If you’ve ever dreamed of traveling to far off countries to teach English, there’s now a way to teach kids English online using a service called Vipkid. Becoming a Vipkid teacher isn’t very hard, and you can make up to $22 per hour, and work any number of hours you want per week. Teaching English online is a flexible job and perfect for a person who wants to work from home or leads a nomadic lifestyle.
You do need to have a bachelor’s degree to apply for a job as a Vipkid teacher, and have some tutoring experience and the ability to work in the United States and Canada.
To date, Vipkid employs 30,000 teachers who provide 1-1 tutoring to kids in China. Pretty cool, right?
I wanted to see what it’s like being a Vipkid teacher, so I talked to Angela Sheridan, who’s been teaching English online for two years now.
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What was the sign-up process like to become a Vipkid teacher?
Angela: “The sign-up process for becoming a Vipkid teacher was a little bit slow going. I was in between jobs and it took a week for me to finish training and two weeks before I was able to book even one student course. The company has grown now to over 30,000 teachers so word-of-mouth and experience levels will get your first bookings.
After you finish your training as a Vipkid teacher, the only thing for you to do is wait.
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When I begin working with the company it was just in its first year of service. Vipkid has worked very hard in the last year to gain momentum for its beginning teachers. New teachers may find new students much more quickly than was my experience.
Because the beginning was slow-rolling, I took the opportunity to find a second job in my community. As an independent contractor with Vipkid, it’s up to you how many hours you can teach.
I have chosen to work part-time hours with Vipkid. There are many teachers who make this position a full-time job.”
How do you prepare for lessons to teach English online?
Angela: “As many teachers know, our job is never finished. I spend between one and two unpaid hours each day lesson planning, problem-solving and reviewing individual student lessons.
The best part about being a Vipkid teacher is the flexibility in the scheduling. I’m allowed to make my own schedule.
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I live in the central time zone so I wake up before the sun and teach until 9 am. This leaves the rest of my day to travel and visit family and friends. This week I am near Tampa Bay Florida visiting a friend.
The flexibility in my employment as a Vipkid teacher has allowed me to teach class on the internet in the morning and visit the beach in the afternoon.
What’s it like teaching English online to kids in China?
Angela: Besides the flexibility, the second best part about Vipkid is the students! For two years I have developed some very strong bonds with students who are living across the globe. Just this morning one of my students asked me when I was going to visit my mom and dad in the North.
I have met my students’ friends, brothers, sisters, and grandmothers all through the computer portal in their living room.
I have celebrated Chinese New Year, mid-autumn festival and Children’s Day just as I was part of their family.
I’ve considered myself an educator for 13 years and Vipkid has allowed me to feel a stronger connection than any other organization. Every morning for 30 minutes I can watch these students develop and grow both linguistically and socially. Being a Vipkid teacher is truly an honor.
What’s the pay like as a Vipkid teacher?
Angela: The pay is highly formulated and individual. Pay for a Vipkid teachers starts at $8 for a 25-minute lesson, but there are many bonuses.
At the end of each contract, there is a formula to calculate if you are offered a pay raise. The company claims a max $22 per hour pay rate.
What are your biggest challenges working for Vipkid?
Angela: Along with the flexibility of scheduling, another advantage of Vipkid jobs is the flexibility of location. I can work remotely from anywhere with an internet connection, but it’s a double-edged sword because I have to have reliable internet.
Technology can often be complicated and unreliable.
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Another challenge is adapting a strict curriculum. Vipkid uses the common core standards and designs a PowerPoint that is as rigid as an oak tree.
I may be teaching this lesson to a 12-year-old who knows the alphabet or to a five-year-old who does not know the English alphabet at all. So, I must be creative and adaptive to change the lesson and engage the individual student.
I have taught this curriculum to 568 new students. Despite the hard parts of working as a Vipkid teacher, I love this job because it challenges my engagement standards as a teacher.
How will I effectively and adaptively individualize education with every individual student in under 26 minutes?
Why become a Vipkid teacher?
A lot of people have found a great work opportunity through Vipkid, once they get past the original hurdle of signing up. According to Vipkid, here are some of the benefits to this type of remote work:
- A part-time opportunity that allows you to work from home
- Flexible hours (work as much or as little as you want)
- Competitive pay (up to $22 per hour)
- Extremely convenient (no lesson planning, grading, etc.)
- Dynamic teacher community (online and offline)
- Join a movement impacting the lives of hundreds of thousands of Chinese children
Vipkid says: “We’re proud to have been named Forbes’ #1 Work From Home company and Fast Company’s #29 Most Innovative Company in 2018!”
I’ve personally heard a lot of good things about working with Vipkid, and I think it’s a great opportunity to make money from anywhere. Perfect for the traveling spirit!