The “Art” of Teaching

I couldn’t help myself. I bought an Apple Pencil. I justified it because I needed an iPad for backup when the Internet or power was down. I couldn’t miss my classes, after all. How that justified the pencil, well….

So far, I’ve mostly just doodled with it. During my non-VIPKid day job, I sit on a lot of conference calls. I find that if I let myself look at email, I will get distracted and stop listening to the meeting. So, I will occasionally doodle like the below.

But today I had the chance to draw my first “reward.” It was in one of my favorite 2-D prop groups, and someone had asked for a specific type of reward to be drawn. (Check out my little monster dudes above!) I gave it a shot, and it was actually very fun to duplicate and re-color my little drawing.

Would I recommend the Apple Pencil? Only if you are a serious artist or really enjoy doodling. I don’t think there is anything I could do with my poor level of talent that would justify the money spent on the pencil.

Is it fun? You bet. 🙂

Attending a VIPKid Meetup

There’s just something about being able to have a live, face-to-face conversation with someone!

VIPKid has been one of the most fun and rewarding things I’ve ever done. And they pay me for it! But let’s face it, people just don’t understand it!  How many times have we heard:

  • Wait, do you speak Chinese?
  • You do it on your computer?
  • You sound like you’re talking to your students again…
  • That better not be another picture of a cute kid!

Even those who are most supportive of us just don’t understand what it’s like to form these bonds with students and their parents across the globe.

Because our students are not in a brick and mortar school, we can’t just pop into the teacher’s lounge when we want to talk to someone.  So where do you go for support, help, or collaboration?

Many of us turn to online communities, which are GREAT.  (I’ll list some of my favorites in an upcoming blog post.) But there’s just something about being able to have a live, face-to-face conversation with someone.

Fortunately, VIPKid realizes this and encourages teachers to participate in local meetups!

What is a meetup?

Straight from the VIPKid suport center, “Meetups are a great way for teachers to gather and share their ideas or teaching experience with one another. Attending one can not only improve your daily routine, but the useful tips and getting to know other teachers will certainly provide a boost to your teaching business that only require a positive outlook and basic social skills!”

How can you find a meetup near you?

VIPKid lists all meetups on their community events page. You can search by city/state or zip code to find a meetup in your area.

What can you do at a meetup?

Anything you want! In all seriousness, every meet up is different. Meetups are hosted by VIPKid teachers, and so they will be different based on personality, location, time of year, and attendees.  I have been to two meetups, and both were fun but very different.

My first meetup was hosted by Teacher Beth. It was hosted at a Mexican restaurant and we ate dinner. The atmosphere was informal, and it gave teachers (and a few prospective teachers) a chance to talk to one another, get to know each other, and share stories about their classes. Of course, there was a swag giveaway, and I won my first Dino!

My second meetup was just this month and hosted by Teacher Kimberly. This one was in a private room at a coffee shop. A few of the same teachers were there, but many new ones. This one included an icebreaker, plus some targeted discussions about tips for new teachers, the Teacher App, the application process, recruiting, and even a demo of Google Slides. Kimberly had made goody bags for all attendees, and –  you guessed it – there was swag! (This time I won a cute dragon Dino and a Dino-topped pencil!)

Both of the meetups resulted in new, local friendships and a lot of fun.

A few common themes that I’ve seen before include:

  • Prop Swaps: Teachers can bring extra or gently used props they no longer need and trade with others. It’s a great way to get new ideas for props or re-home some of your own!
  • Crafting or Painting Parties: These are fun, and they can serve double duty as classroom decorations after you’re finished.
  • Escape Rooms: I’m planning my first meetup in August, and it will include an escape room. Why? Because they are super fun! It’s also a good chance to work together and teambuild.
  • Meals: Of course, we all have to eat. Why not grab a bite and swap stories at the same time?
  • Family Fun: Theme parks, picnics, bowling, and parks can all make for a family-friendly day where everyone can have fun. Not only can teachers have fun sharing stories, but their kids can commiserate about mom or dad stealing their toys as props, and spouses can share their favorite (or least favorite) VIPKid tales too!
  • Festivals, Museums, or Tours: We all enjoy learning about other cultures. Often, teachers will get together for local Chinese festivals or others. It’s a great chance to learn and have fun with your fellow teachers.

