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 Teacher Tags

Teacher tags are meant to help parents find teachers who will meet their expectations.

When a new teacher completes the hiring and mock class certification process, VIPKid adds up to five teacher tags to our profile. These tags are all positive, and they are meant to help parents find teachers who are a good fit for their child. In addition, you can select some tags of your own, making the total tags available six! When a parent leaves you five-apple feedback, they will see your self-selected tags and be given the option to endorse one or more of them.

How do I know what my teacher tags are?

In the teacher portal, click on “My Info” and then “tags.” You will see your tags in each of three categories: Teaching Skills, Strengths, and Personality.

What tags are available?

VIPKid has posted the list of potential teacher tags in the Support Center. Check it out here! In the meantime, you can also review the below list of possible teacher tags assembled by Ed Nace (and reprinted with permission.) VIPKid recently updated their teacher tags, so some of these may no longer be available, but this gives some good insight – especially into those related to personality.

Ed’s list includes two types of tags. One is related to your academic expertise in the classroom, and the other is related to your personality. He lists an English translation of the tag, the actual Chinese characters/words, and then a basic explanation of the words since translations are not always true to the intention of the word. In case you aren’t familiar with Ed Nace (and why this list is awesome!) Ed and his family lived in China for eight years, and he is a veteran ESL teacher. He’s written some amazing books that help de-mystify Chinese culture, parent feedback, and teaching techniques. He’s saved me many times with his books. You can learn more at https://ednace.com/.

List and translations courtesy of Ed Nace. Learn more at ednace.com.

How many tags do I get?

Each teacher may have up to six tags assigned. If you have fewer than that, I do suggest adding more. Having a full set of tags will give the parents a more comprehensive view of your personality.

Should I change my teacher tags?

If you already have the maximum number, my answer is “probably not.” (This is my own personal opinion.) “But Amelia, you said in your Booking Boosters post that changing my tags could help me get bookings!” Yes, that is true; however, I suggest using it as a last resort if you have exhausted all other ideas and still aren’t getting bookings.

The reason I personally have chosen not to change my tags is that we may not have the same interpretation of our style as a Chinese parent would. For example, I think I am very detail-oriented. But compared to people in China, is that still true?

Years ago, I was very active in Toastmasters International. I participated in my local, area, and regional clubs and activities. I consistently got high scores in vocal variety, emotion, and intonation. I (and my Toastmasters peers) considered this one of my strong suits! However, I had the opportunity to speak in several Toastmasters meetings in the Philippines and in India. While they were very welcoming and provided positive feedback overall, vocal variety was my weakest area! Their perspectives and mine were simply not aligned because we were evaluating based on a different set of cultural norms.

Teacher tags are meant to help parents find teachers who will meet their expectations. If we accidentally mis-categorize ourselves since we are describing ourselves through an American lens, we are setting the parents up for potential disappointment. And disappointment could possibly lead to less than five apples. Because of that, I have chosen to leave my tags as applied by VIPKid and the parents. My only change was to add a tag in the area of “strengths” where I didn’t have any. That were visible. I chose to add the two that were already endorsed by parents. That way, when parents view my tags, they’ll see that other parents agree, and hopefully their expectations will be aligned.

I hope you found this helpful! Have you asked about your teacher tags? Were you surprised by them? Let me know in the comments!

VIPKid Week 2 and the Early Months

Remember that everyone’s VIPKid journey is different. No two teachers will ever have the exact same schedule or experience, and that’s ok!

You’ve made it through the gauntlet we know as the VIPKid hiring process. You got the elusive “first booking.” Maybe you had several bookings! And then … what?

This post is designed to help fill in the blanks for what comes next.

Open your schedule.

Students and their parents have the opportunity to book you again right after class. Make sure you have the next two weeks open to fully take advantage of this! I usually include my availability in the future when I send my feedback.

For example, “In our next lesson, I would like to keep working with Bao Bao on “this” and “that.” I have a fun game that I think he will enjoy that will help reinforce this. If you would like to book our next class, I have this same time available next week! Thank you! Teacher Amelia U

Check for feedback.

If you haven’t gotten any, don’t sweat it! (Everyone is different. Check here to see How does your VIPKid apple rating measure up?) If you did get feedback, I encourage you to respond to it. (You can do this through the PC App or the web portal, but not by phone.) I’m sure it’s positive, 5-apple feedback and so a simple thank you is sufficient. A few options I’ve used are:

  • Thank you for taking the time to leave feedback. Receiving positive feedback is very important to VIPKid teachers, and I really appreciate it!
  • Thank you for the 5-apple feedback! Bao Bao did a great job in class, and I can’t wait to see him again!
  • Thank you for leaving me 5-apples! I appreciate your feedback and I hope to see Bao Bao soon. If you would like to schedule another class, I am available next Friday!

