Thankful- His Ways Are Greater Than My Ways
Every time I try and plan out what to write for my next blog post, it usually immediately changes as soon as I start hitting away at the keys. I’ll often go completely in a different direction, and I believe that’s God directing me to take a different path other than the one I intended.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” -Isaiah 55:9
In this month of Thanksgiving, I’m beyond thankful for the ability to write, read, learn, and share as I grow in this blogging process. I’m still very much new to all of this, and I appreciate all the gracious responses and comments as I continue to learn and grow as a writer.
Looking for a Job
As some of you may know from reading a previous post of mine, our family has been trying to save money. We are thankfully not in debt, besides our mortgage, but we’ve been praying about a solution to bring in more income during this time in our life.
My husband works A LOT, so I did not really want to put the burden on him to continue to look for more overtime. I also coach swimming in the evenings, on days that he is home. This is through a non-profit organization, so the income isn’t anything to brag about. I deeply enjoy coaching- the continuous learning, the relationships with swimmers and families, and the interactions with my fellow coaches. It is a very rewarding job, and I’m thankful to be able to continue to do it post baby.
Beyond coaching, I really did not want to leave the house for another job. I enjoy being home with my son, and it’s been a priority for our family to make that happen. But, being the “Type A” personality that I am, I had been conscientiously looking for different part time job opportunities, most of them being away from the home.
My background is teaching high school English, and I really didn’t want to go back to teaching full time. Other jobs that looked interesting, were all away from the home. I know there are plenty of stay-at-home moms that sell make-up, party products, jewelry, etc. from home, but this just doesn’t fit my personality.
As my husband and I continued to talk about finances (I know, fun, right?), I prayed as I searched the internet. I came across a blog that I had never read before and the blogger had mentioned an opportunity to teach English online to students in China through a company called VIPKID.
Skimming over the requirements, I was thrilled to see that this may be exactly what we were looking for. I could stay at home, the hours were great for a mom with a baby, and many of the teachers that were currently with the program had strong reviews about working for VIPKID.
I’m thankful to say I’ve been with VIPKID since mid-October 2016 (still a newbie), and so far it’s been a great experience! God fully opened up this opportunity to teach from home and online, and it’s beyond anything I could have imagined I’d be doing for a job!
My First Month’s Experience with VipKid
Initial Interview + Demo Class
From the start, I was very impressed with the hiring process for a VIPKID teacher. I submitted my resume to VIPKID and heard back within a day about their interest in setting up an online interview and demo class with me.
I was sent a 5-slide power point presentation on a mini lesson that I would teach after my interview with an employee in China. Through the VIPKID portal, I was able to set up an account and schedule a time to interview and teach the demo class.
For the interview, I purchased a new computer (which we needed), a headset, a computer camera, and a dry erase board for my demo class. I believe I also had a few props to incorporate into the mini lesson. My interviewer was a native Chinese-speaker, but she did speak English pretty well.
She discussed the basics about the company, asked me about my experience, and discussed my pay based on my qualifications. I have taught in the past and I do hold a teaching certificate, but a teaching certificate is not needed to teach with VipKid.
The minimum requirement is a Bachelor’s Degree, and one’s pay is based off of one’s qualifications and certifications. So, this would be a great opportunity for someone who just graduated from college but is having a hard time finding a teaching job. It’s also a great opportunity for a stay-at-home mom (like me), or anyone that’s wanting to bring in some extra income. This job gives a person the opportunity to teach abroad from home.
After my initial pass with the interview and demo class, I was given additional resources and videos to look over and study. I was also given another full 25-minute lesson with power point sides which I would use to teach during the practicum evaluation. I had 3 days to finish the videos, and I was told to be prepared to teach two practicums within a 10-day time frame. I believe it was also this time that I was given a teaching contract for six months, which I was to look over and sign if I agreed upon the requirements and pay, which I did.
My practicum evaluator was from the United States, but she was currently residing in France, so she was a native English-speaker. We briefly discussed the videos from my training, and she addressed any questions or concerns I had about the program, etc. I then taught the 25-minute lesson.
My practicum evaluator stopped me around the half-way mark to ask how I thought the lesson was going, and to give me some feedback. We then continued the lesson until the end where she gave me additional feedback.
The practicum evaluator was not able to tell me whether or not I was hired by VipKid. She did let me know that I would hear from them via e-mail on whether or not I would be hired or need to do a second practicum.
Thankfully, I was hired right away and didn’t have to do a second practicum!
Additional Teacher Training
After I was hired, there were additional and very important training videos to watch. I then had to take a quiz over the videos.
Most of the videos discuss how VIPKID operates, how they create their lesson plan format, what to do if there’s IT issues while teaching, how to teach a trial class, etc. There was a large amount of information to go over and videos to watch. I would highly recommend going over these training videos and downloading the information to look over several times.
I had read some reviews where people complained about the hiring process taking two weeks or that the training was long. I agree, it did take a little while, but it was not bad at all. Clearly, this company wants quality teachers which I respect, so I think it is well worth the effort to go through the interview, demo, practicum, and additional training for the job. For me, it solidified that this company is legitimate and cares about the overall package they represent.
My Classroom & Teaching Hours
Since starting my position of teaching from home, I’ve created my own little online classroom. I have my computer facing a wall so that I can use the wall for a whiteboard and a reward system for students. I’ve also been using plenty of props. A lot of the props are simply my one year old son’s toys, but I have bought a few things specifically for teaching from home.
Most of the hours for VIPKID are early in the morning during the week, and then Fridays and Saturdays offer some evening teaching hours. I live in the U.S., so depending on where you live, it will vary on the time you would be teaching.
VIPKID is considered a part time job, so I would estimate it’s pretty difficult to teach full time with the hours provided by them. I teach anywhere from 2-4 hours a day, roughly 5 days a week. The minimum hours that one is allowed to teach is 7.5 hours per week during peak lesson times. The peak lesson times are usually a 5-6 hour time block in the mornings, and then a 4-5 hour time block in the evenings on Fridays and Saturdays.
As for full time work with the company, through the online forum, I’ve disovered that some teachers ARE teaching full time. BUT, most of them live in an area of the world where they are on Beijing time, or somewhere close to it. Working full time in the U.S. may be a little rough if you have family, as you’d be working overnight and early mornings most of the time.
The company does offer lots of hours for bookings, but those bookings may dip during certain times of the year due to Chinese holidays, American holidays, the students who book with you, etc.
I can’t say enough good things about how happy I am with this job so far and with this opportunity to do what I enjoy while still being able to stay home with my son.
I’m hoping to do a three month follow up blog post on working with VipKid, so be on the lookout for that in the near future.
If you’re interested in teaching with VipKid, or if you just want to find out more information, follow this link VipKid Recruitment. I guarantee it’s worth exploring!
If you’d like to view my online classroom, follow this link Amber’s Online Classroom.