When I first heard about VIPKid, I absolutely thought it was a scam. Several of my friends were teaching through them, though, and with great success. So when I remained jobless six months after my husband and I moved for his new job, we thought I should give it a try.
Why VIPKiD Did Not Work For Me–But It Might For You!
(Links in this post are affiliate links. I will be compensated when you make a purchase by clicking those links. See my disclosure page for more information) (I am not an affiliate of VIPKid )
Unfortunately, VIPKid did not work for me, but I’m going to share my three reasons it didn’t and help you decide if it will work for you. But first, let me explain VIPKid to you. VIPKid is an online tutoring program. The company is Chinese-based and they employ native English speakers to teach 30-minute lessons to 4-12 year old Chinese children.
The lessons are provided and include interactive slides during a live video chat. For Eastern Standard Time, classes are 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., which is “peak time” in Beijing for lessons. Because China does not do daylight savings time, this actually changes when we go into DST.
How Much VIPKid Pays
Pay is a little hard to figure out with VIPKid, Base pay per class ranges from $7-9 an hour with a bonus dollar per class if you show up on time and teach the lesson the full class time (so basically if you just do your job). You get another bonus dollar per class if you teach 40 or more classes a month (20 hours). This is what makes VIPKid appealing. You could presumably teach just the 20 hours a week and make anywhere from $560-880, depending on your base pay.
Base pay is determined by experience, which is also part of the hiring process. The bad news is that they require you to have a degree of some kind, plus teaching experience. The good news is that babysitting, VBS, Sunday School, and other extracurricular and church activities that include responsibility for children K-12 counts as experience, which means you’re more likely to get a good base pay with this flexibility on their end.
Set Your Own Hours With VIPKid
Once you’re hired and go through their ESL training (takes around 10 hours), you will be listed as an available tutor and will need to open time slots (you can set your own hours!). Parents may then sign their children up with you for a lesson during one of your available time slots (though they can also request an unavailable one and you can decide if you want to book it). VIPKid provides the lessons, but you are required to use your own props for the lesson.
A few examples of handy props to have for VIPKid
Even with this flexibility and ease, VIPKid didn’t work for me. Let me explain why and offer a few tips if you decide this would be a good fit for you!
Three Reasons Why VIPKID Wasn’t A Good Fit For Me
1. I Don’t Work Well From Home
I’m not good at motivating myself to work from home, largely because I am an extrovert to the extreme and too much time alone stresses me out and makes me feel anxious. I also prefer to work within the accountability of an office setting where I can set aside space as “workspace” as opposed to multi-purpose “home-and-work space”. Even a coffee shop is preferable to working at home for me.
2. I Didn’t Like The Inconsistency
I am not a morning person. Have you seen that meme about not being an early bird or a night owl but a permanently exhausted pigeon? I’m not quite the pigeon, but I think I’m a 10:00 a.m. sparrow or something. I currently am up by 4:00 a.m. every day for work since I now work at Starbucks, but the lack of routine with VIPKiD was hard and since I was only getting up once or twice a week and needed to be in good headspace–who can teach when their brain is still half asleep?–VIPKid mornings were NOT for me.
I would wake up paranoid that I’d have a last-minute booking (I had those slots open in the hopes of achieving steadier bookings, but it never worked), teach a single class, then be half asleep the rest of the day because without consistent motivation to get up, I really struggle to wake up before 7:00 a.m. This is a job well-suited to someone with children who needs to be up anyway or someone supplementing income with another job–or a morning person!
3. I Wasn’t Good At It
This is the biggest reason I stopped teaching VIPKid. I was not good at it. I am not good at teaching the precise material they provide, I prefer when teaching to tailor the information to each student and while their material is solid, it doesn’t really work that way.
I also was not good at TPR–Total Physical Response, which is a major skill required for VIPKid. Body language and communication is extremely important because these students are learning English–they won’t always understand phrases like “Good job, Max!” or, “Circle the ball!” You have to work hard on acting out what you want a student to do so they can mimic you or they will understand by your smile and excitement that they did well (or your exaggerated thinking face that maybe they’ve answered incorrectly).
How To Land A Job AT VIPKid And Rock It
If you read this and think, “Hey, I think I’d be good at this, maybe I will give it a shot!”, here are my tips to land the job and rock it:
1. Watch Youtube Videos
So many teachers have example videos of the demo lessons you teach to get the job. They offer TPR advice and teach the lessons you’d be offered to teach for your demo. They also have significant experience teaching for VIPKiD and while it may seem like they are overacting, they are truly helpful because that energy needs to come across in your interview and with the children.
2. Don’t Go Overboard on Supplies
Don’t buy everything you need for VIPKid right away. All you need for a demo lesson and your first few classes is good lighting, a puppet, a background poster, a small whiteboard, and maybe a few simple props. I borrowed puppets, bought a colorful world map for $1, a few dollar store props, and that was it. I did wear an orange shirt (VIPKid’s color) and they were pleased since they require you to wear orange while teaching.
3. Be Flexible
This is not a job where you can have exact hours every week and teach the same child every day/week. You might have a student Wednesday and someone else has them Friday, then you have the student again Monday. Sometimes the lessons will go quickly and you’ll need filler activities to finish class time. Other students may need extra time on a lesson so you’ll need to figure out what activities you can cut short, but still teach the lesson effectively. You won’t get steady bookings right off the bat (it will take a few months to build up to regular weekly bookings) but if you can hang in there, the money is good.
I hope this helps you decide if VIPKid is a good side hustle for you or even a primary job.
I’ll check back and answer any questions in the comments so feel free to ask if you need anything!
More Ways To Make Money At Home
Create And Sell Handmade items
Rent Out Items You Own
Make Money Using Your Smartphone
Create And Maintain A Blog
Work For Survey Sites And Reward Programs
If you need to learn new skills so that you can obtain the at home job you desire, try taking courses through Skillshare –use my referral code and get a free two-month trial.
If you are interested in more ways to earn or save money, join the Thrifty People Of Snail Pace Transformations Facebook group.
This guest post was written by Leah Simpkins. She is has a bachelor’s degree in English and communications. Leah is a barista and freelance writer and editor. She is an avid reader and enjoys spending time with her cat and her husband.
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