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!)