Really, the sky is the limit. The goal is to have fun and enjoy spending time with your fellow teachers (and of course, get some cool new VIPKid swag.)

Can prospective teachers attend a VIPKid meetup?

Absolutely! Just keep in mind that they are designed for existing teachers, so if you are interested in an actual recruiting event or something that is designed for prospective teachers, Coaching Days might be more appropriate.

Like I mentioned, I will be hosting my first meetup in August, so I’d love any tips and tricks. I’ll be sure to blog about it along the way. And if you’re local, I’d love to see you there!

Happy teaching (and meeting!)

dino dragon 2

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!

VIPKid Support Center

This might be the last of my blog posts you have to read.

I hope you still read them, but I wanted to let you know about one of the best kept VIPKid secrets: The Support Center. It’s true, if people read more in the Support Center, my blog would be obsolete!

If you are looking for an “official” answer about any of VIPKid’s policies and procedures, I would start in the Support Center.

Besides being able to open a ticket, there is an extensive knowledge base. Topics fall into the following categories:

  • Payment, Contract & Account
  • Bookings, Cancellations & No SHows
  • IT & Features
  • Feedback, Students & Parents
  • VIPKid Community
  • Important Procedures
  • and more….

Within each of these categories, there are hundreds of topics, including fan-favorites like:

  • How long do I have to wait during a no-show?
  • What’s the process to request a soft cancellation?
  • Where’s the next meetup?
  • Am I in the running to win the trip to Beijing?
  • and so much more!

If you haven’t seen it yet, log into the teacher portal at this link, and be sure to take a peek at the video I made to show you around:

Support Center Tour

If you have questions, please let me know in the comments. If you are just getting started and would like some help applying and getting familiar with the company, I’d love to help you through the referral process. I suggest starting with Completing the VIPKid Application.

 

Making a VIPKid Bitmoji

Let me start by saying that this was not my idea. Many teachers have used this (probably more successfully than me!) But even though I used Bitmoji regularly, it took me a little trial and error to figure out how to make my very own VIPKid emoji.

I decided to write down a quick how-to guide to help!  Since not everyone has experience with Bitmoji, I’ll break it down into three sections:

  • Getting the App and making your own Bitmoji
  • Personalizing it for VIPKid
  • Making Props

and bonus content: installing the Bitmoji keyboard

Step 1: Getting the App and Making Your Own Bitmoji

  1. Download the Bitmoji app on your phone. Everything in this section needs to be done on your mobile device – either through the Bitmoji app or Snapchat.
  2. When you first download the app, you will need to register. If you use snapchat, you can log in using Snapchat. If you would prefer, you can sign up with Email.
  3. Once you sign in, you’ll be prompted to create a new Bitmoji. (This is the fun part!)  You’ll be prompted to choose everything about your Bitmoji from facial shape to eye color, and everything in between! Just choose each option and scroll to the next choice along the bottom of your phone app. It even lets you take a selfie so you can see your face next to your Bitmoji as you are designing it to see how close you are!
  4. Once you are finished, it will prompt you to go to “settings” and enable Bitmoji as a keyboard option. I suggest doing this while you are there, and I’ve put some instructions at the end.  But if you are ready to start making props, you can “skip” this step and go back and do this at any time.

Step 2: Personalizing Your Bitmoji for VIPKid

  1. As you are personalizing your Bitmoji, there are two things you will want to choose to make it a “VIPKid” teacher.
    • Headphones: These can be found under headwear, just like hats.
    • An Orange Shirt: There are several to choose from. If you don’t wear orange in class, just pick out something that suits your style
  2. Once you’ve chosen a shirt, you can also pick out a VIPKid logo or picture to put on the shirt when you print it and use it in props. I haven’t found a way to incorporate into digital Bitmojis, so no need to look for this in the clothing.

