After Bash was born, I began to search in earnest for a way to move my work from outside the home, to inside the home. Sound like something you’d like to know about? I did it by transitioning from teaching in a brick-and-mortar school to teaching online. And I teach online through the company VIPKID.
There are basically 2 big requirements to teaching for VIPKID: have a Bachelor’s Degree and teaching experience.
And before you balk at having teaching experience, this doesn’t mean classroom experience necessarily. Did you ever teach Sunday School? Homeschool? Train other employees? Tutor? There are SO MANY things that can be parlayed into the teaching experience requirement.
I’ve been working for VIPKID for 9 months, and it has just been a fantastic experience.
Disclosure statement: This post uses affiliate links and referral links. They pay me if you buy something I’ve linked here, or if you sign up to teach VIPKID using my referral code link.
My Experience with VIPKID
The first time I encountered VIPKID was when a friend of mine from church sent me a Facebook Message. She had just started teaching online with this company called VIPKID and thought that Kyle and I might find it to be a good fit for us, too.
Now, to be honest, it felt a little like your MLM friends mysteriously messaging you after having no direct contact for years. Oh hi! This is nice; reconnecting is fun. Oh, yes, I see. You’re wanting to sell me something. Okay then.
What made me stop and consider it was that, unlike those sales messages that feel kinna icky, Blanche and I see each other all the time. And, there was no product for me to buy. As far as I could tell, I didn’t have to invest ANY money in this gig.
Kyle and I were preparing to have a baby soon, so any extra money coming in would be awesome. However, at the time, I was teaching middle school full-time at a local private school. There was no way I’d have the time, energy, and mental power to add something else to my life.
But Kyle was working from home. He wasn’t a teacher, but he had had corporate jobs where he trained other employees. And he had his Bachelor’s Degree (in Business Administration). So he followed through with Blanche and set up an initial interview with the company.
It didn’t work out.
I know, right? That’s not normally how these, “This side hustle is the best, you should do it, too!” posts go. But his computer was on the old side, and he had some glitches while trying to do a little demo for them. He rebooted the computer and the router, and the lag didn’t go away. They told him he could just work it out and then contact them later to reschedule. No big deal. Ehhhh, he decided that he didn’t really want to put in that time and energy to work it out. So it went away.
Fast forward about a year and a half.
We had a 6 month old baby; I was teaching Middle School part-time, and Kyle was still working the same job at home. But I was looking for other income options. That fall was a really hard semester. Trying to be present for my students (when I was only there half the day) AND for my baby AND for my husband felt impossible; then add to that a little boy who had stopped sleeping through the night AND WAS TRYING TO MENTALLY BREAK MOMMY. My husband and I were miserable. Something HAD to give.
We couldn’t afford child-care. All of our family lives 8-12 hours away, and the cheapest I could find in the area wasn’t cheap enough. It made better financial sense for me to just stay home completely. Things were already tight though; me just not having an income wasn’t an option either.
Enter VIPKID. Again.
Scrolling through Facebook during one of my ubiquitous nursing sessions, I came across an ad for VIPKID. This ad listed some specific numbers for an hourly wage. I did the math, and if they were being accurate in this ad, I could teach the same amount that I was physically at my brick-and-mortar job and make the same amount. Even if I made the lowest number per hour that they listed. While staying home. And not having to pay for childcare. The hours were when Kyle wasn’t working and, ideally, Bash was asleep.
Plus, let’s be real, being a brick-and-mortar teacher requires HOURS and hours of extra work to accomplish something with the time you actually have with students. I was being paid for a part-time position, but I was working full-time. And VIPKID seemed to not have any of that extra work. So I texted my friend Blanche again.
My first question: “Are the numbers they’re showing in their ads real?” I had several more questions to follow up with that, but that was the big one to answer. It felt a little off, like there had to be a catch. Nothing was that easy, right? Surely I had to sell something. Or you could only make that top amount if you did x, y, and z; and very few people can actually do x, y, and z.
To sum up our conversation and the next couple of months: Yes. The money in that ad was pretty spot-on accurate. And there were no hidden catches to making that amount. No x, y, or z. Blanche even told me exactly what she makes and how much she works to show me what it could look like, realistically.
So, I did it.
I used Blanche’s referral code because she told me that they receive bonuses for any teachers they recruit. Heck, if I was going to move forward with it, then she might as well get some money for her help, too. I took my Christmas break that year, applied, sent in my demo, and scheduled a mock interview for mid-January.
Y’all. I was SO nervous. What if this didn’t work out? I really, really, wanted it to work out. Really.
And it did.
