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A PPT by Any Other Name…VIPKid Time Slot Naming

When I was a brand new VIPKid teacher, I thought that “PPT” slots were any time slots. I (mistakenly) assumed that PPT stood for “PowerPoint” since we use PowerPoint slides in our teaching curriculum. So, what are they? What times should you open?

What is a time slot?

A time slot is simply a 25-minute time that you are available to teach. Parents can “reserve” time with you and schedule classes once you have opened time slots.

What is a Peak time slot?

Peak Time slots are highly popular booking times. They are labeled as “Peak” in your Teacher App or PC app, and you have a higher chance of getting booked by opening these times. These are typically early mornings and weekends.

What is a PPT time slot?

A PPT time slot is a Peak Peak time slot. These are the very hottest booking times. These are the ones in which you are most likely to get booked, and these are the ones for which VIPKid often offers incentives. Watch for offers for bonuses for opening up extra PPT slots!

When are the Peak/PPT time slots?

I’m sure it’s possible that the desirability of time slots changes over time; however, at the time I’m writing this in Central Standard Time, weekday (Monday through Thursday) “peak” time slots are 4:00 am, 4:30 am, 7:00 am, and 7:30 am. The PPT time slots are 5:00 am – 6:30 am. Friday is the same, but offers peak time slots between 7:00 pm and 11:30 pm as well. Saturday is ripe for booking all day long with every time slot between 12:00 am and 11:30 pm (except 6:30 pm) set as either peak or PPT (5:30 am – 6:30 am.) Sunday offers peak times from 12:00 am – 4:30 am, PPT from 5:00 am – 6:30 am, and peak again from 7:00 am and 7:30 am.

What time slots should you open?

When you first start as a VIPKid teacher, it’s important to open as many time slots as possible; however, I personally only opened time slots during the period in which I’m willing to teach long term. Yes, I could have opened weekend and evening slots; however, I would hate to build a relationship with a student who takes lessons on the weekend and then suddenly I’m no longer available to teach them.

Also, it’s important that you make time to rest. As you are trying to get your first classes booked or build up your student base, it’s tempting to try to push through as many classes as possible. While experience is good, it’s important that you also give your students your best, and if you haven’t slept properly, you won’t be able to do that. You also need to ensure you allow time to complete your feedback in a timely manner. Not only is this extremely important to parent satisfaction (and 5-apple ratings!) but if you don’t submit your class feedback in time, it can affect your pay!

The general rule holds true, though. The more time slots you have open (especially those that are peak or PPT), the more bookings you should receive.

If you have any other questions, please ask in the comments or by contacting me. If I can help you as a mentor, please consider using my referral link to get started!

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Is VIPKid a Pyramid Scheme?

No, VIPKid is not a Pyramid Scheme. 

The way a pyramid scheme works is that new “members” or recruits pay some sort of a fee, and that funding is used to pay the individuals who recruit them (and those who recruited them, etc.)

With VIPKid, there are no fees to “join.” It’s a fairly rigorous interview process, but there is no money required. You are interviewing for a job, and if hired, you get paid. Period.

So why is there so much focus on referrals? 

In an article from Business Insider, in August 2018, the company reported over 500,000 students and 60,000 teachers. In a country with over 300,000,000 young people, there simply aren’t enough teachers to go around. As a result, VIPKid values (and pays for) quality referrals who get hired and teach their first class.

Why am I taking the time to offer help to referrals?

While it would be lovely to get a referral bonus, that’s really a side benefit for me. (Don’t let that stop you from using me as a referral though!) I decided to start writing blogs and posting videos because I’m having so much fun with VIPKid.  I’m pretty sure by now my husband, kids, and parents are tired of hearing me talk about my classes, so I might as well talk about them with people who might be helped by my experience! Also, I found that much of the information available online for prospective teachers is in the form of videos that are 20-30 minutes each. Often, I didn’t have time to watch those.  In addition to these blog posts, which are quick reads, I’ve started a You Tube channel. My goal is to keep all the videos around 10 minutes or less, because all of us (especially new teachers) are busy!

There are many different talented teachers who are posting a TON of great information. Of course, everyone has their own unique style that works for them. If you are looking to get started, I suggest watching and reading as much as possible. If you like what you see here and would like more help, I would be happy to be your mentor and … yes… refer you. 🙂 Here’s my link: Click here!

