VIPKid Certification and Teacher Prep (Updated March 2019)

In the time between your interview/demo and your certification, you will need to decide what levels you first wish to pursue. Then you will need to prepare for your mock class certification.  Below are some tips to help you get prepared!

  • Pay attention to the information VIPKid sends you. They will send you helpful information, training videos, and more. They will give you everything you need to be successful, so be sure to review everything!
  • Decide what age of students you would most like to teach. Effective March, 2019, applicants can choose to certify for either lower levels (Interactive Level 2 and Level 3) or intermediate levels (Level 4 and Level 5.) For more information about each level, check out VIPKid Certification Levels (Updated March 2019).
  • Consider feedback you’ve received. Based on feedback from your demo, what areas do you most need to review and/or practice?
  • Plan your mock class. What TPR, props, etc. will you use for your certification.  I’m in the process of building out detailed guides to help with each specific certification.  Because Level 2 Interactive is the most popular level for students, that is usually where I recommend my applicants begin. Here’s the comprehensive guide to help you get ready for the lower level mock class: VIPKid – Preparing for Mock Class (Lower Level)
  • Set up coaching with your mentor. Have you gotten feedback from your mentor on your mock classes? Have you had someone look at your background and your props?
  • Check out other resources online. While I have tried to provide a lot of suggestions for you, every teaching style is different, so you can get inspiration from so many amazing teachers! Search for the hashtag #vipkidteacherlife (or lots of other hashtags!) on Instagram and YouTube. A few of my personal favorites are Nancy Taylor and Jennifer Anderson, but there are SO MANY GREAT TEACHERS!  Check it out and learn from the best!
  • Check out Facebook groups. Once you are hired, you can join many great Facebook groups. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, so I suggest starting with one just to get your feet wet. Here are the groups I am a part of:
    • VIPKid Education (Official VIPKid group): This is the only one that is moderated by VIPKid HQ and Staff, so I highly recommend it.
    • VIPKid Videos and Props: This group was started by Jennifer Anderson (see above) and focuses on prop usage in the classroom (mostly 2-d printed props.)
    • VIPKid Google Slides Group (official): This group is all about digital rewards that you can use on a phone, tablet, or software such as ManyCam or TwistCam.
    • VIPKid Chinese – Say What?? : This group is run by Ed Nace and a group of fluent Chinese-speakers. They provide help on good feedback that translates well and they can help interpret odd things you may see in parent feedback or in class.
    • VIPKid – Using Chinese Social Media: This group helps with questions around WeChat or other Chinese social media

There are many, many more groups, and I promise you can find one that fits your specific interests.

Whatever you decide to do to prepare, just pace yourself. There is so much information available, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed. That’s where your VIPKid mentor can really add value. Let us help you sift through the info to find what will help you get certified and get started teaching!

Good luck!

VIPKid Interview and Full Demo

Effective in May 2019, all applicants who pass the initial screening are offered the opportunity to do an New Smart Demo Lesson – VIPKid Shortcut – April 2019. However, if you prefer a more in-depth session, then there is another option.

Below is a description of the old “Full Demo” but as of May 27, 2019, this has been replaced with the VIPKid Simplified Demo Lesson.  The below is left up for reference; however, always refer to your emails from VIPKid for the most current hiring and interview process!

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At the time I interviewed with VIPKid, the Smart Demo Lesson was not available to me, so this was the standard option. The interview was very brief and consisted of a short conversation that included much the same agenda as the express demo introduction above. The interviewer asked me to tell them about myself. They asked about my educational background and my teaching experience.

For the demo, there were two options available:

  1. Schedule a live demo (which is what I did) or
  2. Record a sample demo

In either of these options, you are asked to teach a 10-minute demo class. The sample is typically used is “My Feelings.”  The objectives are very similar to that of the Express Demo; you just have ten minutes to present rather than two. There are a few important differences if you are using the ten-minute demo option:

  • Practice your timing and pacing. Each slide should take around one minute to complete. Your goal is to complete all of the slides in approximately ten minutes without finishing really early.
  • Plan for error corrections. If you are in a live demo, your interviewer will be playing the part of a five-year-old child and he or she WILL make mistakes. They will be looking for you to correct them. If you are recording a demo without a “live” student, you should pretend that the student makes a mistake so that you can correct them in a positive, upbeat manner and show that you are comfortable with error correction.
  • Plan for more props and rewards. In a ten-minute demo, you should use at least three different props and at least two different types of props. For example, if you used three different printouts, that would count as three props, but only one type of prop.

For more tips on how I prepared for my demo and mock class, check out the following posts:

If you have any questions, please let me know.  If you would like me to review a sample demo or mock class, please contact me. I would love to be your mentor through the process!

VIPKid Certification Levels (Updated March 2019)

Effective in March 2019, when a new applicant is preparing for their mock class and certification process, there will be two options available. This article is meant to provide a brief overview of both options so you can make an educated decision and get started!

Option 1: Beginner (Level 2 Interactive and Level 3)

If you are looking for a fast start, the Beginner Level is the right place to start. Most of VIPKid’s students are enrolled in Interactive Level 2 lessons, so you are most likely to get bookings sooner by starting here.  So what’s involved in these levels?

