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!

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.

 

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!