If for some reason it isn’t 5-apple feedback, resist the urge to be confrontational in a response. You can see how to dispute bad feedback here.

Send e-cards to students you want to rebook!

The feedback is your way of communicating with parents. E-cards are your way to communicate with the students. With that in mind, stay away from scheduling conversation and keep it high level and positive.

  • I had fun in our class last week Bao Bao! Are you doing your homework? I hope to see you in class soon! – Teacher Amelia U
  • I hope you enjoyed our class last week! Next time I have a fun Ultraman game that we can play while you learn English. See you soon! – Teacher Amelia U

Always use your teacher show name.

You may have noticed in both my feedback and e-cards I used my show name (that name with the initial after it.) This is just in case the parents have lost me in the sea of teachers and don’t know how to find me TO rebook. When little Bao Bao shows them the adorable e-card that I sent them, it will remind them and they can find me to rebook!

Watch your replay.

Did you know you can go back into the PC App and watch your class replay? It won’t be available immediately, but it is usually there a few hours after class. Watch the replay with an open mind, and ask yourself:

  • What did I do well?
  • What should I do differently?
  • Did it look like I was having fun?
  • Did it look like my student was having fun?
  • How much time was I talking? (Remember, our goal is to have the student talk 50-80% of the time, depending on their level!)
  • Were there times that I cut off my student before they could fully answer?
  • How was my timing?
  • Did I use a good mixture of props to help enhance the learning?

I like referring to the Teacher Applicant Performance Indicator during the playback. Even though it’s intended to help during the hiring process, I find it’s a useful self-evaluation tool as well.

Then based on your own self-evaluation…

Take workshops.

I know by this point you are probably tired of hearing me say that. BUT, even if you took workshops prior to teaching classes (good for you!) you did not have any real experience to build on. If you found yourself struggling in a particular area as you watched your playback, you can go to a workshop with that class in mind and perhaps learn tools and techniques to adjust. It will also show VIPKid that you are taking your own self-improvement seriously and that you want to be the very best teacher possible.

If you aren’t sure where to go to find workshops then check out the VIPKid Library and Certification Center. You’ll be amazed!

Contact the learning partner (if appropriate.)

Last but not least, if you have any meaningful feedback on the students, it can also help to send feedback to the learning partner. You can do this at the time of the class through the class feedback (in the very bottom section.) But you can also do this via a ticket in the support center. I’ve seen some teachers asking on social media, “What do I say to the learning partner?” If you have to ask that question, it’s a good sign that you should not be sending in a ticket. It is a waste of your time and theirs to send feedback with nothing meaningful to say. But if you do have something (positive or negative) that you feel is important, then this is a good way to start building relationships with the LP’s. You probably won’t hear back, but if they pass along your feedback to the parents, you could get a repeat booking. Or the LP could book you for other students.

No matter what, remember that everyone’s VIPKid journey is different. No two teachers will ever have the exact same schedule or experience, and that’s ok! Remember to have fun and focus on your students, and everything else will fall into place.

If you have questions or suggestions of your own, please let me know in the feedback!

Happy teaching!

VIPKid Repeat Bookings

There are so many different factors that go into choosing a teacher, you can’t second guess yourself. Don’t over think it.

This week, three new teachers I know taught their first classes.

  • One teacher thought the class went great! She loved the student and had a great time.
  • One teacher thought it went great, and the next day, the student booked her for four more classes!
  • One teacher thought it went terrible. The student seemed to be at the wrong level and did not smile once.  She thought the class was a disaster. Just after she told me how awful she felt about it, she called me and said, “They just booked me again for tomorrow.”

Is all of this normal? Yes!

I recently posted this picture on instagram.

rankings

Until last week, my very first student (Erica) had been my most regular student. I taught her once or twice a week. Sometimes the classes went well, and sometimes, well, they didn’t.

Last week little Emma surpassed her. Emma sometimes doesn’t have a class in a week. Sometimes she has 3. It all just depends.

All of this led me to think about the idea of “regulars.”

Why might a student become a regular?

The student might have liked you. The parents might have liked you. Perhaps the student is shy and so they need a few classes to really feel comfortable enough to participate. Maybe the learning partner has identified that you would be a good fit. Maybe your schedules are well aligned. Maybe you just “clicked.” (Yes, it happens sometimes!)

Why might a student NOT become a regular?

Maybe your personalities didn’t mesh. Maybe the student liked you but the parents are looking for something a little bit different. Maybe the parents liked you, but the student didn’t respond. Maybe they already have a regular teacher who just wasn’t available. Maybe they use all different teachers. Maybe your schedules don’t align.

