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I Make Money Teaching English to Children in China - VIPKid

I always get a ton of questions about my job teaching English to children in China, so I thought I would answer them today. I have been with VIPKid for the past two years and it's been very fulfilling for me to contribute financially as a stay-at-home mom. I'll be signing my next contract in a few months!

Let's get to the questions...

What's the pay?
I make $19 an hour. The pay depends on your degree, experience, whether you have a Teaching English as a Foreign Language Certification, etc.

There are opportunities for raises, if you meet certain requirements. I personally think these requirements are a little daunting and I have not qualified for a raise in the two years I've been with the company. From what I recall, you have to have excellent parent feedback and work a lot of hours in a certain time span. I have never met the hours requirement because I value a little more sleep and weekend evenings.

What's your schedule?
You choose your own hours, which is really amazing. I submit my schedule at least two weeks prior to that working week. Typically, my schedule is as follows:
Monday: 4 AM - 6:30 AM
Tuesday: 4 AM - 6:30 AM
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: 4 AM - 6:30 AM
Friday: 4 AM - 6:30 AM
Saturday: 5 AM - 6:30 AM
Sunday: Off

There is definitely opportunity for me to work more, but I like having two days to sleep in a little. I also have to be aware of what time Jaxin wakes up and what time my husband goes to work in the mornings - hence the 6:30 AM clock-out. I could also work earlier and work evenings on the weekends. It really depends on what you want.

Do you have to work such early mornings?
Because of the time difference, early mornings are necessary to make a substantial income. Our mornings (in the US) are the students' evenings (in China). There is the opportunity to teach in the evenings, but only on the weekend because they aren't in school.

Keep in mind that I am on Mountain Standard Time, so my mornings start earlier than someone on the east coast. However, it's ideal for me because my son is sleeping while I teach. It wouldn't  work for me to teach at 7 AM (if I were on the east coast) because I have to care for him while my husband is at work.

Can you take time off or vacations?
Yes! As I mentioned, you create your own schedule and hours. As long as you submit your schedule accounting for the days you'll need off, then it's not a problem. Remember, you must do this at least two weeks in advance.

* note: VIPKid says submit 4 weeks in advance, but I've always gotten away with 2 weeks because parents aren't typically booking that far in advance.

What about sick days or emergencies?
This is where I'm not to keen with VIPKid. They have a pretty strict cancellation policy. If you are sick, you have to provide documentation from a doctor. If there is an emergency, you have to provide documentation or a police report. If there is a power outage, you have to provide documentation from your electric provider. If you can't provide this documentation, that it is basically a "strike" against you. You can have six "strikes" per contract, which are 6 months long, before facing possible termination.

I have never really had an issue with this. I've never had more than 2 "strikes" per any of my contracts. I've definitely been sick while teaching my classes, but I push through. When I gave birth to my son, I had to provide hospital records, and they didn't count it against me.

Did you look into other companies?

Not really. I saw this opportunity on a job site and just went with it.

Why did you choose VIPK?
 Again, I really didn't look into other companies and VIPKid had good reviews!

Did you have to sign a contract?
Yes, you sign a contract every 6 months.

Was it a long hiring process?
I found the hiring process to be a little much and I definitely felt the pressure of trying to get hired - but that's with any potential employer. I was hired back in May of 2017, so things are slightly different now. Everything is done online, including the interview and mock classes. This is what I found on their website...

"Applicants pass through five stages before becoming VIPKid teachers:

1. Basic Info: Fill in an online application form, so we can screen for basic requirements and teaching experience.

2. 1-1 Interview or Recorded Interview: Join us for a 30-min session where you showcase your teaching skills to a VIPKid recruiter OR Record your demo lesson at your own time so that a VIPKid recruiter can evaluate you.

3. Introduction to Teaching: Watch videos to learn about the VIPKid technology, standards and curriculum.

4. Mock class: Practice teaching a full-length class with one of our VIPKid teachers.

5. Sign your contract, upload docs & complete background check: The information you provide will help us comply with our online safety and security standards and create a profile that allows VIPKid students and parents to know you and book you.

6. Full-fledged VIPKid teacher: Put your time slots on your portal so that VIPKid students can start booking you. Get ready to teach!"

Now, I do remember there were plenty of resources provided by VIPKid. I felt confident in teaching my first class because I utilized these resources. They really do want you to succeed.  

Tips for the hiring process?
  • Look the part. I wore an orange shirt, which is the company color. Not the most flattering clothing item, but the interviewers appreciated it.
  • Make sure your background is clean and looks academic. I found items in the Target dollar section to make my background look more like a classroom, which the interviewers loved.
  • Make sure you have good lighting. This is very important!
  • I purchased a headset ahead of time, which you'll need for your classes anyways. These are pretty inexpensive - I found mine for $19.99 on Amazon. They appreciated the effort on my part.
  • Be patient and enthusiastic. Even if it feels over the top, it isn't. It will feel weird treating an adult like a child during the mock classes, but that's what they want.
Would you recommend for non-teachers?
If you're patient and enjoy kids, then yes!

Can you do it from the UK?
Yes! You can really teach from anywhere.

Do you need a degree?
You do need a Bachelor's Degree, but it doesn't have to be a related field. I personally have a Bachelor's Degree in English and a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education. I'm sure that helped a little.

*note: I believe now they want you have to have at least a year experience with children in some capacity.

What happens if Jax wakes up?
My husband takes care of him in the mornings! However, when my husband was traveling for work, Jax was on such a set sleep schedule that I knew the hours I could work. We lucked out with his sleep!

Is it a substantial income?
In my opinion, it's a generous amount for the few hours I work each morning. You really can make as much as you want by simply adding more hours to your schedule.

Is it salary? Are there benefits?
No, you are an independent contractor.

Do you use Skype?
No, VIPKid has their own classroom on their website (or app) that integrates the lesson and video chat.

Is there prep work?
Compared to my time as a teacher, this is a breeze. There is barely any prep work. The lessons are already set out for you and you basically follow a power point presentation within the classroom. You can always review the slides beforehand.

You can add to the lessons with props and rewards, but you don't have to go overboard. I have the bare minimum and get along just fine with my students. A lot of my students are older though. The younger ones appreciate stuffed animals or other props.

Do you teach the same kid every day?
No, but I do have regulars that I see at least 2-3 times a week. The rest of the time, I have new students that filter in and out. Oh, and on that note! You only teach ONE student at a time.

Can you sign up for 6 months only?
Yes, the contracts are 6 months. You can choose to not re-sign.

So, that about sums it up!

If you've been thinking about doing this for awhile, go for it. In my opinion, it's worth it. I've learned so much about the Chinese culture and have formed such beautiful bonds with my students. It's really, really neat.

I do have a referral link if you wish to apply through that. I do get a kickback if you are hired, which I greatly appreciate. No pressure though!


If you have any more questions, please leave them down below! 

1 comment

  1. Thanks for the post Brianna! I teach with QKids, same ordeal. It’s cool to see the differences between the companies. I teach 1-4 kids at a time, and they’re quite flexible with cancellations and scheduling (I book the week before, and can cancel without penalty 24h in advance). I agree it can feel weird to be so over the top enthusiastic at times �� I’m sure all the kids love you!


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