a disposition by VIPKid upon completion.  For a teacher to be paid, the finish type must be one of the following:

  • AS_SCHEDULED
  • STUDENT_NO_SHOW
  • STUDENT_IT_PROBLEM
  • SYSTEM_PROBLEM

Other finish types that will affect your payment and could perhaps incur teacher penalties are:

  • TEACHER_NO_SHOW
  • TEACHER_NO_SHOW_2H
  • TEACHER_CANCELLATION_24H
  • TEACHER_CANCELLATION
  • TEACHER_IT_PROBLEM

GS or #gsOG: This refers to Google Slides, and if you see the hashtag, it generally refers to the Google Slides Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/vipkidgs/.)

IPAED: This is a teaching method used in many VIPKid lessons.

  • Introduce: This is where you show your student a new word or idea.
  • Practice: The student practices repeating the new concept. These slides are often drag and drop so the student can get comfortable with the new information.
  • Apply: The student is asked to apply their new knowledge. These slides are often fill in the blank so the student can really show they learned the information.
  • Extend: This is your chance to extend upon the information. If the student has mastered the concept, then you can add to it at this point.
  • Demonstrate: Here’s where your student can show you what they’ve learned! In major courses, this refers to the projects they do for homework. In some supplemental courses, the students get the chance to demonstrate more regularly!

JCL: Junior Creator’s League is a supplemental program available for students through VIPKid. It’s designed to develop students’ interests into skills through hands-on learning. The lessons are very specific to a unique topic (for example, biology or singing.) More information can be found in the certification center.

Local Leaders: Local leaders are active meetup hosts in their communities, strong promoters, and they identify and execute on local opportunities. Local Leaders are a part of the Builder’s Program.

MC: Major Courses are the primary courses that students can take through VIPKid.  There are currently seven levels of MC classes:

  • Level One (PreVIPKid)
  • Level Two (Being phased out)
  • Level Two Interactive
  • Level Three
  • Level Four
  • Level Five
  • Level Six

Each MC has 12 units and 12 lessons in each unit. The unit is divided into halves, with a unit assessment at the end of each.  Each lesson is numbered as follows:

  • Class Type (MC)
  • Level (1-6)
  • Unit (1-12)
  • Half (LC1 or LC2)
  • Lesson (1-12)

For example, MC-L2-U1-LC2-10 means that it’s a major course (MC) in Level 2 (L2). It’s Unit 1 (U1) and the second half (LC2) and lesson 10.

MCM: Mock Class Mentors are those who help teachers pass their certifications. They provide feedback and suggestions for improvement.conduct 1:1 classroom role-play scenarios and provide feedback to applicants and current teachers certifying in new curriculum or levels. This is a part of the Builder’s Program (see above.)

Mentor: Mentors create and run 1-hour workshops for VIPKid teachers. You may also hear teachers refer to a referring teacher as a mentor (for lack of a better word.) Please note, true Mentors are paid positions that are part of the Builder’s Program, while a referring teacher is simply someone whose code was used during an applicant’s application process.

Peak Timeslots: These are prime teaching hours, generally when Chinese students are not in school.

PPT Timeslots: These are the most popular timeslots and are the best to open if you are looking for increased bookings! For more information on timeslots and VIPKid scheduling, check out VIPKid Hours.

Product Advisory Council: Members of the Product Advisory Council are a part of a team that meets monthly to brainstorm new features, discuss upcoming launches, and test new features. This role is a part of the Builder’s Program.

SIT: Student IT – this is when a student has a proven IT issue on their side. Teachers are paid for 100% of the class in Student IT situations.

SN: Short Notice – this refers to timeslots that can be booked up to one hour before class. If a timeslot is not marked as “short notice” it will expire 24 hours before class time. You can learn more about SN booking with VIPKid Short Notice 24-hour Bookings.

SNS: Student No Show – this is when a student doesn’t come to class. Even if a student isn’t in the classroom, you are required to stay and wait at least 15 minutes for trial classes and a full 25 minutes for other classes. There are many different opinions on what should, or shouldn’t be done when you are in a classroom and your student hasn’t arrived. I personally post a message in the chatroom every 2 minutes. After the first 2 minutes, I contact the fireman so that they can call the parents. I take screenshots every five minutes in case there is any question that I was there, ready to teach. This is not required, but simply a best practice I choose to use.