Step 3: Making Props

  1. From your laptop, desktop, or other favorite prop-making machine with a Chrome browser, go to http://www.bitmoji.com.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page and download “Bitmoji for Chrome”
  3. This will add the small, green icon into the upper right-hand corner of your Chrome browser.
  4. When you click on it, you can search for different Bitmojis or click through the grey icons at the bottom.
    • The star shows recent Bitmojis used and popular ones.
    • The hand shows hello and goodbye messages (like a wave).
    • The face with hearts has messages of love.
    • The smiley face shows happy messages.
    • The face with no smile shows sad or angry messages.
    • The horn shows holiday or event-specific messages.
  5. Right-mouse click on the bitmoji of your choice and choose “copy.”
  6. Right mouse click in a Microsoft Word or Publisher document, a Google Slides document, Powerpoint, or other prop-making software. Click “paste.”
  7. If you’d like to add a VIPKid or Dino logo, find a .png image and paste it onto the Bitmoji. If you don’t have one, check out VIPKid Branding Resources and you’ll find several.

chrome extension

browser bit

Bonus Content: Installing the Bitmoji Keyboard

These instructions are for an iPhone, since this is what I own. 🙂

  1. Click on “Settings.”
  2. Click on “General.”
  3. Click on “Keyboard.”
  4. Click on “Keyboards.”
  5. Click on “Add New Keyboard.”
  6. Click on “Bitmoji.”
  7. Move the slider so that “Allow Full Access” is green.

Once you have the Bitmoji keyboard installed, you can toggle between it by clicking the small globe at the bottom of your iphone keypad between the “123” button and the microphone/spacebar. You can then copy and paste into text messages, emails, or even WeChat!

For other operating systems, check out Bitmoji help at their website.

I hope this is helpful. If you are just starting your VIPKid journey and are looking for a mentor, let me know and get started with the application! Otherwise, 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!

VIPKid Dictionary

Are you still struggling to incorporate your FAS with your SN PPT timeslots during your MC classes?

Are you new to VIPKid? Are you still struggling to incorporate your FAS with your SN PPT timeslots during your MC classes? Don’t worry! There are a LOT of acronyms with VIPKid.

The below is certainly not a comprehensive list, but hopefully it’s enough to get you started. If you have a new one I’ve missed, let me know in the comments and I’ll add it! Many are acronyms, but I’ve also included a few words that might be confusing if you are new to our VIPKid world!

Bao Bao: This is a nickname for “child” used by some Chinese families. Occasionally, you’ll see a class scheduled with “Bao Bao” and this just means that the parents haven’t yet chosen an English name OR perhaps it’s a trial and the student has not yet been confirmed. Often in Facebook posts, you’ll see teachers refer to their student as “Bao Bao” just like an American might refer to a generic student name.

Brand Ambassador: Brand Ambassadors are online influencers on social channels with an engaged audience who can help curate, promote, and share information with VIPKid teachers. If you’ve done a google search for VIPKid, I can assure you that you’ve run across some brand ambassadors. They will have content that’s clearly marked as their own content vs. “Official” VIPKid sanctioned content from their brand ambassador role.

Builder’s Program: The VIPKid Builder’s Program provides high-performing teachers with the opportunity to get involved in other aspects of the company. There are several different roles that fall into three main categories: Create (focusing on bringing the teacher voice into the curriculum development,) Promote (for teachers who like to share VIPKid in the community,) and Support (for those who want to support their peer teachers.)  More information about the different programs can be found below. To qualify for any of the builders programs, you must have taught at least 1,000 classes “as finished,” have a 4.90 apple rating from your last 100 classes, and have a 5.0 participation rate. More information on the builder’s program can be found in the VIPKid Support Center.

Coach: VIPKid Coaches are part of the Builder’s Program. Coaches are teachers who facilitate in-person coaching sessions were applicants can practice the basic skills of online teaching. This is a part of the VIPKid Interview Process – Fast Pass Coaching Day.

Community Ambassador: A community ambassador is a role that’s a part of the Builder’s Program. Teachers serve a three-month term and provide support to other teachers through the Official VIPKid Facebook group or the Hutong.

Curriculum Reviewer: Curriculum Reviewers share feedback with the Curriculum team via small group and 1:1 calls. This role is a part of the Builder’s Program.