  • Interactive Level 2 usually has students between 6 and 9 years old. Language skills will vary from very basic skills to more advanced reading, writing and critical thinking. The lessons encourage simple conversation about people, places, things and events with your support as well as upper and lower case letters, elementary phonics rules, and basic grammar. The slides are interactive so often have games and activities that require the student’s participation on screen. Topics range from things like emotions, family members, and sports to things around a school or a playground. They build on simple concepts the student should already be familiar with and adds English language within the comfortable constructs.
  • Level 3 students are mid-level students who already have a basic foundation in English. Most have also completed level 2 with VIPKid. Students learn more complicated phonics like long vowels and blends, and they will do more independent reading and be expected to answer open-ended questions. The age range for level 3 students is typically 7-11 years old.

Option 2: Intermediate (Level 4 and Level 5)

  • By level 4, VIPKid students are at a higher level. The standard age range is 8-12, and they are beginning to read-to-learn rather than learn-to-read. They can read fairly fluently and should be able to expound upon the topics they’ve learned. There is a higher expectation for student output in level 4, and students are encouraged to take the lead in class.
  • Level 5 students are usually 9-13 years old, and they can read and understand even more complex text. Grammar and spelling usually focuses on exceptions to general rules. Topics are more in line with standard school curriculum with topics like history, literature, and basic science.

There is no right or wrong answer to what you choose for your first certificate. Some people prefer the younger students. Classes tend to be very high-energy with lots of singing and games. Others prefer to be able to have more in-depth conversations with their students.  Whichever level(s) you chose, you’re going to meet some amazing students!

There is lots of information about each level in the Certification Center in the Teacher Portal. If you have questions, I would be happy to try to help as well.  I am currently certified in levels 2-4, and working on my Level 5 certification.  (You can add new ones at any time they are available!)

Good luck!

VIPKid – Teaching Vocabulary and Target Sentences

Whether you are completing an express demo lesson, a mock class, or are teaching a class, VIPKid always includes target vocabulary words and target sentences. These will be identified in your lesson (or interview) objectives, and you will find a style of teaching that helps you teach these consistently and easily.  Below are a few of my helpful hints.

Know the objectives.

I know this sounds obvious, but you should always be sure you are familiar with the target word and sentences.  For example, I recently taught a lesson about parts of the face. In each lesson, the student learns two new vocabulary words like eyes, ears, nose, mouth, etc. The target sentence for each is “I _____ with my _____.”  Simple, right?

Remember that we are teaching children a new language, so misplacing even one word can be detrimental. In the example above, my target sentence was “I taste with my mouth.” At one point, I accidentally said, “I eat with my mouth.” While this is true, to someone trying to learn the word “taste,” this could suddenly confuse them.  So know your vocabulary and your target sentences.

Repeat each new vocabulary word at least two times.

Before introducing context and sentences, it’s important for the student to hear and repeat the vocabulary word alone two times.  Clearly say the word (with TPR), and have the student repeat it. Do this again before moving onto the target sentence.

Give your student enough time to respond.

Remember, an ESL student might take more time to process and prepare than we do, so be sure you allow time for the student to respond. You can nod encouragingly to be supportive while not speaking to interrupt their thoughts.

Use TPR.

Even if you are using props, TPR is still a very important part of learning new vocabulary. ESL learners benefit by linking action with speech, so do not omit this step! I usually try to vary the TPR to give the student as much visual context as possible, so I might use one motion the first time I said the word and a different motion the second time I said the word.

Use props.

Any time you can use a prop or realia to help reinforce new vocabulary, this is helpful. This could be a printed or digital picture, a gif, a real object, a toy, or something on your whiteboard. You will find the props that suit your classroom style that fit with your students’ preferences! If you use a prop early when teaching a word or a sentence, if a student struggles to remember it later, you can show them the same prop to help trigger their memory.

Adjust to your student.

If a student is struggling to repeat an entire sentence, you might need to break it up into manageable portions. A sentence that my students often struggle with is in the unit about having fun with friends. The sentence is “I swing on the swing.” For some reason, my students often struggle, so when we practice it, we start with “I swing” and once they repeat that, I add “on the swing.” Once they can say both individually, then we combine them.

Be sure to correct errors.

Don’t be afraid to correct errors. Pronunciation, omitted words, and grammar are all very important to students and their parents. Remember, you can correct them in a positive, upbeat way but they are here to learn English, so make sure you aren’t supporting bad habits!

Don’t get bogged down.

Sometimes a student really struggles with a word or a sentence. You have a finite amount of time to complete the lesson, so don’t feel that you have to stay on the slide until they have reached perfection. Teach, correct, and practice, but if they simply aren’t getting it, move on. They will have ample time in upcoming slides and lessons to keep practicing the concept.

I hope this is helpful as you are getting started. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments! If you are just thinking of becoming a VIPKid teacher and would like some help with the interviewing process, feel free to use my referral code.  I would be happy to help you.