TESOL: TESOL stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and encompasses what used to be called TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language). Within VIPKid, you’ll most commonly hear this in the context of the VIPKid certifications offered in conjunction with the TESOL-VIPKid Foundational and TESOL-VIPKid Advanced certifications.  The foundations certificate is now required for any new teachers who don’t have a degree in education, but the advanced TESOL is optional.

TIT: This is the dreaded “Teacher IT” – if there is a system problem that prevents you from teaching at least 3 minutes of class (and it is not the student or VIPKid’s fault) then you forfeit 100% of the payment for that class. It’s always helpful to have a backup ready to go in case of power outages or internet failures. Ipads and mobile hotspots are lifesavers!

TMC: Teaching Material Contributors create and design prep materials, level certifications, and participate in testing new curriculum. This role is a part of the Builder’s Program.

TNS: Teacher No-Show. Noooooo….  this is when you fail to show up for, or cancel, a class. Obviously, you get no pay for these. In addition, you will be penalized (usually $10 for a normal 25 minute class, or $20 for a 50 minute class.)

TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language is a standardized test to measure the English language ability of non-native speakers wishing to enroll in English-speaking universities.  There is a supplementary course offered by VIPKid to help students prepare for this test. Certification information is available under the Certification tab in the Teacher’s Portal.

T2T Feedback: Teacher to Teacher Feedback is optional feedback left in the portal that’s only visible to VIPKid and other teachers.  It is intended to be used to provide the next teacher a short update about the student or their progress. Be careful! There are a lot of opinions about how this should (or shouldn’t) be used. Ultimately, I suggest adding whatever notes you feel would be helpful if YOU were the next teacher!

I feel like there are far more of these types of words and acronyms that an experienced teacher now takes for granted, so please – if you have questions or others to add to the list, please let me know!

In the meantime, if you are just getting started with VIPKid, check out the application process Completing the VIPKid Application and feel free to use my referral link if you’d like some help through the hiring process!

Thanks, and happy teaching!

VIPKid Hours

The window of time that’s available for teaching is based on when children are awake in China. That’s early mornings and late evenings in North America.

People often ask what hours you can teach with VIPKid. Because you are an independent contractor, you have a great deal of flexibility. You can choose to open as many or as few class times as you wish. There is a strict cancellation policy; however, so be sure that you only open times you are able and ready to teach!

Below I’ll map out the different times that are available for teaching, along with which ones are most likely to result in bookings! If you are interested in a high-level overview, check out these one-stop shops:

All of the below times are based on Daylight Savings Time since that’s our current time as I’m writing this.

Overall Teaching Timeslots

To set the stage, the window of time that’s available for teaching is based on when children are awake in China. This is 8:30 am – 10:00 pm seven days a week. Roughly speaking, that’s early mornings and late evenings in North America.

Beijing Eastern Daylight Central Daylight Mountain Daylight Pacific Daylight
Start Time 8:30 AM 8:30 PM 7:30 PM 6:30 PM 5:30 PM
End Time 10:00 PM 10:00 AM 9:00 AM 8:00 AM 7:00 AM

Of course, many of these times are more popular than others. That leads us to the prime booking times.

VIPKid has two different distinctions for popular booking times.

Peak Timeslots

As you might expect, the least popular times for booking are when children are in school. That’s why times outside of school hours are considered peak timeslots.

Because of this, “peak” hours in North America are early weekday mornings and evenings/overnight on weekends.