 

VIPKid Class Preparation

You might notice that I talk a lot about class preparation. That’s probably because being prepared is very important to me. My mom loves to tell the story about when I was a little girl, still crawling. One afternoon she noticed that it was unusually quiet in the house, so she tiptoed back to my bedroom and peeked through a crack in the door. I was practicing walking, holding onto a small table for balance. The minute I saw her watching me, I burst into tears and started crying, because apparently, I wanted to be perfect before anyone saw me walking!

To help you feel more prepared, I thought I’d spend a few minutes sharing my typical process for class prep. If you have about 10 minutes, I created a video called VIPKid Class Preparation, and it goes through two specific examples – one where I walk through my prep folder for teaching a mock class on the letter “X” and one where I walk through my (recent) preparation for teaching my demo class for level 4 certification.

If you don’t have time for the full video now, here are the most important elements:

  1. Read the objectives. It’s very important that you are clear about the vocabulary, sentence patterns, and phonics that your student should learn. In a mock class or interview, they will be watching for these. In a real class, this is a pillar of your student’s success.
  2. Review your student’s background. Follow up on problem areas and encourage them on their strengths. This will also help you with timing, because if you know a student is a strong reader, you know the reading will go quickly. If there is a particular concept they struggle with, you can allow more time for this.
  3. Review all slides. This is pretty easy to do now using the teacher app, though I have gone old school before and printed them.
  4. Gather all props. This is the fun part. I know there are prop minimalists out there, but I LOVE bringing fun things into the classroom. (I now use Feedback Panda to help track my props, so it makes it even faster!)

If you have questions, please let me know in the comments! If you would like to use me as a mentor to help you through the process as you get your feet wet, please feel free to use my referral link.

person writing on white book
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How I earned over $500 in my bathroom!

First of all, I don’t call it a bathroom. It’s my classroom. And I earned the money teaching English as a second language to children in China!

I have a full time job in corporate America, but a couple of months ago I decided I needed a more meaningful hobby – something that was different than my daily grind. The ability to earn money at the same time was just an added bonus! That began my journey with VIPKid.

Why did I turn my bathroom into a classroom? This was an unused area of my home off of a spare bedroom that I use as my home office. The countertop placed my laptop at the right level, and it allowed me to have a wall behind me that was in easy reach. The lighting is easily controlled, and it’s right next to my wireless router, so there’s a strong wifi signal. It was perfect! There were two previously empty drawers perfect for storing props, and the huge bathroom mirror also provides a surface I can use as my own personal dry erase board to write myself lesson notes!

My journey with VIPKid has just begun, and so far I LOVE it. The children and their parents are amazing. The hours are flexible, and the classes are fun. As you can see, the pay is pretty nice too!

In full disclosure, I expect my paycheck to continue to grow. I am a brand new VIPKid teacher, and so I’m still building my regular student base.  At the time I’m writing this article, I’ve been a teacher for 47 days. (I signed my contract mid-September, 2018.) It’s important to note that I ONLY make myself available to teach Monday through Friday between 5 or 6 am Central and 7:30 am Central. I need to be ready to start my regular job at 8 am sharp.

In this short time, though, here’s how my student base (and paycheck) have grown:

  • My first week I opened 10 timeslots (none short notice) and didn’t get any bookings.
  • My second week, VIPKid offered an incentive for opening up a certain number of short notice time slots, so I opened 25 available class times, and I got two short notice bookings. (Both of whom have booked multiple classes since then!)
  • The first half of October, my mom had surgery, so my availability to teach was limited, but I taught 9 classes with one trial no-show.
  • The second half of October, I taught 35 classes.
  • Looking ahead, it’s only November 3rd, and I’m already booked for 14 classes. (VIPKid only opens up two weeks in advance, so there are plenty more bookings to come!)
September 2018 – 2H October 2018 – 1H October 2019 – 2H
% of Timeslots Filled 20% 25% 92%
Pay $22.00 $84.00 $410.00

I cannot recommend this opportunity enough. It’s a good company with good training and a simple process to learn and grow your student base. It’s fun, flexible, and so far pretty profitable!  Whether you are looking for some extra holiday spending money, a second career, or a meaningful hobby, VIPKid could be a good fit for you.

If you would like to learn more, feel free to contact me. If you are looking for someone to help you through the process, I’d love to be your mentor, so please use my referral link if you are ready to sign up!

 

Class Prep: VIPKid Courses & Mock Class

I am a planner. I like nothing more than a color coded calendar with every hour neatly catalogued. So for me, it was important that I understand early how to prepare for a class.

Whether you are preparing for your interview, a mock class, or a regular class, the steps are basically the same.

