VIPKid and Daylight Saving Time (Spring Forward)

Last fall, I was a shiny, new VIPKid teacher. I was worried about Daylight Saving Time, and didn’t know what to expect. After surviving my first “fall back” shift, I wrote an article about VIPKid and Daylight Savings Time (Fall Back) .

Tomorrow, we are set to “spring forward” and this time, I have a lot less stress about the situation.

So what is changing for me?

As you might know, I only work super-part time. I have a day job that I begin at 8am Central Time each weekday, so my schedule has been 5:00 am – 7:30 am Central Time. This equates to 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm in Bejing. Once we spring forward, if I were to keep the same times open in Bejing time, MY time would be 6:00 am – 8:30 am Central Standard Time, which now overlaps with my day job.

What did I do?

At the risk of sounding a bit anticlimactic, I did nothing. I am keeping 5:00 am – 7:30 am Central Daylight Time open. For my students, that now represents 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm in Bejing. The time is already updated in the VIPKid portal, so as long as you set your clocks with the time change, 5am is really 5am. You don’t have to do the math!

What will happen to my schedule?

My schedule is crazy for the first week after Daylight Saving Time anyway, because it’s spring break week, so I am only working a few days. So my first “frenzy” (when parents book classes two weeks in advance) will happen this weekend.  It’s possible that I will lose a few regular students who prefer that later timeslot; however, many will shift with me.

What did I do to prepare?

  • A few weeks before the time change, I left comments in my feedback advising my regular students that my schedule would be changing. I apologized for the inconvenience and assured them that I still wanted to teach their son/daughter.
  • If those later timeslots did not book in the frenzy, I started closing them. (If this were my primary income, I might not have done this.) My goal in closing them was twofold: a) to get an idea of what students this would impact by watching for priority booking requests and b) to prevent getting any new regulars that I fell in love with that had to have that timeslot!

If you are worried about the time change, please don’t be. Students will come and go, and their schedules change (just like our kids’ schedules change!) This may be a good opportunity to find some new regulars, and if you have flexibility to teach at different times, perhaps you could accommodate some students who need to find a new teacher! And you never know, you might just catch some amazing sunrise snapshots between classes!

If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments, and I would be happy to help.

Happy teaching!

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VIPKid and Daylight Saving Time (Fall Back/Return to Daylight Standard Time.)

I was concerned – what happens to my schedule since China doesn’t observe daylight saving time?

In 2019, the return to Daylight Standard Time (falling back) falls on Sunday, November 3rd. As a VIPKid teacher, I’ve been eagerly awaiting this day since I’m not naturally much of a morning person. Now, those 6 am classes will FEEL like 7 am classes, and I’m so excited!

Last year this time was my first time change with VIPKid, so I was concerned – what happens to my schedule since China doesn’t observe daylight saving time? In short, nothing happened.

VIPKid takes into account the change in US time zones prior to opening bookings. So if I had a 6:30 am class booked last night when I went to sleep, this morning, it was still booked at 6:30 am; the only difference was that it was light outside! I did notice that the time slots immediately before the change were labeled in the Teacher App with a “DST” label, so if you teach overnight, you’ll see a 1:00 am DST, 1:30 am DST, 1:00 am, and 1:30 am times available for booking. It’s like you have a time-turner! But for me, I teach later in the mornings, so there was really no impact.

What changed following the time change?

  • My bookings were a little low the week following the time change, and I assume that’s because of the shift in my availability. Last year at this time, I went from 14 classes booked  (of 15 open slots) down to 9 classes booked so far for the coming week. This didn’t last, though, and I was back to “normal” very quickly.
  • Some of the students that had expressed an interest in times that I typically don’t open were now able to book classes with me.
  • I have began getting some priority booking requests for early time slots that I would not normally open.

So what did I do differently?

  • Last year, I opened up more (and earlier) time slots! For me, this is a great opportunity to stay on the same physical schedule but get more bookings! I work full time from my home, and I start work at 8:00 am sharp. Because of this, I generally open up only 6:00, 6:30, and 7:00.  My logic last year was that I could begin teaching at 5:00 and it would still FEEL like 6:00. However, I would caution you against this. This ONLY works if you continue to go to bed on your pre- time change schedule. I did not, and I quickly got worn down, tired, and sick.
  • I did let some of my regulars  know about the time change and asked them to let me know if they are looking for different times available to book.
  • This time last year, I added my Level 4 certification. This year, I went on to add Level 5 and Free Talk. I assume kids in China are much like kids here – the older they are, the later they can stay up.
  • I enjoyed having a little extra daylight during class time!

What will happen with the new Ministry of Education requirements?

Effective November 1, Chinese students will not be able to take classes after 9:00 pm China Standard Time.  You can read more about the regulations in the VIPKid Support Center. So for me, in central time, I will have to adjust my schedule to maintain the same number of classes. I normally teach my last class at 7:00 central time, which before November 1, is 8:00 pm China Standard Time. After November 1, 7:00 central time will be 9:00 pm China Standard Time, and in theory, unavailable for booking.  (Though at this time, the times still show as available in the teacher portal.) Speculation is that trials can still be booked after 9 pm China Standard Time, and students who do not live in China could still book those times. I will update this post if anything changes, but 2019 will definitely be a unique year for this reason.

I hope this helped answer any questions you had about how the return to Daylight Standard Time affects VIPKid class bookings.   If you have other questions, please ask me in the comments below! If you are looking for a mentor to help you get started, please feel free to contact me with any questions you might have!

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