VIPKID Pros & Cons
My Review of the Good & Not-So-Good Aspects of the Job
No job is perfect, but for me personally, VIPKID comes pretty close to it! Below you will find the aspects of the job I find pretty amazing along with the things that I really could do without:
- The kids: This is the number one reason I absolutely love this job- the kids are AMAZING! In Chinese culture, the teacher is respected by both parents and students. This means that most of the students you teach are well-behaved and follow directions! In China, the school system is traditional- the desks are in rows and the direct instruction method is used to deliver class content. The teacher is considered to be the “expert” in the class, guiding students through the entire learning process. This is what Chinese children are accustomed to and when they enter your online classroom they know it’s time to learn and focus!
- The flexibility: Have to pick your kids up from school? Go to a doctor’s appointment? Taking a week long family vacation? NO PROBLEM! You set your schedule and make your own hours! I believe this is one of the most valuable and unique aspects of the job. It allows you to structure your “business” and work day the way you see fit. I have decided to make VIPKID my full-time job, working 30 or more hours a week, but many people take this position as a “side hustle”. This is the beauty of VIPKID- you can customize the job to meet your own personal needs!
- Student Cancellations? So there will be times when you enter the classroom and the student doesn’t show up. No reason to get bummed out, you are still paid for the class! How amazing is that? So take that ½ hour to browse the internet, read a few professional development articles, or do some extra prep for your lesson (you are required to wait for the student for the full 25 minutes, for trial classes, it’s 15 minutes). I don’t know of many other jobs that pay you for NOT working!
- Lessons Plans- DONE!: VIPKID has an amazing and well-structured curriculum which is based on the Common Core State Standards. Each lesson is delivered in PowerPoint form and many have interactive features in which the student can drag/drop, circle, and draw on the screen. The goals for the lesson are clearly outlined for you, so it takes out the guesswork of why you are teaching the lesson! Not to mention, you are not spending crazy amounts of hours’ curriculum and lesson planning. You get to focus on the most important part- teaching those sweet students! Now if you are a highly creative teacher, there’s no need to worry! You can put your individual flair on the lesson! Use your own props or create a fun reward system that meets the individual needs of your student. There’s room for all teaching styles when you work for VIPKID, but know the lesson plans are DONE for you!
- Work From Home!! Do I really need to even the list this?! It is AMAZING to get up in the morning, make my coffee, and teach in my PJ’s!! I work early morning hours and then have the whole day to take care of errands, be with my family, etc. Some teachers prefer to teach in the evening after their children are in bed. It is truly amazing- no spending money on work clothes, gas, or fighting the 7 a.m. traffic rush. Worried that you will get lonely working remotely? No worries! The VIPKID community is 20,000 teachers strong and very supportive! The Hutong is VIPKID’s online forum where you can take professional development classes, connect with other teachers, and ask questions. You can even attend one of the national workshops that they hold in the states each year!
- No Benefits- You need to have a game plan on how you will acquire health benefits. Through a spouse, your full-time job, or “the marketplace” (healthcare.gov) are usually the most common options. You are considered to be an independent contractor and with that comes finding health benefits on your own
- Early Morning Hours & Late Nights– Although the job offers flexibility with booking your schedule, YOU NEED to be flexible in regard to the time of day you will work. Remember when it’s daytime here in the states, its nighttime in China. This means you will be working early morning hours and late nights. It is all based on your time zone, but know you probably won’t be teaching at one p.m or two p.m. in the afternoon- the kids are sleeping in China 🙂 It really does take a life adjustment to work this job “full-time”, like I to do. In order to get 40 hours, you need to wake up pretty early in the morning or work through the night! That means going to bed much earlier, taking some naps during the day, etc. If you prefer part-time, you can work the 5 a.m.- 9 a.m. time block and your schedule is obviously a lot more flexible.
- Technology Issues- There will be days your internet is down or you have a computer mishap and you miss your class. Although “Teacher IT Problems” are not counted as cancellations, they do go on your record and you don’t get paid for the class. It can be frustrating at times relying on technology in order to do your job each and every day!
- Income Fluctuations- You need to be okay with an income that may vary based on the time of year, and most importantly, your skills and expertise! No two VIPKID teachers are alike and neither are their professional goals. You may hear of teachers who are “fully booked” a few weeks after starting, but did you know they only want to teach 10 hours a week? That’s A LOT different than a teacher whose goal is to be booked for 40 hours a week (80 classes). You may have heard some chatter about Chinese New Year, which takes place in February. This holiday negatively impacts your ability to get bookings. This is due to the fact that families are traveling and school is not in session. You need to be able to plan for these times of year financially. Also, the better your skills are as an ESL teacher, the higher your bookings will be! You will quickly get repeat students when you show off your educational talents! So work on being the very best teacher you can be during every single session you teach! However, I still think it’s so important to be aware that how much you make is NOT guaranteed each month. You need to put in the hard work and effort to build your business into something amazing and self-sustaining!
- Teacher Cancellations- This is the part of the job that people usually dislike the most. You are given 6 cancellations per 6-month contract. If you go over this number, you could be at risk for termination. However, VIPKID has become more lenient if you cancel due to a “life event”- a death in the family, birth, or major sickness/emergency. If you submit proof of your “life event”, this situation will be considered a “soft cancellation” and therefore will not count as one of your 6 cancellations. On the other hand, if you “no show” to a class (hit snooze, got your schedule mixed up, stuck in a traffic jam, etc.), meaning you do not show up to a regularly schedule class (and do not notify VIPKID prior), 10.00 dollars is deducted from your monthly paycheck- not fun. If you cancel days in advance, your payment will not be affected, but it will count toward your overall cancellation number. The cancellation policy is very strict, however, parents and students are depending on you to be reliable and ready to teach during your scheduled time with them.
Still have questions? Comments? Feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will give you all the nitty gritty details on working for VIPKID 🙂