FAS: Find a Star is a game that is often played during class. This can be done digitally through Google Slides or by printing out pictures or numbers and hiding stars underneath them. There are many different ways to play Find a Star, but it’s a popular game among teachers and students alike. You can see an example of it in Using Google Slides with VIPKid.

Finish Type: Each class is marked with a disposition by VIPKid upon completion.  For a teacher to be paid, the finish type must be one of the following:

  • AS_SCHEDULED
  • STUDENT_NO_SHOW
  • STUDENT_IT_PROBLEM
  • SYSTEM_PROBLEM

Other finish types that will affect your payment and could perhaps incur teacher penalties are:

  • TEACHER_NO_SHOW
  • TEACHER_NO_SHOW_2H
  • TEACHER_CANCELLATION_24H
  • TEACHER_CANCELLATION
  • TEACHER_IT_PROBLEM

GS or #gsOG: This refers to Google Slides, and if you see the hashtag, it generally refers to the Google Slides Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/vipkidgs/.)

IPAED: This is a teaching method used in many VIPKid lessons.

  • Introduce: This is where you show your student a new word or idea.
  • Practice: The student practices repeating the new concept. These slides are often drag and drop so the student can get comfortable with the new information.
  • Apply: The student is asked to apply their new knowledge. These slides are often fill in the blank so the student can really show they learned the information.
  • Extend: This is your chance to extend upon the information. If the student has mastered the concept, then you can add to it at this point.
  • Demonstrate: Here’s where your student can show you what they’ve learned! In major courses, this refers to the projects they do for homework. In some supplemental courses, the students get the chance to demonstrate more regularly!

JCL: Junior Creator’s League is a supplemental program available for students through VIPKid. It’s designed to develop students’ interests into skills through hands-on learning. The lessons are very specific to a unique topic (for example, biology or singing.) More information can be found in the certification center.

Local Leaders: Local leaders are active meetup hosts in their communities, strong promoters, and they identify and execute on local opportunities. Local Leaders are a part of the Builder’s Program.

MC: Major Courses are the primary courses that students can take through VIPKid.  There are currently seven levels of MC classes:

  • Level One (PreVIPKid)
  • Level Two (Being phased out)
  • Level Two Interactive
  • Level Three
  • Level Four
  • Level Five
  • Level Six

Each MC has 12 units and 12 lessons in each unit. The unit is divided into halves, with a unit assessment at the end of each.  Each lesson is numbered as follows:

  • Class Type (MC)
  • Level (1-6)
  • Unit (1-12)
  • Half (LC1 or LC2)
  • Lesson (1-12)

For example, MC-L2-U1-LC2-10 means that it’s a major course (MC) in Level 2 (L2). It’s Unit 1 (U1) and the second half (LC2) and lesson 10.

MCM: Mock Class Mentors are those who help teachers pass their certifications. They provide feedback and suggestions for improvement.conduct 1:1 classroom role-play scenarios and provide feedback to applicants and current teachers certifying in new curriculum or levels. This is a part of the Builder’s Program (see above.)

Mentor: Mentors create and run 1-hour workshops for VIPKid teachers. You may also hear teachers refer to a referring teacher as a mentor (for lack of a better word.) Please note, true Mentors are paid positions that are part of the Builder’s Program, while a referring teacher is simply someone whose code was used during an applicant’s application process.

Peak Timeslots: These are prime teaching hours, generally when Chinese students are not in school.

PPT Timeslots: These are the most popular timeslots and are the best to open if you are looking for increased bookings! For more information on timeslots and VIPKid scheduling, check out VIPKid Hours.

Product Advisory Council: Members of the Product Advisory Council are a part of a team that meets monthly to brainstorm new features, discuss upcoming launches, and test new features. This role is a part of the Builder’s Program.

SIT: Student IT – this is when a student has a proven IT issue on their side. Teachers are paid for 100% of the class in Student IT situations.

SN: Short Notice – this refers to timeslots that can be booked up to one hour before class. If a timeslot is not marked as “short notice” it will expire 24 hours before class time. You can learn more about SN booking with VIPKid Short Notice 24-hour Bookings.

