You do what? I can’t tell you how often this question has come my way when I explain my job as an online VIPKID teacher. The eyes often grow even bigger when the questioner hears the time I wake up to teach my students. (There have been seasons of my life where I wake up at 3:30 to teach.) Getting up before the world does to teach kids on the other side of the globe-it sounds crazy. A flexible schedule (including setting your own maternity leave time) + minimal prep or outside work + low start-up cost + upwards of $20-25/hour. Really?
The Best SAHM Job for Moms With A Bachelor’s Degree
The world of online teaching is changing the world and the accessibility of education for many many children and adults. It’s also one of the most profitable and flexible jobs you could have as a stay at home mom. As someone who has been teaching online for 2 and a half years, before kids, while pregnant, post pregnancy, and now with a busy one-year old- I can’t help but get excited to share more about this job with you. The flexibility and profitability of online teaching has allowed me to stay at home with my son while also provide for our family.
What is VIPKID?
- VIPKID is one of the many online English teaching companies based in China.
- The teachers are native-speaking English speakers with at least a bachelor’s degree.
- VIPKID is a legitimate company with flexible payment options (weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly).
- There are no minimum hours, thus, you set your own maternity leave, and you come back whenever you are ready, be it one hour or six hours!
- Here is a brief big-picture overview of the basics of VIPKID (cue the cheesy music…but really, the kids ARE this adorable):
How to get started with teaching online
What are the basic requirements?
- be a native English speaker
- be eligible to work in the US or Canada
- have at least your bachelor’s degree in any specialty
- have at least one year of teaching experience (i.e.-homeschooling, tutoring, mentoring, teaching Sunday school, volunteering in a classroom, other similar experiences,)
- ESL teaching training (if you don’t already have this, it is offered as a free short course from VIPKID when you are in the hiring process)
- If you have questions about whether you are eligible to teach and/or apply, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
How do you start the actual process of being hired?
- Begin the application process online. Use my referral link (DANIE0096) for private coaching and help throughout the process from yours truly. There are plenty of popular Youtube VIPKID teachers you can go through too, but, I can give much more personalized and honest feedback while also coaching you during the process. 1: 1 coaching is often a great way to learn, in my opinion! Plus, I know firsthand how valuable your time is as a mama-therefore, being concise and mindful of your time is very important!
- Hiring process takes 2-3 weeks for most candidates, pending the background check going through.
Tips for Success in Teaching Online
- Own your personality and be confident. It’s easy to compare yourself to other online teachers in videos, facebook groups, or workshops. Don’t. As someone who did this starting out too, I can honestly say, the sooner you own your own teaching style, the more confident you will be. Parents and students sense this and it makes a difference in their decision to book you again.
- Open up your availability in the beginning as much as possible to reach as many students as possible. It’s probably not your long-term plan to teach every Friday and Saturday night, but in the beginning, opening up your teaching slots as much as possible ensures your more available for different students’ schedules. They’ll never be able to try you out if you are never available or not available when they want you to be.
- Read your gauges. This is a life skill I learned from my dad, but it applies to the reality of being an independent contractor and online teacher too! It can be really easy in the beginning to overbook yourself with students as you see the monthly paystub grow larger each day you teach. Be careful. In my opinion, one of the biggest drawbacks of teaching with VIPKID is the likelihood of burnout if you are not mindful and aware of your own limits and goals.
- Keep it simple. You don’t need much to have a fun and engaging class with your student. In the beginning, be careful to not go overboard with buying props, backgrounds, etc. for your classroom (which is exactly what I did). Get a few basic props, utilize your smartphone (if you have one) to show pictures to enrich your lesson. I hope to write more about having a minimal VIPKID classroom soon! (The decluttering process of my online classroom space happened after I decluttered my son’s room.)
- Have fun. If you aren’t enjoying this, it’s not going to last. What’s going to motivate you to get out of bed at some absurd hour if you don’t enjoy what you are doing? Pay attention to the students you enjoy working with. Are they older or younger? What level? Work on engaging especially with that age group of kids (if you have a favorite) and earning your teaching certificates for those levels to increase your students of that level.
Common Questions/FAQ About VIPKID Teaching Life
How much do VIPKID teachers make?
- The base rate is $7-9 per 25 minute class with added incentives on that, making the take away payment of over $20 per hour (before taxes, since you are an independent contractor)
What does the payment breakdown look like?
Payment Details that Apply to EVERY Teacher:
- Your base pay per class is $7-9 (this is determined during your application process and depends on your experience and performance)
- You earn an addition $1 per class when you show up on time (yes, really). This is called the “participation incentive.” (see picture below)
Payment Details that are Based on How Much You Work and What Types of Classes You Teach:
- If you teach more than 30 classes but less than 45 class in the month- you earn an additional $0.50 per class and if you teach more than 45 classes you earn an additional $1.00 per class. This is called the “finished classes incentive.”
