365 Days as a VIPKid Teacher: My First Year Reflection
My VIPKid Hiring Story
I first heard about VIPKid while I was a brick and mortar teacher (also known as a B&M teacher). I was on my 11th year teaching elementary music in public school and was in my 3rd trimester of pregnancy with my 3rd baby. I was intrigued by the concept of teaching online from home. I was attracted to the idea of finding a way to stay home with my baby girl but also continue teaching, which I love. Plus I wondered, could it be possible to earn enough money to actually do this? There were so many "what ifs".
I wondered if VIPKid was a scam. It sounded too good to be true. Could I actually teach from home and make money? What's the catch?
I read a lot of reviews about VIPKid on various sites trying to figure out if it was right for me. I also watched a lot of YouTube videos! I was excited about the possibility of teaching from home, but anxious about how it would all work out for me with a new baby and a decrease in income (by leaving my current teaching job). One day, one of my friends posted on Facebook that she was a VIPKid teacher and posted a screenshot of her earnings. It was comforting to know that an actual person I knew worked for VIPKid and that it was a for real, legit company. I messaged her with lots of questions and grew more excited about the possibility. I told her I would be in touch after my baby was born. Several months later, after having my baby girl, plus two unexpected surgeries, I was ready to take the VIPKid plunge!
My hiring process took about 2 weeks or so from start to finish. I had a good sense of what I needed to do to become a VIPKid teacher, thanks to the research I had done months prior to starting my hiring journey. I decided to do the live interview with an actual person from China. I felt that it was better for me to talk to an actual person so I could ask them any questions I might have, and of course to woo them with my teaching charm! =) I had the most adorable and sweet VIPKid employee named Echo interview me. I felt excited and only slightly nervous! Being an actress had prepared me well for being a teacher and being able to perform well in front of people, under pressure! The interview was so much fun! A few days later I had my mock class demo, which was also a blast, and I learned a little more each time. I can do this! Shortly after I taught my mock class I got the news that I WAS HIRED! Yay!
Things I Learned As A First Year VIPKid Teacher
I Can Get Up Early If I Want To - I am not a morning person AT ALL! Anyone who knows me in real life knows this. I can easily stay up until 4 or 5am, but getting up at those times is HARD for me! I thought when I was hired that I would have a really hard time getting up so early. Yes, there are days when it is a struggle, but guess what? I CAN do it and it's actually kind of nice! I love the fact that my work is done BEFORE my family even gets out of bed in the morning!
Kids in China Can Steal Your Heart! - One of my favorite things about being a classroom teacher was getting all of the love and hugs from my students.I wondered if I would have that same feeling as an online teacher. There would be this screen and distance between us. Wow, some of these kids have stolen my heart! I love it when we end class and they say, "I love you, Teacher". I also didn't realize how attached I would also get to my Chinese online students! I teach Level 1 only, which means that once they finish all 12 units of level 1 they move on and I don't see them again. I've actually teared up a bit as I've said goodbye to a couple of students and I check in on them from time to time (thanks to teacher2teacher feedback).
My Family CAN Survive On Less Income - One of the scariest parts of deciding to leave my classroom teaching job was the drop in income for my family. Yes, I am working from home, but I choose to work only the hours I need so that I can stay home and raise my kids. Things are tight sometimes and we do have to prioritize, but you know what I've found? We save money in other ways! I am no longer commuting the 80 minute daily drive to and from school. That saves me a TON of gas money! I am at home with the baby so NO DAYCARE COSTS! I eat lunch at home more often now so no extra money spent there. The great thing about this job is that I can work as little or as much as I want! If I know I have a big expense coming up I just teach some extra classes! I love having that freedom to choose my schedule!
Sleeping Is Underrated - I have always joked that my favorite hobby is sleeping! I have always managed to survive on little sleep (hello musician/actor/night owl life). I would have to say the hardest part of this job is feeling tired all of the time. That's my own fault. I need to go to bed way earlier. I know this and I have especially learned this teaching these morning hours. I'll let you know how I do on my 2 year anniversary post! =)
Change Is Sometimes Really Good If You're Willing To Leap - I agonized over leaving my classroom teaching job. I absolutely loved teaching children music. I miss it. I miss the kids and I really miss the music. I miss my work friends. There were lots of reasons I wanted to stay. But there were also reasons I wanted to leave. I had to weight the pros and cons of making this big change in my life. I am so thrilled with my decision! I am so grateful for VIPKid and how it has opened up so many doors for me. I never thought I would get to be a stay (work) from home mom. I love being home for my family. I also love the excitement I feel before each class when I get to turn on my camera and teach an excited learner! I feel excited about teaching every day! I love getting to just TEACH! No paperwork, no evaluations, no lesson plans, no TESS, no professional development or staff meetings, JUST TEACHING! It is SO MUCH FUN!
What I Love About Being A VIPKid Teacher
I get to work from home in my pj's while my family sleeps!
I get to stay home and raise my kids while still earning an income to support my family. (No daycare costs for me).
No commute to work and I save on gas money! - I used to drive 40 minutes one-way to my classroom teaching job. That's a lot of gas money! Now I only fill my tank once or twice a month instead of twice a week!
No Lesson plans, papers to grade, Tess evaluations, professional development, paperwork, staff meetings, and all of that other "stuff" that goes along with a classroom teaching job.
Flexibility! I get to make my own schedule and work as much or as little as I want!
I get to sing, dance, be silly, and use fun props like toy food to teach my students! The curriculum is so fun!
I get to make connections with adorable children and their families from around the globe!