SNS: Student No Show – this is when a student doesn’t come to class. Even if a student isn’t in the classroom, you are required to stay and wait at least 15 minutes for trial classes and a full 25 minutes for other classes. There are many different opinions on what should, or shouldn’t be done when you are in a classroom and your student hasn’t arrived. I personally post a message in the chatroom every 2 minutes. After the first 2 minutes, I contact the fireman so that they can call the parents. I take screenshots every five minutes in case there is any question that I was there, ready to teach. This is not required, but simply a best practice I choose to use.

TESOL: TESOL stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and encompasses what used to be called TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) and TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language). Within VIPKid, you’ll most commonly hear this in the context of the VIPKid certifications offered in conjunction with the TESOL-VIPKid Foundational and TESOL-VIPKid Advanced certifications.  The foundations certificate is now required for any new teachers who don’t have a degree in education, but the advanced TESOL is optional.

TIT: This is the dreaded “Teacher IT” – if there is a system problem that prevents you from teaching at least 3 minutes of class (and it is not the student or VIPKid’s fault) then you forfeit 100% of the payment for that class. It’s always helpful to have a backup ready to go in case of power outages or internet failures. Ipads and mobile hotspots are lifesavers!

TMC: Teaching Material Contributors create and design prep materials, level certifications, and participate in testing new curriculum. This role is a part of the Builder’s Program.

TNS: Teacher No-Show. Noooooo….  this is when you fail to show up for, or cancel, a class. Obviously, you get no pay for these. In addition, you will be penalized (usually $10 for a normal 25 minute class, or $20 for a 50 minute class.)

TOEFL: Test of English as a Foreign Language is a standardized test to measure the English language ability of non-native speakers wishing to enroll in English-speaking universities.  There is a supplementary course offered by VIPKid to help students prepare for this test. Certification information is available under the Certification tab in the Teacher’s Portal.

T2T Feedback: Teacher to Teacher Feedback is optional feedback left in the portal that’s only visible to VIPKid and other teachers.  It is intended to be used to provide the next teacher a short update about the student or their progress. Be careful! There are a lot of opinions about how this should (or shouldn’t) be used. Ultimately, I suggest adding whatever notes you feel would be helpful if YOU were the next teacher!

I feel like there are far more of these types of words and acronyms that an experienced teacher now takes for granted, so please – if you have questions or others to add to the list, please let me know!

In the meantime, if you are just getting started with VIPKid, check out the application process Completing the VIPKid Application and feel free to use my referral link if you’d like some help through the hiring process!

Thanks, and happy teaching!

Using Google Slides with VIPKid

Google Slides is a tool that can be used to enhance your ESL lessons. They are essentially online slide shows that behave similar to Powerpoint, but everything is stored in the cloud. Teachers often use Google Slides for rewards, props, or both.

What types of Google Slides are available?

There are too many different options to count! I personally use Google Slides mostly for rewards. There are hundreds, maybe thousands, to choose from.  Some of my favorites include:

  • Find a Star
  • Candyland
  • Teacher vs. Student
  • Tap and Reveal
  • and so many more….!

How do you display Google Slides?

There are three main ways you can display Google Slides.

  1. Holding your phone up to the monitor. (This is what I do.  You can check out this video to see how it looks on camera.)
  2. Using software like ManyCam or CamTwist. This is a great option to be able to alternate between your face and a reward in the classroom, but it does require meeting basic, minimum computer requirements and a little more tech-savvy.
  3. A second monitor displayed in your classroom.

There really is no right or wrong way to use Google Slides. The one limitation is that you must never try to upload the slides into the VIPKid classroom directly.

What are the benefits of Google Slides?

  • They are super easy. Once you get comfortable with the slide finder and/or the planner, you have hundreds of props and rewards at your fingertips!
  • They cut down on clutter. For prop minimalists, or those who travel, you no longer have to worry about keeping up with lots of different props and rewards for all different levels. Simply search and pull in what you need by type, character, or lesson.
  • They are totally customizable. Not only are you able to choose from a wide library of slides created by amazing teachers, but you can easily create your own too! Whatever you want to reinforce in a lesson – you can do so at your fingertips.