- If you chose to get certified to teach trials, (classes for potential VIPKID students who want to “try it out”), there is another incentive you are eligible for. If the trial students sign up with VIPKID after a class with you- you get an additional $5 per student sign up. I teach a LOT of trials, and not a ton of students sign up (they get up to three free classes, so if you don’t land on the third one, the odds are not in your favor). However, I usually do earn an extra $10-30 a month just from teaching these trials. Not bad! This is called the “new VIPKID sign up incentive.”
- If you teach “Short Notice” classes (when you do not open up the teaching slot until less than 24 hours before), you get an additional $2 per class.
- PRO TIP: I would NOT recommend doing this right away, as it takes a while to get booked usually and for parents to get to know you. However, once you get more established, it is a KICK BUTT OPTION for you to EARN EXTRA and have an ULTRA FLEXIBLE SCHEDULE. I now ONLY do SN (Short Notice) bookings because I’ve been teaching long enough that I get booked easily.
“That was a LOT of info, Danielle! Can you summarize it for me?” I’m so glad you asked. Please see a copy of my August 2019 pay stub for a visual and breakdown:
So really, they say you make $7-9 per class, which is $14-18 an hour, but if you show up and do your job, and teach more than 23 hours during the month, you can easily make more than that.
How do VIPKID teachers get paid?
- VIPKID will do a direct deposit into your bank account (yes this company is legitimate, I can say with full honesty, I have never had any issues with getting paid)
- You have the option to get paid 1x, 2x, or 4x a month.
How many hours do you work for VIPKID?
- Since you are an independent contractor, you set your own hours
- The peak hours to teach are 6:00PM-9:30PM Beijing time which is 5:00AM- 9:00AM Central Time in the US during the week (M-Th). One the weekend, peak times are 7:30PM Friday night – 9:00AM (US Central Time)Saturday morning (which is Saturday during the day in China) and 7:30PM Saturday night – 9:00AM Sunday morning (which is Sunday during the day in China.
- You can work outside of these hours to an extent, but the likelihood of getting booked is lower (but is still possible with over 500,000 Chinese students and parents looking to book a class!) Many teachers do find students on random weeknights if they want to teach evenings.
Does VIPKID check your degree?
- Yes, they require a four-year degree from a post-secondary institution and will require you to verify your degree with a picture.
- There are recent regulations by the Chinese government that also require that online ESL teachers meet this requirement, so it isn’t just for the company but for every company based in China.
What’s the actual start-up cost of teaching with VIPKID?
This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using this link.
What are the basic teaching equipment requirements?
- A teaching corner/nook/space to be as you teach (think quiet, bright lights, free from distractions-I currently teach in a corner of our laundry room)
- Reliable internet connection
- Device to teach on (iPad or Tablets work too-but not chromebooks)
- Headphones (this may not be needed, but it depends on the device you use. If the sound is poor you will need headphones with a microphone to help your sound quality.) These are the headphones I bought when I started and they have been AWESOME.
- That’s it. I’m not kidding.
What are other helpful tools to have when teaching?
- Props to help with teaching (I bought many of mine at the Dollar Tree)
- Hardwired cable connected to your internet router (to help improve your connection quality instead of relying on wifi)
- Notebook/pad to take notes on (if you wish)
- A Bright light to help improve what you look like (No one looks great at 4:00am, so sometimes that soft white light is a game changer).
- PRO TIP: I use really bright bulbs in this lamp and adjust the arms as needed to make me look as pleasant as possible in the early morning hours 😉
As you can see, much of what is actually required you might already have, making the start-up cost low. A low start-up cost is a low-risk option for you as you try and see if it this online teaching thing would be a good fit.
The Last Thing You Need to Know about Teaching Online as a Mom
Wow. That was a lot of info. But, if you are a mom who needs or wants to find another way to generate some income and you have your bachelor’s degree- this is for you. Please give it a try. I know there can be a million excuses to not. And it’s not for everyone.The process can seem daunting and overwhelming… but you have ME to cheer you on and coach you as you try it out. I’ve been there and I know exactly how you feel.
What do you have to lose?
This post was written because this job has really changed my family’s story. I’ve been able to stay at home with my son because of it and we are pursuing financial freedom as I teach before my husband even goes to work. It’s changed our lives and it could change yours too.
What do you think?
Alright friends. What do you think? What questions do you have? What do you think about this idea of teaching from home in your PJs when your kiddos are asleep? Please share your thoughts and comment below! Please and thank you 🙂