How to Ask for 5-Apple Feedback

It is critical to be genuine, both in your teaching and in your feedback, so do what works for YOU!

I have written several blog posts about feedback, and in the last (almost) year that I’ve been teaching, my opinion hasn’t changed much. When people ask me, “Do you ask for feedback?” My answer is “sometimes.” It really depends on the student, the class, and the parents.

When do you ask for feedback?

I usually ask for feedback when I am teaching students for the first 1-3 times, or when I have a specific question that I would like the parents to answer. Here’s a snapshot of when I ask:

How do you ask for feedback?

I vary the way that I ask for feedback, but below are a few examples that I have used in each of the above categories! All of these are at the very end of my feedback, after I have given specific information about the student’s performance!

Trial Class Feedback

Bao Bao did a great job in class, and he will do very well with VIPKid! Did Bao Bao enjoy class? If you have any questions, you can contact your Learning Partner or ask me in your feedback. Receiving positive, 5-apple feedback is very important to VIPKid teachers, and it is a great way to be able to share ideas about Bao Bao’s classes! Thank you! Teacher Amelia U

First Class Feedback

Thank you for the opportunity to teach Bao Bao in class today. I hope she enjoyed it as much as I did! I would love to hear your comments about our class. VIPKid teachers always value feedback, but I especially enjoy learning about my new students’ families! Thank you! Teacher Amelia U

Second or Third Class Feedback

It was great to see Bao Bao again today. I can already see improvements from our last lesson. Keep going! If you have any suggestions or requests for our next class, please tell me in your feedback! Thank you! Teacher Amelia

Asking about Rewards

Today we played a game where “My Little Pony” characters were eating. This helped Bao Bao practice her new vocabulary using things that she enjoys! “Rainbow Dash eats!” I like extending on our lessons like this because it helps me ensure that Bao Bao understands and can apply what she is learning! If there are other toys, television shows, or movies that she likes, please let me know in your feedback, and I will try to incorporate them into upcoming lessons! Thank you – Teacher Amelia U

Asking for Feedback at Other Times

There may be other times that it’s appropriate to ask for feedback. You will get to know your students and their parents, and you’ll know what’s effective and appropriate. A few other examples might be:

  • I know that proper pronunciation is very important to you, so I took extra steps to practice “parallelogram” with Bao Bao. He was doing much better by the end of class! If you have any specific requests when you review the class, please let me know in the feedback! Thank you!
  • Did Bao Bao enjoy her reading course? I really enjoy teaching the supplemental courses, and I think that it will help Bao Bao continue to improve her reading skills in new ways. Please let me know if she enjoyed it in the feedback! Thank you!
  • I will not be teaching on September 2 because it is an American holiday. Feel free to send a priority booking request if there is another time you would like to schedule Bao Bao’s class. You could also leave me alternate times in the feedback and I will try to open classes if I am available. Thank you!

When NOT to Ask for Feedback

If you are not willing to listen with an open mind to your parents’ feedback, then please don’t ask. If you don’t want to consider new reward ideas, then don’t ask. It is a HUGE pet peeve of mine when people ask for my advice and then blatantly disregard it. So please… only ask for feedback if you really want to hear it!

It is critical to be genuine, both in your teaching and in your feedback, so do what works for YOU! The above examples are what works for me. If you don’t feel comfortable asking for feedback, then don’t! Because that will show through to the parents.

Do I think that asking for feedback makes a difference in your apple rating? No, probably not. I’ve asked. I’ve not asked. And the feedback ebbs and flows regardless. So again, do what works for you. If you are interested in my other thoughts on feedback, you can check them out here:

If you are a new teacher looking to get started, I would love to help you through the hiring process! Feel free to contact me with questions!

VIPKid Parents

Our VIPKid parents are the ones sitting just off camera supporting their kids. They make sure the learning continues outside the virtual “walls” of our classroom.

As a VIPKid teacher, we get to see our students for 25 minute blocks of time. Sometimes we see them one time. Sometimes we see them once a week or once a month. Sometimes we see our “regulars” a few times a week. Regardless, it’s safe to say that a great deal of learning continues outside the virtual “walls” of our classroom with the support of our VIPKid parents.

Our students’ parents are the ones sitting just off camera supporting their kids. They are the ones making sure that little Bao Bao has eaten and is sitting down, logged in with his headset on time. They are the ones watching the class from the other room, trying to learn enough themselves to help their son or daughter practice.

You always hear stories of the ones that are overbearing or that offer the wrong corrections. But as a general rule, Bao Bao’s mom and dad are just like us. They want the best for their kiddo and they are doing the best they can with what they have to work with between school, lessons, and all the many commitments we all have.

When I write feedback, I consider it a Virtual Backpack Note.

It’s my opportunity to give feedback on how the student did, but also offer suggestions for how parents can participate more fully in the process. Yes, I use templates. I offer some lesson recap. (And I know some parents don’t like this. In fact, it would drive my husband bonkers. But *my* parents like it.) Most importantly, I offer ways that they can reinforce the lesson outside of class, not with pronunciation practice (since they may not have correct pronunciation) but more with vocabulary or sentence structure practice.

I always make sure to include:

  • Anything the student excelled at – either with pronunciation, grammar, or even participation.
  • Anything the student worked especially hard to master.
  • Anything the student continues to struggle with (and I also include this in teacher to teacher feedback.)
  • Any behavior issues.
  • Suggestions for the parents to practice or help their child.
  • Thank you – either for the opportunity to teach their child, positive feedback on our last class, or both.
  • Next steps – this might include questions that I would like the parent to answer in feedback, or it might be a quick preview of our next class (My next class with Bao Bao is on Friday, and we will be talking about toys, so please have Bao Bao bring his favorite toy to class with him!)

Once you connect with like-minded parents, you can really build a relationship with two-way dialogue. Here are a few of my very favorite feedback messages I’ve received from parents:

 

 

(Click on any picture for a closer view!)

I really believe that I could sit down and have a cup of coffee with any one of these parents, and (language barriers not withstanding) have a GREAT conversation with any of them.

If you are looking for more help with parent feedback, check out:

If you are just getting started and have questions, please let me know in the comments. If you are thinking about applying with VIPKid, be sure to check out Completing the VIPKid Application. And of course, if you are looking for a mentor to help support you through the process, I would be honored to help. You can get more information at What’s a VIPKid referral anyway? or simply sign up with my referral link or by adding my referral code AMELI0055.

I hope you found this helpful. 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!