How does working in your pajamas, making between $18-$22 an hour sound? For many stay-at-home moms, this sounds like a dream come true, but is it legit? Or is it too good to be true?
First of all: What Is VIPKid?!
VIPKid is a website that hires individuals to teach English via online video calls to children in China.
You teach children one-on-one for half an hour (25 minute lesson, 5 minute Q&A). The age of your students range from 4 to 12.
In order to work for VIPKid you have to go through a pretty strict application process. Once approved, parents in China will view your profile and decide if they want you to be the their childs teacher.
All the teaching material is provided for you, you don’t have to come up with a lesson, however you will need to review the lesson for the class atleast 6 hours beforehand to prepare.
How Much Will I Earn?
The company offers a $7-$9 base pay per 30-minute class and offer bonus incentives for their teachers. If you teach more than 45 classes in one pay period, you earn $1 per class bonus. teachers also recieve a $1 per class bonus attendance bonus just for showing up to teach, even if a student doesn’t show up themselves. As a teacher you will receive payment via direct deposit once a month, between the 10th and 15th.
Can I get a raise? Yes, once your six month contract is up, VIPKid might consider you for a raise.
What about taxes? You are considered an independent contractor, therefore you are completely responsible for your taxes.
What Are The Hours?
Since you’re teaching children in China, the peak class hours are between 6-10 P.M. Beijing Time, which (due to a 13-hour time difference) means you’ll be working between 5-9 A.M. in the United States. You have the flexibility to work beyond these peak hours, but it will be highly unlikely due to the time difference. Teachers are required to commit to a minimum of 7.5 hours per week.
What Are The Requirements?
You need to meet a couple of basic requirements to get a teaching job at VIPKid.
- You must have a Bachelors degree. Your degree can be in any field, it doesn’t have to be in the educationa field.
- You need some experience teaching K-12 in the United States or Canada. VIPKid doesn’t provide much information on what qualifies as ‘some experience’ so this doesn’t seem to be a strong requirement.
- Must be willing to sign a 6-month renewable contract upon acceptance.
- Desktop or laptop are mandatory. You cannot teach on a Tablet or iPad.
- Windows 7 or above; MAC OS 10.8x. It must also have Intel Core i3 or above, at least 4GB RAM, the latest Flash version, and you need a wired DSL internet connection – at least 20 Mbps.
- Your computer needs a camera and a good headset with microphone
If you can check off all these pre-reqs, you are ready to go on to then application process.
What’s The Application Process Like?
The application process contains five-steps and it is actually a little tough to land the job, so be sure you are well prepared!
- Send VIPKid your resume so they can screen for basic requirements and teaching experience
- Schedule a 30-minute session where you get to showcase your teaching skills to a VipKid recruiter, or record a demo lesson at your own time and send it to VipKid so they can evaluate you.
- Watch videos to learn more about VipKid – their technology, standards, and curriculum.
- This is where it starts to get real! Practice teaching a full-length class with another VipKid teacher.
- If you get to step 5, congrats! This is where you sign the contract, upload some docs, and complete a background check.
- Now that you’re an official VipKid teacher, you can start scheduling when you’re available. You have to schedule at least two weeks in advance, and if you have to cancel a session, you have to let VipKid know at least two weeks in advance (this is a deal-breaker for many).
VIPKid definitely has a lot of pros – work at home, decide your own hours, and the opportunity to make a full-time income. But regardless of the positive, there are some very real Cons we can’t ignore, and you should be aware of before signing that six-month contract.
I love a good Pro-Con list so lets go…
Pro: You don’t have to prepare lessons and there is very little (if any) prep work. You aren’t a teacher that has to grade homework during your free time, you work your 30 minute session and you’re done. Slides are prepared for you ahead of time, if you want to prepare props or visuals, you can, but it’s not necessary.
Con: Some of the lessons aren’t crystal clear. Some slides have minimal information at the bottom and you have to kind of figure it out or move along.
Pro: You are in control of your schedule. You don’t have to work 8 hours a day, but you should aim for 30-45 classes a month to get the bonus. Your schedule doesn’t have to be the same every week.
Con: The peak hours are at inconvenient times. You’ll be teaching kids on the other side of the globe so your sleep schedule might be moved around a bit. Also, once something is booked, that’s it. You can’t modify it, you can only cancel (you get six cancellations per contract) but if you want to build up regular clients, you shouldn’t be canceling unless its for emergencies.
Pro: Most teachers have said the students are well-behaved and they enjoy the lessons. Since it’s a short lesson, you tend to have the child’s complete attention and (if you build up a regular clientele) it’s nice to see the child progress and improve their English with each lesson.
Con: Not all the children will be able to stay focused, if they get up and run around there is little you can do from your computer to get them back into the lesson. Also, VIPKid has been accepting younger students (2-3 yrs old) and they can’t focus on the lesson for the half hour.
Con: I don’t have a pro for this one, but it’s important to note numerous complaints about the companies support system. If there is a problem with something, it will take awhile to hear back from a representative or IT tech.
Final Thoughts: Is VIPKid legitimate or a scam?
VIPKid is 100% legitimate.
The company, like any, has some Cons but I do believe the Pros outweigh them. If you are looking for a side-hustle or some extra money, definitely consider giving VIPKid a try. VIPKid is a relatively new company and I believe still working out the kinks. You just have to be willing to get up early in the morning to make it work.
I, however, do not believe this can become a full-time income. I think it’s a great supplement to your existing income and a great ‘hobby job’ for stay-at-home moms but because of the time difference and scheduling, you’ll likely never work more than 3 hours in one day.