M-F Weekday Mornings

Beijing Eastern Daylight Central Daylight Mountain Daylight Pacific Daylight
Start Time 6:00 PM 6:00 AM 5:00 AM 4:00 AM 3:00 AM
End Time 10:00 PM 10:00 AM 9:00 AM 8:00 AM 7:00 AM

Friday/Saturday Overnights (China Weekends)

Beijing Eastern Daylight Central Daylight Mountain Daylight Pacific Daylight
Start Time 9:00 AM 9:00 PM (Fri/Sat) 8:00 PM (Fri/Sat) 7:00 PM (Fri/Sat) 6:00 PM (Fri/Sat)
End Time 10:00 PM 10:00 AM (Sat/Sun) 9:00 AM (Sat/Sun) 8:00 AM (Sat/Sun) 7:00 AM (Sat/Sun)


In the Teacher Portal, these hours are designated as “Hot”

snapshot peak hours

PPT Timeslots

Within the “peak” designation, there is an even smaller subset of hours referred to as “PPT” timeslots. These are the most desirable hours for Chinese students, and they are usually the first to be booked. If you are trying to gain teaching hours, these are the most important times you can open, and they are available seven days a week.

PPT Beijing Eastern Daylight Central Daylight Mountain Daylight Pacific Daylight
Start Time 7:00 PM 7:00 AM 6:00 AM 5:00 AM 4:00 AM
End Time 9:00 PM 9:00 AM 8:00 AM 7:00 AM 6:00 AM

These are designated in the Teacher’s Portal as “Hot” with a flame next to them.

Screenshot PPT

Often, VIPKid will run incentives and contests for being available or opening short notice timeslots in these “PPT” timeframes, so it’s always in your best interest to open these as much as possible.

I hope you found this helpful. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments below!  If you haven’t yet applied with VIPKid, be sure to check out Completing the VIPKid Application.

If you would like help through  the process, I would be happy to be your mentor.

Happy teaching!

VIPKid Application and Interview Process (Updated May 27, 2019)

Like any good company, VIPKid is constantly updating their hiring process to help ensure well-qualified and well-prepared candidates and teachers. Below is a description of the process as of May 27, 2019.

If you are interested in applying and have any questions, please feel free to ask, and I will help if I can!

1.  Application

This is a very short and fast process, but it’s important that you understand the minimum requirements. See a step-by-step walkthrough here:

Completing the VIPKid Application

2.  Interview

The interview process is currently changing, and for most applicants, there are three options.

  • Option 1: Smart Demo Lesson (100% on smartphone app)Brief content review of VIPKid Essentials
    • 5-question quiz
    • Sample Teaching/Demo (1-slide, 2.5 minutes)

For more information about the Smart Demo Lesson, see:

New Smart Demo Lesson – VIPKid Shortcut – April 2019

  • Option 2: Simplified Demo Lesson (Beginning 5/27/19)

Effective May 27, 2019, some applicants are being offered the chance to schedule a live “Simplified Demo Lesson. This may be done live or via recorded session. For more information, see:

VIPKid Simplified Demo Lesson (May 27, 2019)

  • Option 3: Fast Pass Coaching Day

If you live in certain areas, you can take part in a VIPKid fast pass coaching day. This is a 3.5 hour event that allows you to meet other teachers and complete hands on learning as you go through the process. To learn more, see:

VIPKid Fast Pass Coaching Day

3. Teacher Preparation

Once you have passed the interview and demo, you will want to take some time and prepare for the certification/mock class process. A few key things to think about:

  • What ages of students would you most like to teach?
  • Based on feedback from your demo, what areas do you most need to review and/or practice?
  • What TPR, props, etc. will you use for your certification?
  • Have you gotten feedback from your mentor on your mock classes?

Here’s a quick article to walk you through some of the basic steps you can take to prepare during this phase: VIPKid Teacher Prep.

4. Mock Class/Certification

By this point, you have passed the tough parts, and now you just need to get certified. You should know what levels you want to teach.

  • Lower Levels (2/3)
    • Certification will be on Level 2 Interactive curriculum
    • Applicants should review the Level 3 information independently in the certification area of the teacher portal upon successful completion
  • Intermediate Levels (4/5)

I’ve developed a more comprehensive guide for preparing for the Lower Levels.

VIPKid – Preparing for Mock Class (Lower Level)

I’ll add the upper level guide here once it’s complete.

5. Contract Signature

You’ve done it! You have passed the steps in the hiring process, and now it’s time to sign your contract. This can all be done digitally.