  1. Review the objectives.
  2. Review the slides.
  3. Review key skills.
  4. Learn about your student.
  5. Prepare a list of props or realia.
  6. Practice.

To help get you started, let’s look at each of these individually.

  • Review the objectives. If you do nothing else in preparing for a lesson, be sure you review the objectives. These will tell you what your child needs to learn. If you are teaching the letter “a” there might be a picture of an apple on the page, but that could be just to demonstrate the letter sound. It’s not important that the student remember the word apple, nor is it important they know that an apple is red. If you are doing a lesson on food, learning about the apple might be an important part of the lesson. So read your objectives. Your interviewer and mock class mentor will be watching for this, and it will directly affect the results of your real students later.
  • Review the slides. You will want to scroll through the slides enough that you are comfortable with them. For new teachers, this could take several times. If you’ve taught for a while or done this lesson before, a quick once-over might be sufficient. You will not be effective in class if you are trying to squint and read instructions on each page during your interview or class.
  • Review key skills. This is extremely important, especially if you are not a current ESL or lower elementary teacher. If you are teaching a letter, be sure you know the correct sound the letter makes. Be sure you know the standard letter motion movements. You need to be sure you know how your mouth (and your student’s) should look when they make the letter sound. You might think that “Everyone knows how to say ‘R'” but if you aren’t prepared to correct a “ruh” to an “rrrrr” you will be in trouble. If you are interviewing, your mentor is sure to mispronounce something to test you. With real students, missing timely error correction can build bad habits and result in poor feedback from parents.
  • Learn about your student. In a mock class, VIPKid will provide some basic information about your student. They will provide their age and some prior vocabulary. Score bonus points if you can work some of these into your lesson, since it shows you are prepared! In a real class, there is a “Student Details” section. There you can learn the name and age of your student, the number of classes they have taken with VIPKid, their ratings on the last lesson, and feedback from prior teachers. This can help you adjust to their personal style in the classroom, so pay attention!
  • Prepare a list of props or realia. I love props! When you are interviewing, you will need to make sure to use at least two different types of props or realia. For example, if you are teaching the letter “P” you could choose two or more of any of the following types of props: a magnetic letter, a whiteboard, printed/laminated letters or pictures, blocks with letters, stuffed animals or toys that start with “p” (panda, puppy, pig.) I’m sure you could come up with many other ideas, but be sure you have and use at least two different types.
  • Practice. As you are getting started and preparing for your interview, practice is the most important thing you can do. Practice your TPR in the shower. Practice with your family. Practice on video on your computer. Practice with your dog. You cannot practice too much. Once you are hired and have taught several classes, practice becomes less important than the rest of the preparation since much of the TPR and slide work will be familiar to you.

The more classes you teach, the faster you can move through these steps. Today, I spend between 5-15 minutes preparing for each class, whereas I spent several hours preparing for my initial interview and mock class.

If you have questions about how I prepare or have tips of your own you would like to share, let me know in the comments below! If you are ready to join VIPKid and apply, feel free to use me as a referral and I will help in any way I can!

Classroom Basics – Set up a VIPKid Classroom Without Breaking the Bank!

When I was interviewing and preparing for my mock class, I wanted to rush out and buy every teacher prop available. I love buying school supplies under normal circumstances, so with the idea of a “new classroom” in my mind, I was almost unstoppable!  However, I’m happy to report that I did not break the bank and was able to show some restraint.

If you are just getting started, there’s no need to spend a fortune in props and classroom decorations. Below are my top picks for things to get your classroom started.

Things You Already Have

  • Tape. Yes, just regular scotch tape. If you have some favorite reward systems, you can later invest in magnets, velcro, or some other adhesive, but for just starting out, tape works just fine. I use tape to decorate my walls and whiteboard, and I use it in virtually every reward system I prepare. It’s easy to use, and you probably already have a roll in your junk drawer!
  • Musical Item(s). Yes, I know that it’s vague. But this can be literally ANY musical item. If you can plan an instrument, that’s great. I can’t even read music, much less play an instrument, so an old kid’s harmonica is what I use. Before I start singing a song, I play a few discordant notes on the harmonica to get my student’s attention and set the stage for the song. A toy xylophone, kiddie piano, a pair of drumsticks, a kazoo, or even a whistle would probably work.  Just find something you’ll enjoy and get to playing!
  • Toys. On the subject of toys and fun, dig out some of your favorite old toys or game pieces. I have used stuffed animals, toy cars, card games, dice, and even a dog toy in my lessons. Be creative! If you are having fun, the kids will too.