Was it me?

Students will come and go. And no, it’s not you. There are tens of thousands of teachers with VIPKid. There are some students I see one time and then never again. There are others I see almost every week. Even when I feel like I really hit it off with a student, I sometimes don’t see them on my schedule again, and that’s ok. There are so many different factors that go into choosing a teacher, you can’t second guess yourself. Don’t over think it.

How can I encourage a parent to book me again?

  • Thank the parents for booking you. I follow the philosophy you cannot thank them too much. I thank them in the class feedback. If they leave me parent feedback, I go into the web browser and thank them there. Be appreciative.
  • Ask the parents to book you again in the feedback! If you really loved teaching a student, let that shine through in your feedback. Parents love to hear when people enjoy their children. I’m not proud, I’ve begged before! My standard closing is something like this, though: “I hope Bao Bao enjoyed the class as much as I did! If you would like to book another class, I have this same time available in two weeks, or you can follow my teacher profile to see other available times. Thank you so much!”
  • Send an e-card to the student. The feedback usually goes to the parent, but the e-card goes to the student. You can let them know how much fun you had in class and what a good job they did!
  • Let the parents (and the student) know what you have planned for the next class. If a student struggled in a particular area, I might say in the feedback, “In our next class, I will continue to work with Bao Bao to help him use more complete sentences,” or “Bao Bao did not seem to enjoy the game we played today in class, so next time I will bring a Peppa the Pig game since she was wearing a Peppa shirt today! I hope she likes it!” (But then be prepared to follow through!) That’s one reason I like Feedback Panda so much is because I can remember what I promised to do!
  • Send the learning partner feedback after classes if you think there are especially positive things you’d like to share or if there are areas you feel they could help address. I don’t send LP feedback after every class, but I do send it somewhat regularly. And if I have a new-to-me student that I just love, I always send a note to the LP. That way they can tell Mom and Dad that they actually got a message about how outstanding their son or daughter was!

Through everything, remember that there are so many factors that can influence whether or not a student books another class with you.  So don’t over think it. Do the very best job you can for all 25 minutes that you have, and then move on to your next student. There are pros and cons to both regular and new students, so enjoy them all!

If you are just getting started, I would be happy to help. If you have other questions or comments, please let me know below!

Happy teaching!

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 to Get Bad VIPKid Feedback Invalidated

Never fear – there are some simple steps you can take to invalidate bad VIPKid parent feedback.

Feedback from VIPKid parents to teachers is an important part of our journey at VIPKid. Of course, we all want happy students and happy parents.  Beyond that, it can also affect our ability to earn raises.  Because of that, it’s especially disheartening to get low apple ratings from parents.

Never fear – there are some simple steps you can take to invalidate bad feedback.

  1. Go to your feedback page in the Teacher Portal.
  2. Click on “Request a Review
  3. Explain in detail why you felt the feedback was unfair or inaccurate.

The status of your request will be marked as “to-do” during the 3-5 day review process and then changed to “done” once VIPKid has finished reviewing your request.

Here are a few important tips to remember:

The feedback has to be 3-apple or below.

VIPKid considers four apples “good” so it’s very rare that they will invalidate a four-apple rating. Yes, I know that they bring down our average, and yes, there have been some exceptions to this. But the informal rule is that 3-apples and below may be submitted for review.

Give examples.

You need to provide concrete examples that show the parent’s feedback is not accurate. For example, if they add a tag or write that you failed to use TPR, watch the video playback and provide specific timestamps that show exactly when and how you used TPR.

Be specific and clear.

When submitting a ticket, be as specific as possible and use simple language.

For example:

Do not say “Please invalidate this feedback because the parents were completely wrong. There were ample opportunities for TPR and I used it when reviewing phonics rhymes and onsets and when teaching present continuous verb conjugation.”

Instead, keep it simple.

Please review the following 3-apple feedback.

  • Class date:
  • Class time (in Beijing time):
  • Link to classroom:

Parent complaint: Lack of TPR

Examples of TPR:

  • Timestamp 3:25: Instructional TPR for “circle”
  • Timestamp 10:15: TPR for blending s-op — sop
  • Timestamp 12:45: TPR for “swimming”

Don’t sweat it.

I know this is easier said than done, but if, by chance, the feedback does not get invalidated, please don’t panic. VIPKid uses an average, and so a few bad apples will not, in fact, spoil the cart. Take the feedback, learn from it, and move on to the next 5-apple rating.  Many, many teachers have had negative feedback at one point in time or another, and they’ve lived to see another day, teach another class, and make another parent happy, and you will too!

If you have any questions, I would be happy to try to help. Please let me know in the comments!