I knew going into this year, I wouldn’t be able to work a weekly job with a set schedule. I’m getting married out of town in August, have several showers in different states, have a destination bachelorette party in the works, am meeting a friend in Japan in March, would love to be able to plan a honeymoon for the length we want, and OH YEAH am trying to having an acting career in the middle of all of it! Working at a job that kept me from going to all the auditions I want to go to, as well as having to constantly negotiate shifts to be covered for various commitments was no longer cutting it. I started my holiday touring contract with the goal to find a job that:
- let me work remotely
- let me set my own schedule
- I ACTUALLY ENJOY
Honestly I didn’t believe it would be possible to sort out by the new year, but GUESS WHAT- I found an answer a week into rehearsals. I was discussing my frustrations with a cast member at our holiday party, who told me she had begun working for VIPKID. VIPKID is an online company that links students in China to ESL teachers in America and abroad. It sounded like something I wanted to try out, so I spent the next week going through their trainings and interviews until I was ready to try out my first class.
What does this look like for me?
Your VIPKID classroom is an online portal the company has created that shows your lesson slides for the class. There are two boxes: one for your video feed, and one for your student’s video feed. The curriculum experts have created lessons, units, and courses that correlate to the students entry level. Most of the students are between 5 and 10 years old. Each lesson has a teaching goal, and they provide teacher directions at the bottom of each slide. You DO NOT need to know Mandarin to teach. The classes are intended to be immersive, so they want you to speak English the entire class.
The classes are one on one, and last between 25 and 28 minutes. Your interview success decides your starting pay, but the rate begins between $18 and $21 per hour, with opportunity for raises each contract. This breaks down into your class pay rate + $1 for starting your class on time + other monetary incentives based on how many classes you teach per month. They are constantly offering monthly incentives (cash, prizes, even trips to Bejiing!) that add up to some nice supplementary income.
- Flexible scheduling set by you each week. You can block out your schedule up to four weeks out, and can edit them until they are booked.
- Work from anywhere. As long as your have a sufficient wifi connection, and a relatively quiet environment, you can work wherever you want. Like…in your sweat pants….on your couch….with your coffee. Really, it’s awesome. No fighting the subway in the snow this winter!
- Unlimited hours. I’ve read about teachers who teach over 100 classes a week! That many may not be for me (or many people haha), but you have the opportunity to schedule as many classes as you need/want each week.
- The kids are amazing. This is coming from someone who notoriously doesn’t like kids. It was a shock to several people that I decided to even attempt working with kids on a daily basis. BUT I’ve found that I REALLY enjoy it! They are adorable, and really excited to learn. You cheer when they figure out a new word, or finally answer in a complete sentence. As cliche as it sounds, it really has been rewarding. You will have the occasional kid who is antsy and would rather show you their toys than get through the lesson, but most of the ones I work with make getting out of bed early not feel like work.
- At this point, VIPKID pays monthly. You receive the direct deposit for the month prior around the 11th of the next month. This requires some forward thinking, but works just fine if you plan ahead.
- You are required to teach a minimum of 12 classes per week. This equates to less than 6 hours, which I have found to be very manageable. Even if you’re going away for a week, you can find time to make that work. They also allow vacation requests off, two weeks out.
- The other con is the early hours due to the time difference. Peak hours for the Eastern Time Zone are between 5am and 9am. You can also teach later at night, which is what I prefer. Either way, you can decide what’s best for your schedule, and change it up every week for the best fit.
If you’re looking for flexible supplementary income, or remote work between contracts (no hassle with temp agencies or pulling together catering jobs), seriously, check out VIPKID.
My REFERRAL LINK is below, and I would love to talk to anyone more about it! Comment with any questions you might have!