VIPKid connects teachers and students around the world. Using your communication skills, teaching skills and positive attitude to help children in China is a wonderful feeling. What better way of using these qualities, right?! For those who are thinking about becoming a teacher or already are and need some help, this article is for YOU!
If you already know this is what you want, here is my referral code and link:
Once you are officialy hired and on contract with VIPKid, the first thing you want to do is Open Slots and download the VIPKid App on your phone/desktop. Move your mouse over “Class” and click, “Bookings”.
It will bring you to a calendar with slots. Lets discuss the first few buttons you see on the top right on the calendar. Starting from the left is your arrows, which will guide you through your weekly calendar. Next is, “Change Availability“. You can guess what this is, you change your availability. Then you have, “Copy Last Week’s Slots” and this is a very handy tool for those who have a set schedule every week! You can go to the next week, click this button and it will automatically copy your previous weeks schedule. Next one has two horizontal lines. This is your sync calendar button. I HIGHLY recommend syncing your calendar to your phones calendar so you don’t accidentally miss a class or not see a new booking. Be sure to check your email for specific instructions on how to connect your calendar.
Lets take a look at all these colors and what they mean! I have blacked out my students names for confidentiality reasons.
Grey – Indicates you have already taught this class and it is in the past.
Blue – This slot is open for business.
Green – The slot has been booked!
White – You have not opened it yet.
You my notice there is a “Hot” and a “(flame) Hot”. If there is a flame, that means it is REALLY popular. If there is NO flame, it is just popular but not as popular.
Short Notice is incredibly resourceful! If you know you are not going to be busy and you have slots that are not full, go to your calendar and change it from, “Available” to “Short Notice”. Your wallet will thank you. I have all my slots as short notice because if my slots are opened that means I will be available and I want to be booked as much as possible. At the moment, I have no clue what the C stands for besides, “Course”. I’ll keep you updated if I figure that out!
Email might be old fashioned but it is vital for this job! You should check your email daily if not more. You will receive tons of information consisting of ways to earn more money, when you get bookings and when your referrals use your code!
Now the next SUPER important step in beginning this new journey is the “New Teacher” tab! Click this tab and read everything within the page. Tokens may not sound important now but they are. You can get more money with tokens, print-outs, fun prizes and even give them to your students as prizes. This page will give you a majority of your first tokens and guide you into becoming a great teacher. VIPKid gives many opportunities to make more money as well. This includes referring someone to become a teacher too. You receive a very generous incentive for getting your teacher friends involved. After they teach there first class you get your incentive! You should definitely start referring as soon as possible.
The “Community Tab” might look overwhelming at first but it is really not too bad. Under this tab you should click on, “Social Directory“. Find a group that fits your description of choice. I chose the South Florida Facebook group so not only can I continue to learn, be guided in the correct direction but also have people in the same area to meet up with if needed. “Events” is another popular tab and can get you some tokens! For every event you attend, you get 1 token. These aren’t chores though, they are game-nights, self-care tutorials, dragon boat festival sessions and so much more. “Blog” is a great place to go when searching for information to help you become a better teacher. “Hutong” is a community discussion platform where you can find vital information and provide tips and tricks for others that you learn along the way.
Now that your classes are opened up and you know how to navigate the website, it is time to prepare for your classes. Take a look where you want your classes to take place. Once you find a spot, DECORATE IT! Bright colors, numbers, letters and animals are great ways to decorate. Having your name as a visual behind you, would be great for your students. You can find so many items at a Dollar Tree or even in the discount aisles in Target, Walmart or Amazon! Some items I highly recommend are a boy doll, girl doll and a small or medium sized white board/chalkboard. Other items I suggest getting if financially able is stuffed animals, plastic fruits, veggies, plastic animals, and study card (colors, words, animals). As you teach, you will find what items you need or your students like. So don’t buy it all at once. You can also printout pictures that VIPKid provides for free and turn them into puppets (you need a wooden stick, and glue the piece of paper to the stick… boom! puppet).