You will be signing an independent contractor agreement, and it will include:

  • All of the legal info
  • Restrictions on how to (or how not to) use the VIPKid platform
  • Information about equipment and personnel
  • Payment processes and disputes
  • Confidentiality and information surrounding the intellectual property of VIPKid
  • Term dates
  • Specific information about each type of class you might be teaching
  • Fees, incentives, and penalties
  • And more!

6. Documentation

You may have noticed that VIPKid sends you a list of documentation you will need for the next step in the process. They send this early on because the process is time-sensitive, so you’ll want to get these ready. (They ask that you upload all documents within 24 hours of passing your mock class certification.)  If you have unusual circumstances, this can be extended; however, I recommend having the materials ready to go so you can get on to the contract!

You will need:

  • A copy of your bachelor’s or master’s degree. This can be a photo of your diploma or a transcript.
  • Your teaching license (if you have one.)
  • Your passport, ID card, or driver’s license
  • W-9 form (for US Nationals or US residents)
  • If you have a TESOL certificate or TEFL certificate, you can upload it now and skip step 7!

7. VIPKid TESOL certificate (required if no teaching degree)

Once you have passed your mock class certification, there is one final step before signing your contract.

VIPKid has collaborated with TESOL to provide VIPKid teachers with a free certification program on TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.) If you have a degree in education, this is not required, though it is recommended. If your degree is in another field, you will be required to complete this course before signing your contract.

I voluntarily completed both this foundational certification as well as advanced TESOL, and I found that they helped my teaching skills and my bookings!

This is not insignificant. The program is estimated to take between 10-11 hours, though there are tips to help you move through the process more quickly and efficiently.

I hope you have found this overview helpful. As I mentioned at the beginning, if you have questions, let me know.It can feel overwhelming but I promise it’s not. If you take one step at a time, you’ll be teaching before you know it!

If you have any questions or I can be of any help, please let me know in the comments!

VIPKid – Preparing for Mock Class (Lower Level)

There is no better way to meet VIPKid’s expectations than to clearly know what those expectations are.

Congratulations on deciding to certify for lower level classes with VIPKid! This certification will allow you to teach Level 2 Interactive (the most popular level with VIPKid!) as well as Level 3. Always remember that there are materials provided in the teacher portal that can help you prepare for, and review, the course curriculum at any time. To get started, here’s what you need to know. Please note, this is current effective March 2019.

Before you begin, I suggest reviewing the VIPKid Teacher Applicant Performance Indicator. VIPKid will send this to you before your mock class, and your mentor can also provide you with a copy. This will tell you exactly what your VIPKid mock class mentor will be scoring you on. There is no better way to meet VIPKid’s expectations than to clearly know what those expectations are.

1. Prepare for both lessons. There will be two different lessons (A&B) provided in the classroom.  Your mock class mentor will choose one of the two lessons for you to teach during your mock class, so please be sure you prepare for both!

2. Review the objectives for both lessons.

  • For <u>option A</u>, the goal is to teach the words “ball,” “throw,” and to blend phonemes z/r/s/h (onset) with -ip (rime.) You want to avoid a lot of words that don’t specifically support these objectives
  • For <u>option B</u>, the goal is to teach the nouns “kite” and “doll” and the verb “fly.” You will also be teaching target sentences “Do you fly a kite? Do you throw a ball? Do you swing in a swing?” with the goal being to have the student answer “Yes, I ______,” or “No, I don’t ______.”

3. Plan your reward system for both lessons.

Rewards are a hot topic with many teachers. There is a built-in reward system in all VIPKid curriculum. With Interactive Level 2, the reward is interactive, and the student can manipulate the items on the screen as part of their reward. If you ask 100 teachers how they use (or should use) the rewards, you will get 100 different answers. Honestly, that’s one of the great benefits of VIPKid is that students can learn differently with different teachers! My suggestion for the mock class is to build a custom reward that can be used WITH the interactive reward slide. That way, all your bases are covered. An ideal reward system:

  • Is fun!
  • Is visible at all times during class!
  • Supports the learning objectives!
  • Engages the student!