How can Google Slides enhance a VIPKid lesson?

I love to incorporate Google Slides with the interactive reward slides built into the lessons. Take a concept that’s in the lesson already and then build it out.

You can even customize your Google Slides to specific students and what they need to work on. I made a custom reward once using the artwork of one of my students.

I personally like to build in optional extension options. If a student is struggling and you are running short on time, you can do the minimum. If you are ahead of schedule and looking for extension options, you can spend time using questions and answers on the slides to add to the lesson.

I absolutely love Google Slides, and I use them more than any other reward. What’s your favorite reward? Let me know in the comments!

In the meantime, if you are just getting started and looking for more information on rewards in general, check out:

Types of VIPKid Rewards

Or, if you are wanting to get started with VIPKid, here are some tips on completing the VIPKid application or jump right in and apply here if you would like for me to help guide you through the process!

 

VIPKid Hours

The window of time that’s available for teaching is based on when children are awake in China. That’s early mornings and late evenings in North America.

People often ask what hours you can teach with VIPKid. Because you are an independent contractor, you have a great deal of flexibility. You can choose to open as many or as few class times as you wish. There is a strict cancellation policy; however, so be sure that you only open times you are able and ready to teach!

Below I’ll map out the different times that are available for teaching, along with which ones are most likely to result in bookings! If you are interested in a high-level overview, check out these one-stop shops:

All of the below times are based on Daylight Savings Time since that’s our current time as I’m writing this.

Overall Teaching Timeslots

To set the stage, the window of time that’s available for teaching is based on when children are awake in China. This is 8:30 am – 10:00 pm seven days a week. Roughly speaking, that’s early mornings and late evenings in North America.

Beijing Eastern Daylight Central Daylight Mountain Daylight Pacific Daylight
Start Time 8:30 AM 8:30 PM 7:30 PM 6:30 PM 5:30 PM
End Time 10:00 PM 10:00 AM 9:00 AM 8:00 AM 7:00 AM

Of course, many of these times are more popular than others. That leads us to the prime booking times.

VIPKid has two different distinctions for popular booking times.

Peak Timeslots

As you might expect, the least popular times for booking are when children are in school. That’s why times outside of school hours are considered peak timeslots.

Because of this, “peak” hours in North America are early weekday mornings and evenings/overnight on weekends.

M-F Weekday Mornings

Beijing Eastern Daylight Central Daylight Mountain Daylight Pacific Daylight
Start Time 6:00 PM 6:00 AM 5:00 AM 4:00 AM 3:00 AM
End Time 10:00 PM 10:00 AM 9:00 AM 8:00 AM 7:00 AM

Friday/Saturday Overnights (China Weekends)

Beijing Eastern Daylight Central Daylight Mountain Daylight Pacific Daylight
Start Time 9:00 AM 9:00 PM (Fri/Sat) 8:00 PM (Fri/Sat) 7:00 PM (Fri/Sat) 6:00 PM (Fri/Sat)
End Time 10:00 PM 10:00 AM (Sat/Sun) 9:00 AM (Sat/Sun) 8:00 AM (Sat/Sun) 7:00 AM (Sat/Sun)


In the Teacher Portal, these hours are designated as “Hot”

snapshot peak hours

PPT Timeslots

Within the “peak” designation, there is an even smaller subset of hours referred to as “PPT” timeslots. These are the most desirable hours for Chinese students, and they are usually the first to be booked. If you are trying to gain teaching hours, these are the most important times you can open, and they are available seven days a week.

PPT Beijing Eastern Daylight Central Daylight Mountain Daylight Pacific Daylight
Start Time 7:00 PM 7:00 AM 6:00 AM 5:00 AM 4:00 AM
End Time 9:00 PM 9:00 AM 8:00 AM 7:00 AM 6:00 AM

These are designated in the Teacher’s Portal as “Hot” with a flame next to them.

Screenshot PPT

Often, VIPKid will run incentives and contests for being available or opening short notice timeslots in these “PPT” timeframes, so it’s always in your best interest to open these as much as possible.