You will be amazed at how many household items you will find that you can use in class. However, there will be a few things that are worth purchasing.

Things to Buy

  • Magnetic Letters.  These are inexpensive and versatile. They can be used for beginners when learning letters and letter sounds. They can be used in phonics practice for more advanced students. They can be used to customize your classroom decorations or help with verb conjugation. The possibilities are endless! You could probably get by with one set of capital letters, and two sets of lower case letters.
  • Small Whiteboard.  I picked one up for around $5.00 I think, and I use it all the time. I use it along with my magnetic letters, and I use it to write examples. It can be used to correct pronunciation (b vs buh) and to draw reward systems. This is one of my go-to items in the classroom.
  • Something You Love. I have to confess. I did make a major splurge recently, but in all honesty, I would have bought these with or without a classroom! I came across a few finger puppets that were custom made from Chicago artist Dan Crowley.  I absolutely adore all of his work, and so I purchased two puppets, a sun and a moon. I’ve had the chance to use them when teaching about the weather and “good morning” but really, I just love looking at them! (But they do look FANTASTIC over video in the classroom!) While I try to be frugal, if you find something that you just love, it’s ok to buy it. Why? Because if you are excited, your students will be too. And I love anything that helps my students love learning.

Bonus Buy

  • A Laminator. I’m not sure why, but I already had a laminator. However, if you are hired, you can invest in a decent home laminator for $25-$35, and the plastic sheets cost about $11 online from Amazon. I use my laminator all the time, from making reward systems to decorating my classroom. I print, laminate, and attach pictures of animals to those pointy kitchen skewers I hate to cook with, and voila – instant puppet. If you don’t have a whiteboard, you can also use a laminated piece of paper as a makeshift whiteboard. I probably wouldn’t purchase a laminator just for the interview process, but if you are looking for a way you can start building up re-usable supplies for your classroom, this is a good place to start.

If you’d like to see more about the basics I use, I put together a quick video that shows these items in my classroom. As always, if you print pictures off the Internet, make sure you have permission to use the image.

Good luck setting up your classroom. If you have questions or suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments or contact me.

Of course if you are ready to get started with VIPKid and are looking for a mentor, feel free to reach out and use my referral link.

person holding pink piggy coin bank
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Trick or Treat? Halloween Rewards for VIPKid!

Halloween is in the air, and I take every opportunity to celebrate. I thought I would share with you four ideas for easy Halloween reward systems. I have two for beginners and younger students and two that are a little more complex.

  • Spooky Spiders: Based on the reactions from my students, the favorite so far has been spiders. Everyone has a reaction and you can do fun TPR with anything creepy crawly! I printed out four different colors of spiders (great for extending) plus one big spider with a silly face. I drew a spider web on my whiteboard and tape the spiders on the board when my student does a good job.

spooky spiders

  • Jack-o-Lantern: For this one, you simply draw a face on a laminated pumpkin picture. This is especially helpful if your lesson has to do with parts of the face or emotions. To get the kids involved, you can ask them if they want to make a happy pumpkin or a sad pumpkin. (When I first used this, I had cut out face parts but I found that it was just as easy to draw them!)

jack-o-lantern

  • Haunted House: This one took a little more preparation. I printed and laminated a free printable haunted house coloring book page. (I chose one that had five windows/doors.) I then printed and laminated smaller Halloween pictures and a yellow sheet of paper. I cut out three sides of each window/door and put the small pictures behind the windows. When my student does a good job, they get to “open” a window. For added extension, number each window and door and let the student choose a number.

haunted house

  • Build-a-Costume: This is my favorite one, but it’s more appropriate for older kids. This is inspired by the old “paper dolls” of days gone by. I found a picture of a girl and printed that, along with different parts of a costume. For modesty, I started her out with jeans and a Halloween tank top, and then layer other pieces over that. This is fun because kids can choose what they want her to wear (socks, pants, dress, etc.) This is great if you have a lesson on clothing or colors.

Build a Costume

For all of these, always be sure if you are printing images off the internet that they are free stock photos or that you have permission to use them.

If you would like to see these in action, you can check out my You Tube debut to watch a short video that shows these reward systems in action.

Halloween is a great opportunity to share a little slice of our culture with our students, so have fun with it!

If you have other Halloween rewards that have worked well, tell me about them in the comments! If you have questions or I can help in any way, let me know! As always, if you are ready to apply, I would love for you to use my referral link and let me help you through the process! Happy Halloween!

close up photo of halloween decors
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