Be creative… if you love it, so will your students (and your mock class mentor!)  For specific ideas on how to get started, check out these posts:

4. Plan your props for both lessons.

It is important to have props that you bring to class to reinforce each lesson. It is recommended that you use at least three props, and at least two different types of props. Here are examples of different types of props:

  • Printed or Drawn (2D) props: flash cards, printed pictures, drawn pictures
  • Realia or 3D props: real items from your home that relate to the lesson, toy versions of items in the lesson
  • Digital props: gifs, google slides images that you display
  • Other props: whiteboard, magnetic letters

You will want to plan your props for both lessons in advance and practice with them on camera. It’s important to practice on camera so you are comfortable holding items closer to the camera or further away. Most laptops allow you to record sessions directly from your built in camera which is great for you to watch yourself and adjust.

Similar to rewards, find and use props that YOU enjoy. If you are excited about them, your students will be. Here are some ideas to get you started:

5. Anticipate Possible Errors

As you are planning your props, it’s a good time to anticipate what errors a student might make. If you are in a live mock class with a mock class mentor, I promise they WILL make mistakes just to ensure you catch them and are comfortable correcting them. If you are recording a demo, you will want to pretend that your student made a mistake to demonstrate how you could correct an error. Props are a great (and positive) way to help correct errors.

Here are a few ideas on common errors you might anticipate in each of your certification classes:

6. Plan your TPR for both lessons.

TPR is one of the fundamental building blocks of ESL. For most of us, it doesn’t come naturally, so it is important than you plan TPR and practice it. When I was first preparing to become an ESL teacher, I followed a three step process.

  1. Plan. I reviewed each slide and practiced different TPR techniques that I could use on each one. This got me comfortable making the motions.
  2. Practice. I practiced this TPR any time I had the chance. (My prime platform was my shower!) I didn’t memorize it all, but I got used to the common gestures I planned to use. The more you make the movements, the easier they will become.
  3. Preview. I recorded myself using my webcam practicing my TPR. That helped me get used to how big my gestures needed to be while still remaining on the camera. I found out which gestures looked the most precise and crisp and I was able to change those that did not convey a clear meaning. I can’t stress enough how helpful this step is. If you record yourself, your mentor can watch it and give you feedback, but you’ll also be amazed at how much you will notice. For example, even just waving goodbye looks so much better when you hold your hand stiff with your fingers together! The only way you can know this is by watching yourself in action!

7. Download the Teacher App and update your laptop’s flash and Chrome. VIPKid recommends using the Teacher App for all classroom activities, and it is also my tool of choice. If there is a problem, teaching through the Chrome browser is a good alternative, so have all of this updated and ready before you begin.  It also wouldn’t hurt to restart your computer or ipad.

8. Allow yourself time to go into the classroom and practice before you begin. VIPKid will give you access to a practice classroom, and I suggest using this so you get comfortable in the VIPKid environment. This will become second nature to you once you have taught a few classes, but it’s great to get your feet wet before your certification.

9. Set up your “classroom.” You do not need to spend a lot of money to do this, but you will want to put some thought into where you will be doing your mock class certification.

  • The background that will be visible in the video frame should create a learning atmosphere. VIPKid defines this as having visible props, an uncluttered, designated area, and having a space optimized for teaching.
  • You will want to be sitting or standing an appropriate distance from the camera so you can be clearly visible at all times, and your camera should be at eye level so it feels as though you are making eye contact with your student.
  • Lighting should be balanced with no shadows or significant glares on you or your props.

10. Review the application performance indicator (again.)  This is so important, it bears repeating.  There is no better way to meet VIPKid’s expectations than to clearly know what those expectations are. I was new to teaching in a formal class environment, and new to ESL, but I prepared extensively using this tool, and My VIPKid Interview Results were great. I passed my mock class certification the first time. I say this not to brag, but to help reassure you if you are feeling uncertain or overwhelmed.

The preparation time doesn’t have to be extensive, just intentional.  I hope that this guide helped you get ready for the process, and I would be happy to personally guide you as your mentor.  If you are interested, please apply using my referral link or add my referral code (AMELI0055) to your application.

Good luck!