I hope you found this helpful. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments below!  If you haven’t yet applied with VIPKid, be sure to check out Completing the VIPKid Application.

If you would like help through  the process, I would be happy to be your mentor.

Happy teaching!

Types of VIPKid Rewards

What’s most important about rewards is that you do what works for you.

In VIPKid, you’ll hear a lot about rewards. One of the goals of our classes is to keep kids engaged by helping them have fun while they are learning!

There are several types of rewards that you can (and should!) use.  Below is a quick summary to help you get started.

Stars

In every class, the student has the ability to earn up to five stars. You should ALWAYS give the student ALL FIVE STARS! Kids redeem these for different prizes, and many parents consider it an entitlement, as though they’v epaid for these stars. You can give a star every five slides, or you can award them for particular behaviors. But always remember to give out all five stars! (I choose to have printed stars that I display, but this is a personal preference!)

Thumbs Up

These are available if you have a class in the “new” classrooms, so they might not always be available.  To award a thumbs up, you can click on the button that is right next to the stars. When you press it, the child receives one of two animations. One is a Dino saying “Good job!” and the other is a Dino saying “Perfect!” Some teachers feel that it’s not necessary to use this, but every time I use it, I get a big smile from my student. (Plus it gives me a break from saying it!) I usually try to use this once or twice per class if the student does something especially well.

2-D Rewards

These are usually printed rewards that you use and display on a whiteboard or easel. They can be as simple as fun, printed pictures of something the student enjoys. One of my personal favorites is a Spiderman printout with superhero words I can add as rewards. You could print out Disney princesses, My Little Ponies, Lego characters… the possibilities are endless.  You can also play games with printed rewards like find-a-star or tic-tac-toe. As I mentioned, I love having printed stars, and I have many different ones I’ve collected or made over time. Kids love getting stars and by adding variety to them in printed form, it keeps it fresh!

3-D Rewards

I am a big fan of “realia” or real items brought into the classroom. Kids also enjoy these! If you have kids, it’s super easy to use their toys as rewards as long as they don’t mind sharing! Lots of teachers use a 2-D printout of an ice cream cone with different scoops they add throughout the lesson. I have a toy ice cream cone with stackable scoops. The 3D option makes it easier to “lick” during class, and it looks great on camera! At Christmas, you could use stockings or gift bags with rewards in them, or you could even unwrap presents! Easter is coming up soon, so plastic Easter eggs filled with little prizes are always popular. Once you start looking around, you can find rewards everywhere!

Digital Rewards

I LOVE digital rewards, and they are my go-to reward. f you travel a lot or don’t like keeping up with a lot of clutter, this is the reward for you. Honestly, I often combine these with a 2-D reward system because I like to have something that stays visible in the classroom, but many people use digital rewards exclusively. You’ll hear lots of teachers talk about Google Slides. Google Slides is a tool that’s a lot like Powerpoint, but it’s all online. There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of games and rewards. Some teachers hold their phone or an iPad up to the camera to show the reward, while others use software like ManyCam or CamTwist to switch between their face in the VIPKid classroom and a reward. Here’s a post that explains how I like to use Google Slides in class: Using Google Slides with VIPKid.

VIPKid Reward Slides and Interactive Reward Slides

These are built-in reward slides or game ideas that are a part of the lesson. If you are crunched for time or looking for something that enhances the lesson directly, these are great options. I sometimes combine these with other rewards just for fun. (Check out this video! for an example!

What’s most important about all of these types of rewards is that you do what works for you. I LOVE reward systems and I think they are fun to plan and use. That’s why I tend to stitch together fairly robust and multi-layered rewards. I enjoy them, and so my students do too! If keeping up with rewards stresses you out, your students will feel it, so keep it simple. There are some teachers who use printed stars, and that’s it! You and your students will find what works for you, and that’s what you should use.

If you have any questions or you have suggestions of what works best for you, let me know in the comments below! If you are not yet a teacher and would like some help, I would love to be your mentor. Be sure to check out the article Completing the VIPKid Application before you apply!

Happy teaching!