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!
- Way to go!
- High Five!
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.