During class I have a few tips to keep your student engaged. Tip #1, if you are happy they are happy! Keeping a smile on your face and your voice energetic will be sure to make your student engage in the lesson. Tip #2, don’t under or over repeat words/phrases. Practice makes perfect but if they say a word wrong and you keep making them say it 20 times, they will become irritated. I would not repeat a word more than 5 times in a row. Take note of the word and use that word consistently through the lesson. Using the word/phrase in new ways will keep the student interested and give them plenty of practice time. This is also the same for not saying the word enough. The slides that you are provided with do a great job of using the words multiple times but only repeating the word once per slide is not enough. This is a new language to these student, they need to memorize and understand what is being said. A minimum of 3 times is recommended and no more than 5 in a row. These numbers are just suggestions of course. Just feel out your student. You will know their low and high points! Tip #3, Props! Use at least 3-5 props per lesson for younger students. Younger students like to laugh and enjoy themselves while learning. My favorite is my fruit props that unattach in the middle. I pretend to eat the fruit and make half of it disappear. They LOVE it! Keep them entertained and they will retain the information better. I have not taught older than 13 nor an upper level class yet. So I don’t know too much about props with older students. I’ll keep you updated.
There is a lot of new buttons when you enter a classroom. You get a tour of what these buttons are but if you are anything like me, you skip them thinking it’s self explanatory. Yes and no! Lets start with the blue box going from left to right. The far left button will make your camera the main focus for the student or vice versa. You would use this when you want the student to pay more attention to what you are showing instead of the slides. This is useful when a student is not pronouncing a word correctly. Writing the word on a whiteboard and giving examples of the word will give the student a more entertaining way of getting corrected. The second button is your microphone. If a line is going across the image then your mic is off. The third button is your camera. Same as your mic, your camera is off if there’s a line. The fourth button is your settings. Now the two to the right come in handy during your lesson! The hand is a high-five signal for the student. When they do a great job, you can click this button and say, “High-Five for a good job”! The face button is different online props for you to use on your computer screen. For example, there are ears, a microphone and much more. Now the red box! “Add Feedback” needs to be completed within 12 hours after the class. I suggest filling it out right after your class. If not right after, at least write the students name down and how they did so you don’t forget which student did what during class. Then fill out your feedback after you finish classes for the morning/night. If you don’t fill out feedback you will not get paid for your class. “Advice” is for when you have suggestions for improving the classroom. “Refresh” is to… refresh your page. “Line” is the connection you are using to talk to your student. If you notice that the connection is not very good between you and your student, try clicking this and changing the lines. “Help”is exactly what it sounds like. It helps you when having an issue with the classroom. Now the 3 buttons that are not circled, lets talk about them. The present keeps track of how many hearts your students sends you during a class period. The face with stars is a filter. If you don’t have the best lighting or you are breaking out, the filter can really help you out. The hanging lamp is a night mode for your page. If you prefer to have a darker background you can click this button.
After your classes it is not break time yet! Go on your phone and check out all your students in the student tab. If it is your first class with them, be sure to send a “booking invitation” by clicking on the student, then the three dots in the right corner and then selecting, “send booking invitation”. While you are there, you should also send them an “e-card” thanking them for coming to class and you look forward to seeing them again. You can also use “e-cards” on children’s day, birthdays, new years and other holidays. If you want to send a “gem stone box” to your student, you can click on the gift box in the right hand corner. You have to have enough tokens to be able to do this, which is a good reason to start saving up!
When hovering over “Resources” you will find the “Certification Center“. This an important tab to look into. This is not something you HAVE to do immediately but the sooner the better for YOU. I have come to realize I did not know as much as I thought about teaching until getting my TEFL. Please look into all certifications you can get. You will learn so much about China, teaching English and much more. You can look into different programs as well that help increase your pay and learning opportunities.
With all that being said, I hope this article has been helpful. If you have any questions at all, please message me and I will get back to you as soon as possible. I am here to help and I will be updating this page every time I learn something new. I want each of you to have a successful journey with VIPKid!
If you decided this is perfect for you, here is my referral code and link:
Good Luck, Teachers!