It was a little hectic at first. For someone who prefers to be over prepared at all times, it was a little time intensive at first to learn the ropes. This is where it becomes very important to have a mentor, like Blanche, to help you out. She didn’t abandon me once she had her recruitment money and I had started teaching. Even after I had taught for a little while, I’d still occasionally text her about something that had happened.
When I panicked because, after 2 weeks of waiting (I started during the Chinese New Year y’all. Bad idea.), I had finally been booked overnight with my first classes. Only I had slept through them because I had forgotten to turn off my 24 hour notice setting on my open classes the night before. I had gone to sleep with no classes, not planning to wake up and teach, and woken up with 2 classes marked as TEACHER NO SHOW. Ugh. Totally my fault. What do I do?!
Blanche was there to tell me it happens (this is why you get 6 Teacher Cancellations/No shows per contract); I should send a ticket apologizing and to ask them to apologize to the students/parents. She even sent me a template she used to message them about her own Teacher No Shows, so I’d know just what to say in my message.
This brings me to some important things to know before trying VIPKID.
Find a Mentor to walk you through the process and hold your hand along the way.
Even if you think you’ve got this. No problem. You aren’t one to stress or over-prepare. You are a strong, independent woman/man who don’t need no one. Hear you roar!
You need a mentor. Just, trust me. When your mock lesson is in 5 minutes, you’re staring at the empty online classroom you’ve had pulled up on your computer for 30 minutes (don’t want to be late!), and you are so jittery because you want this to work so badly, you need someone to text who KNOWS the situation. When you’ve just taught your first lesson and you are on top of the world because YOU DID IT, you need someone to text.
I can help with this! Email me or fill out the contact form here on the blog. I’ll be that person for you. We can DM on Facebook or Instagram. Email back and forth. Whatever works for you. I am EXCELLENT at holding hands. Even after you’ve been hired and have been teaching, maybe even for months, I would love to help with any questions that come up!
You can absolutely do this with ZERO dollars invested.
There is nothing anywhere that says you need to buy anything in order to teach VIPKID. Now, you do need some things: a computer with speakers and a camera, decent internet (it doesn’t have to be crazy fast, just functionally fast), 1 or 2 props for your lesson. Probably some lamps for good lighting. But that’s it. Don’t make it too complicated.
I did invest a little when I was interviewing and getting started. I was pretty confident I would be hired (I had 5 years of classroom teaching experience, a Bachelor’s in English, a Master’s in Teaching, and a teaching certificate). It figured that, as long as I didn’t go nuts, I could make what I spent back pretty quickly.
So I spent about 20$ on this headset because I didn’t own a headset/microphone and I had heard/been told/read that it was really helpful to have one. And I spent 5$ on an orange shirt (because my mentor had told me that, even though you don’t HAVE to wear VIPKID orange anymore, it looks good if you do).
That’s it. You don’t need fancy equipment. Just be smart and resourceful.
Being a VIPKID teacher is a SUPER flexible job.
Do you just want to make some side cash to save up for a trip? Need some extra income right now to offset some unexpected bills? Need a flexible job situation because of travel? Have children and want to be able to stay home with them?
This job is perfect for those situations. And so many more! Because, the children you teach are 13 hours ahead of us here in the states. That means the hours you can teach are from 7:30pm-9am. There are peak times that are the best times to teach in that window (and the company often offers monetary incentives to those who can open a lot of those peak times!), and those tend to book up the most.
But if you’re going through a busy season, or traveling, or have family coming to visit you, or whatever, and you DON’T want to teach for awhile? Then don’t. No biggie. Can you only teach one hour a week because your schedule changed and you have to be with the kids? That’s fine. Only open those 2 class slots. There is no minimum or maximum amount of classes you have to teach. Certainly there are incentives (often monetary) to encourage you to teach more, but you don’t have to.
When I first started teaching, I taught 3 classes in a row about 3-4 times a week. Then, when Kyle got a new job, my availability changed. Now, I teach one class each weekday (5 classes a week). If I’m gone, I don’t open up classes to be booked then. But maybe you want to teach while traveling? Then DO IT! There’s a whole support group and system out there for digital nomads teaching VIPKID. Rock it. You do you.
The point is, this job has so much flexibility, there aren’t many situations that this job wouldn’t work with. And it’s easy, fun money!
Okay, this is all well and good, but I’m sure you have some questions. So, now what?
Also, for more basic information, the company website can help you out. If you use my referral code (REBEC0308), then I can see your info and where you are in the hiring process in my VIPKID Teacher Portal! It makes it so much easier to mentor you and help you out. Plus, full disclosure, I get a bonus for having recruited you, awesome VIPKID teacher that you will be.
I hope this has helped you guys out some. Lord knows, it’s been a game-changer for my family.
What situation are you hoping teaching for VIPKID might change? Are you looking for a side hustle? Leave a comment below!
Written by Becca