When I left my ‘secure’ teaching position (I had a permanent half-time contract), I had the goal to replace that income with something else while I worked on the next stage of my career transition. I wanted something either really local (I could walk to it) or online. Really local would probably have meant working at a shop, restaurant or hotel doing something like helping out in a kitchen or cleaning hotel rooms, but I would have been happy to do it.
The kind of job I was looking for was one that would take little to no preparation time and one that would not require me to bring work home. Just let me work some hours and be done. (This is the opposite of my experience with teaching in any capacity.) My goal was to spend the rest of my time working on the next stage in my career change, whatever that was at that moment. (It changes all the time.)
I happened across VIPKID. It sounded sort of perfect. I watched many, many videos on YouTube. I interviewed. I wasn’t nervous because teaching is one of those things that comes very naturally to me. Of course most of my teaching experience has been with college students and adults with a fair amount of mid-adolescence teaching. I had some experience teaching young kids when I was in my twenties, mostly in a church context, camp counseling and the such. Needless to say, I passed the interview with flying colors. They determined my base pay by the certifications I had and the experience. You can find all of that information online if you look. I got mid-range.
Then there was a mock class with a young woman who gave me some tips, and then she suggested they hire me without a second mock class. (Thank you, Brenda, wherever you are.)
And really, after two weeks, I was off to the races. I open time slots and they fill up. I have regular student. The great thing about VIPKID is that you open up hours when you want (depending on when they’re available. I’m in Amsterdam and those kids are in Beijing, so I never have a class start after 2:30 in the afternoon because most kids start going to bed around 9 o’clock, which is three my time because Beijing is six hours ahead.
Here are the things I really love about VIPKID:
- There is literally no supervisor. I work when I want. If I need to take the day off, or part of the day, I just don’t make that time available. No one’s banging on my cubicle door nagging me to open more hours. And if I want to work all day on Sunday, I do. (I never do that, but I could.)
- There is constant good feedback. Maybe it’s my teaching style and my tendency to accent the positive, but parents tend to really like my classes. And kids tend to like my classes because I’m fun. I’m not crazy perky like a lot of the teachers out there, but I’m happy and ‘up’ and I smile and laugh. It’s a pretty fun job.
- I work from home in an orange T-shirt and pajama pants. There’s no ironing. There’s no wondering if I’ve worn this sweater and shirt combo to school recently. I have! It’s just an orange T-shirt and whatever pants I want. It’s very comfortable.
- It draws in a skill I have been honing for a while now. Teaching is one of those skills I just have now. I can explain things. I have an unending well of patience. I can always think of a way to break it down to a smaller bit. I’m constantly practicing that in this job.
It’s a good gig if you are a native speaker from North America with a bachelor’s degree. If you’re interested, click the link above (or this one). If you need any help at all, I’ll give you my pro tips.